The scene above is an "canvas" of Panorama 59 (or see a reduced size version below), which is a typical "vista" to be found along the full length of the Cotswold Way (the Way).

However in order to allow you to see these vistas, the Way has been designed to "hug" the edge of the escarpment from Chipping Campden in the North to Bath in the South, adding 60% in length to what Google will tell you is the most direct walking track. And because the Way keeps going "under-the-edge" (as in Wotton-under-Edge) before ascending again, the elevation you will need to climb for the full distance (of 100 miles) is a bit over 3 miles (and 3 miles down again of course).

So sensibly the Way has been broken up into 15 Walks at an average length of about 7 miles and this Web-App allows you to explore these Walks arranged as 5 Walks in each of Upper, Central and Lower Cotswolds areas.

The Web-App is designed to be used both at the planning and execution stages (or for simply doing "virtual touring" of the Way) and also dovetails into Cotswolds-on-the-Tour which is a guide to car trips for the entire Cotswolds AONB.

There is also an interesting comparison to the Thames Path (the Path) as shown in the INSERT above. The Path forms a "T" with the Way and is similarly increased 60% in length but in this case to hug the River Thames. But in contrast, while the Path is double the length of the Way, the elevation required in walking its length is less than 10% of that for the Way, and it is broken into 51 Walks at half the average length of the Way.

Features of the Web-App

All these factors are important in the planning and execution stages of a holiday that might include walking activities and the multi media features of these Web-Apps assist the user as explained below.

1. Panoramas

Back in 2016 this Guardian article announced how the Google technology of Trekker (Street View panorama camera on a backpack) would totally revolutionise the promotion of the UK National Trails and it is fortunate that the exercise for the Way was completed and ON Google Maps by 2017.

Alas, actually finding those panoramas in a haystack of blue lines is a daunting task so we use "Entry Point Thumbnails" (10 per Walk) to take you directly to typical panoramas, from where you may use the arrows to "walk" in either direction and look left/right, up/down, zoom in/out as you please and here is another example to hone your skills, being Panorama 74 on Walk 8 on Coopers Hill where the famous cheese rolling competition happens. For the fish slapping venue you will need to go to Panorama 430 in Walk 43 of the Thames Path.

2. FlyOvers

The FlyOvers are created in Google Earth to mimic a Cotswold wood pigeon (marked by a big yellow X) with a GoPro on her neck flying at 200 mph at 500 feet. They accurately convey the route of each Walk showing the climbs and drops and if the view is one of the vistas mentioned above or walking in deep forests, open fields etc. For convenience these are grouped together in a YouTube Channel (as well as in this Web-App).

3. Elevations

The Elevations show you the nitty gritty of the ups and downs of each walk including the exact location and duration of the climbs.

4. Sat Navs

It is fortunate that for most Walks the Google Sat Nav system can be "pre-programed" to follow the Way and while Sat Nav should be used in the context of a "helper" using Waymarkers as the main reference, they provide useful information such as the estimated time of arrival at the end of the Walk. Also a bonus of having panoramas along the full 100 miles is that in following a Sat Nav via "Details" you get an image of each turn.

And if you are requiring public transport back to the start point (if available) you simply select the icon to the left of the walking icon (pre-selected) to provide details and timetables of bus services.

About New Normal

The article above tells us that the self induced, life affirming "pilgrimage" of Ms Witherspoon with happenings such as pulling out her toenails and throwing her boots off the mountain in Wild had the effect of a ten fold increase in walkers on her chosen American trail and suggests Trekker panoramas (the "Google effect") might do the same for the UK trails.

Be that as it may (and see Footnote 2 below), in 2020 we were faced with a Covid "cloud" outside of our control but with the silver lining that says WALKING is both approved in the so called "new normal" era and is GOOD for you. What is more there is no "affirming" involved - just quiet encounters with the wonders of nature "wandering lonely as a cloud" in "England's green and pleasant land".

So in contrast to the Wild histrionics and "cussing" we see the scene at the top of this page of two ladies and their dogs peacefully observing the majesty of a place befitting "those feet".

As a bonus, technology has moved on since 2016 and Google has declared the future of mapping is in your hands via tiny and inexpensive 360 degree panorama cameras that allow YOU to put your own panoramas on Google Maps as you walk.

So if it is inspiration that you need in these hard times, forget 2 hours of pathos in Wild and spend just 1 minute on the Google video (repeated below).

While we were able to make this Cotswold Way Web-App because of Trekker, most UK Trails never saw Trekker and it was only possible to make our Thames Path Web-App because of the heart-warming story you can read there of one man who apparently WAS inspired by the Google video and spent 2 years on a HUGE panorama mapping task without seeking any glory at all. The final section from Eynsham to Lechlade (as well as many other Trails) awaits completion as a most enjoyable new normal activity.

Press to go to the Web-App.

FOOTNOTE 1 - If it is a pilgrimage you are after we have fashioned a Web-App on a BBC documentary of one such ancient pilgrimage to St David's, West of the Cotswolds in Wales. Most of the panoramas are from the Street View car but the route takes many off-road excursions where new normal walkers could add (to Street View) some magnificent panoramas of the Welsh countryside (which we would then add to the Web-App).

FOOTNOTE 2 - There is a certain amount of English satire (intended and otherwise) in all the above happenings starting with those of you who were brave enough to watch at least 30 minutes of the Hollywood blockbuster Wild where we see Ms Witherspoon emerge bit by bit from beneath a hill with a huge blue backpack which is satirized at the start of the Guardian video with Andy doing his own entry with the huge blue Trekker on his back.

Then they include the haughty "for the fun of" lady on her horse and the information about the bridleway, probably just "for the fun of" but once we fast forward to the Google Video we see several of the examples for panorama camera mounting involve a helmet. Now they were not to know in 2016 about the new cameras of 2018 or so but to all those examples such as bike, skateboard, canoe etc we can add "horse assisted" as the irony here is that the lady on the horse would be able to make far better panoramas than the Trekker with no effort at all - that is to say not only "for the fun of" but for the benefit of all.

But the BOTTOM LINE is that while the Cotswold Way HAS been Taken, Published to Google Maps and Showcased in this Web-App, the Panoramas we see Andy taking for the South Downs Way were never Published (for political reasons at the time but no longer valid) and although we have made a Web-App in 2018 it is WAITING for Panoramas (taken by any means by anyone). So the lady on the horse (or maybe Andy could borrow the horse?) plus a $300 pano camera is now back on the agenda! Or maybe Google may still have the panos from 2016 up there in the clouds to finally "shine forth upon our clouded hills".