49.97 ha (123.48 acres)

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Explorer 179
OS Landranger 163

Lineover Wood’s patchwork of ancient woodland, more recent planting and limestone grassland creates a diverse habitat that’s a haven for wildlife and a place where rare plants and fungi flourish. The wood lies within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and offers breathtaking views across Cheltenham and the Malvern Hills.


  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Lineover Wood

The 50-hectare (123-acre) wood is near Dowdeswell, around 8km (5 miles) south-east of Cheltenham. It lies on the escarpment formed by Wistley Hill.

The wood’s northern entrance and car park is off the A40 Cheltenham to Oxford Road, opposite the reservoir.

From Cheltenham, head east on the A40 Oxford Road. The wood’s southern entrance is off the A436.

The nearest train station is Cheltenham Spa, which is 6.7 km (4 miles) away.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is opposite the Reservoir Inn (now the Koloshi restaurant), about a five-minute walk from the northern site entrance.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

The main entrance is off the A40 and there are two to the south of the wood, via the Cotswold Way public footpath, which passes through the site.

The wood has several paths, including public rights of way totalling 2.4km (1.5 miles) and permissive paths totalling 4.5km (2.8 miles). There are two hour-long suggested circular routes: the North Walk with its medium terrain and the South Walk with some more strenuous sections. The long-distance Cotswold Way national trail crosses the site.

There is parking for up to 12 cars in the north car park, opposite the reservoir at the northern entrance. There’s also a small lay-by with space for two cars by the A346 entrance. Please note that this is a very fast and busy A road.

The nearest public toilets are in Cheltenham.

Wildlife and habitats


Wildlife is plentiful at Lineover Wood. Look out for signs of the fallow, roe and muntjac deer which wander among the trees. You’ll come across noisy flocks of long-tailed tits, and may spot a woodcock or catch the mewing call of a buzzard as it circles high over the meadow.

There is also a huge range of moths and butterflies to look out for, including the rare ghost moth.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Stroll among the mix of oak, lime, ash, sycamore and silver birch and you’ll come across some magnificent ancient beech trees. One of them is over 600 years old and is thought to be the third largest beech in England.

In spring and summer, when the varied ground flora comes to life, Lineover Wood is a botanist’s paradise. But you don’t need to be a wildflower expert to appreciate the swathes of bluebell, speckled with primrose and fragrant lily of the valley, and the shocking pink pyramidal orchids that pop up in later months.

Equally colourful and significant is Lineover’s array of weird and wonderful fungi – more than 500 species have been recorded on the site. Look out for the bright yellow lemon disco, the luminous white angel’s bonnet and the aptly-named jelly ear.

Look out for:


Two-thirds of Lineover Wood is designated ancient woodland. This includes ancient semi-natural woodland in the south and planted ancient woodland (semi-natural woodland replaced with a plantation) in the north-west. The grassland areas provide vital habitats for local invertebrates and small mammals too.


About Lineover Wood

Lineover Wood was first recorded around AD 800 as part of the Dowdeswell Estate, but it is likely to be much older.

Look out for the lime-coppice stool that has stood here for the best part of 1000 years. It’s reached such an impressive age thanks to centuries of coppicing.

In the late 19th century, the site was purchased by Cheltenham Borough Council as part of the catchment area for the Dowdeswell reservoir.

The area of semi-natural ancient woodland seen today was once much larger, but between the 1940s and 1970s much of the woodland was cleared and replanted with a range of conifers.

Severn Trent Water Authority bought the site in 1974 and sold the wood to us in 1986. In 1990 the Trust acquired a six-hectare (15-acre) addition and this has been planted to create new native woodland.

Things to do in Lineover Wood

Early purple orchid with blurred background

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean


Lineover Wood Management Plan

PDF  (166 KB)