Cam Long Down is a long narrow hill that’s become detached from the main Cotswold escarpment through erosion.
It’s difficult to describe where it is so the simplest explanation is that it’s between Dursley and Uley Bury. The photo below shows the main big hills seen from the Coaley Peak viewpoint on the B4066 near Nympsfield.
The photo below shows Cam Long Down and was taken from Downham Hill. Cam Peak and Dursley are to the left, while to the right and out of shot is the Cotswold escarpment and Nympsfield.
Cam Long Down has a smaller stablemate to the side of it called Downham Hill, more of which later. The views from the top of Cam Long Down are amazing, as seen in the photo.
There’s a couple of ways to get to Cam Long Down. The Dursley end of it has a free car park called Cam Peak car park. You get to it by heading down Long Street from Dursley town centre and turning up into Drake Lane.
This is one of those ‘I hope I don’t meet anything coming the other way’ roads as it’s very narrow.
From Drake Lane turn right when you get to the junction and the car park is on the right.
It’s also easy to get to from the Uley Bury car park but it requires a bit more effort. You’re into hill walking though so it’s easy. Free maps are available on your phone from openstreetmap.org.
At the Dursley end of the Long Down is Cam Peak.
It looks man made but it’s been formed by natural erosion. The Long Down has retained its shape due to a capping of lower inferior oolitic limestone while Cam Peak lost its capping through erosion and the underlying Cotteswold Sands are wearing away giving it its conical appearance.
The hike to the top is fairly steep but well worth it as the views from the top on a clear day are fabulous. The centre of the very top is fenced off (summer 2021) presumably to let the top recover from the damage caused by the many walkers.
During May of 2023 it was literally covered in bluebells (Harebells) as the photo below shows.
At other times of the year it can look very plain as seen below shortly after a lot of bracken was cut down. Cam Peak is in the left of the photo while in the distance is Stinchcombe Hill.
The metal structure at the top of the peak is a bracket that supports a large cross that’s carried up the hill from Dursley during Easter for the ‘Procession of Witness’. It remains on the hill from Good Friday to Easter Sunday.
A bit of trivia, a class 47 Cotswold Rail locomotive is also named Cam Peak.
Engine photo By Phil Scott (Our Phellap) – English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Railway photo info
After the walk to the top, head back down and on up to the Long Down. The views are equally great and on a clear day you can see over to the Welsh hills and the two seven bridges.
Other ‘delights’ in the view are the the new incinerator, the Muller factory (previously known as the milk marketing board) at Stonehouse and the old Berkley nuclear power station.
If you want a short circular walk go to the far end of the long down and take the zig zag descent. Instead of going over the style into the steep field keep going and down a few steps.
This takes you back to the car park along a lower wooded section. This is quite muddy and slippery when it’s wet.
Obviously you could just double back the way you came. This is a short walk of just under 2 miles.
A longer walk option..
When you get to the zig zag path at the end of the Long Down go over the style and down the very steep hillside. When you get to the road turn left.
This will take you back to the car park via a quiet road. The road section takes a bit longer than you might expect as it takes a bit of an outwards loop. If you don’t know the area take a map or use the Open Street Map website on your phone.
A third option that takes in Downham Hill
Instead of turning left at the road, head in the other direction along the straight section of road and turn right at the junction.
Follow this road until you get to Hydegate kennels and cattery (this is where the dogs you might have heard barking live) and turn right. Keep going until you reach the kissing gate on the left. This is the entrance to Downham Hill seen in the photo below.
The fields here are home to retired horses and a sign explains all about them.
Locally, Downham Hill is known as smallpox hill as there was once a smallpox isolation hospital built there.
Like the Long Down, this also has great views looking out towards Uley, Dursley and Wales and of course Cam Long Down. Along the top of the hill is an avenue of trees that take you to the far end of the hill that looks out towards Dursley with Uley to the left.
The only way back to the road is the way you came, but it’s a much smaller hill than Cam Long Down so it doesn’t take long.
Head back towards the kennels and there is a footpath on the left just before the old stables. This takes you to the lower section between Cam Peak and the Long Down. I’d take a map for this section as it’s not obvious where you’re heading as the trees obscure the view of the peak and the track splits a few times.
If it’s foggy
If it’s foggy at ground level, Cam Long Down and Downham Hill are sometimes high enough to be above the fog and in glorious sunshine. The photo was taken from Downham Hill on a foggy winters day and shows Cam Peak and Cam Long Down rising out of the fog.
Uley Bury is a little higher than both so from the bury you might see a sea of fog with the avenue of trees on Downham Hill sticking out above it.
It’s quite magical when this happens!
For other great walks around Stroud look under the Walks menu.