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Gloucestershire stone stile project

Recording every remaining stone stile in Gloucestershire before they are lost forever.

Stone stiles are a characteristic of the Cotswold landscape of Gloucestershire, with many stiles over 200 years old. You can now view over 1100 stone stiles via an online map, and drill to see stile images.

View all the stiles that we have found here!

You can search by drill, grid references or longitude and latitude.

This screenshot shows the map near Winstone, highlighted (red circle) a Duntisbourne Abbots stile.

So how can you help if you are out walking and you see a stone stile?

If you have internet connection you can check the map to see if reported. If not, please note a map reference or some features that would help locate it, take a photo and email us. Similarly, if you notice change in the stile a photo can be sent.

If you have no connection, check the map reference when home.

We are also receiving historic stile photographs (e.g. postcards, family photos) that we can add to our collection. Our contact is on the Stile Map:

What’s next for The GSSP Project?

The map provides a master index to Gloucestershire stone stiles and is the reference point for checking new stile reports. We are still adding new stile reports. The volunteer team is small so current plans are…

  • To maintain the map, adding new stiles as they are reported
  • To log any reports of significant changes to stone stiles (e.g. repair, damage, removal)
  • To investigate yet-to-be reported stiles held in a Cotswold Wardens Stile Index from 2012
  • To continue to improve the map functionality
  • Volunteers are available to provide talks to local groups (e.g. local history, WI)
  • To provide a contact point for project information and discussions
  • The map extended to include stone stiles across the Gloucestershire borders, and now includes the GB-wide stiles. Current count = 2750 (zoom out to see)

People are still finding ‘new to us’ stiles – please send us your finds and historic information. We welcome help in other ways.

The Stone Stile Project: How we got there

For centuries stone stiles have allowed pedestrian access across the countryside and as such indicated ancient pathways which predate land enclosure, and point to where farmsteads, barns and villages, long since vanished, existed. Despite their historic value there was no comprehensive record of stone stiles in our ancient county of Gloucestershire.

CPRE Gloucestershire volunteer Peter Wilson launched the Gloucestershire Stone Stile Project (GSSP) in the summer of 2020, with support from CPRE Gloucestershire and the Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club.  Very quickly we were in lockdown, and the project provided a chance for many interested volunteers to walk our footpaths and photograph the stone stiles in our county.

The initial stile reporting was well supported with over a hundred volunteers reporting stiles. This was helped by some excellent project PR in almost every parish by Maggie Booth, plus the COVID restrictions encouraging volunteers to wander with a purpose. Our thanks go to everyone who has contributed. There were duplicate sightings but often new information would be added such as the condition of the stile or its history. We have stored ‘duplicate’ reports and images. It proved harder to find indexers to check each stile in their parish. Fortunately as we struggled, Mr Red offered to develop an interactive map, and the map has provided our master index.

The project volunteers included a few prolific stile spotters. The most prolific being Jayne Tovey from Ampney Crucis who was inspired to find stone stiles after reading an article in her parish magazine. In only six months she has recorded her 500th stile. She has now visited over 1000 stone stiles, and is now reporting stiles that she finds elsewhere in the UK. Jayne, accompanied by CPRE, has received a BBC Radio 4 Award for services to the environment and raising the awareness of the plight if the stone slab stiles.

3 types of stone stile

There are three main types of stone stiles: slit or squeeze stiles, slab stiles, and step stiles.

Slit or squeeze stiles are usually two upright stones too narrow for farm animals to pass through. Slab stiles vary in height and can prove difficult to negotiate even for the most energetic walker! The less common stile is the step stile and again some of these can be tricky to climb over. For centuries these stiles have provided access to locals walking along pathways as they went about their business whilst preventing sheep and cattle from straying further afield. Examples of each are pictured below.

Squeeze stile in the village of Box by Sue Brown











Bypassed squeeze stile on Besbury Common by Maggie Booth







Slab stile, adjacent to St Mary’s Church, Barnsley by Fay Britton











Step stile on the Monarch’s Way, Tetbury by Jennifer Molyneux











Disappearing heritage 

One aspect of concern was the preservation of these stone stiles, because they are historical artefacts and often beautiful and interesting slabs of stone. Although stone stiles do provide access challenges, we’d prefer we keep the stiles in-situ wherever possible. In many cases, gaps or kissing gates can be established near the stile to improve access.

Thanks to volunteers, we also were informed of a slab stile in a private garden, after new housing re-routed the footpath, and slabs moved from original locations. We also have examples of changes such as Tetbury Upton slab stile.

Photos by Cotswold Voluntary Wardens (2009) and Mr Red (2021) for GSSP.

There is more we could do, but are not currently pursuing. When Peter Wilson launched the project he also hoped….

  • to research the history of each stile such as source of stone, condition, measurements, location information, local history society information
  • to provide a mobile phone app that could provide this historic detail of each stile
  • to explore protections (e.g. historic monuments) for our remaining stone stiles to prevent removal or damage
  • to archive stone stile records

Project contact email:

Jayne reports her 500th stile for Gloucestershire’s Stone Stile Project

Jayne Tovey from Ampney Crucis was inspired to find stone stiles in the Gloucestershire countryside after reading an article in her parish magazine on The Gloucestershire Stone Stile Project. In only six months she has just recorded her 500th stile!

The Gloucestershire Stone Stile Project was started by Peter Wilson who discovered there was no comprehensive record of stone stiles in our ancient county of Gloucestershire. With support from CPRE, The Countryside Charity and the Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club, The Stone Stile Project was launched in 2020. Since that time local people from around the County, including members of CPRE have reported over 800 stiles, and Jayne Tovey is the Project’s star contributor!

At this time of year many stiles, particularly if they have been bypassed are almost hidden in the undergrowth but Jayne, armed with her secateurs, can find them. Her searches have taken her to many areas where she often meets locals who are only too happy to talk about how stone walls on agricultural land and footpaths have changed the landscape in their parish. She hears tales of stone stiles that have been ripped out or bypassed and replaced with galvanised steel ‘kissing gates’. Thanks to Jayne, these stone stiles which are historic landmarks in our countryside are being recorded before some are lost forever.

Congratulations to Jayne and to all the other contributors to the project, it has been a fantastic effort.