Start in the National Trust car park at Shortwood (SO 833 086). There's an honesty box with a £2 donation suggested.
From the car park, go through the gap in the wall beside the entrance to enter Standish Wood. These woods are recorded in documents dating from 1297.
Several tracks head off from this point – take the left-hand one straight ahead, staying on the level and following the black acorn symbols of the Cotswold Way markers. If you do take a wrong path (or just want to wander!), it isn't a problem so long as you eventually end up at the southern end of the woods.
On the day I visited, a cuckoo was calling through the woods and the ground was covered in bluebells, wood anemones, wood spurge, dog’s mercury and violets. Although predominantly a beech wood, the wood is also home to mature ash and other limestone-loving trees such as whitebeam, spindle and aspen. Conifers include Scots pine and larch, which attract cone-feeding birds such as Siskins, tits and Goldcrests, and there is a good understorey of hawthorn, holly and field maple. In the summer you may be lucky enough to find yellow bird’s-nest and bird’s-nest orchids. In the autumn fungi such as edible boletus and bracket fungi such as giant polypore make for a great fungus foray.
After 1 mile (1.6km) cross a track (known as the ‘Robbers’ Road’) and stay on the path. Look for an overgrown elongated mound on either side of the path (SO 827 071). This 200m-long Iron Age cross dyke is believed to have been constructed as a boundary marker.
After a few metres more look to your right for two small overgrown Bronze Age round barrows (marked as ‘Tumuli’ on the map). When one of these was excavated they found a cist with cremated remains and a Middle Bronze Age plano-convex flint knife, which is now in Gloucester City Museum.
Follow the wide path for a further 400m to reach a Neolithic long barrow about 4m high and 55m in length (SO 825 069). Although it is also overgrown, from the top of the barrow you will get a better sense of the scale of the monument. The horned entrance at the north-eastern end led directly to a single burial chamber which contained human remains, pottery and three flint flakes.