Image courtesy of www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk
Working in Burford it is easy to take from granted the beautiful countryside that surrounds us. As one of the perks of the job, we get out and about almost daily to the local villages to view our holiday cottages and this allows us to take routes off the beaten track. Sadly we rarely get the chance to stretch our legs out onto the paths during this sojourns (we, however, do take endless pictures which can be view through Manorcottages on Instagram!) Instead we take the time to enjoy these walks when we’re les pressed for time.
Around Burford, the breath-taking, natural rolling hills provide a stunning backdrop for the meandering River Windrush, perfect for walkers who want to take in this wonderful scenery and attractive villages. And it’s no wonder that the river plays such an important part in the town, as even the name Burford is a combination of two ancient words, ‘burh’ meaning defended town and ‘ford’ meaning river crossing – you see you learn something when you read these messages!!
The River Windrush slowly makes its way down through Burford, which sits on a steep Cotswold’s hill, and flows across protected wild meadows, medieval bridges, ancient churches and quaint English pubs. Walkers who follow the path of the River Windrush have the opportunity to view the outstanding landscapes in this most beautiful part of the country.
Here are Manor Cottages’ favourite River Walks:
The Rissington Round takes you through the historic villages of Great and Little Rissington, passing through Bourton-on- the-Water and the River Windrush. The walk is around 3.5 miles long and you should allow two hours to complete it. During the walk you’ll pass the Cotswolds Carp Farm, complete with stunning lakes, a 12th Century church in Little Rissington and the fishing lakes located in South Bourton. Check out the boathouse before you cross over the River Windrush and head off to the coppices on the outskirts of Bourton.
Great Barrington - Burford
This walk takes you through a beautiful part of the Windrush Valley, and is around 5 miles long, taking about two to three hours to complete. Start off at the bridle way down into the Valley and you’ll see St Peters Church at Little Barrington and an old village pub called the Fox Inn. Pass the church and by crossing the river you’ll end up at Barrington Farm Grain Store next to the well-used village hall. The converted Barrington Mill should be your next stop and it is here that you can cross many footbridges across the Windrush. The church will lead you through quiet meadows and back down to Burford.
Eye the Windrush and Slaughter
The two Slaughter villages encapsulate exactly what the Cotswold’s are all about; tranquil, quiet, and sleepy villages surrounded by natural beauty. This walk takes you through these villages and takes around two hours and is 3 miles in length. You start off at the River Eye, where you’ll see a stunning example of 17th century architecture in the form of a grand manor house. Then onto the 19th century red brick mill, which now houses a shop and museum, past the 13th century church. Walking across the ancient Saxon track will take you through a small wooded area and over a disused railway, over an old Roman bridge and back to Bourton-on-the-Water.
Villages of the Windrush Valley
Finally, a popular walk that takes you into the past by visiting the history of the Cotswolds, complete with old Norman churches, burial grounds and manor houses home to great literary figures. This walk is around 4 miles long and takes about two hours. Begin the walk at St Nicholas Church and you’ll immediately spy the Elizabethan Manor House, where the famous writing Mitford sisters lived. Head over the River Windrush and take a moment to gaze at the beautiful water meadows. Crossing these meadows will lead you to the deserted medieval village of Widford, but all you’ll actually see are lumps in the ground, covered in grass. Pass the church of St Oswald’s and head up to Handley Plain. Look for a wooded area known as Widley Copse and from here you are just a mile away from Fulbrook. Passing the pubs will bring you out onto the medieval bridge that then takes you back into town.
These walks are our favourites and specifically local to the Burford region. At the moment we don’t have maps or guides for these, but in time we hope to be able to offer these to you once they’re created. In the meantime why not go to the Cotswolds.gov website where there are a host of different walks to consider and download.
If, however, you’re like us and prefer to simply take it as it comes, then you’ll probably find something we’ve not tried! If so, write and tell us or even better write a short story of your journey and we’ll publish it here on our blog! Happy Walking!