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Hiking route

Bourton-on-the-Water to Winchcombe via Naunton

· 2 reviews · Hiking route · United Kingdom
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  • Out of the forest down to Winchcombe
    / Out of the forest down to Winchcombe
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  • / Lambs frolicking
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  • / Wildflowers
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  • / Walking the bottom of the valley
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  • / Is that a buzzard?
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m 300 250 200 150 100 50 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
Starting in Bourton-on-the-Water you will follow the Windrush river upstream to Naunton, passing through woods and fields before continuing to on to Guiting Power. From here you head north, passing through woodland and the edge of the Farmcote Estate before descending towards Winchcombe past Sudley House.
Distance 20.1 km
5:30 h
323 m
361 m
294 m
88 m
Starting in the old Roman barracks of Bourton-on-the-Water you will wind your way up the Windrush River as it courses through open green valleys, shaded woods and rolling farmland. Passing through sleepy little Naunton, you will cross high cropped farmland with a clear view of Guiting Power ahead, home to a great cafe\antique shop. From here you will follow clear paths with some undulating hills through woodland, coming out above Winchcombe. The view to the town below is yours to enjoy as you amble down the path, passing the magnificent Sudley House. The town of Winchcombe is picturesque, with some examples of architecture unique to the rest of the Cotswolds.

Author’s recommendation

Just before the Naunton golf course, there is an open field by the river which makes an excellent place to stop for lunch or a quick snack if you are planning on eating at the cafe in Guiting Power. The views back down the valley you have just walked are quite lovely.

Sudley Castle is a truly astounding example of 16th-century regal architecture and is not to be missed.

Highest point
294 m
Lowest point
88 m
Best time of year

Safety information

There are some road crossings, always be aware of traffic and be sure to use a pavement/sidewalk where possible, where it isn’t walk on the right-hand side of the road,

Some of the ground can be uneven, with steep descents and muddy/boggy ground. Ensure you have suitable footwear and step cautiously where needed, the mud is especially tricky in wet weather.

A note about farms and animals: Be very aware of closing gates behind you. Remember, animals on a farm are not pets and can be closer to a wild animal than a domestic pet - particularly for dogs. The main risk today is horses as the path often crosses fields with grazing horses.

When crossing the streams, be wary of slippery and loose stones, if you feel unsure bring walking poles for support, and you can always find a more suitable crossing a little up or downstream.

Tips and hints

 Points of Interest


Sudley Castle and Gardens

The present structure was built in the 15th century and may have been on the site of a 12th-century castle. The castle has a notable garden, which is designed and maintained to a very high standard. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial place of Queen Catherine Parr (1512–1548), the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, and contains her marble tomb. Unusually for a castle chapel, St Mary's of Sudeley is part of the local parish of the Church of England. Sudeley is also one of the few castles left in England that is still a residence. As a result, the castle is only open to visitors on specific dates, and private family quarters are closed to the public if you want to confirm it is open to the public refer to the website. It is a Grade I listed building and recognised as an internationally important structure


More info:



The 'little Venice' of the Cotswolds, with the wide and slow Windrush river flowing directly through the centre of town. A collection of attractive houses, bridges and green grassy areas surround the river as it makes its way south. The town is full of excellent country pubs, with food varying from the hearty to the gourmet. Attractions include Birdland, The Motoring Museum for those who love vintage cars and the intriguing Dragonfly Maze, all within a short walk fo the centre. 


The Windrush river

Bourton-on-the-Water’s most prized feature is its tranquil river. Fed from many springs, its source is approximately ten miles from the village, and even in the 1976 drought, the flow continued.

The Windrush meanders through some of Britain’s most charming countryside where unspoiled fields and natural woodland complement the expression of rural England. Where the river enters the village centre, over the rapids next to the Old Mill, its clear waters flow under a miscellany of arched stone bridges past the green with its banks of Cotswold stone.


Food and Drink

There are plenty of places to eat in Bourton-in-the-Water, so picking up a packed lunch there is one option. Alternatively, the cafe in Guiting Power post office has hot food, sandwiches and excellent locally made ice cream and is just under 10 kilometres in, making it a convenient lunch stop.


** Please note that if you are spending the night in Naunton you will use this information to get here and then the same gps tracka, maps and route notes when you walk from Naunton to Winchcombe the next day.


The war memorial, Bourton-on-the-Water (133 m)
OS Grid
SP 16740 20717
51.884769, -1.758180
51°53'05.2"N 1°45'29.4"W
30U 585468 5748950


The war memorial, Winchcombe

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - Start with your back to the war memorial and the river facing the sign for St Lawrence Church, TURN LEFT and walk down the high street towards the church

0.83 km - When you reach the T Junction, carefully cross the road and join the Windrush Way heading STRAIGHT ON, clearly signposted, by passing through a small wooden gate. You will follow the Windrush Way intermittently for some time, so keep an eye out for signs until informed otherwise later in the directions.

1.10 km - STRAIGHT ON through the small metal gate, follow the hedge line

1.70 km - Pass through the wooden gate, BEAR LEFT to follow the grass path

1.80 km - The path forks, BEAR RIGHT to skirt to the right of the woods

2.00 km - Come to a fork with a house in the middle, BEAR LEFT and join a small road

2.20 km - At T Junction, TURN RIGHT, still following signs for the Windrush Way, when you reach the farm, TURN LEFT into a field - the path has been rerouted to avoid the farm but this will not show up on most maps - BEAR RIGHT once in the field

2.40 km - Leave the field through a metal gate at the top of the field, carry STRAIGHT ON briefly crossing over a vehicle track and on to a path

2.60 km - Carry STRAIGHT ON following the path out of the field

2.70 km - BEAR LEFT to rejoin the old Windrush Way path as it descends into the woods

3.30 km - Ignore right turn and BEAR LEFT to stay on the path

3.70 km - BEAR LEFT through the metal gate

4.10 km - Through the metal gate and stay on path and BEAR LEFT

4.30 km - Passover the wooden gate STRAIGHT ON following the river

4.60 km - Over wooden gate and STRAIGHT ON

5.00 km - Pass through the metal gate and TURN LEFT onto a road, signposted Windrush Way, after 20 metres TURN RIGHT into a field, through a metal gate and BEAR LEFT through the field

5.40 km - Over wooden gate and STRAIGHT ON

5.70 km - Pass over wooden bate and carry STRAIGHT ON

6.00 km - Through meta gate and BEAR RIGHT ascending, ignore the left turn, now on Wardens Way to Naunton

6.20 km - At top of the field, pass through the metal gate and STRAIGHT ON through the golf course. Be careful of stray balls on the golf course!

6.70 km - Cross the road and  head STRAIGHT ON through the metal gate, descending into Naunton

7.00 km - As the path runs out, cross the wooden gate and continue STRAIGHT ON as the path turns 

to a small road

 7.20 km - Now in the village of Naunton, TURN LEFT at the T Junction ascending

7.60 km - TURN RIGHT over the metal gate and into the next field

8.10 km - Pass into next field and carry STRAIGHT ON until you reach a road and TURN RIGHT signposted the Wardens Way

8.50 km - At T Junction, cross over and carry STRAIGHT ON, rejoining the Wardens Way path as it cuts across the centre of the field, ignore the wide stretch of grass to your right

9.00 km - Leave the field through the metal gate, descend to cross the stream and continue STRAIGHT ON across the field and through another metal gate

 9.40 km - At end of the field, pass through the wooden gate, continue STRAIGHT ON, pass through two wooden gates onto the road and TURN RIGHT at the T Junction following Wardens Way signs (you are no longer following the Windrush Way)

9.80 km - TURN LEFT at the T Junction, passing the Post Office and cafe on your right as you ascend through the Guiting Way village square

9.90 km - TURN RIGHT, signposted for the Wardens Way, the road shortly turns into a path, continue STRAIGHT ON

10.50 km -  After the path has descended, BEAR LEFT to ascend again, moving away from the river on your right

10.70 km - At the top of the hill, cross through a small farmyard and TURN RIGHT on a dirt track through fields, signposted for the Wardens Way

11.40 km - STRAIGHT ON through the metal gate

11.50 km - STRAIGHT ON through the crossroads, descending with the path

11.80 km - BEAR LEFT off the track and onto a smaller path signposted Wardens Way, after 20 metres take the small gate to the left onto a narrower grass path

 11.90 km - Head STRAIGHT ON through a grey wooden gate signposted Farmcote Estate

12.80 km - Head STRAIGHT ON through crossroads, left and right turns lead to private property and are signposted as such

12.90 km - Head STRAIGHT ON through crossroads, left and right turns lead to private property and are signposted as such

13.30 km - BEAR LEFT before the white gate at the edge of the forest, continuing to follow signs for Wardens Way

14.10 km - TURN RIGHT off track ascending a small dirt track, waymarked as a public footpath and fenced to either side of the path

14.90 km - Pass through white wooden gate and BEAR LEFT onto the road, TURN LEFT and walk for 30 metres before you TURN RIGHT off the road and follow signage for Wardens Way

15.50 km - The path joins a road, TURN LEFT and then BEAR RIGHT to rejoin the path, follow signs for the Wardens Way

15.70 km - Descend on the track, STRAIGHT ON with views ahead overlooking Winchcombe

15.90 km - As you emerge from the forest into a field, BEAR LEFT descending

16.20 km - TURN RIGHT onto earthen path leaving the tarmac drive

16.40 km - TURN RIGHT at the small metal gate signposted for the Wardens Way

16.60 km - STRAIGHT ON crossing cattle grid

17.30 km - TURN RIGHT as the track reaches a farm

17.50 km - TURN RIGHT at the T Junction with a house on your right, immediately TURN LEFT through a metal gate and descend the field

18.00 km - Pass over a footbridge and BEAR RIGHT into the next field

18.10 km - BEAR LEFT to descend into the next field

18.30 km - Pass through a metal gate, after 20 metres TURN RIGHT through another metal gate and then cross a bridge before you BEAR LEFT in the next field

18.80 km - Pass through a large double metal gate with Sudley Castle to your right, continue STRAIGHT ON

19.10 km - Pass through a wooden gate and BEAR LEFT descending onto a tarmac road

19.50 km - Pass the gatehouse to your right and continue STRAIGHT ON before you BEAR LEFT and join the road into Winchcombe

19.70 km - TURN RIGHT at the T Junction

19.80 km - You have arrived at the war memorial, your day of walking is finished







all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SP 16740 20717
51.884769, -1.758180
51°53'05.2"N 1°45'29.4"W
30U 585468 5748950
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Sturdy waterproof boots as the path can be slippery and wet in parts.

Walking poles for stream crossing and muddy descents if the weather is wet.

Questions and answers

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Serhad Bolukcu
May 24, 2021 · Community
Monday, May 24, 2021, 18:24
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Monday, May 24, 2021, 18:25
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Oh deer
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Monday, May 24, 2021, 18:25
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Monday, May 24, 2021, 18:25
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Monday, May 24, 2021, 18:25
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Stacy Geisler
August 29, 2019 · Community
Guiting Power
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20.1 km
5:30 h
323 m
361 m
Highest point
294 m
Lowest point
88 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available


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