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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.