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Burford Walks

Burford walks

The Medieval town of Burford has grown around the crossing point of the River Windrush, which flows gently at the bottom of this town’s famous High Street. The beautifully clear river is one of the most renowned in the Cotswolds and Burford itself is known as the southern gateway into the Cotswolds.

Burford, only 20-miles west of Oxford, is an ideal base for exploring the Cotswolds – England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Burford is also easily located, just off the A40 and gives easy access to the North Cotswolds too.

For places to eat and a glance at the town’s fascinating history, read our guide to Burford and the surrounding area.

But for this blog post, we have donned our walking boots, packed a map and refreshments and take you on a journey along some of our favourite walks around Burford.

A Town Tour
Burford has barely changed since Georgian times and is famous for its long prosperous Hight Street, running down to the Grade II listed bridge crossing the River Windrush and where the impressive St. John the Baptist Church stands. So, before you take off exploring walks near Burford, enjoy a slow amble along the town’s historical backstreets.

A tour on foot gives visitors time to take in the town’s unique variety of period architecture, including the former priory (now owned by Elizabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud), the impressive St. John the Baptist Church, pretty old Almshouses and the old Weaver’s Cottages, all down by the river.

Midway up the hill, along the High Street, is a striking black and white timber building suspended on stone pillars – today this is The Tolsey Museum and was originally where wool merchants gathered and tolls were collected. At the top end of the High Street, away from the river, enjoy the vantage of the elevated position, allowing your eyes to take in the jumbled juxtaposition of buildings, where no two are the same, that are now famed for their antique wares and upmarket eateries.

A 45-minute guided tour on foot, along the likes of Sheep Street and Tanners Lane, quickly gives an indication of the importance of this town within Europe’s thriving wool trade.

Burford village

The Windrush Valley
Now it’s time to explore a little further afield on this gentle river walk to a superb pub for lunch.
This is a 4-mile circular walk along the largest river in the Cotswolds, taking in water meadows, remains of Roman buildings, Norman churches and tranquil countryside. This Burford walk, Villages of the Windrush Valley, heads out of Burford along the River Windrush towards Swinbrook and returns to Burford back through fields via Fulbrook. Midway on this round, at Swinbrook, we’d recommend a stop-off at The Swan Inn for a refreshment right on the river.

The Swan Inn

Minster Lovell
Exploring along the banks of the River Windrush further by continuing along on the above walk to Minster Lovell is well worth the effort for those with the legs for this 13.7-mile Burford river walk. It is the Burford Long Circular Walk in this guide. Aside from its manicured village cricket field and immaculate thatch roof cottages, visitors to this chocolate box village are enchanted with a visit to the remains of Minster Lovell Hall. Sprawled majestically on the banks of the River Windrush, behind St. Kenelm’s Church, are the ruins of this 15th century manor house. It is an idyllic place to while away an afternoon on the banks of this charming Oxfordshire river taking in the relaxing tranquillity of the estate and church grounds. Over the warm summer months, this is a popular paddling, picnic and wild swinging spot too.

Minster Lovell ruins

Great Barrington
Setting out from Burford in the opposite direction, is a 5-mile linear, Great Barrington – Burford walk, through a beautiful stretch of the Windrush Valley. Following the River Windrush, a footpath meanders through the Cotswold countryside bringing walkers out at the delightful riverside pub, The Fox Inn at Little Barrington. From here, pass Barrington Mill to take in the village of Great Barrington and return to Burton along your original riverside path.

If this has inspired you to visit Burford, then please do have a look at our lovely cottages here and in the surrounding area. They will make the perfect base for your explorations. Search our site now for a cosy, self-catering cottage.