Festival Programme

 

“Join the lovely Winchcombe Walkers in their beautiful surroundings

on one of their walks.”  Julia Bradbury

                 

Friday 18th May walks Book here >

Walk 1 Go directly to jail

Start time: 9:00 am

Distance: 13.5 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

End time: 5.00 pm

Cost: £12

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 We walk from Winchcombe, on less visited paths through rolling hills. We pass through the tiny villages of Hawling, Salperton, Hazelton and Hampnett, places forgotten by the passage of time. Our destination is the Cotswolds AONB headquarters at the Old Prison in Northleach. This interesting building houses an old Court Room, displays about the work of the Cotswolds Conservation Board and a cafe, where we will enjoy tea and biscuits before transport back.  Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 2 Ancient trackways

Start time: 9:15 am

Distance: 10 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 3.30 pm

Cost: £8

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 Transport to the bottom of Stanway Hill where we start following ancient trackways. Today we are doing this for pleasure but there were times when crossing the Cotswold Hills, for a Roman, a drover of animals or a driver of mules loaded with salt, this was a very serious business indeed. There is a steep climb near the beginning of the walk, the rest is fairly level over the top of the Cotswold Hills before a slow descent into Winchcombe.  Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 3 Prescott “hill” climb

Start time: 10:00 am

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 12.45 pm

Cost: £4

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 Transport a short distance to Prescott, nestling below Nottingham Hill (home of the famous Hill Climb circuit) before we walk back through unspoilt countryside. There is an initial climb (but not as steep as the car hill climb!) then the walk skirts the top of Langley Hill, with wonderful views of the Malvern Hills and Vale of Evesham before descending to Winchcombe.

Walk 4 Farmcote Estate wildlife and habitats (Walk full)

Start time: 10:45 am

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 3:30 pm

Cost: £6

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 Transport to Guiting Wood sitting in the hills above Winchcombe, where we are met by members of the Farmcote Estate team. We will be led around part of this private estate to see the transformation of the estate and how they manage wildlife and their habitats. Afterwards, we will continue our walk taking in airy vistas across to Cleeve Common and beyond as we descend into the Sudeley Valley, back to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 5 Little known trades of Stanway Estate

Start time: 12:30 pm

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 5:00 pm

Cost: £6

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 Transport to Toddington, we begin our walk passing under Stanway viaduct (a hidden local masterpiece of engineering) to the hamlet of Stanway. Here we discover some of the rural trades operating today from the Stanway Estate, brewing, stone masonry and handcrafted outdoor furniture. From Stanway we will follow paths with good views of the steam railway back to Winchcombe.  Bring refreshments.

Walk 6 Slow the flow

Start time: 1:00 pm

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 5:00 pm

Cost: £4

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

The walk focuses on the catchment of the River Isbourne from its source on Cleeve Common and provides ideas about reducing the flood risk within the catchment area around Winchcombe. We will be accompanied by the Isbourne Catchment Group and the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group and you will hear a lot about bunds and leaky dams! We will visit several sites within the catchment area above Winchcombe on this interesting and attractive walk.

Walk 7 Monarchs ancient and modern

Start time: 1:15 pm

Distance: 5.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 5:00 pm

Cost: £7

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

Transport to St Faith’s, Farmcote before walking back to Winchcombe, to learn about local Royal connections. We can trace back to King Kenulf and his son Kenelm in the First Century AD, to a King visiting Hailes Abbey in the C13th, Tudor Kings and Queens at Sudeley Castle in the C16th to a secret visit from C20th Royalty. Includes a talk about the Tudor connection at St Mary’s Church, Sudeley Castle, before walking back to Winchcombe.

Walk 8 Early evening walk

Start time: 5:45pm

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

End time: 7:15 pm

Cost: £6

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

  A short bus ride up Sudeley Hill to the top of the escarpment. We then begin our walk by the ancient Salt Way, the packhorse route used to transport precious salt during the Middle Ages. We descend with magnificent views into the Sudeley Valley. We pass the inner deer wall to Sudeley Castle and on into Winchcombe.  The walk will finish in time for those who wish to participate in the dinner and quiz.

Event 9 Festival dinner and quiz

Start time: 8 pm

Distance:

Difficulty:

End time: 10:15 pm approx

Cost: £21

Starting point: Corner Cupboard, Gloucester Street

Always a very popular evening for festival goers. The evening is spent in a typical old Cotswolds Inn, formerly a farmhouse built with some stone from Winchcombe Abbey. We start with a two-course meal and a chance to meet other walkers and discuss the day’s walks. After coffee there is a fun quiz with prizes.

Saturday 19th May walks Book here >

Walk 10 Winchcombe Way 21 mile ‘Challenge’

Start time: Between 8am - 9am

Distance: 21 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

End time: 6:00 pm

Cost: £7

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

This is a self-guided walk along the western loop of the Winchcombe Way, a signposted route with finger blades and way markers along the route.  The walk heads out to and around Dumbleton Hill before heading to Prescott and a climb up Nottingham Hill to Cleeve Common. A nice flat section across the common and onto Belas Knap before descending into Winchcombe. Entrants will receive a copy of the Winchcombe Way Guide plus a pen and certificate for finishing. Bring a picnic lunch and plenty of water. There will be one checkpoint and water stop by the Hobnails Inn approx halfway round.

Terms and conditions for entering – you need to be in good physical health to enter this walk and be good at map reading. The walk has some steep sections so care is needed. You may encounter some fields containing cattle. There is some road crossing and lane walking, be aware of traffic and take care.            

Participants must have a mobile telephone and they must contact the event team if they plan to drop out for any reason. We will require contact details and a back up phone number in case needed. We will have a walker sweeping up behind. Participants must have enough food and water. 

Walk 11 The Eye to the Isbourne

Start time: 9:00 am

Distance: 13 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

End time: 4:45 pm

Cost: £12

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

Transport to Lower Slaughter, a picturesque start to the linear walk back to Winchcombe. A quick cuppa before we follow the Wardens Way beside the River Eye to delightful Upper Slaughter and then across rolling countryside through the pretty villages of Naunton and Guiting Power. We enter Guiting Wood before our final descent to the Saxon town of Winchcombe.  Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 12 The pub lunch walk

Start time: 9:00 am

Distance: 12 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

End time: 5:00 pm

Cost: £10

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 After a bus ride to the pretty ‘Walkers are Welcome’ village of Longborough, we head off to meet the Gloucestershire Way, then follow it through sparsely populated countryside and past famous racing stables to the Plough at Ford for a pub lunch. After a satisfying lunch we will need to walk it off on the way back to Winchcombe! The pub lunch walk is always popular, so book early to avoid disappointment. Lunch is extra.

Walk 13 Consulting with the flowers on Cleeve Common

Start time: 9:45 pm

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 1:15 pm

Cost: £6

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 We take the service bus to Cleeve Common, where Ellie Phillips, the Conservation Officer for the Cleeve Common Trust will explain how botanical surveys are informing conservation grazing and scrub management. The surveys can inform where to move the Galloway cattle for maximum effect, in order to meet Countryside Stewardship targets. We then walk downhill back to Winchcombe.  

Walk 14 Explore the foothills of Oxenton Hill

Start time: 10:00 am

Distance: 10 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 4:00 pm

Cost: £8

Starting point: Alderton beside Gardeners Arms pub

Meet in Alderton, (please park tidily beside the Gardeners Arms) we walk around Oxenton Hill, an outlier of the Cotswolds. We pass through quiet villages with lovely churches and thatched cottages, with fine views across the Severn Vale towards the Malvern Hills. The return route takes in the edge of Dixton Hill, ending with a cup of tea at the Gardeners Arms. Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 15 Walk and sketch

Start time: 2:00 pm

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

End time: 4:30 pm

Cost: £4

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

A short walk towards Sudeley Castle and away from traffic, accompanied by local professional artist Gemma Hastilow. There will be plenty of opportunities to sketch along the way, with an expert on hand to give advice. No previous experience necessary. Art equipment will be supplied. Bring some refreshments. 

Walk 16 Winchcombe through a local’s eyes

Start time: 2:15 pm

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

End time: 3:45 pm

Cost: £3

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

A town walk focusing on the more recent history and development of Winchcombe. A born and bred ‘Winchcomber’ will accompany the walk to talk about his memories over the last 60 years or more. From interesting facts to funny tales, there is much to learn about Winchcombe life in the twentieth century! The walk will end at a local pub and there will be an opportunity to carry on chatting over a beer afterwards.

Walk 17 Sunset walk

Start time: 6:30 pm

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 8:30 pm

Cost: £6

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 We take the service bus to the top of Cleeve Hill, then walk back from Nottingham Hill via the carving at Frog Wood, Stanley Hill and Langley Hill Farm. Dusk is a magical time when the world goes still, nocturnal creatures start to emerge and the sky constantly changes. Relax and soak up the atmospheric views on our return to Winchcombe. The walk involves a climb and a steep descent. This is a repeat of the successful Sunset Walk in last year’s festival. If you wish to eat out afterwards we suggest you pre-book your dinner.

Event 18 Evening illustrated talk – Old paths in Gloucestershire

Start time: 8 pm

Distance:

Difficulty:

End time: 9:30 pm approx

Cost: £5

Starting point: White Hart Inn, High Street

An illustrated talk by Alan Pilbeam, a well known historical geographer. Alan takes us on a tour of some of the county’s pathways demonstrating their evolution over time from the pilgrims of the Middle Ages to the industrial workers of the Victorian era. Alan spent much of his working life teaching about the history of our landscape from a geographer’s perspective.

Sunday 20th May walks Book here >

Walk 19 Dawn chorus

Start time: 5 am

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Initially strenuous then easy

End time: 8:00 am

Cost: £4

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Back Lane, Winchcombe

Meet at Abbey Fields Community Centre (GL54 5QH). An initial steep climb up Langley Hill in the company of a local bird enthusiast. We walk below the top of the hill through a quiet wildlife haven. Summer birdsong, fresh air and wonderful scenery of the surrounding hills should make the early start worthwhile. Option to purchase a cooked breakfast afterwards at the White Hart Inn.

 

Walk 20 Three hills walk

Start time: 9:00 am

Distance: 12 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

End time: 4:00 pm

Cost: £8

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

We head up over Langley Hill with views of the Vale of Evesham to Nottingham Hill, an ancient iron age hill fort, before descending to Woodmancote. We then climb the Cotswold escarpment to Cleeve Common, the highest point in the Cotswolds with its airy views across the Severn Vale to Wales, before we head down the valley to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 21 Spoonley Roman Villa and Waterhatch

Start time: 9:15 am

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 1:00 pm

Cost: £4

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

A circular, fairly level walk in the Sudeley Valley. Learn about the history of Waterhatch, a working farm until the 1950’s. Explore the abandoned mill pond and water wheel and then walk on to discover the remains of Spoonley Roman Villa, partly hidden in woodland. Mostly undisturbed by traffic, this is a peaceful walk with lovely views of the surrounding hills.

Walk 22 Stride and ride

Start time: 9:15 am

Distance: 11 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

End time: 4.30 pm

Cost: £12

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 We head north from Winchcombe keeping to the lower level routes through the villages of Stanton, Laverton and Buckland, nestling at the foot of the Cotswold escarpment. Our destination is the new recently opened GWSR station at Broadway where we will alight onto the new service back to Winchcombe Station. The last steam train of the day terminates at Toddington, so we will be taking the earlier vintage diesel train to Winchcombe. However travelling through the picturesque countryside after a good walk will bring back memories for some. Cost includes train fare from Broadway Station to Winchcombe Station. Bring a picnic lunch.

Walk 23 Steam train and trek from Gotherington Halt

Start time: 9:45 am

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 1.00 pm

Cost: £8

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

 Meet at Winchcombe Station in Greet (GL54 5LD) for a steam train ride to Gotherington. The route back passes Dixton Manor then follows the Gloucestershire Way as it climbs Langley Hill, before returning to the station via Littleworth.  Bring some refreshments.

Please park considerately near the station.

 

Walk 24 The roof of the Cotswolds

Start time: 1:15 pm

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 5.15 pm

Cost: £6

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

We take the service bus to Prestbury, on the outskirts of Cheltenham, and start with a steep climb up the Cotswold escarpment alongside Queens Wood taking in views of Cheltenham and its race course before crossing the Bill Smyllie Nature Reserve and Cleeve Common. Passing the old quarry workings we then follow the Isbourne Valley to go through Postlip Mill before completing a gradual descent into Winchcombe.  Bring some refreshments.

 

 

Walk 25 Discover Winchcombe Abbey’s secrets

Start time: 2:00 pm

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

End time: 3:30 pm

Cost: £3

Starting point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

An easy walk examining how the townscape still holds clues for discovering traces of Winchcombe’s lost Benedictine Abbey with local historian, David Aldred. Many visitors and even some locals don’t know much about Winchcombe Abbey, as there are no ruins to explore, but there are clues if you know where to look.

Walk 26 The shaping of the Cotswold landscape

Start time: 2:00 pm

Distance: 4.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

End time: 4:45 pm

Cost: £5

Starting point: Hayles Fruit Farm, Hailes

Meet at Hayles Fruit Farm car park GL54 5PB (SP 053297). Richard Rhodes from English Heritage will accompany the walk to interpret some of the changes that man has made to the landscape near Hailes since settlement began. The route takes in the tiny St Faith’s chapel at Farmcote, Campden Lane which is an old drover’s road, Beckbury Camp, the site of an iron age hill fort and of course, fruit farming. The walk ends with a cup of tea at the Orchard Tea Rooms.

For the festival’s terms and conditions please click here