Festival Programme

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“With its timbered inns, centuries-old architecture, fascinating history, independent shops and local produce, Winchcombe is every inch the perfect English walking town. Surrounded by stunning countryside …..”  Country Walking  (January 2019)

 

Friday 15th May walks

  • Walk 1 From one market town to another

    Start time: 9.00

    Distance: 13.5 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 17.00

    Cost: £10

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to the market town of Northleach, the setting for the TV programme ‘This Country’ which focusses on young people’s lives in the Cotswolds. We walk through Hampnett dominated by the valley of the river Leach, towards Turkdean, Hazelton and Salperton on our travels across the wolds to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 2 Cleeve Circuit and summit of the Cotswolds

    Start time: 9.30

    Distance: 8 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 14.15

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    We walk from Winchcombe to Cleeve Common then follow an usual route around the perimeter of the largest area of unimproved limestone grassland in Gloucestershire. The terrain is surprisingly wild with similarities to Dartmoor and the Yorkshire Dales when the mist rolls in. The walk descends to Postlip for a short bus ride back. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 3 Isbourne Way to its confluence with the River Avon

    Start time: 9.45

    Distance: 13 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 17.00

    Cost: £10

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    We broadly follow the River Isbourne from Winchcombe to its confluence with the Avon near Evesham. The fairly level walk passes through meadows with views of distant hills and old water mills. From the Avon we walk into the town centre to meet our transport back to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 4 The rock beneath our feet

    Start time: 10.30

    Distance: 6 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 15.00

    Cost: £10

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to Stanway quarry for a tour by the site manager of this recently re-opened quarry. Limestone is sought after and some has been exported to the Far East. We then walk on and our route passes a drystone wall restoration project. Along the top of the escarpment we enjoy some great views of Stanway Estate before dropping into Hailes valley and its fruit farm for a cup of tea, before walking… Read more

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  • Walk 5 Farmcote Estate wildlife and habitats

    Start time: 11.30

    Distance: 6 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.15

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to a local private estate for an intriguing visit where we hear about the environmental work taking place. We walk with the estate manager who will explain how they manage wildlife and their habitats. After, we walk back to Winchcombe through the Sudeley Valley. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 6 Brockhampton via Wardens Wood to Winchcombe

    Start time: 12.30

    Distance: 7 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.45

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to Brockhampton and the start of the walk.  We walk close to the source of the River Coln and go through Wardens Wood before approaching Cleeve Common from the east. We then take an old drovers’ along to the abandoned Wontley Farm and on to Hill Barn before descending to Winchcombe. Bring some refreshments.

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  • Walk 7 Postlip ramble

    Start time: 13.00

    Distance: 5 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.00

    Cost: £4

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    A pleasant circular walk towards Postlip, nestling in a quiet valley with Cleeve Common as its backdrop.  We pass the large country house of Postlip Hall and its medieval tithe barn. Along the way we see views of lakes, a farmyard and hopefully some lambs.

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  • Walk 8 Early evening walk

    Start time: 17.45

    Distance: 3 miles

    Difficulty: Easy

    End time: 19.15

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    A popular walk. We take a short ride up Sudeley Hill to the Salt Way with airy views before we descend Dunn’s Hill with its beautiful views towards Cleeve Common and Sudeley Castle nestling below in the trees. Hopefully awe will see some wildlife and setting sun over Nottingham Hill.  A lovely time of day to walk.

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  • Event 9 Festival dinner and quiz

    Start time: 19.45 (Dinner 20.00)

    Distance:

    Difficulty:

    End time: 22.15 approx

    Cost: £22

    Starting Point: Corner Cupboard Inn, Gloucester Street, Winchcombe

    A popular evening which gives festival goers the chance to meet up and enjoy a two-course meal followed by coffee and a fun quiz with prizes in the convivial surroundings of the Corner Cupboard.

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Saturday 16th May walks

  • Walk 10 Winchcombe Way 21 mile ‘Challenge’

    Start time: 8.00 to 9.00

    Distance: 21 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 18.00

    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 through Gretton, Dumbleton and Prescott before climbing Nottingham Hill to Cleeve Common. Across the common to Belas Knap before descending to Winchcombe.  Entrants will receive a copy of the Winchcombe Way Guide for navigating plus a p… Read more

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  • Walk 11 Overbury to Winchcombe trek

    Start time: 9.00

    Distance: 12 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 16.30

    Cost: £10

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to Overbury on the southern side of Bredon Hill. We skirt Bredon Hill to Ashton under Hill before walking across the vale with views towards the Cotswold Hills. We pass through the villages of Alderton and Gretton on our return to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 12 Walk and pub lunch in 17th Century inn (Sold Out)

    Start time: 9.15

    Distance: 12 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 16.45

    Cost: £6 (lunch extra - payment by card only)

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    A circular walk from Winchcombe to a 17th Century inn in the quintessential Cotswold hamlet of Kineton in time for lunch (lunch extra and payment by card only).  The pub walk has become a firm favourite with festival goers over the years, so book early to avoid disappointment.

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  • Walk 13 Discover the source of the River Isbourne

    Start time: 9.30

    Distance: 6 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 13.00

    Cost: £4

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    A circular walk to seek out the source of the River Isbourne nestling on the eastern side of Cleeve Hill. From the spring we follow the river back past an old sheep wash as the river heads north, downstream to Winchcombe. Bring some refreshments.

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  • Walk 14 On and off the Salt Way

    Start time: 9.45

    Distance: 9 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.00

    Cost: £9

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Explore the Salt Way on its route to Lechlade. Along this historic route, one of the medieval tracks around Winchcombe, we learn about salt and all things salty.  The walk starts with bus transport to Hawling and criss-crosses the Way to Hailes Abbey, at one point climbing up Salters Hill back onto the Salt Way. After a short talk about the Abbey there is time for refreshments at the nearby Hayles… Read more

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  • Walk 15 Stanton and ‘juicy’ Hayles

    Start time: 10.45

    Distance: 7 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 15.15

    Cost: £10

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to pretty Stanton nestling at the foot of Shenberrow Hill before we follow a low level route through the hamlets of Stanway and Wood Stanway to Hailes. We visit a fruit farm to hear about growing soft fruit and apples for apple juice before returning to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 16 Cleeve Common and butterfly reserve

    Start time: 11.15

    Distance: 6 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.15

    Cost: £8

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Transport to Southam before a climb up to Prestbury Hill Butterfly Reserve with its glorious views across the Severn Vale. Here we will meet a butterfly expert who will help us look for rarities such as the Duke of Burgundy. Fingers crossed for a sunny day! Then we move onto Cleeve Common where the Conservation Officer will show us some of the rarer wildflowers growing on the common. We catch the… Read more

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  • Walk 17 Sudeley Castle and the Civil War

    Start time: 14.00

    Distance: 4 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.30

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    By popular demand, we revisit Sudeley Castle to learn about the castle’s history during the 17th Century: the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell and Charles I . We take an indirect route for fine views of the castle from a distance.

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  • Event 18 Evening illustrated talk – ‘Walking to Rome’

    Start time: 20.00

    Distance:

    Difficulty:

    End time: 21.30

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Winchcombe WMC, Abbey Terrace, Winchcombe

    The uplifting story of one man, four pairs of underpants, the 2,000 kilometres between Pershore & Rome and the extraordinary kindness of strangers. Chris is back by popular demand after his entertaining talk about walking the coastline of England last year.

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Sunday 17th May walks

  • Walk 19 Dawn chorus

    Start time: 5.00

    Distance: 4 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 8.00

    Cost: £4

    Starting Point: War memorial on Abbey Terrace, Winchcombe

    Meet at corner of Abbey Terrace and Cowl Lane, Winchcombe at 5am for a walk taking in several habitats in the company of an ornithologist to identify birdsong and enjoy the Cotswold countryside at dawn. Option to purchase a cooked breakfast afterwards at the White Hart Inn.

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  • Walk 20 Cotswold hamlets in Spring

    Start time: 9.00

    Distance: 14 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 17.00

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    A circular walk starting on the Gloucestershire Way up to Monk’s Hole, through tranquil countryside. We visit the less frequented hamlets of Temple Guiting, Ford and Cutsdean before descending to Hayles Fruit Farm for a refreshing ‘cuppa’ and return to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 21 Spoonley Villa and Waterhatch

    Start time: 9.15

    Distance: 6 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 12.45

    Cost: £4

    Starting Point: Abbey Terrace, Winchcombe

    A circular walk in the Sudeley valley.  We pass Sudeley Castle, to Waterhatch where we hear about Waterhatch, a working farm until the 1950’s and then visit the remains of Spoonley Roman Villa. Along the way we learn a little about the flood defence system being set up in the valley to stem the flow of rain water after storms. Bring some refreshments.

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  • Walk 22 Cotswold Way … 50 years ago

    Start time: 9.30

    Distance: 11.5 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    End time: 16.00

    Cost: £11

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Celebrate the 50th birthday of the original route, long before it became a National Trail. The walk combines the fun of a steam train journey to Cheltenham Racecourse with the exhilaration of a walk up the escarpment on to Cleeve Common and the old racecourse. We join the Cotswold Way and follow the original route back to Winchcombe. Bring a picnic lunch.

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  • Walk 23 Cleeve archaeology with a local historian

    Start time: 10.00

    Distance: 3 to 4 miles approx

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 12.00

    Cost: £3

    Starting Point: Cleeve Hill quarry car park (GL52 3PW)

    Meet at Cleeve Hill Quarry car park adjacent to the golf club (GL52 3PW) from where we walk across the common to look at archaeolgical sites from the Bronze Age and the possible foundations of the grandstand of Cheltenham’s first racecourse to a First World War practice shooting range. 

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  • Walk 24 Naunton and its Lions

    Start time: 10.00

    Distance: 5.5 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 14.00

    Cost: £4

    Starting Point: Black Horse pub, Naunton

    Please park considerately in the village and meet outside the Black Horse in Naunton (GL54 3AD / SP 118234) once a farming and quarrying community, located on the River Windrush.  We find out from a local breeder about the famous Cotswold Lions often found grazing here before we climb out of the valley to see present day quarrying for stone and roof tiles. Bring some refreshments.

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  • Walk 25 Steam to Toddington and willow art

    Start time: 13.15

    Distance: 4 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.30

    Cost: £6

    Starting Point: Winchcombe GWSR station, Greet (GL54 5LD)

    We meet at Winchcombe Station, Greet (GL54 5LD) to enjoy a pleasant Sunday afternoon steam train ride to Toddington.  We then head for the village of Toddington to meet a local crafter who creates art from willow. From here we head south with lovely views of the scarp and hills as we return to Winchcombe Station.  Please park considerately in the village.

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  • Walk 26 Making a bee line

    Start time: 12.30

    Distance: 6 miles

    Difficulty: Moderate

    End time: 16.15

    Cost: £5

    Starting Point: Abbey Fields, Winchcombe

    Back by popular demand, we take a steep walk over Gretton Hill to Gretton to meet a local bee keeper. While tea is served in the garden, the brave can put on bee suits for a closer look at the hives. The walk also includes the opportunity to see some alpacas close up.

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