A circular walk visiting a Roman villa and mosaic floor in Spoonley Wood.
Distance: 5.2 miles/ 8.4 km
Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: A fairly level walk to Spoonley Villa along the Sudeley Valley.
Start/finish: Back Lane car park, Winchcome. (Grid ref: 023284) £1 all day. Toilets 20p in car park.
OS maps: Outdoor Leisure 45, Landranger 163
Refreshments: Winchcombe and Sudeley Castle Visitor Centre
Ascent: 331 feet / 101 metres
Leave Back Lane car park via the far corner access into Cowl Lane. Turn right and follow the road to the High Street.
Turn right and after approx 60 metres turn left into Vineyard Street. Cross the River Isbourne, head up the slope and where the road bends to the right, keep straight ahead to enter the grounds of Sudeley Castle, passing the castellated Almsbury Lodge on your left.
Follow the main driveway, crossing the lake by the bridge and continue gently uphill; after approximately 150 metres take the footpath on your right A through a gate passing a play area/fort on your left. Continue ahead to pass through a metal gate and then bear right diagonally across the field following the way marked posts to the far right hand corner.
Go through a gate in the corner of the field, turn right to cross Beesmoor Brook via a bridge and after about 15 metres and before reaching the road, turn left through a gate signposted ‘Windrush Way’.
Cross the field bearing slightly right moving away from the brook, through a gap in the hedgerow and walk gently uphill towards a wood. (This next section can be muddy after rain). Go through a gate and follow the path with the wood (No Man’s Patch) on your left over three stiles to a gate. Go through and up a slope to emerge in a large open field (with an electric fence when occupied by sheep). Cross the field to meet a junction with a good wide track and a sign post. Continue straight on (signposted Windrush Way) along the track downhill through a gate and the track turns left. Follow the track left B over a stream, proceeding ahead to pass between the abandoned buildings of Waterhatch Farm.
Just past the buildings, before the track bears right, take the footpath on your left by an electricity pole. Cross an electric sheep fence and walk across the field to the far side keeping parallel with the posts to meet and cross over the electric fence. Continue ahead along a track with trees either side to meet a junction C. Bear right and follow the grassy track with mature trees on your right for approx 400 metres and enter a wood.
Follow the narrow path for approx 200 metres and look for the remains of the villa on your left and a narrow footpath on your right leading to a small roofed structure. The structure is protecting a mosaic floor beneath a corrugated tin roof and some plastic sheeting held in place with stones.
After viewing the mosaic, replace the sheeting and stones and then return to the main pathway. Turn left and retrace your footsteps to the junction C and bear right towards a footbridge and gate, partially hidden in the hedgerow. Go through and keep ahead over an open field towards trees. Go through two gates to pass through this narrow belt of trees, walk across the next field aiming for the far left hand corner.
Bear left through a metal gate D and continue along the track on your right soon passing a small reservoir on your left. Where the track bears sharp right towards farm buildings, turn left through a metal gate and immediate right to continue in the same direction but with the hedgerow now on your right hand side. Follow the hedgerow, go through a gate, continuing until you reach a track.
Cross the track and go through a gate in the hedge on the right to enter a field with Sudeley Castle visible in front of you. The path bears left, walk across the open field to pass the castle on your right. Upon reaching the main driveway turn left to retrace your steps back into Winchcombe and the start of the walk.
WWaW hope you enjoy the walk, however the walk is undertaken at your sole risk and WWaW have no responsibility for loss, damage, injury or interpretation. Every possible care has been taken to ensure the information given was accurate at the time of creation.