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Three day weekday tour The Complete Cotswolds

This 3 day tour covers approximately 100 miles.

This is a 3 day weekday tour starting in the Gloucestershire town of Moreton in Marsh with an overnight stop in the West Oxfordshire town of Burford (often referred to as the 'gateway' to the Cotswolds), before heading on to Bourton on the Water on day 2, and finally back to Moreton in Marsh on day 3.

This tour is all about the Cotswolds it is as simple as that. We spend three days touring through the heart of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We pass through chocolate box village after chocolate box village, and cycle through some of the finest countryside in England. In addition you get to stay overnight in 3 of the most popular and photogenic Cotswold towns.

Overview and highlights

We start in the popular northern Cotswolds market town of Moreton-in-Marsh aiming to leave around 09:30. The broad High Street of Moreton-in-Marsh is lined with elegant 17th and 18th Century buildings, among them the White Hart Royal, a former manor house in which King Charles I sheltered during the Civil War.

Moreton in Marsh

From Moreton-in-Marsh we head out towards Todenham, before heading towards Little Wolford and into the Cotswold Area of Natural Beauty. Mentioned in the Doomsday book Little Wolford is a typical small Cotswold village, with lots of period charm and stunning views across the countryside.

From here we head south, moving towards the southern tip of Warwickshire and the village of Long Compton. Here you can take a small diversion to visit the Rollright Stones.


The Rollright Stones

Moving into Oxfordshire we pass through the small village of Chastleton, home to the National Trust property of Chastleton House and Garden.  From here we head to Kingham. In 2004 a Country Life panel judged Kingham to be "England's Favourite Village".


Kingham

After passing through both Milton and Shipton under Wynchwood we come to our stop for night – Burford. Burford is considered the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. A beautiful old Cotswold town, its High Street sloping from the high Wolds, where you have beautiful views over the open countryside, down to the willow fringed River Windrush in the pretty Windrush valley. A fine three arched medieval bridge crosses the river at the foot of the hill.

We aim to arrive in Burford by mid to late afternoon. We will take your luggage to your chosen overnight accommodation.

Burford

On day 2 we will be leaving Burford around 09:15. Today we will be cycling for just over 30 miles. The start of the day takes us along the course of the Windrush valley as we move from Oxfordshire to Gloucestershire.  We pass through a string of picture postcard villages – such as Little Barrington, Windrush, Sherborne and Farmington. After this we move away from the Windrush valley to pass through the small market town of Nothleach. From here we head over the A429 to a hidden gem – the village of Chedworth.


Chedworth

Chedworth is very much off the beaten tourist track and is a hidden unspoilt gem.  Unlike many villages it does not have a village centre; instead it extends over a distance of more than a mile along and above a small valley. It comprises Lower, Middle and Upper Chedworth but without any distinct boundaries. If you have the time and inclination there is a nearby Roman villa that you can visit. This is one of the largest Roman villas in Britain.


Chedworth Roman villa

We leave Chedworth to the north and head back to Nothleach before moving on through Turkdean and Notgrove.


Turkdean

Its then on to both Upper and Lower Slaughter. Lower Slaughter is one of the most picture perfect of the small Cotswold villages. It sits beside the little Eye stream and is known for its unspoilt limestone cottages in the traditional Cotswold style. The stream running through the village is crossed by two small bridges and the local attraction is a converted mill with original water wheel.

Lower slaughter

It’s then a short ride to our overnight stop at Bourton-on-the-Water. We aim to be here by mid to late afternoon. The village of Bourton-on-the-Water is known for its picturesque High Street, flanked by long wide greens and the River Windrush that runs through them. The river is crossed by several low, arched stone bridges. These arched bridges have led to Bourton-on-the-Water being called the "Venice of the Cotswolds"

Local attractions in Bourton-on-the-Water include a model village (which includes a model of the model village itself (a model within a model!)), and the Cotswold Motoring Museum.

Bourton

Day 3 has us starting out at around 09:15. We head out re-tracing our route in, by passing through Lower and Upper Slaughter. It’s then on to the northern reaches of the idyllic Windrush valley and Naunton. The river Windrush flows through the village and its water meadows, making it as picturesque as any of its neighbours. Climb the hill for a really good view of church and village.


Naunton

After passing through the small village of Hawling we cycle through relatively open countryside for the next 10 miles or so before coming back to the Windrush Valley and the village of Temple Guiting. After a few more miles of countryside we make our way north and pass through Blockley. Here it is notable that the stone used for building is much more golden in colour than in the more southerly villages. In the late 19th century Blockley had six silk mills powered by the fast-flowing Blockley brook. Because of this Blockley is a unique collection of buildings reflecting its past glory of mills and silk production and is quite different in character to other north Cotswolds villages.

From Blockley we move on to pass through Batsford, where you can take a diversion to Batsford Arboretum, home to one of the largest private tree collections in the country. From here it is only a couple of miles and you are back in Moreton-in-Marsh – our end point.

We aim to be back in Moreton-in-Marsh by early to mid afternoon.