• Description and Map • Route highlights • Where to stay, eat, drink
A circular cycle route on quiet rural lanes and tracks near Burford.
Covering both sides of the River Windrush valley affords great views of the gently rolling Cotswold countryside on each side. The historic market town of Burford is full of charm and interest, as are the quieter villages and hamlets on the route. There’s even a wild swim at the end if you want.
Terrain: mostly on very low-traffic roads with a couple of off-road bits – a path and a farm track – and gentle ups and downs.
Distance: 9 miles (14 kms) but easily extended either eastwards to Fulbrook, Leafield and Asthall Leigh or west to the Barringtons if you want a longer ride.
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The old market town of Burford is full of history and interesting individual shops. Parking is in the big free car park near the church. As you ride out of town from there, stop at ‘Mrs Bumbles of Burford’ to buy delicious home-made picnic goodies to sustain you on your ride. This fabulous blue-fronted delicatessen is near the bottom of the main street on the right. Then head towards Fulbrook.
Views across the Windrush valley
About a mile after Fulbrook, look out for the track on your left. It’s easily missed. At the top of the next field, enjoy great views across the rolling Cotswold countryside.
On the lane heading east, take the track to the south. Or for a longer ride stay on the lane and take in the pretty villages of Fordwells and Asthall Leigh before heading to Asthall village.
Asthall, Swinbrook, Widford
The way back to Burford is along Route 57 of the National Cycle Network. Asthall and Swinbrook are both attractive villages with excellent pubs. The large Jacobean manor house in Asthall hosts a biennial summer sculpture exhibition in its beautiful 5-acre gardens. It has literary associations too, as the home of the somewhat infamous Mitford sisters, who later moved to Swinbrook, where they are buried in the 12th century churchyard.
At Widford, a tiny church stands alone in a field. In the Middle Ages, it was the centre of a village, now gone. Take a short detour to peak inside.
Wild Swimming in the River Windrush
Enjoy a swim after a hot bike ride? Just after Windrush village, on your right off the road to Burford, a riverside footpath leads to a deep pool beneath an ancient willow tree. For the exact location, key in latitude and longitude in your smartphone map: 51.8008, -1.6175..
Where to stay, eat, drink
For food and refreshment at characterful 500-year-old inns, you’re spoilt for choice in Burford, Fulbrook, Swinbrook and Asthall.
To stay in the area, see photos, reviews and price-matches at booking.com.