• Description and Map • Route highlights • Where to stay, eat, drink
Two short circular rides or one longer one, with stunning views across the meadows of the Windrush valley on both the outward and return routes. This is a very rural route, which passes through lovely unspoiled countryside and Cotswold villages built of honey-coloured local stone.
The market town of Burford is full of interest and character with great pubs, cafes, interesting shops, things to see and places to stay.
Terrain: The loop from Burford and back is on very quiet lanes with some ups and downs but no big hills. The smaller western loop is on lanes and off-road bridleways consisting of farm tracks and grassy paths.
Distance: 14 miles (22 kms) if you do both loops.
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Burford – Taynton – Great Barrington
Just a few hundred yards from the centre of Burford, you come to a quiet country lane with views across the valley. A mile and a half along this road is the pretty village of Taynton, on the Oxfordshire-Gloucestershire border.
Taynton stone, from which the village houses and church were built, is of special quality. It was used at Merton College in 1310 and later at many notable locations including Blenheim Palace and Windsor Castle.
The next village, Great Barrington, is home to Barrington Hall and deer park. The Palladian-style mansion and grounds are not open to the public. But the Barrington Park Estate, one of the largest organic farms in the country, does dramatically enhance the surrounding landscapes with its widespread use of wild flowers, whose purpose is to enrich the grazing and improve the soil without chemical fertilisers.
From here, you can either head back to Burford via the beautiful village of Little Barrington (See further down this page), or do the Windrush-Sherborne loop first.
If you enjoy getting away from roads, you’ll love this route through gently rolling farmland and water meadows. It can be muddy after periods of heavy rain, but worth the effort even then.
Pause briefly in the village of Windrush to admire the small but spectacular gardens in front of idyllic 17th century village homes.
The beautiful Windrush Mill, on the off-road part of the ride, is from the same period.
Little Barrington to Burford
Returning to Burford on the south side of the Windrush River, you pass The Fox Inn, with its large and pleasant riverside garden, good beer and food. And just around the corner is the charming village of Little Barrington.
The narrow lane from Little Barrington to Burford is a beautiful, often traffic-free ride at any time, but in May the wild flower meadows are at their best, and the hedgerows are rich with white may tree blossoms and the verges with white cow parsley.
Where to stay, eat, drink
Our two favourites in Burford are the 16th century Bay Tree Hotel and the Lamb Inn, but there’s a huge variety in this fascinating old market town, as well as cottages and farmhouse B&Bs in the villages and countryside around. Check out the photos, reviews and guaranteed price-matches here: