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Coming Soon

Saturday 14th January
RAR 255
COVENTRY'S GBG

Meet at Greyhound, Sutton Stop, 12 noon
Sunday 5th February
HW 55
SNOWDROPS AT ALLESLEY

Meet at The Brooklands, Kingsbury Road, 12 noon.
Saturday 18th February
RAR 256
STATFORD TO WELFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am (X18 takes 1 hour 35 mins!!)

The No.27 bus leaves Welford at 3:16pm and arrives Stratford 3:29pm (opposite Maypole)
5:50pm arrives 6:12pm
6:09pm arrives 6:46pm

The X18 bus leaves B439 (Binton turn) at 3:19pm arrives Stratford at 3:56pm. This stop is supposedly 20 mins walk from Welford.
3:49pm arrives 4:26pm
4:24pm arrives 5:01pm
4:54pm arrives 5:31pm

The 6:30pm No. 460 National Express arrives Coventry 7:00pm
Saturday 18th March
RAR 257
WELFORD ON AVON TO BIDFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives B439 (Binton turn) at 12:07pm
Saturday 15th April
RAR 258
BIDFORD ON AVON TO HARVINGTON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives Bidford 12:11pm
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Brailes (Upper and Lower) is an attractive village surrounded by hills at the southern extremity of Warwickshire, bordering Oxfordshire to the east. Located 4 miles east of Shipston-on-Stour on the B4035 Shipston to Banbury road, the village lies within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

I have started this walk at the George in Lower Brailes as it is on the bus route between Stratford on Avon and Banbury, as well as offering refreshment and accommodation. It is a tied Hook Norton pub providing restaurant and bar meals with four letting rooms (tel : 01608 685223). The George is a very old pub; it is claimed to have been built for the masons constructing St George’s church opposite circa 1350. It has a wealth of old beams, wonky stone floors and even wonkier walls.
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The George at Brailes, Lower Brailes. Photo © GF Luckett
The footpath starts alongside the eastern end of the George and runs past its car park and garden. You have to cross over a rather curious stone stile before coming to a footpath crossroads. Here there is a signpost. Follow the arm pointing ‘to Cow Lane. Whichford SS67. Cherington SS7’ The numbers SS67 and SS71 are the footpath numbers which you will see regularly on waymarks throughout this walk.
photo Towards Home Farm. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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photoNew Barn Farm from the bridleway, only the roofs of the farm are visible above the crop.
Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The path continues past Home Farm on the left through fields and passes to the east of New Barn Farm. It climbs to skirt the slopes of Mine Hill and passes round the sparse remains of Rectory Farm.
photoMine Hill's main attraction close-up. Brailes Hill in the background. Photo © Ian Merivale and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoRectory Farm. Marked as such on the Definitive Map. Photo © Ian Merivale and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
It then descends the slope of Mine Hill called Green Hill . Across a lane we follow the track to Whichford Mill on the River Stour.
photoTrack to Whichford Mill. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoWhichford Mill. Photo © GF Luckett
Past this charming spot we cross a large open field and join the drive to the isolated house at North Leasow. This takes us to a lane and after a short distance south we can see Whichford nestling in its hollow below us.
photoThe Village of Whichford from Whichford Wood. Photo © Barrie Eyre and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Here there is the opportunity to cut a corner across a field, or just continue along the lane. In the village we come to the Norman Knight opposite the large village green. This pub is the home of the Patriot Brewery and their beers are usually available at the bar.
photoThe Norman Knight at Whichford. Photo © GF Luckett
photoPhoto © GF Luckett
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From the Norman Knight we take the lane towards Stourton and Cherington. On the way we pass Whichford Pottery on the right, then there is St Michael’s church across fields to the left.
photoSt. Michaels Church at Whichford's 14th century tower and Perpendicular clerestory.
Photo © Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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Stained-glass in the west window of St Michael's church, Whichford.. Photo © Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoPhoto © GF Luckett
Further on there is a charming group of buildings at Brook Hollows on the right. Next on the left is Sturch’s Barn followed by East Wing before Lanes End Farm on the right.
photoLanes End Farm seen from the road from Stourton to Whichford.. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Soon after this we enter Stourton and carrying straight on through two road junctions and following the road left we come to Cherington. In fact the two villages run together and it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. Following the lane a little further we come to the Cherington Arms, a little Hook Norton pub. This pub has a large garden with the River Stour at the end, all quite idyllic.
photoThe Cherington Arms. Photo © GF Luckett
From the Cherington Arms we retrace our way to the bend in the lane. On the left a track leads to as gate in a field. The next field has an old moat in the middle. We cross the river by footbridge and then three small fields in succession, two of them being wooded, before turning left and passing a farm into the lane at Sutton Under Brailes. We walk through the village and pass Dickens Farm and then the last building in the village, Greenhill Farm Barn, where Steve and Lizzie Feather offer accommodation (tel : 01608 686013).
photoDickens Farm seen from the footpath. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoGreen Hill Barn Farm. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Soon after this there is a signpost on the opposite side of the lane to ‘Grove End‘. Following this path takes us through a succession of fields and past Upper Grove End farm to Grove End. A little further along the lane and left along the main road is the Gate, another lovely little Hook Norton pub.
photoThe Gate at Upper Brailes. Photo © GF Luckett
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From the Gate after a couple of houses there is a signpost to ‘99 steps & St Georges Church‘.
photoThis short footpath leaves the B4035 and runs to Castle Hill Lane. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoLooking back From Castle Hill Lane, this short footpath cuts across to the main road B4035. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoThe "99 steps and church" footpath at Castle Hill Lane, looking east. Photo © John Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photo 3The footpath leaves Castle Hill Lane and heads towards St George's church in Lower Brailes. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Through two fields with Castle Hill on the left we cross a lane. Then there are more fields before an information board about the 99 steps.
photoSeen from the footpath, Castle Hill is a prehistoric burial ground that was used as the mound for a 12th century motte-and-bailey castle. Photo © John Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoThe view of the village from the top of Castle Hill a prehistoric burial ground that was used as the mound for a 12th century motte-and-bailey castle. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoUp the steps to Upper Brailes. From the footbridge over Sutton Brook, the path to Upper Brailes climbs the bank by way of these steps. Photo © Michael Dibb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
These are stepping stones, some made from re-used gravestones. The last time I was there I counted 104… see how many you can count! We next return to Lower Brailes crossing Sutton brook by footbridge and approach St George’s church.
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The War Memorial in Lower Brailes with the tower of St George's Church in the background. Photo © Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
photoLower Brailes: St George's church. Photo © Francois Thomas and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Through the churchyard we come to the road opposite the George again.
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