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Hidden Gems

Windrush lies about half-way between Northleach and Burford, on the south side of the river from which it derives its name.

The charming Cotswold village sits on an outcrop of what’s called Inferior oolite stone, but around it are several abandoned Great Oolite quarries, from which, no doubt, most of the houses and cottages were built.

The village green is an unenclosed triangle of grass, filled in the summer with wildflowers and insects, and surrounded by 17th and 18th century houses.

The Norman church, dedicated to St Peter, was built in the mid 12th century, and whilst it was once a chapel of the church of Great Barrington, by the end of the 12th century a perpetual vicarage had been established.
The south doorway arch has a double set of beak heads, nearly all of them with almond shaped eyes. This is a particularly great example of the Norman decoration found in many of the churches round here. 
The chancel arch, certainly original 12th century work, has ornate twisted jamb shafts leaning conspicuously outwards.

Outside the church is a collection of extremely fine chest and pedestal tombs. Everywhere are signs of the importance of the wool trade in the area. On the tombs, on the ceiling of the church itself and on many of the gravestones; images of sheep are everywhere.

 

 

It is also apparent that quite a bit of the land around Windrush was used to grow grain. The beautiful mill, on the river just north of the village, is one of several still around since medieval times. Windrush was a major provider of flour to the local area.

There has obviously been some expansion of Windrush over the centuries but it’s marked how well this has been done, disturbing the feel and atmosphere of the place as little as possible.

Our valued travel companion Herbert Evans laments the intrusion of red brick and tiles into the Cotswolds in general, already apparent in 1905 when he roamed the area, but that intrusion pales into insignificance when compared to what was done to the area in the subsequent 100 years. Not, fortunately, in this gem of a place, the village of Windrush.

About a mile south west of the village is Windrush Camp. An iron age hill fort, roughly circular and enclosing about 3 acres.The bank survives to a hight of about 6 or 7 feet.

This stretch of the upper Thames from  Bourton-on-the-Water, through the village of Windrush, past Burford and Minster Lovell is littered with pretty honey-coloured Cotswold cottages.

The entire valley is crisscrossed with public footpaths with charming villages and  waterside pubs awaiting your visit.

"An unspoilt 12th century Church is surrounded by honey-coloured cottages"

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kate
Author: kate

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