Thursday, 4 August 2022

The Shakespeare's Avon Way - Welford On Avon (15)



Our starting point today is said to be the most photographed street in Warwickshire! Welford-on-Avon is a picturesque village set in the heart of South Warwickshire. It lies on the Avon River about four miles west of Stratford-upon-Avon, four miles south of Alcester and four miles east of Bidford-on-Avon.


The centre of the village is designated as a conservation area and contains quite a number of attractive thatched houses including what is believed to be the original “chocolate box cottage” in Boat Lane. The village is mainly residential, there are approximately 750 houses and about 1600 residents. There was already a large party of tourists gathered with camera phones at the ready.  

A church on this site has existed since 1059, looks like there might be a wedding happening today. We pick up the Avon Valley Way path which is also The Shakespeare's Avon Way. 

We soon get our first sight of the River Avon. Today's walk is very much a 'Riverside' walk. That might sound a bit odd, but there have been legs of this walk where we have barely seen the River Avon. So we shall enjoy it today in all it's splendour. It's another warm day, more humid than sunny really. Temperatures more in line with Thailand and The Philippines than the West Midlands. It's a bit shorter walk in theory something around 8/9 miles, we shall see? We are walking in the direction of 'Weston On Avon.

Animal designs on top of thatched cottages are always good fun to spot!

Some of the waterside properties have really gone to town on their hanging baskets and pots with brightly coloured flower arrangements. 

All Saints Church Weston On Avon

The earliest documentary evidence of a church on the site is in 1283, although it is likely that there was a church at an earlier date. In the churchyard is the base of a medieval cross made from limestone ashlar which is listed at Grade II. 

There are some pretty spectacular riverside properties on the other side. We will be returning on that side shortly. It's a busy old time on the Avon, Paddle Boarders, Kayaks and Narrow Boats. We are looking for a non existent path that should take us over the old railway line, and the other side. Not for the first time today we can't find it.. The only option is to cross the water via a series of stepping stones. Sadly they don't go all the way across so a bit of creativity was required. The picture below  doesn't quite do it justice. It was quite a tense moment risking a soaking. It was with some relief that I got to the other side relatively dry!


'On the other side' things have a more familiar view as we cross the rusty old Railway Bridge and the Racecourse is below. We take a different route from the previous walk to get back on the river. It's easier walking on this side as we are literally on the footpath through the bottom of people's gardens.  The houses look even more impressive close up. One has a 'Gorillas in the Mist' theme going on. 

We leave the River Avon at Luddington and make our way inland. Once again we get a little lost and have to backtrack to find the right path. We pass some of the most friendly looking sheep I think Ive ever seen. The village is reputed to be the meeting place of Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare. local lore states that they probably conducted their courtship in the area. A lovely area it is for it too!

We have swapped the water for woodlands and cornfields. More opportunities to get lost! The 8 mile walk has now turned out to be nearer 10. A pits stop is needed to empty all the debris from our walking boots. 

Refreshed we continue through Lower Binton and back  towards the Marina at Welford On Avon. A.  refreshing pint is enjoyed at 'The Bell'.

A really enjoyable 'Riverside Walk'.

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