Black-and-white buildings in Welford




3 miles (4.8kms)

49ft (15m)
1hr 15min

About the walk

This walk takes you on a journey back in time to the delightful black-and-white buildings in the villages of Welford-on-Avon and Weston-on-Avon. Picturesque Welford-on-Avon was established in Saxon times by the monks of Deerhurst Abbey (near Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire). There must be more black-and-white thatched cottages here than almost any other village in England. Three particularly stunning examples are Ten Penny Cottage, the Owl Pen and Daffodil Cottage. Welford also has three pubs – the Shakespeare, The Bell Inn and The Four Alls, all of which welcome walkers.

Since the 14th century, there has been a 65ft (20m) maypole on the village green. It must have been taken down some time after the Civil War, when such frivolities were made illegal, but seems to have been restored soon after. Following a lightning strike, the original wooden pole was replaced by an aluminium ship’s mast. Welford is proud of its traditions, and the village children still dance around the maypole in July each year.

Welford’s church has a register that records the flooding of the River Avon in 1588 – this was due to the same storm that wrecked the Spanish Armada. Joseph Green, the vicar here in 1735, discovered and made copies of Shakespeare’s will, one of which is now held in the British Museum.

In the sanctuary of the church, two fighting men are depicted in full armour. Sir John Greville, of nearby Milcote Manor, is shown with his head resting on a horned sheep and flowers at his feet, while his son, who fought in the Battle of the Spurs in 1513, wears an heraldic coat and holds his hands in prayer.

William Shakespeare has connections with neighbouring Weston-on-Avon. John Trapp was vicar in this tiny village between 1660 and 1669. He was also a master at Stratford Grammar School for a time, and it is believed that he and his wife knew the Shakespeare family.

Walk directions

Facing the Bell Inn, take the footpath to the left of the pub’s car park. At the end of the path, near Daffodil Cottage, go right along a footpath past the back of some houses and through a kissing gate until you come to the end of Church Lane, by Applegarth House. Continue through the gate and follow a path at the back of more houses to reach the main road once again, then go left along the pavement for about 100yds (91m).

Go left again into the entrance gate of Synder Meadow Sports Ground. Walk along the track, then through a kissing gate into the sports ground, and soon out via a gate in the fence on the right to continue along the footpath down to the River Avon. At the river, go left and follow the bank for 500yds (457m).

Go through the kissing gate and over a footbridge at the end of the field and left up Boat Lane, lined with beautiful old thatched black-and-white cottages. Look out for Ten Penny Cottage. Near the top of the lane is St Peter’s Church; go right here along Headland Road. Opposite Mill Lane, turn left along a footpath at the back of houses. After a kissing gate, you will pass by the extension to the graveyard of St Peter’s Church and continue to a junction of paths. Keep ahead here, and at the next junction go left and through a kissing gate. Walk up to the High Street to emerge opposite the Maypole general store, near the maypole

Turn right along the pavement for 100 paces, then cross over and go down another waymarked footpath, Frog Lane, past more beautiful cottages and through a kissing gate. Walk through to Pool Close then bear left to Chapel Street (the chapel is on the left). Go right along Chapel Street, then right again through a kissing gate along a footpath just after Millers Close. Go through another kissing gate and walk along the field edge towards Weston-on-Avon.

At the crossroads, keep ahead to descend a bridlepath set just above the River Avon. Follow it as it arcs left to come out on Duck Lane by a house called Pear Tree Close. At the next residential drive, go right up the hedged path and walk west to High Street, where you will emerge at the junction with Church Street. The Bell Inn is on the right.

Additional information

Village footpaths and field paths

Residential village area

Under control at all times

OS Explorer 205 Stratford-upon-Avon & Evesham

On side roads near the Bell Inn, Welford-on-Avon

None on route

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About the area

Discover Warwickshire

The sparkle of sunlight on a gentle river as it meanders through beautiful countryside; the reflections of sailing boats on a lake; relaxing with a pint in the garden of an old English pub in a picturesque village; brightly coloured narrow boats making their way through a flight of lock gates; the imposing silhouette of an historic castle. These are the scenes that make Warwickshire a delight. 

There may be few seriously high hills in this fertile plain, but it is an area full of attractive walking in rolling countryside, blessed with a fascinating history and wonderful places and buildings to visit. This is Shakespeare’s county, and the footprint of the famous Bard appears almost everywhere. He was born and brought up around the beautiful Warwickshire town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and many of his plays draw upon his own experiences in the area.

Warwickshire has a history that embraces the Civil War, castles and large country houses are scattered over the county. Warwick Castle is the home of the Earl of Warwick, Kenilworth Castle was a stronghold for lords and kings of England in the 11th and 12th centuries, and so the list goes on.

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