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Accredited since: 2017

Fairford, 9 miles east of Cirencester, is beautifully situated between the Upper Thames Valley and the Cotswold hills, on the edge of the Cotswold Area of Natural Beauty and within the Cotswold Water Park. The picturesque River Coln runs right through the town with several large lakes on both east and west sides. There are miles of river and lakeside walks, footpaths and bridleways waiting to be explored, with an accessible path to give disabled access, as well as a unique range of heritage assets. The ‘fair ford’ river crossing was established in Anglo-Saxon times, and Fairford prospered and grew from the wool trade in the Middle Ages, but excavations have also revealed Iron Age, Roman and Saxon settlements in the area dating back from 400 BC to 800 AD.
The long history of the town is reflected in its layout and in the many historical buildings and walks in and around the town, including the ancient mill, the landscaped park and old drove roads.
The ‘jewel in the crown’ is the 15C St Mary’s church, one of the finest parish churches in the country, which contains a unique complete set of medieval stained- glass windows which have survived reformation, iconoclasm, civil wars, the flight of Concorde, great storms and the ravages of time for more than 500 years.
Whilst steeped in history, Fairford is also a modern town with a thriving market, held every Wednesday in its historic market place in front of the Bull Hotel, retail and coffee shops, and four pubs. An annual Fairford Festival is held in June as well as regular food/drink events and a Christmas market in the market square. Fairford is also famous for hosting the annual International Air Tattoo at the nearby Fairford Airbase.
A new lohg-distance trail, the River Coln Trail, runs through Fairford, starting from Winchcombe near the source, and running along the Coln Valley until it meets the Thames, at Inglesham, near Lechlade. The total length of the trail is 33 miles, following public rights-of-way, but it can be done in sections, as nine separate circular walks.
The River Coln Trail runs through fine un-spoilt rural Cotswolds countryside, with rich biodiversity, rare wildlife and historical heritage, including a castle, a Roman villa, and wonderful old villages, churches and pubs.
This project has been ongoing for many years, a collaborative effort between the two Walkers- are-Welcome towns of Fairford and Winchcombe, as well as Gloucestershire County Council Rights of Way. A guide book is available, offering route descriptions and maps of the route.
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Contact information

Contact Person: Malcolm Cutler

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