River Windrush

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Bourton on the Water 5.JPG
The Windrush at Bourton-on-the-Water
CountiesGloucestershire, Oxfordshire
TownsBourton-on-the-Water, Burford, Witney
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationGloucestershire, Cotswold Hills
 ⁃ coordinates51°58′54.51″N 1°51′59.64″W / 51.9818083°N 1.8665667°W / 51.9818083; -1.8665667
MouthRiver Thames
 ⁃ location
 ⁃ coordinates
51°42′36.03″N 1°25′7.19″W / 51.7100083°N 1.4186639°W / 51.7100083; -1.4186639Coordinates: 51°42′36.03″N 1°25′7.19″W / 51.7100083°N 1.4186639°W / 51.7100083; -1.4186639
Length65 km (40 mi)
 ⁃ locationNewbridge
 ⁃ average3.27 m3/s (115 cu ft/s)
 ⁃ minimum0.11 m3/s (3.9 cu ft/s)26 August 1976
 ⁃ maximum21.6 m3/s (760 cu ft/s)6 December 1960
 ⁃ locationWorsham
 ⁃ average2.40 m3/s (85 cu ft/s)
 ⁃ locationBourton-on-the-Water
 ⁃ average1.20 m3/s (42 cu ft/s)

The River Windrush is a stream and river in the English Cotswolds in the upper Thames catchment. It gives its name to the Gloucestershire village.


The Windrush starts in the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire northeast of Taddington, which is north of Guiting Power, Temple Guiting, Ford and Cutsdean. It flows for about 35 miles (56 km): through Bourton-on-the-Water, by the village of Windrush, Gloucestershire, into Oxfordshire and through Burford, Witney, Ducklington and Standlake. It meets the Thames at Newbridge upstream of Northmoor Lock.

The river-name Windrush is first attested in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 779, where it appears as Uuenrisc. It appears as Wenris and Wænric in charters of 949, and Wenríc in one of 969. The name means 'white fen', from the Welsh gwyn and the Old Celtic reisko.[1]

The river is host to fish, including trout, grayling, perch, chub, roach and dace. It held good populations of native crayfish until at least the 1980s. River waters were used in cloth and woollen blanket making in Witney from mid 17th century.[2] In 2007, the Windrush was one of many rivers in the area to flood. Towns and villages along the length of the river were affected, perhaps most acutely in Witney, which was cut in half by the closure of the only bridge across the river.[3]

The ship HMT Empire Windrush, synonymous with post-war immigration of West Indian people to the UK, was named after the river.

See also[edit]

A pedestrian bridge across the River Windrush at Bourton-on-the-Water


Next confluence upstream River Thames Next confluence downstream
River Cole (south) River Windrush River Evenlode (north)