The Cotswold Kingfisher Trail - how many have you spotted?

Homecoming, by Gemma Compton. Location: Tetbury

Homecoming, by Gemma Compton. Location: Tetbury - Credit: ©Russell Sach

In the last few months, you may have noticed giant 3ft-5ft kingfisher sculptures springing up across the region.  These colourful installations are part of a new public art trail that celebrates the role of the Cotswolds National Landscape in providing valuable water sources, including for the rivers Severn, Thames and Bristol Avon. 

Cotswolds National Landscape Kingfisher Trail 2021

Cotswolds National Landscape Kingfisher Trail 2021 - Credit: kingfishertrail.org

You can find ten birds along the Severn Trail in the west and ten along the Thames Trail in the east, with a Flying Kingfisher that flits between locations every fortnight. Decorated by talented local artists, the kingfishers will be auctioned in the autumn to raise money for Cotswolds National Landscape projects, and you also have the chance to enter a prize draw to win the Golden Kingfisher.  

Read on for clues to a few Kingfisher Trail locations and surrounding attractions that make for a great day out. You can get on the hunt using the Kingfisher Trail App too. 

SEVERN TRAIL

Artshape, by Harriet West
Slimbridge

On the Severn Trail you’ll discover one of the giant kingfishers at Slimbridge, and if you explore the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust you can enjoy all sorts of summer spectacles from dancing dragonflies to green sandpipers.  

Morris Major, by Inkie
Chipping Campden

Famous for its architectural treasures including the ‘wool church’ of St James, the north Cotswold town now has a kingfisher sculpture, hosted by Chipping Campden Trust. After exploring the streetscapes to find it, why not stretch your legs further along the Cotswold Way, which officially begins/ends at the handsome 17th-century Market Hall. 

Avium Gloria, by Shiloha Levi.
Sudeley Castle, nr Winchcombe

Kings and queens have come and gone at the castle, and Katherine Parr is entombed in St Mary’s Church within the beautiful gardens. But where will you spot our giant avian king? Winchcombe is the start-point for lots of superb walks including the circular 8.5-mile/13.7km ‘Ultimate’ Walk on Wheels suitable for all-terrain mobility scooters. 

Wonderfisher, by Martha Lightfoot
Newark Park, nr Wotton-under-Edge

Birds of prey, yellowhammers, brown hares… and now a curious kingfisher sculpture can be seen in the vicinity of this National Trust estate on top of the escarpment. While you’re here perhaps follow one of the estate walks, through woodlands and with lovely views of Newark House and the Ozleworth valley. Remember to bring your walking boots! 

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Thames Trail

Lockdown Love Bird, by Imogen Harvey-Lewis
Notgrove

Have you ever been to Notgrove, four miles from Northleach? There’s a kingfisher waiting on the village green, while the Norman church holds monuments of the Whittington family related to famously fortune-seeking Dick. The Nuttery Café is an option for refreshments (a handy pitstop when walking the Gloucestershire Way), and with staycations all the rage this year how about a family glamping adventure with Notgrove Holidays on the 1500-acre Notgrove Estate farm. 

Metamorphosis, by Ed Swarez
Bibury Trout Farm

Come hunting for an intriguing kingfisher sculpture at Bibury, and maybe try some fishing yourself at trail sponsor/partner Bibury Trout Farm. It’s England’s oldest working trout farm and quality water is intrinsic to producing the rainbow and brown trout – the hatchery is fed by Bibury Spring. Also leave time to look around Bibury – “the most beautiful village in England”, according to William Morris – including the much-photographed weavers’ cottages. 

Homecoming, by Gemma Compton
Tetbury

Pick up a walk leaflet from the Visitor Information Centre opposite lofty-spired St Mary’s Church and admire architecture recalling the town’s wool market heydays. Tempting antiques shops, galleries and royal neighbour Prince Charles’s Highgrove shop might waylay you en route – as will a colourful giant kingfisher!  

Sulis, by Guy Warner
Iford Manor Gardens
The Golden Kingfisher is located at Iford Manor Gardens. The captivating gardens combine formality with nature and magnificent rural views across the valley – well worth booking a visit. There’s also lots to do in Bradford, whose golden-stone streetscapes rising up the hillside above the river were shaped by the town’s historic textile industry. Drop into the Saxon church, stroll the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath, and relax in a tearoom.  

To be in the chance to win the special Golden Kingfisher, download the app and register to buy a raffle ticket.

Android Kingfisher Trail App      IOS Kingfisher Trail App  

There is also a specially commissioned mural on the underpass at Cheltenham's Benhall Park commemorating the Kingfisher Trail and the Cheltenham Paint Festival  which takes place in September.

Get on the trail

Find out more about locations on the Kingfisher Trail, the trail app, the artists involved, and how to enter the prize draw for the Golden Kingfisher at kingfishertrail.org  or check out the #kingfishertrail hashtag on social media

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