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River Avon Chain Ferry
River Avon Chain Ferry

Distance: 1¼ miles

Time: Just over 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy walking on level metalled footpaths


Walking BootsTake an easy stroll along both sides of the River Avon in Stratford. From the East side of the river you will get  outstanding views of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, boating activities and slightly further down river you will be able to see Holy Trinity Church, where William Shakespeare is buried.  


There are many car parks in Stratford, the largest being on the East side of the river next to The Butterfly Farm.


Start from the bandstand, next to the car park. Take the footpath alongside the river, where you will see the Royal Shakespeare Theatre across the river on the opposite bank - to your right is the tramway bridge. As you view the theatre, turn left and follow the path. You will also see many activities to be had on the river, including hire of rowing boats or river cruises.  After a couple of hundred yards you will see on the river the pedestrian chain ferry (see picture on page).


Continue on and shortly after passing the ferry you will have a wonderful view of Holy Trinity Church. This is one of the best angles to photograph the church, especially as it will be framed by the weeping willows beside you. Some little way further you will see some attractive weirs and canal boat locks. Continue on until you come to the Mill Bridge. (as you look back to the views of the weirs, you might like to reflect on our severe floods, many years ago, when the weirs were completely submereged below the flooded river, which also came part-way up the apartment blocks opposite.)


Cross the bridge, keep to the right, walking up Mill Lane. Continue on for another 150 yards, where you will come to the entrance to Holy Trinity. You may enter the church yard and the church - if you keep to the right you will get another view from the west. In the church yard you will find a plaque denoting William Shakespeare's grave.


On leaving the church yard, turn right and right again to enter Avonbank Gardens, where you can visit the Brass Rubbing Center. Continue on and you will come to the Chain Ferry once more. Once past the ferry you will come to the Memorial Theatre Gardens at the rear of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  You will be able to walk along the river bank, until the theatre, where you can proceed along the theatre river terrace. There is a cafe here if you wish to stop.


On passing the theatre the beautiful Bancroft Gardens open up to your left in front of the theatre. Continue along the pathway alongside the river until you come to the prisoner's Bridge over the canal. Here you will see many canal boats tied up in the basin. On the other side of the canal you will be able to see the Gower Memorial, celebrating many works of Shakespeare.


Turn back towards the Tramway Bridge over the river, where you will get a panaramic view down the river avon and also the theatre, where from this angle it appears to be rising in the style of a Mississippi riverboat - an ideal place to get photos for the scrap book. 


Continue over the bridge, and at the end, turn right, follow the path until you again and up at the Bandstand.


Riverbank Walk - Access Guide
disability key disability keyThis walk was especially designed for those with visual impairments, but can be enjoyed by anyone. A trail is marked by reference posts which are numbered in both tactile signs and Braille. Cassettes describing the walk, can be hired free of charge from the Butterfly Farm, to help guide visitors along the path. The walk follows along the Tramway Path and then into the recreation grounds. There is an option to carry along towards the locks and Lucy’s Mill.
Swan's Nest Lane - situated next to the Butterfly Farm