Little Rissington, Upper Rissington, Great Rissington and Wyck Rissington Tourist Information
The Rissingtons are a group of villages just outside Bourton-on-the-Water. Wyck Rissington and Great Rissington are two delightful villages to visit, having a great deal of character and some amazing views across the Cotswold countryside. The churches are outstanding and the stone cottages in both villages range from the 1400's right up to present time. It is almost like taking a stroll through history.
Little Rissington is a very small village, even by Cotswold standards, with most of the houses strung out along the main road from Bourton-on-the-Water. The architecture is typical Cotswold style, with small cottages fronted by flower-boxes. The tiny village has a 12th century church called St. Peter's containing a memorial window to those that served at the R.A.F base up the hill (Upper Rissington). In the churchyard itself there is another memorial surrounded by the gravestones of the men that died serving their country.
Upper Rissington is the site of the now defunct Royal Airforce Base of Little Rissington once the home of the Red Arrows, Central Flying School and the Red Pelicans. The site is more appropriately called Upper Rissington and much of its housing was built as officers' quarters. These were sold by the Ministry of Defence in 1996 to developers, who modernised the properties and sold them on. The street names give a clue to the village's former life, having names such as Sopwith Road and Avro Road. A new housing development and business park has now been built.
During the build-up to WWII, the then Air Ministry constructed many major airfields across the UK and RAF Little Rissington was one of these airfields. RAF Station Little Rissington (known to all as Little Rissi) opened mid 1938, comprising the domestic site and a grass airstrip. During 1942, three asphalt runways were laid. Extra land was added to accommodate Sites A to E. In 1944 the main runway extended, and runways 09/27 and 14/32 were extended easterly and south-easterly respectively.
Throughout the war RAF Little Rissington accommodated No.6 Service Flying Training School and No.8 Maintenance Unit. Hundreds of aircraft were parked in its dispersal areas.
RAF Little Rissington (Upper Rissington) was situated just outside Bourton-on-the-Water perched at the top of the hill it was 730ft above sea level. It was the home of various aerobatic teams, for example, The Meteorites, Sparrows, Pelicans, Skylarks, Red Arrows and The vintage Pair.
Great Rissington is 3 miles south-east from Bourton-on-the-Water and is a beautiful collection of Cotswold stone house and cottages with a great olde worlde Inn (The Lamb Inn) offering good accommodation and a decent restaurant. Its main street runs down from a small triangular green towards a fine 17th century manor house. The nearby church of St John the Baptist is 12th century and well worth a visit.
Wyck Rissington is the more northerly and is an unspoilt little village with a wide rough green complete with victorian drinking fountain. There are several attractive houses and cottages, the most pleasing of which is a substantial farmhouse fronting onto a well stocked duckpond. The church of St Lawrence has a squat 13th-century tower and a chancel of the same period with two unusual lancet windows at its east end. The famous composer, Gustav Holst, was organist here in 1892 at the early age of seventeen.