Walking in Worcestershire
Like many English counties Worcestershire boasts a fascinating diversity of countryside and provides opportunities for enjoyable walking in many places. There are the glorious Malvern Hills, providing an impressive south western border to the county with their distinctive nine mile ridge profile. In the North West is the Wyre Forest, the largest area of continuous woodland in the county and, due to its age and diversity, an interesting location for walking.
The Severn, one of England's great rivers, enters the county near Bewdley, in the North West, and flows southwards to leave near Tewkesbury in the south west. The Severn Valley is steep and wooded in the north, widening out to a broad flood plain of pasture land in the south, offering some lovely riverside walks along the Severn Way. The North West corner of the county, west of the River Severn, is a peaceful area of undulating farmland, intimate valleys and small villages ideal for relaxing walking. The River Teme, from Tenbury Wells to its junction with the Severn south of Worcester, also has a quiet rural valley ideal for leisurely walks. In the south east Bredon Hill provides bracing walks, with fine views across the Severn Valley to the Malvern Hills and delightful villages to explore. Even further east at Broadway the county offers a taste of the Cotswolds and a walk up the dramatic escarpment to Broadway Tower.
The lovely River Teme meanders along the western edge of the county in a glorious and peaceful valley surrounded by a landscape of undulating wooded hills. The entire length from Tenbury Wells to Worcester is a pleasure to explore on foot although access to the actual river bank is somewhat limited. For riverside walks there is a good section from Kingswood Common near Martley to Shelsley Beauchamp, returning via a ridge walk along the Worcestershire Way through shady woodland. Further north a riverside walk can be made between Eardiston and Stanford Bridge, returning through pleasant countryside near Stockton on Teme. Another great location is Knightwick.
Knightwick, a tiny peaceful village set by the side of the River Teme, was first mentioned in a Saxon charter where the name ‘cnihts-wic’ implies that it was once a dairy farm run by a group of men. The houses fringe the side of the village street, which descends to cross the river in the midst of attractive Worcestershire countryside. This is a village which time seems to have passed by and which appears to be surrounded by woodland. The Talbot hotel is on a corner almost opposite the church and there is a nearby footbridge over the Teme which is a regular starting place for walks in the area.
A Walk from Knightwick [SO 733561] OS Maps: Explorer™ 204
This pleasant walk starts by meandering over the footbridge and along a lane to meet and cross the busy A44 road. Opposite, a short lane walk (signed to Alfrick) takes you onto a fine track on the Worcestershire Way which begins on the right just past a dismantled railway line. This track leads through attractive woodland along the edge of hills with occasional lovely views to the right and delightful areas of fern amongst the trees. The route then changes direction, heading west and descending gently towards Highfields Farm. From here a lane heading north takes you back to Knightwick. About 3.5 miles.
Best Pub for this walk
Talbot, Knightwick Tel: 01886 821235 (Good Pub Guide)
This late 14th century coaching inn set on the banks of the River Teme and looking out over rolling wooded hills, is an imposing sight in the tiny village of Knightwick. Combining the past with the present, the cosy bar and oak panelled rooms provide an ideal setting for a lovely meal. The lounge bar opens onto a terrace and arbour with roses and clematis which makes a nice spot for a summer drink and snack. Bar meals are available and there is also a restaurant serving a menu including ingredients from the pub's own organic garden.
This walk is fully described in the guidebook 'Pub Strolls in Worcestershire' by Roger Noyce
The River Avon flows through Pershore on its way through the Worcestershire countryside to join the Severn at Tewkesbury. The Avon is navigable downstream from Alveston, near Stratford-upon-Avon and is today a popular cruising route. In 1639 the Avon became one of the first English rivers to benefit from a system of locks and weirs to control water levels.
Eckington Wharf on the Avon not far south of Pershore is a pleasant place to linger for a while, enjoying the view up river towards Bredon Hill, or watching elegant swans glide beneath the arches of the medieval bridge spanning the River Avon. The wharf is also the ideal starting point for a delightful and undemanding walk which takes you alongside the river to Strensham Lock before returning through Eckingham village. The walk is about 3.5 miles and should take about 2 hours.
You can download the leaflet giving details of this walk by clicking here.
Just south of Pershore the immense low dome of Bredon Hill rises from the Avon and Severn valleys and provides spectacular views extending across several counties from the Iron Age fort near the summit. Ashton under Hill provides a good starting point for an ascent, initially following the Wychavon Way. There is a ring of charming villages around the base of Bredon Hill and a circumnavigation is possible. Starting from Ashton under Hill and walking clockwise you will pass through Grafton, Conderton, Overbury, Kemerton, Westmancote, Bredon’s Norton, Great Comberton and Elmley Castle before returning to Ashton under Hill. Bredon Hill offers some wonderful walking and some of the best can be found in the walking guide Walks from Ashton Under Hill
Once a great carpet manufacturing town Kidderminster is situated on the River Stour. Today the town has little to justify a visit, but there is some attractive wooded countryside to the north.
Habberley Valley Local Nature Reserve provides the basis for a wonderful walk exploring the lovely, peaceful countryside within the reserve and beyond. A 2.5 mile circular route takes you through a section of Habberley Valley and on through pastures, woods, alongside a stream and over a hill with time to enjoy the views.
Habberley Valley demonstrates the countryside of Worcestershire at its finest. Buzzards can be seen soaring overhead whilst green tiger beetles scurry about their business on the ground. Each season reveals new wild plants and magnificent heather capped sandstone outcrops tower above the wildlife creating a beautiful backdrop. Open grassland, plains and rich woodlands make Habberley Valley an ideal place to enjoy the countryside, picnic and relax.
Habberley Valley Local Nature Reserve car park is on the B4190 Wolverley to Bewdley road. You can obtain a leaflet from the visitor centre (01562 732971) summer only.
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