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Monarch's Way

One of the best known stories in British history is that of the escape of Charles ll after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. For six exciting weeks, and hotly pursued by the parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell, he travelled first north through what is now the Black Country, then south through the Cotswolds and the Mendips to the South Coast, and finally along the South Downs to Shoreham where he made his escape to France.

Loyally supported by his followers, many at great risk to their own lives, he was given shelter in places both great and humble, many of which still exist today - including the famous Boscobel oak tree. Trevor Antill has now designed this long distance walk which closely follows the route taken by Charles and enables you to visit many places, maybe only previously known to you through the history books, and also takes you through some of the finest scenery in western and southern England.

From the start at the Commandery at Worcester, the route first heads north as far as Boscobel in Staffordshire. This part of the route passes through Droitwich, Chaddesley Corbett, Hagley, Stourton, Wombourne, Oaken and Boscobel. after visiting Kemberton and Norton the route heads south again passing through Moseley Hall, Bentley, Halesowen, Bromsgrove, Headless Cross, Alcester, Wootton Wawen and Stratford-on-Avon.

The route then continues south through the glorious Cotswold Hills, across the Mendips and through lovely countryside in Somerset, Devon and Dorset to reach the south coast at Charmouth. The main towns and villages along this section of the route are Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-wold, Northleach, Cirencester, Tetbury, Chipping Sodbury, Wick, Keynsham, Abbots Leigh, Winford, Compton Martin, Wells, Castle Cary, South Cadbury, Ham Hill, Crewkerne, Hawkchurch and Charmouth.

The route now heads north again to Trent just north of Yeovil, and then east across glorious downland and the south coast to Shoreham. The main towns and villages along this part of the route are Bridport, Broadwindsor, Winyard's Gap, East Coker, Trent, Charlton Horethorne, Wincanton, Mere, Hindon, Great Wishford, Middle Winterslow, Mottisfont, Hursley, Owlesbury, Warnford, Hambleton, West Dean, Houghton, Findon, Brighton and Shoreham.

The length of this route makes it unlikely that most walkers would consider completing it in its entirety, although if you did it would be a rewarding journey, and one which, like King Charles ll, you would never forget. However, the route is described in three seperate guide books, so you can buy just one guide and walk the part of the route which most interests you or which is most convenient. Of course, even a third of the route is a long way, but the guides break the journey into one day sections which could be walked over a period of time.


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Start: Worcester

Grid Ref: SO 851543

End: Shoreham

Grid Ref: TQ 238046

Distance: 980 km

Walking Time: 40 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
116; 119; 120; 121; 122; 129; 130; 131; 132; 142; 143; 156; 168; 204; 205; 218; 219; 220; 244; OL45

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3