Grimley, Worcestershire

Canada geese and grey herons can be seen at dawn in Grimley, where they often perch in the tops of alder trees.

Canada geese and grey herons can be seen at dawn in Grimley, where they often perch in the tops of alder trees.

A Canada goose at dawn.

A Canada goose at dawn.

Grimley Marsh is a precious remnant of the extensive wetlands which once filled the Severn valley.

Grimley Marsh is a precious remnant of the extensive wetlands which once filled the Severn valley.

First published in Country News by

This is a figure-of-eight walk so you need do only one of the loops if you prefer something shorter.

But do it all if you can as there's lots to enjoy in this ever-changing landscape which is being reshaped by gravel extraction.

You will pass a dozen pools, which vary greatly in size and character, from the tiny pond on the village green at Sinton Green to the largest of the flooded gravel pits by Camp Lane.

Birds are the main beneficiaries of all this water and you should see a wide range of species including tufted duck, Canada goose and grey heron.

More unusual are the cormorants - sea-going birds - which are attracted to the river Severn in winter.

They occur in large numbers near Grimley, where they perch in the tops of alder trees beside the river.

Flocks of lapwing and black-headed gulls sometimes frequent the riverside fields to the north of Grimley Marsh, especially after heavy rain when the ground is very wet.

Grimley Marsh is a precious remnant of the extensive wetlands which once filled the Severn valley, and a favoured nesting place for many birds, including mute swans.

FACTFILEStart: Grimley, grid ref SO829604.

Length: 6 miles/10km.

Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 150.

Terrain: Mostly flat pastureland, marshy in places.

Footpaths: There are no problems on this walk, other than the fence mentioned below. However, some adjoining paths are substandard in all sorts of ways so bear this in mind should you wish to vary the route by using other paths not described here.

Stiles: 26. You will also have to climb over a very unstable fence at Sinton Green, unless you avoid it by staying on the lane (see point 7).

Parking: At the northern end of the Grimley road.

Buses: 293/294/758 Monday to Saturday, 300 on Sundays/bank holidays. The 308 also serves Grimley but Worcestershire County Council intends to terminate this service on February 25. Traveline 0870 608 2608 or www.worcestershire. gov.uk /bustimetables Refreshments: Grimley, Oakall Green, Sinton Green.

DIRECTIONS,1 Walk along the Grimley road towards Worcester for 200m then take a path on the right. Follow it to the A443, turn left on the grass verge then left again towards Grimley. Join a path on the right after a few paces and follow it towards Worcester, keeping straight on at a junction. There are two pools down to your left and eventually you should descend to the far end of the second one and cross a stile. Turn right beside a hedge, passing to the left of a third pool. Keep straight on until you meet a track.

2 Turn left, then soon right to the Camp House Inn. Turn left on the Severn Way. After passing Bevere Lock, continue by the river until a parallel track turns left. Go with it, leaving the Severn Way. Stay on the track when it turns right.

3 Cross a stile and continue straight on along a field edge. At the next junction turn right into another field, return to the river and turn left. After passing Grimley Marsh, join a track, follow it to Grimley and turn left. Walk through the churchyard and follow a well-trodden path to your starting point. To do the second loop, turn right, cross the A443 and take a path by Ball Mill House. Pass the house and mill, cross a footbridge and walk through a garden, keeping to the right of a hedge, then to the left of a willow tree.

4 Enter a field and walk across to the far side. Turn right along the field edge, with Grimley Brook on your left. Cross two stiles and a footbridge in the field corner and turn right, with the brook now on your right. Move away from it after 100m, heading towards a prominent farm. Cross a stile and head towards a line of poplar trees then turn right through a gateway, with a pond on your left. Turn right across a field to a gate then go diagonally left across a large field, towards a pale-pink house on Elm Hill.

5 Cross a stile and turn left in the next field. Cross a stile in the corner and walk through another field, with a pool on your left. Go through a gate and continue in much the same direction, though slightly more to the right, past three more pools. Keep straight on to pass a house, ignoring a stile here but proceeding a little further to a second stile near a barn. Cross this one and turn left. Go through a gap then diagonally left through a young wood to a driveway. Walk along it to a lane.

6 Turn left, then left again on a footpath. Walk along the right-hand edge of two fields. Entering a third field, go through a gate on the right then continue in the same direction as before to a junction. Go diagonally right, passing to the left of a house to meet a lane at Oakall Green. Turn left, then left again by the pub.

7 Turn left at Sinton Green, then left again at a crossroads on a road which ends at a farm. Cross a stile on the right and walk across a field to a plantation. Climb over a very wobbly fence, walk straight through the plantation and into a garden. Pass to the left of a beech hedge and proceed to the lane. Turn left, then immediately right on another footpath. Turn left at a junction, walking through trees to another junction. Turn left along a driveway to the lane and turn right, then soon left, across a pasture to another lane. Turn right to return to your starting point.

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