This is a lovely walk, with lots of ancient woodland and fine views of Abberley Hill and the Clee Hills. It’s one for tree huggers, with wonderful old oaks, beeches and limes, and it’s good for birdwatchers, too, with the chance to see the normally elusive great spotted woodpecker (recently named as a threatened species) which is resident in Wyre Forest National Nature Reserve – look for it around Coppice Gate and Rock Coppice.
1 Walk down Severnside South on the Worcestershire Way. Turn right after Pump Court, go left at Upper Street and right at a sign for Ribbesford Circular Trail. Turn left after 200m, rejoining the Worcestershire Way, which is easily followed to Ribbesford Church, through Ribbesford Woods, and past The Beeches to meet a lane where you turn left. After about 300m turn right towards the Frank Chapman Centre, then go left after another 300m. Follow the waymarks carefully across a golf course, eventually crossing Gladder Brook and climbing uphill to meet a lane.
2 Turn left past Deasland House and Deasland Farm. Leave the Worcestershire Way a little further on, soon after a large red-brick house. Take a footpath on the right at a badly overgrown stile, indicated by an ivy-covered fingerpost. Beware wire fencing attached to the stile and concealed by vegetation. Walk along the right-hand edge of a field, climb over an overgrown gate to Heightington Road and turn right, passing Formans Court Farm, Piggotts Farm and Milletts.
3 Soon after Milletts, take an easily missed path on the left, at an overgrown stile. Walk along the left-hand edge of a rape-field. When you reach a hedge corner the path continues straight on: at the time of writing a very faint line is visible but the path is woefully inadequate and may become impassable as the crop matures and flops over, as invariably happens with oil-seed rape. Continue across two more rape-fields, heading for a line of four or five small, spindly, dead trees. Pass to the left of these and continue into the field corner. There appears to be no access to the lane but the hedge doesn’t extend into the very corner and it is possible to force a passage through the nettles, brambles, giant hemlock and young hazel trees which block the way. Proceed with caution because the vegetation conceals all sorts of rubbish, such as discarded tractor tyres.
4 Turn right. After passing The Birches, the meadows to both left and right are access land, despite the lack of signage, so feel free to stop for a rest or a picnic. To continue the walk, go through a green gate to the meadow on the right, which is crossed by two footpaths. Go slightly uphill to pass through another green gate (ignore a waymark directing you right) and then through a gate into the next meadow (still access land). The public footpath isn’t waymarked but if you continue through the meadow to join a driveway and proceed to a road, you’ll see a fingerpost confirming that you have just come along a right of way.
5 Cross the road to a bridleway opposite. Go to the left of a farm building, then proceed along a field edge. Keep left of a pond in the bottom corner, go through a bridle gate and along the left-hand edge of the next field until you see a stile. Don’t cross it but turn right through an open gateway. Go straight ahead, down to the left corner of the meadow. The bridleway is obvious and easily followed from now on. As you approach a farm, a dog will set up a terrible commotion which may make you think twice about proceeding. However, the noisy dog is safely caged, and its two quieter, but free-ranging companions, one of which is huge and scary-looking, appear to be docile. Keep straight on, cross a footbridge and go along a green lane to meet a road at Lye Head.
6 Cross to a footpath almost opposite which is easily followed to a junction at the edge of Wyre Forest National Nature Reserve. Go straight ahead to another junction then turn right.
Again, the path is easily followed and eventually you’ll come to a cross-path near a metal building. Turn right, pass the golf course and follow the waymarks to a brick building at the Frank Chapman centre. Ignore a path branching left, staying on the track. Turn left when you come to a gravelled track. Ignore a cross-path but take the next path on the left, between the golf course and a wood. 7 After crossing a stile, turn right to cross another. Walk through the wood then left along a field edge to meet the Worcestershire Way again near the Beeches. Turn left, follow a lane over the bypass and then take the first path on the left: it’s easily missed but look for a green fingerpost. Walk to a junction and turn right. Descend through meadows to rejoin the Worcestershire Way. Turn left and then take any of the waymarked routes to Bewdley.
Start: Bewdley Bridge, grid ref SO786754. Length: 7¾ miles/12.5km. Maps: OS Explorer 218, OS Landranger 138. Terrain: Woodland, pasture, arable, golf course; undulating but not steep. Footpaths: The Worcestershire Way and other paths close to Bewdley are well maintained, as are paths within Wyre Forest. Elsewhere, they vary from adequate through poor to shameful – see the directions for details (complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org). Stiles: Seven, plus two locked gates. Parking: Bewdley. Public transport: On Sundays/bank holidays the 300 goes directly to Bewdley from Worcester; on weekdays it’s necessary to change at Stourport or Kidderminster; worcestershire.gov.uk/bustimetables or Worcestershire Hub 01905 765765. Refreshments: Bewdley.
Please note this walk has been carefully checked and the directions are believed to be accurate at the time of publication. No responsibility is accepted by either the author or publisher for errors or omissions, or for any loss, accident or injury, however caused.
Worcester News recommends the use of OS Explorer Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside. This walk is based on OS Explorer 218, OS Landranger 138.