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THIS walk includes a permissive path through Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Tiddesley Wood, which is carpeted with masses of wild flowers at this time of year.
You can explore the wood further if you wish – there is a helpful map at the entrance. Though Tiddesley Wood is an important nature reserve there are also other places along the route which are valuable for wildlife, such as the wetlands by Bow Brook near Ufnell Bridge, and the young woods beside the river Avon at Pershore.
Start: Pershore Bridges, grid ref SO952450.
Length: 9½ miles/15km.
Maps: OS Explorer 190, OS Landranger 150.
Terrain: Arable, pasture, woodland; some gentle slopes but no hills.
Footpaths: A few need attention but most are excellent, following massive improvements to what were previously very poor paths around Besford. Many of the paths crossing arable fields are now exemplary but it has been a strangely selective sort of improvement and some paths are treated as though they don’t exist, being neither waymarked nor reinstated after ploughing. Paths around Besford Court have been slightly diverted and differ from those shown on the latest (2008) edition of OS Explorer 190.
Parking: Pershore Bridges picnic place.
Buses: Diamond 382, daily; First 550/551, Monday-Saturday; Diamond 166, Sundays/bank holidays; all stop in Broad Street and the 166 will also stop on request at Pershore bridges; worcestershire.gov.uk/bustimetables or 01905 765765.
1 Cross the old bridge and the B4084 then take a path (Millennium Way/Avon Valley Way) which runs alongside the river Avon. Eventually, the Millennium Way turns right. Don’t follow it (unless you want to make a slight short-cut) but keep to the Avon Valley Way, which turns right after a further 200m. Walk to the A4104 and turn left on a roadside footpath until a fingerpost directs you across the road into Tiddesley Wood. Follow the main track for about threequarters of a mile then turn left when you come to a very wide, slightly boggy bridleway. There is currently no waymarking here: if in doubt, just look for footprints and hoofprints which should confirm that you’ve found the right path. When you do come to a waymark you’ll see you’re back on the Millennium Way, which takes a more direct route.
2 Leave Tiddesley Wood, cross Bow Brook, leave the Millennium Way (unless you want to make another short-cut) and take a footpath going diagonally left across an arable field. The path starts well but soon disappears.
Continue in the same direction, however, heading for wooden pylons near the far left corner of the field. Cross a stile (beware of a wobbly step) into the next field and continue on a diagonal line.
Meeting an access track, turn right to Salters Lane and join a path opposite, going across a large field.
Turn left at the far side, pass a garden, go through a gate and walk across grassland. Fork right at a junction and proceed to another junction, opposite a stone archway.
Turn left past Besford Court to Ladywood Road.
3 Cross Ladywood Road and turn right to a fingerpost opposite the Besford Court driveway. Take a well-made path which goes diagonally left to meet St Peter’s Lane almost opposite St Peter’s Church at Besford. Turn right in Harewell Lane and then take the first path on the right. Walk through a meadow and then back into the large arable field you crossed previously from Besford Court. Another well-made path runs across it but don’t take this.
Instead, go diagonally left, on the line of a path which has not been reinstated after ploughing. Aim for the last house on the left at Besford Court.
4 Cross Ladywood Road to another path. Wide and wellmade, it goes diagonally left across a field. After crossing a stile, keep left through more fields to a road.
Cross over to rejoin the Millennium Way, following it across two fields then left to a road. Turn right then cross to a bridleway. Walk to Croome Perry Wood and turn right. When you reach the end of the wood turn right again, leaving the Millennium Way. Cross a field to a road and cross to a path opposite.
Follow it across paddocks and orchards to another road.
5 Cross the road to a path opposite, along the outer edge of Callan’s Wood. Follow the waymarked route across fields to a brook. Turn left, roughly following the brook, then cross it at a footbridge and continue across the next field. Turn right by the field edge and walk to Chevington Lane.
Cross to a footpath opposite, along a field edge. Keep straight on at a junction near Caddicroft Farm and continue in the same direction to meet the B4084 by Ufnell Bridge.
Cross the road and turn left, then take a lane on the right.
6 Join a footpath at Bow Brook Farm and go back the way you’ve just come, parallel with the lane, past free-range poultry, goats, sheep and pigs. Turn left when you reach a track and walk past a pool, caravans and barns before turning right to cross a stile into a field. Turn left down the field, cross a makeshift stile and continue down to cross Bow Brook at Gig Bridge. Keep straight on along a well-made path, then follow a lane to the A4104. Turn right, then either first or second left to Pershore town centre.
Follow the High Street (B4084) down towards the Avon, past Broad Street, then turn right on a footpath after passing house number 54. Turn left when you come to a junction by a sports field. Go straight on at the next junction to meet the Avon by Pershore Bridge.