MORETON-in-Marsh may be best-known for its Tuesday market but it is popular with walkers too, thanks to the numerous footpaths which converge on it.
This easy walk in the peaceful vale of Evenlode uses the Diamond Way, Donnington Way and Monarch’s Way to link Moreton with the hamlet of Donnington and the lovely villages of Evenlode, Broadwell and Longborough.
Evenlode and Broadwell are classic Cotswold villages but they are a little off the beaten track so they remain tranquil and well worth lingering in.
Donnington is a tiny place, but historically significant because it was here that the Civil War officially ended in 1646, when Lord Astley, at the head of 3,000 Royalist troops, surrendered to the Parliamentarians.
Today, its fame derives more from Donnington Brewery – about a mile to the west – which supplies beer to 15 Cotswold pubs. The Donnington Way links them all in what must be, for some, Britain’s longest pub crawl. There are three on this walk – the Coach and Horses at Longborough, the Fox at Broadwell and the Black Bear at Moreton.
Longborough is much the largest of the villages on this walk, and has the most facilities, including a very inviting tea room at the village shop.
There are several defunct quarries to the west and south of Longborough, and one of these – New Park, near Donnington Brewery – has yielded fossils of four species of dinosaur – cetiosaurus, megalosaurus, stegosaurus and steneosaurus.
Start: Moreton-in-Marsh (on A44 south-east of Broadway), grid ref SP204324.
Length: Nine-and-a-half miles/15km.
Maps: OS Explorer OL45, OS Landranger 151 and 163.
Terrain: Pastoral and arable farmland, mostly flat.
Footpaths: Most are excellent, although waymarking is patchy.
Public transport: Frequent daily trains; firstgreatwestern.co.uk or 08457 484950.
Refreshments: Moreton-in-Marsh; pubs at Broadwell and Longborough; shop and café at Longborough.
1 Walk south down High Street/Stow Road then turn left on East Street. Turn right on Church Street, pass the church and go along Old Town. Turn right after passing allotments, walk to a street and cross to a path almost opposite, just a few paces to the left. Cross a brook at a footbridge and walk across fields on a track.
This leads eventually to a large sheep pasture where you go diagonally to a stile at the far side, about half-way along the hedge.
Follow the left-edge of the next field and keep to the left of Frogmore Farm. Having passed the farm, keep straight on at a junction.
2 Quite soon after passing Frogmore Coppice you’ll reach a junction waymarked with both blue and yellow arrows. Turn left on a bridleway, walk across fields, cross the river Evenlode at Stratford Bridge, then cross the railway. Proceed along a green lane for 350m then turn right (waymarked but easily missed) to cross fields. Eventually, climb a pair of stiles on the right and cut across a field corner to another stile.
Go left to meet a lane and turn right towards Evenlode. After a short distance you should be able to join a bridleway on the right, which leads to the church, but it’s currently impassable. If this is still the case, just follow the road into Evenlode, turning right at a junction signed to Broadwell and Adlestrop.
3 Turn right at a road junction by Springside Cottage, and right again at the next junction, signed to Broadwell and Stow. Walk to Broadwell, turn right at a Tjunction then fork left at the village green, towards Stow. After a short distance turn right, towards Donnington and Moreton, joining the waymarked Monarch’s Way and soon passing the Fox Inn, and then the church, before following the road to Donnington.
4 Fork right in Donnington, then soon right again where a fingerpost indicates a bridleway to Longborough. Follow a stone wall which encloses the garden of Donnington Manor, then bypass farm buildings by going through a metal gate and keeping to the right of wooden fencing. Go diagonally past two trees to a waymarked gate, after which the Monarch’s Way is easily followed to Longborough.
5 Turn right by a green, then left at a T-junction by a school. Turn right by another green, pass the church and ignore turnings until you see a sign for Moreton-in-Marsh.
Walk past houses to access a field and go diagonally across it on the Monarch’s Way. Turn left at the far side, crossing two stiles, after which the Monarch’s Way is easily followed all the way to Moreton.
There are branching paths but you can’t go wrong if you remember to look for the Monarch’s Way logo at every gate and stile. The route is well-trodden and the church spire at Moreton provides a further guide.
Worcester News recommends the use of OS Explorer Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside. This walk is based on OS Explorer OL45.