THERE are masses of wild flowers to enjoy on this lovely walk, especially in Shrawley Wood and along the valley carved out by Shrawley Brook.
The churchyard at St Mary’s in Shrawley is also full of wild flowers, along with some ancient and spectacular sweet chestnuts and hornbeams.
Start: Little Witley, grid ref SO785638 (or Shrawley Village Hall, grid ref SO804650).
Length: Five miles/8km.
Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 138.
Terrain: Woodland, pasture, arable; a few slight slopes.
Footpaths: Many are excellent, but a few are poor. Not all paths across arable fields have been reinstated after ploughing. The final path to Little Witley is atrocious (though most obstacles can be avoided).
Overall, however, things are improving, with recent bramble clearance (almost certainly by volunteers) much in evidence at certain points.
Parking: Little Witley Village Hall, or roadside nearby; or Shrawley Village Hall. But note that events are taking place this weekend at both locations, which are likely to be busy. Parking is also available, on May 6 and 7 only, opposite St Mary’s Church, Shrawley.
Buses: Yarrantons’ Worcester- Tenbury 758 to Little Witley, Mon-Sat only, or First Worcester- Kidderminster 294/295 to Shrawley Village Hall, Mon-Sat only; worcestershire.gov.uk/bustimetables or 01905 765765.
Refreshments: The Rose and Crown at Shrawley has closed. The New Inn and Lenchford Inn are not far from the route.
1 If starting at Little Witley, cross the A443 and take a path opposite, to the left of Brookside Farm. Descend into the wooded valley of Shrawley Brook and turn right. Go to the right at a waymarked junction, staying in the valley. The next section of the path is overgrown with nettles but the worst of it is avoidable. After crossing a bridge the path improves, and it’s waymarked and easily followed. It takes to a field edge at one point but soon returns to the woods. Keep alert for an easily missed footbridge, obscured by trees. Cross this bridge then turn right at a junction soon after. The path again leaves the woods for a field edge then returns to the trees at a waymarked junction. Cross another footbridge and proceed to the next junction.
2 Turn left on path 23, which soon leaves the trees and follows a field edge to a lane. Turn left, then take a path on the right after 350m, opposite a farmhouse. Go diagonally across a field, join a lane opposite Church Farm and turn right to pass St Mary’s Church. Take a footpath at the far end of the churchyard and follow it along the edge, soon descending left by a massive sweet chestnut tree. Go into a field and follow a lime avenue to the B4196. Cross and turn left.
3 Take a path on the right, just before Shrawley Village Hall.
Follow it to a junction at the edge of Shrawley Wood and go straight on to enter the wood. The waymarked, well-trodden path is easily followed through the trees, then across pasture and parkland to the right of Shrawley Wood House. Returning to the wood, follow the path past Layes Pool to a junction marked by a Forestry Commission sign. Turn left to meet the road by the former Rose and Crown. Turn right then take a path which skirts a caravan site before leading into a field. Walk along the right-hand edge and keep straight on at a junction by a redundant stile. Cross a stile at the far side and walk across an arable field on a well-made path then go along the right-hand edge of another field.
4 Cross a stile and turn left in the next field, where an obvious path goes downhill. Wellused though it is, this is not the right of way. For the correct path keep to the left-hand edge. Ignore another path branching left and continue by the field edge, where the brambles that formerly blocked the path have recently been cut back. Go through a gate in the corner and turn left on another recently cleared path.
Cross the next stile on the left and walk slightly uphill by the edge of a wood, Coombgrove Coppice. Bear left on a well-made path at the far end of the wood, heading roughly towards the Malvern Hills.
5 After 200m you’ll come to a cross-path, though this is far from obvious – look to the left and you’ll see a waymark about 100m away by the field edge, next to a solitary oak tree. Turn right and walk towards Woodbury Hill. Turn left when you meet a bridleway, follow it to a road then continue opposite, towards Dingle Farm House. Approaching the house, join a field track on the left and ignore branching paths, following the track as it swings right. Turn left at a waymarked junction, joining a green lane. Pass a pond then keep straight on at a junction, going slightly uphill to the A443.
6 Cross to a path opposite, which goes diagonally left across a ploughed field (the path has not been reinstated at the time of writing). Meet a field-edge track near some willow trees and turn left on another track, but only for a few paces. Look for a footbridge on the right among more willow trees – the bridge itself is invisible, buried under vegetation, but you’ll see a handrail – and cross a brook into another field.
Walk along the left-hand edge. On leaving this field continue across another, aiming for a fingerpost visible at the highest point of the field, to meet the lane at Little Witley.