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9:14am Monday 2nd July 2012 in Walks
THIS walk includes some of the loveliest countryside in Worcestershire, with beautiful views of the Suckley Hills, which are blessed with extensive areas of woodland. There are numerous orchards too, with apple, damson, plum and cherry trees.
The fields and hedgerows are dotted with massive old oaks, and there’s a magnificent black poplar beside the lane which leads to Elmores End.
Much of the land is dairy pasture, grazed by herds of placid Hereford cattle with cute young calves, and there are also sheep, horses and free-range pigs. The landscape has plenty of geological interest too, and you can read about that on an information panel installed by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust on top of Round Hill. Architectural treasures to be admired along the way include two spectacular 18thcentury houses, Knightwick Manor and the White House.
The latter is worth the slight detour from the route (less than 200m there and back) to see the superb carved hood above the front door.
Start: Opposite the Suckley turn at Knightwick, on A44 west of Worcester, grid ref SO731558 Length: Seven miles/11km.
Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 150.
Terrain: Pasture, meadow, orchard, arable, woodland; moderately hilly; there is a lot of very long grass, which can be hard going when dry and nightmarish when wet. Dogs should be on leads for much of the walk because of livestock.
Footpaths: Range from adequate to excellent, but one is obstructed by crops. Waymarking is patchy. You’ll have to climb over at least one gate.
Parking: Behind the bus shelter.
Buses: First 420, Worcester-Hereford, Mon-Sat only; worcestershire.gov.uk/ bustimetables or 01905 765765.
Refreshments: The Cross Keys at Suckley; the Talbot at Knightwick is also close to the route.
1 Walk a little way alongside the road towards Bromyard then cross over when you see a footpath.
Follow it across a cherry orchard then across a pasture. According to the OS map, the path forks near the far end, with one branch going to a stile on the left and the other to a gate ahead, but the gate is padlocked and lacks any waymarking. Whether you climb over the stile or the gate, turn right along a lane. Take the next path on the right and go diagonally across a field then along the edge of a cherry orchard to Knightwick Manor.
2 Pass the house then turn right, going through a pasture and a wood then along the edge of an apple orchard. At the far side of the orchard turn right through a gate and follow a track to a lane. Turn left and stay on the lane at the next junction, ignoring a track branching right. Pass Elmores End and the entrance to Hamish Park.
About 50m after the latter, cross an easily missed stile on the left and walk across a large meadow, aiming for a woodland corner enclosed by a substantial hedge.
Meeting the hedge, continue in the same direction, passing Hamish Park.
3 Cross a track and proceed across another field, soon passing to the left of a wood. Go up a bank and across a field then pass through a gate to a junction. Keep straight on along the track. Go through another gate to another junction and again go straight on, entering a field opposite. Walk to a round concrete tank and you’ll then be able to see a waymarked gate in the far hedge. Go through the gate and straight on along a field edge, with another cherry orchard on your right. Walk to a lane and turn left to the Cross Keys at Suckley Knowle.
4 Cross a stile opposite the pub to return to the field and walk along the right-hand edge, then follow a fenced path round another field to a lane at Suckley Green.
Walk along it for 100m then take a path on the right signed to Suckley Knowle. Go to the far corner of a meadow, then to the far corner of an arable field. Proceed along the right-hand edge of the next field then turn left where waymarked, cutting across the field corner to find access to a lane. Turn left past another orchard.
5 Take a path on the right, walk along the edge of a meadow then climb over a gate into a field of broad beans. The densely planted crop, up to 1.5m high, blocks the path. Trample a way through to reach a tree-lined dingle then walk to the left of it to meet a lane. Turn left, then turn right at a T-junction, past Lower House. Go straight on at a crossroad near White House.
6 Take a path on the left at Slatehouse Stables. Keep to the left edge through four fields, going straight on at all junctions. You’ll eventually see a stile on the left in a corner of the fourth field. Don’t cross the stile but turn right across the field, aiming for a prominent pylon on the hillside ahead. As you approach the far side of the field you’ll see a waymarked gate. Go through the gate into another field and then go a few paces to the right to pass the end of a fence.
7 To your right is a line of plum trees running across the field.
Head towards them and then follow them to a stile at the far side. Cross a track and go straight on uphill through woods and pasture. Turn left at the top of the hill. When you see two gates ahead of you, go to the one in the righthand field corner then pass through woodland to a junction.
Bear right to walk along the outer edge of the wood on your right, ignoring all branching paths.
You’ll soon meet the Worcestershire Way, which is easily followed to Knightwick.