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THIS is a short but very scenic walk among the woods and apple orchards that you’ll find just to the north of the Malvern Hills.
It’s proving a bumper year for apples so there is plenty of fruit on the trees. After years of uncertainty about the prospects for English orchards it’s encouraging to see a recently planted apple orchard near Rough Hill Wood, indicating some confidence in the future.
Much of our local crop is used for cider making and the New Inn, at about the halfway point of the walk, is a pleasant place to sample a glass or two of cider made by Westons at Much Marcle, near Ledbury. An even more local brew, Knight’s Cider, is on sale – weekends only – at a farm shop by the junction of Cowleigh Road and Crumpton Hill Road.
Before you leave North Malvern it’s worth a look at the clock tower, which was restored 2006-2008.
It began life in 1835 as Morris’s Tank, a water storage tank with a well room. In 1843 an extension was built, housing a clock, and in 1901 another floor and a new clock were added, to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII.
Morris’s Tank then became known as the clocktower.
Start: North Malvern Road (B4232), North Malvern, grid ref SO770470.
Length: 4¾ miles/7.5km.
Maps: OS Explorer 190, OS Landranger 150.
Terrain: Woods, orchards, pasture and arable, with a few slopes.
Footpaths: The Worcestershire Way is excellent but standards are much lower elsewhere. One path at Crumpton Hill is obstructed by crops and waymarking is poor in many places. Two stiles at Crumpton Hill are without steps.
Parking: Tank Quarry or North Quarry, North Malvern Road.
Public transport: Bus (44/363/364) or train to Great Malvern, then you can take the 675 to North Malvern Road if necessary, but it’s only a very short walk from the number 44/363/364 bus stops at Link Top or the town centre; also 417 to Ledbury via A4103 – get off at the New Inn; worcestershire.gov.uk/ bustimetables or telephone 01905 765765.
Refreshments: New Inn, Hereford Road (A4103).
1 Walk north along North Malvern Road until it rounds the top end of the hills to become West Malvern Road and you see a flight of steps. Descend to Old Hollow and take a footpath opposite which leads to High Wood. Fork right on entering the wood. There are numerous paths within High Wood but not all of them are rights of way.
Waymarking is patchy but initially the route is easily followed through the wood. A left turn, later followed by a right, leads to a crosspath, where you turn right, then go straight on at the next crosspath. Ignore all branching paths until just before you reach Whippets Brook, where you should take an unsigned path on the right.
Keep right at an unsigned fork then go left at another fork, 10 metres beyond a waymark.
2 Turn left at Cowleigh Road, pass a house then take a path on the right. Walk along the edge of Rough Hill Wood at first, then straight on across a field. Continue to a junction at the far side of a young apple orchard and turn left, going uphill towards the top corner of Rough Hill Wood. Cross a stile in the field corner then follow a track which leads to Hill Farm. At a sign for a fire assembly point go diagonally right, leaving the track and descend through orchards to join another track that leads to a road junction.
Turn right on Crumpton Hill Road.
3 Take the second path on the left, at a flight of steps after Crumpton Hill House. Follow a fence towards Crumpton Hill Cottage. It’s unclear whether the path then goes through the cottage garden or through a gate on the right. Most of us will prefer the latter option but either route gives access to a track which leads to a dilapidated barn. Join the main road (A4103) by the barn and turn right. Pass the New Inn then take the Worcestershire Way/Geopark Way on the right.
4 For the easiest return route just follow the Worcestershire Way.
However, for a slightly longer and more varied walk, leave the Way when it enters a field, and cross a footbridge on the left. Go diagonally across a cornfield (no path has been made) but not to the far corner – aim for a point about 100m short of the corner. Cross Crumpton Hill Road to a path almost opposite which leaves the road to the right of a high gate.
Walk past a barn and across a field then straight on along a track, passing a house and a bungalow before turning right on another path. It is unclear from either the map or the on-site fingerpost whether the right of way is along an access track or the adjacent field edge, parallel with the track.
However, there is a trodden path along the field edge, indicating that most walkers choose this option.
Go through a gate to join the track when you reach the field corner.
Proceed to the end of the track then turn left through an orchard.
5 Ignore a stile on the left near the end of the orchard, then turn right a few paces further on, along the edge of another orchard.
Turn left when you meet the Worcestershire Way and follow it to Cowleigh Road. Turn left, past Earl Beauchamp’s Spout, then go uphill to Old Hollow. Turn left, then go to the right when the road forks. Keep straight on when you meet Cowleigh Road by a former chapel. Turn right up Belvoir Bank to return to North Malvern Road.
Worcester News recommends the use of OS Explorer Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside. This walk is based on OS Explorer 190.