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WEETHLEY Wood and neighbouring Nunnery Wood have one of the largest populations of fallow deer in the West Midlands.
Unfortunately, there is only one public footpath through the woods but there are two public footpaths running along the outer edges. The one to the west skirts Weethley Wood only for a short distance but the other runs the entire length of the woods on the eastern side.
Both these paths are included in this walk, providing good opportunities to see deer. Though they feel safest within the shelter of the trees, fallow deer frequently feed close to the woodland edge and also venture into the neighbouring fields.
It’s rare to walk past Weethley Wood without seeing deer, often in large numbers.
There is also much else to enjoy on this walk, including the Millennium Green at Inkberrow, based around a large moat with resident ducks. There is an even larger moat at Abbots Morton, but it no longer holds water.
It lies close to the church and once surrounded a house, now long gone, which served as a summer retreat to successive abbots of Evesham.
Adjacent earthworks reveal the sites of ponds and stockpens, and there are two holloways as well as an area of ridge-and-furrow, a pattern made by mediaeval ploughing teams. The entire site is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Start: Inkberrow, on A422 east of Worcester, grid ref SP015573.
Length: Eight miles/13km.
Maps: OS Explorer 205, OS Landranger 150.
Terrain: Arable and pasture; some very slight slopes but no real hills.
Footpaths: Mostly excellent, though some have been over-sown with broad beans, which are – as yet – too small to pose any problems.
Parking: There may be spaces near the church.
Buses: WCC 350, Worcester- Redditch via Inkberrow, Mon-Sat only; worcestershire.gov.uk/ bustimetables or 01905 765765.
Refreshments: Shop and two pubs at Inkberrow.
1 Walk past St Peter’s Church and the Millennium Green.
Turn right when you come to a junction, then take a footpath signed to Cladswell. Go straight on at a junction with a bridleway then bear slightly left up a slope.
Continue in the same direction at the top, across fields to a junction with another footpath. Keep straight on to meet Knighton Lane and pick up the path again opposite. Go diagonally across two fields of broad beans to meet a bridleway. Turn left and walk to a junction with a footpath.
2 Cross a footbridge and follow the footpath across another bean field, heading towards the right-hand end of a wood at the far side. Cross a footbridge and then go to the far left corner of a pasture. Walk along a track until a path leaves the track on the left.
Follow it through a field and past a house to Knighton Lane. (NB most walkers stay on the track, partly because the path is easily missed but mostly because it has a history of obstruction. However, it is currently clear.) Turn left along the lane.
3 Approaching Alcester Road, take a path on the right and go diagonally left across a field, passing an ash tree and climbing a slope to meet the road at a stile near a prominent traffic direction sign. Turn right on the roadside verge, then soon right again beside Evesham Road. Take the next path on the right at a stile with no waymarking. Walk along the outer edge of Nunnery Wood and then Weethley Wood, ideally going all the way to a road. However, if you want to take a short cut, there’s a waymarked path through the wood which will save you about threequarters of a mile.
4 Assuming you do go all the way to the road, turn right when you reach it, pass through Morton Spirt then take a path on the right.
Before long you’ll be walking along the western edge of Weethley Wood. Turn left when you come to a junction (you’ll rejoin the longer route here if you took the short cut) and follow a recently improved path across fields. Keep straight on at a junction with a bridleway, crossing three more fields. Keep very close to the lefthand edge in the third field and turn left at a hedge corner to find a stile to a lane. Turn right into Abbots Morton.
5 Turn right just before St Peter’s Church and enter a field to find a choice of three paths. Take the lefthand one, walking past a pond, a timber store and a dry moat before going diagonally to the far left field corner. The path is then easily followed until you come to a junction where a stile on the left has four waymark arrows on it. Turn right down the field then cross Piddle Brook into Long Meadow Nature Reserve. Go straight up a wooded bank, ignoring a stile on the right. Cross a stile at the top and follow the path through five fields.
In the fourth field the waymark seems to point left but the path stays by the right-hand edge until you’re nearly at the far end; go diagonally left to the bottom corner when a gate comes into view. Keep to the right in the fifth field.
6 Turn right along Appletree Lane then take a bridleway just before a thatched cottage. Ignore two footpaths branching left near the start of the bridleway but take a third footpath a little further on. Go along the left-hand field edge to a pair of stiles then turn right and follow a brook towards St Peter’s Church. After crossing the brook at a footbridge you can choose either of the waymarked paths, though the one which goes to the right is recommended.