FOR several years now, footpaths at Grimley have been subject to closure and diversion due to sand and gravel extraction, and it hasn’t always been easy to work out the route of the diverted paths, which has acted as a disincentive to some walkers.

Just recently there have been more changes, some of which are unwelcome. Other changes, however, have brought real benefits, with re-opened paths proving far more enjoyable than they were originally.

An example of the latter, between Grimley and Tinkers’ Coppice, is included in this walk.

The path is raised on a slight causeway and threads its way between flooded gravel pits which are already occupied by good numbers of wildfowl and waders.

There have been some concerns about disturbance but, in general, the birds seem fairly relaxed about the presence of people.

It is important, however, to stick to the footpath and if you take a dog with you, it must be on a lead.

These pools are only about half a mile, as the cormorant flies, from Grimley Marsh, another excellent wildlife habitat, which is also included in the walk.

In addition, you’ll pass some pools and wetlands just to the north of Bevere Lock. Add to all this the thriving woodlands created over the last three decades beside the Severn at Hallow, and you have a greener, more peaceful and more wildlife-rich landscape than you might expect to find so close to the city.

FACTFILE Start: Hallow church on A443, grid ref SO828579.

Length: 7½ miles/12km.

Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 150.

Terrain: Dairy and sheep pasture, woodland, arable, mostly flat.

Footpaths: Mostly excellent, but let down by one disgraceful exception.

This is the path from Shoulton to Peachley Lane. For most of its length it is acceptable, though in need of slight improvement. However, in one field the path is completely blocked by oil-seed rape. Until the crop is harvested there is no way through.

Fortunately, it is possible to detour round the field edge and this detour is marked on the map with a dotted line.

Stiles: 14.

Parking: Roadside, near Hallow church.

Buses: First 294/295, Astons 308, Yarrantons 758, all Monday-Saturday only, as there is no longer a Sunday service to Hallow since the county council axed the 300; worcester or 01905 765765.

Refreshments: Grimley.

DIRECTIONS 1 Take a path just to the south of the churchyard and follow it through two fields then along a passageway to Church Lane. Turn right and shortly pass to the left of Hallow Old Churchyard (a nature reserve) to reach a junction. Turn right and descend through woods to the river Severn. Turn left and walk upstream to Grimley on the Severn Way. The path makes a short detour around the Camp House Inn but is otherwise straightforward.

2 After passing Grimley Marsh cross a footbridge and follow a track to the village. Turn left along the lane, then turn right by the phone box. Take a footpath on the left after 300m, indicated by a new fingerpost. Walk straight ahead between pools then turn right at all junctions to return to the lane.

Turn left, shortly cross the A443 and take Dark Lane (to Sinton Green) opposite.

3 Fork left at a junction on a private drive/public footpath to Thorngrove House. Turn right where waymarked, walking along a tree-lined path until you see a stile and path junction on the left.

Cross the stile, take the left-hand path and follow it through paddocks, then through two larger fields. Approaching the bottom of the second field, go diagonally right (not as far as the corner) to find a path leading through trees to a footbridge. Having crossed the bridge turn right and follow a fieldedge path to Moseley Road. Turn left then cross to a bridleway.

Follow it to Shoulton House Farm and turn left on a lane. Ignore branching footpaths, walk to a lane junction, turn left and walk to a Tjunction.

4 Turn right on Green Street then take a path on the left just before a house. Skirt the edge of the garden, walk along the righthand edge of a field, bear right across a meadow, cross Laughern Brook then pass to the right of a knoll to the top right corner of a field. Cross a stile and turn left past some oak trees. You should then go straight on across a field but at the time of writing the path is completely blocked by oil-seed rape. The only option is to go along the left-hand edge. Keep to the edge for 400m, ignoring a first hedge gap. Continue along the edge until you come to a second gap, by a grassy triangle. Go through the gap to find a narrow path crossing a cornfield to Peachley Lane.

5 Turn right then go through a gate on the left. There are two paths here – take the right-hand one, going along a field edge, through a gate and to the far corner of the next field. Go along the edge of another field to Hallow Lane. Cross to a gate opposite, where there are two paths – take the left-hand one and follow it to Lovington Lane. Turn left along the lane and keep straight on when the lane becomes a bridleway at a junction with a footpath. Go through a gate on the left just before Lovington Farm and follow the bridleway (confusingly waymarked as a footpath) to the bottom right field corner. Cross a bridge and turn right. Leave the bridleway and join a footpath, which is also a Severn Trent access track. Follow it uphill to meet Hallow Road near the church.