A COUPLE of months ago, in these pages, in a walk which encompassed Hallow, Grimley and Broadheath, I described a path at Lovington Farm as one of the worst in the county, despite it having been reported to the county council on numerous occasions over a period of 25 years.

Soon after the walk was published in your Worcester News the path became completely impassable.

So it’s good to be able to include it in this walk, and to report that thanks to Phil Coulson, the countryside access, maintenance and improvement officer (Central) for Worcestershire County Council’s Countryside Service, it was cleared in mid-July, within a few days of having seen it for himself.

In hot and humid conditions, contractors working for the council strimmed a 200-metre stretch of impenetrable brambles and cut back trees which were blocking access at one end. They made such a good job of it that it’s in the best shape it has been for a very long time.

The plan for this week was to say a big thank you to Phil and his team, to devise a good route incorporating the newly cleared path and to let local walkers know about it, so all those who’ve given up on it over the years could start using it again. Ironically, however, the proposed route was stymied by another impassable footpath, running from Oldbury Road to Broadheath Common, passing to the south of a series of fishing pools.

This path has been a problem in the past, but has never before been impassable. The good news is that this time we don’t have to wait 25 years for complaints to be taken seriously.

Phil took prompt action and by the time you read this, the contractors will have cleared the brambles away and the path will be open again.

It’s an attractive path, much of which takes the form of a tree-lined green lane, which once led to the woods which filled this valley before they were grubbed out to be replaced by fishing pools.

Just to the south of the path, and also included in this walk, the bridleway from Elgar’s birthplace to Oldbury Road is part of an ancient route from the west to St John’s and the city, passing the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Oldbury on the way.

Part of it is still a green lane but the eastern section now has a hard surface. It’s still one of the best ways to approach Worcester, providing fine views of the city, dominated by the cathedral tower.

The best way to thank Phil Coulson and the county council’s contractors is for us to get out there and use these footpaths and bridleways, which provide such good access to the countryside from the city and especially the western suburbs. Though the route is described from Broadheath Common, residents of Dines Green and St John’s have the option of easy pedestrian access via Oldbury Road.


START Junction of Bell Lane and Sling Lane, Broadheath Common, Lower Broadheath, grid ref SO807562.

LENGTH 5½ miles/9km.

MAPS OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 150.

TERRAIN Arable and pasture; a couple of slight slopes but no hills.

FOOTPATHS Excellent (assuming the path from Oldbury Road has been cleared).

STILES Three (all avoidable).

PARKING Broadheath Common.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Aston’s 308/309/310, Mon-Sat; 308 goes along Crown East Lane and Bell Lane past Broadheath Common, 309/310 go along Martley Road; worcestershire.gov.uk/bus timetables or 01905 765765.

REFRESHMENTS Bell Inn, Plough Inn, Dewdrop Inn and Broadheath Post Office Stores.


1 Take a bridleway going diagonally across Broadheath Common from the Bell Lane/Sling Lane junction. Turn left at Crown East Lane. Soon after passing the Plough Inn, turn left on an unsigned bridleway, just before Elgar’s birthplace. Follow it to Oldbury Road and turn left. Take the next path on the left. Keeping left at a junction, follow it to the fishing pools then keep to the south of them until you reach the final pool. Turn right and follow waymarks to the field on the north side of the pools. Take a well-made path across the field to a stile at the far side.

2 Turn right without crossing the stile. Walk along the field edge for 300 metres then go through a hedge gap into another field. Walk along the right-hand edge, past Birchen Grove. There’s an obstructed stile at the far side but if you turn left for a few metres you’ll find easy access to Martley Road. Cross to a bridleway opposite which soon enters a field. Walk along the right-hand edge, cross Lovington Lane and keep straight on at subsequent junctions to reach an equestrian centre at Eastbury Manor. Turn left, leaving the bridleway and following a good path across two fields then over a brook and slightly uphill to Lovington Lane. Turn left.

3 Take the second path on the right, after Elm Barn and opposite a timberyard. Walk through a field into a valley, go through a gate and walk up through a second field to a gate to Hallow Lane. Don’t go through the gate but turn round and go diagonally down the field to the bottom right corner. Go back into the first field and turn right to find access to a third field. Turn left along the edge and turn right in the next corner. After leaving the field, walk past allotments to meet Martley Road by Broadheath Post Office. Turn right.

4 Take the first path on the left, almost opposite Hallow Lane.

Bear left initially to find a well-trodden path to the left of a line of brambles. Go straight on at a junction. Ignore another path branching right at a footbridge.

Walk past Victoria Cottage and straight on at the next junction, shortly meeting Bell Lane by the Dewdrop Inn. Turn right to Broadheath Common.