SINCE the end of the Second World War, we have lost an estimated 95 to 97 per cent of the wild-flower meadows which then still remained in England, so any effort to protect existing meadows or create others is very welcome.

To celebrate this year’s 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, Prince Charles came up with the idea of Coronation Meadows, a project which was launched in June and is being implemented by Plantlife in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The plan is to identify one ‘flagship’ meadow in every county, which will be protected and celebrated, with local people encouraged to visit and enjoy it.

This meadow will also be used as a ‘donor’ to provide seed for the creation or restoration of ‘recipient’ meadows in the same county.

This is much better than using commercial seed of uncertain origin for meadow creation because it ensures that local species and characteristics remain local.

Worcestershire’s Coronation Meadow is at Hollybed Farm, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s newest nature reserve.

Situated near Castlemorton, Hollybed Farm still retains the traditional pattern of small meadows divided by old hedgerows, characteristic of the local area. It will be both a donor and a recipient site, with seed from the designated Coronation Meadow, Far Starling Bank, used to restore another one called Middle Starling which was ploughed up soon after the war.

There are public footpaths through the nature reserve, and one of them is used in this walk. Wild flowers are obviously scarce in September so Hollybed is a place to revisit in spring; but it does have other attractive features, and the commons which constitute the greater part of the route are wonderful to explore at any time of year.


START At northern end of Castlemorton Common, grid ref SO792395.

LENGTH Six miles/9.5km.

MAPS OS Explorer 190, OS Landranger 150.

TERRAIN Mostly commons, a couple of gentle slopes but no hills.

FOOTPATHS Excellent.


PARKING Roadside, at northern end of Castlemorton Common.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Only the 377, at 0910 from Malvern Link Co-op on Saturdays, serves Castlemorton Common, but frequent Malvern-Upton services 41/42/43 (Mon-Sat) go to Welland, which is just five minutes’ walk (these buses operate as 362/363/364 from Worcester, changing service numbers at Upton).


1 Walk westwards along a track by the northern edge of Castlemorton Common, towards the Malvern Hills. After passing a Malvern Hills Conservators’ sign ( ‘authorised vehicles only’) you’ll see a path branching off the track, heading south-west across the common.

Follow this path to a fork, where the main path swings west towards the hills and a narrower path continues in a south-westerly direction.

Take the narrow one. Follow it until you meet a cross-path and turn right towards the hills.

Meeting a lane, close to a stream, cross over and continue heading south-west, left of the stream.

2 Turn right at whatever point best suits you – ideally, for the easiest route, this will be when you see a footbridge, just beyond some hawthorn trees. It doesn’t matter if you miss the bridge – look instead for Little Malvern Priory and head towards that. Pass some crab apple trees then meet a wide path and turn left, heading south-west again. When the path forks take the narrower, left-hand branch. When the vegetation becomes denser turn right to meet a wide path and then turn left.

3 Turn left when you reach the edge of the common and stay by the edge when the common becomes very narrow, eventually passing houses at Bowling Green. Once you’ve passed a bungalow called Fernleigh the common widens again. Keep to the edge until a fingerpost indicates Sabrina Way. Turn left, following this bridleway across the common to meet a lane by Swinyard car park.Turn left.

4 Pass Berrow Downs Farm then take a path on the right which leads across more common land. Keep fairly close to the right-hand edge, guided by occasional wooden posts indicating a bridleway. After passing Tyrus House you’ll come to Hollybed Common. Walk past a small, round hill crowned by gorse, soon after which you’ll come to another wooden post. Fork left here, towards a patch of dense bracken. Keep to the right of the bracken at first then go straight on as the path cuts a wide swathe through the bracken. Continue past a clearing and keep the bracken on your right when the path forks.

5 Turn left when you come to a football pitch and cross the common to Hollybed Street.

Turn right beside the lane, pass to the left of a pond then proceed to a track. Turn left to meet the lane again and turn right. Pass Hollybed Farm then take a footpath on the left. Cross a meadow to a footbridge then go to the top right corner of a slope. Proceed along the edge of a meadow to a track and turn left. Ignore paths to right and left, keeping straight on through several meadows until you come to a junction at Chandler’s Cross. Turn right to meet a lane and turn right again.

6 Take a footpath on the left at Robins Orchard Annexe. It’s waymarked at first but not when you come to a large field. Go roughly straight across to meet a hedge then continue to the right of the hedge, after which the path is easily followed to a junction. Go straight across dairy pasture to return to Castlemorton Common.

Keep straight on to cross a lane to the main part of the common. Turn left and you’ll soon pick up your outward route. Either follow it back or choose from other suitable routes close by.