BELNE Brook (also known as Barnet Brook) rises in the Clent Hills and runs south-west towards Kidderminster.

It was for centuries the power behind a flourishing milling and scythe-grinding industry, and there were at least a dozen corn or metal-working mills between the brook’s source and the hamlet of Drayton.

The mills no longer operate but most of the mill pools do survive, giving a special character to the countryside round Belbroughton, and helping to make this a truly enjoyable walk.

Belbroughton itself is full of charm and the very active Belbroughton History Society has placed informative plaques on many of the houses and at other sites of interest.


START Dark Lane, where it meets the A491 Stourbridge Road at Hollies Hill, north-east of Belbroughton; grid ref SO932776. Alternative starts include Belbroughton and Pepper Wood.

LENGTH Nine miles/14.5km.

MAPS OS Explorer 219, OS Landranger 139.

TERRAIN Pasture, paddocks and woodland, no hills.

FOOTPATHS Generally excellent, with few maintenance problems, but walkers may be intimidated on two paths near Belbroughton by aggressive dogs (see points 1 and 2).

STILES 11, 14 or 17, depending on route.

PARKING There is a space by Galton Lane, off Dark Lane at Hollies Hill. There are also two lay-bys on Stourbridge Road, north and south of Dark Lane, but they’re on the far side of the road; there's a designated crossing point but no traffic lights. Parking is also available at Pepper Wood.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT First 144 to Bromsgrove (daily) then Hansons 318 to Belbroughton (Mon-Sat); alternatively, it’s a very short walk from Catshill, on the 144 bus route, to Pepper Wood (you’ll need an OS map or A-Z); or go by train to Stourbridge then take the 318; timetables or 01905 765765, or 08457 484950.

REFRESHMENTS Belbroughton, Hollies Hill, Drayton and Fairfield.


1 Walk along Dark Lane for 200 metres then take a bridleway on the left. Follow it to a waymarked junction where you have to make a choice. The obvious route is a footpath on the right, but it leads to a property called Heort Hyll, where you may find yourself being escorted through paddocks by several aggressive dogs. Additionally, the path meets Hartle Lane (B4188) at a dangerous spot, with no footway, where great care is required. To take this path, go straight across a field to a stile, then diagonally across two paddocks. Turn left, as waymarked, to the road, and left to Mearse Lane. The alternative to this path is to go straight on along the bridleway to Hartle Lane and then turn right along the road for 400m to Mearse Lane.

2 Follow Mearse Lane to Yard House and join a footpath, where you may encounter two more aggressive dogs. The path does not go through the property but the dogs are allowed to run out into the lane. They lose interest once you leave the lane and enter a field. The path is easily followed across this field and then through young woodland. Leaving the wood, keep to the left edge of the ensuing field then through a gap in the corner.

Turn left along another field edge.

3 Entering another field, ignore an obvious track and go diagonally across on a footpath.

Keep to the left edge of the next field, ignore a gate in the corner (unless visiting the pub at Fairfield) and turn right, staying in the same field. Go straight on along the edge of the next, then left past houses to meet Wood Lane at a T-junction. Turn right, walk to Pepper Wood and follow a bridleway through it.

4 Leaving Pepper Wood, the bridleway continues opposite.

After 500m, turn right and follow a clear path across three fields to Dordale Road at Croppings Green.

Turn right, then take a path on the left. Cross a field to a junction and keep straight on, following the right-hand edge through two more fields. Go through a gate, cross Hockley Brook and follow a fenced path to Hockley Brook Lane. Turn right.

5 Take the third right, a bridleway signed to Bradford Lane. Keep straight on at Hill Farm, but turn left at the next junction. Proceed to Bradford Lane then take Waystone Lane opposite. Ignore a bridleway to Moorfields Farm and continue along the lane until you see another bridleway sign at a lane junction. Turn right, then pass to the right of The Grange. Keep straight on at the next junction, a few metres further on.

6 Turn left near Moorfields Farm. You’ll eventually come to a junction with two footpaths, which are blocked by maize. But the bridleway, though not waymarked, continues to the left, leading to another junction where you turn right on footpath 31.

Follow it past houses then past the end of Drayton Pool to Drayton Road. Turn right, initially towards Drayton House. A path is then easily followed alongside Drayton Pool and Belne Brook. Cross the brook at a footbridge and turn left.

7 Turn left at Weybridge, walk to Drayton Road and turn right beside Belne Brook, soon passing Mill Pool. Walk into Belbroughton and turn right up Church Hill, then left on Church Road to High Street. Turn right and keep straight on at a junction, walking past shops, pubs, a coffee shop and a former phone box which is now a mini-library. When the road bends left take a path on the right. Pass left of Tudor Lodge to reach a junction and turn left.

8 Turn right on Dark Lane. You can follow it back to Hollies Hill, or you can take a path on the left after 120m. The path starts beautifully, with woods, Belne Brook, more pools and then parkland. However, it leads to Stourbridge Road and you then have to follow the road to Hollies Hill. There is a good footway but it’s unpleasant all the same. If you do take the path it’s easily followed and there are three stiles.