DUE to the detailed description necessary for parts of this route very little space remains for background information, but it’s a tremendously varied walk with something for everybody to enjoy, and ventures into the almost unexplored countryside which lies between the Suckley Hills and the river Frome.

Despite months of horribly wet weather, conditions underfoot are not quite as bad as might be expected (though you will obviously need waterproof boots) and there are hints that spring is not too far away, with snowdrops, violets and even red campion already in flower.

FACTFILE START: New Inn at Crumpton Hill, on A4103 between Leigh Sinton and Storridge; grid ref SO760493.

LENGTH: Nine miles/14.5km.

MAPS: OS Explorer 190/204, OS Landranger 149/150.

TERRAIN: Pasture, arable, woodland, orchard, hopyard; mildly hilly.

FOOTPATHS: Most of those in the Worcestershire part of the walk are of an excellent standard, though the intended route did have to be amended to avoid an obstructed path at Suckley. In the Herefordshire part of the walk the paths suffer from patchy, occasionally incorrect and, at one point, quite baffling waymarking, but there are no obstacles.


PARKING: There is a lay-by just to the south of the New Inn and another to the north of it, by Half Key turn.

BUSES: Aston’s 417 Worcester-Ledbury services – alight at the New Inn or at Cradley; also LMS 423/425 Worcester-Malvern services to Longley Green; worcestershire.gov.uk/bustimetables or 01905 765765.

REFRESHMENTS: New Inn at Crumpton Hill, Nelson Inn and Suckley Post Office Stores at Longley Green, Red Lion Inn at Stifford’s Bridge for refreshments.

PLEASE NOTE This walk has been carefully checked and the directions are believed to be accurate at the time of publication.

No responsibility is accepted by eithertheauthororpublisherfor errors or omissions, or for any loss, accident or injury, however caused.

WorcesterNewsrecommendstheuse of OS Landranger Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside.ThiswalkisbasedonOS Landranger 149/150.

DIRECTIONS 1 Join the north-bound Worcestershire Way by the New Inn and follow it for about two miles. It leads past Norbury’s and The Norrest and eventually turns left uphill just after passing a timber-framed house. At the top of the hill it skirts round The Beck before descending to a lane where it turns right. After 450m it takes to the fields again, on the left, and descends to rejoin the lane, turning left to Longley Green.

2 Leave the Worcestershire Way and follow the lane through Longley Green. When you come to a junction turn right, towards Suckley and Acton Beauchamp, then take the first footpath on the left, which passes Bramble Cottage then runs between orchards and hopyards. Go straight on at a path junction then turn right when you meet a lane.

3 Take the next footpath on the left, through more hopyards and orchards. Keep straight on at all junctions to meet a lane. Turn right then take the next bridleway on the left. Follow it along two field edges then go diagonally left in a third field to join a driveway. Turn left into the yard at Redmarley Farm, looking for a waymark over to the left, which directs you between barns, then straight on along a bridleway.

4 Turn left where waymarked, to the left of a hedge. Go through a gate in the next corner and turn right, so that you’re still walking to the left of the hedge. Turn left at the next junction, leaving the bridleway for a footpath after going through a gate. After a while you’ll come to a stile, which implies you cross the hedge, though there is no waymarking to confirm it. It makes no practical difference because whichever side of the hedge you walk you’ll soon come to the end of it, where there’s another stile. This one is waymarked, with the arrow pointing across a large field. The next stile is not waymarked but you should aim for the far left field corner, 125m left of Broom Farm.

5 Go through a gap in the corner, turn left, step over a stream and go a few paces along a track before going through a bridle gate. Follow the bridleway across a field and then through a lightly wooded area to a junction with a footpath. Stay on the bridleway, which goes through a gate on the right and then turns left, descending through Riley Hill Wood. Go through a farmyard at the bottom of the hill then straight on along a lane.

6 Turn left at the next junction, then take a footpath on the right.

Walk alongside a hedge and change to the other side where waymarked, continuing in the same direction to reach a small stream. Turn right here, though there is some uncertainty as to which side of the stream the path goes.

Most people step across the stream, go through a gate and then turn right, but some local residents say you should turn right without crossing the stream. A nearby waymark (bizarrely placed well off the line of any footpath) makes no sense at all, while OS shows the path crossing the stream but then apparently running along the top of the hedge. I suggest you turn right without crossing the stream and look for a half-concealed footbridge after 100m, where you can cross into the adjacent field. A sudden abundance of waymarking here seems to have been designed to fudge the issue. Ignore it all and turn right, following the field edge to Beanhouse Farm.

7 Refusing to be put off by the lack of waymarking here, go through a gate and straight on along a stony path between houses and stables.

At the end of the stony path turn left on a muddy track just before a stone building.

The waymarking resumes when you enter a field and you should go obliquely right, keeping to the left of a fenced enclosure, to a decrepit footbridge at the far side.

The path should then go roughly across the middle of the next field, but it hasn’t been reinstated after ploughing.

Aim for an obvious gap at the far side, giving access to the A4103 near Stifford’s Bridge.

8 Cross the road, turn left past the Red Lion, cross Cradley Brook then take a path which runs roughly straight on through several pastures and along a driveway to a lane at Cradley.

Turn left, then take a lane on the right, soon after a bus stop. Walk for nearly 500m along the lane then turn right at a T-junction. Take the next path on the left, signed to Storridge.

Keep straight on at all junctions, climbing to the top of Whitman’s Hill then down the other side and along a farm driveway to the B4219.

Cross to Crumpton Hill Road and turn left to the New Inn when you meet the Worcestershire Way.