THIS is a beautiful walk exploring the wooded hills which tumble down to the river Teme along one of its loveliest stretches.

River crossings are often few and far between on the Teme, but walkers can easily explore both sides of the river near Clifton without notching up many miles, because there are three bridges close together.

This walk uses two of them, Ham Bridge and New Mill Bridge, giving access to unspoilt and little-visited woods such as Southwood, Ladywood Common and Rock Wood.

Ladywood Common is designated access land, supposedly available to all, but you would never guess.

There is no evident signage and you’d struggle to find most of the five paths which should converge on the ruined cottage in the middle of the common.

The path used in this walk is clear, though poorly waymarked, and offers at least a glimpse of this lovely common.

Feel free to explore further if you can find a way through the trees.

The boundaries of the common are shown on OS Explorer map 204 and on Natural England’s website.

FACTFILE START Clifton upon Teme, on B4204 north-west of Worcester; grid ref SO714615.

LENGTH Eight miles/12.5km.

MAPS OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 149/150.

TERRAIN Pasture, woodland, orchard, arable; moderately hilly, steep in places.

FOOTPATHS Mostly excellent, but let down by the area between Hillside Farm and Wallcroft Farm, especially Ladywood Common, where most paths have disappeared, leaving only one viable option, which is itself compromised by poor waymarking and a missing fingerpost.


PARKING Clifton.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Aston’s 310 from Worcester, Mon-Sat only; or 01905 765765.


ORDNANCE SURVEY Worcester News recommends the use of OS Landranger Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside. This walk is based on OS Landranger 149/150 DIRECTIONS 1 Take a path to the left of the churchyard, which leads past a house and into a field. Follow the right-hand edge to a stile in the corner, where three onward paths are waymarked.

Take the left-hand one, which goes obliquely right to meet a hedge to the left of a farmhouse (it’s the lefthand path on the map, and on the ground, but the middle one if you’re looking at the waymarks).

Walk to the left of the hedge to another corner stile where again three onward paths are waymarked.

Take the middle one, crossing the stile, then turning left, to the right of a fence/hedge.

Go straight down the next field, then through a wood to a pasture.

2 Bear gradually left downhill, towards what from this point appears to be the far end of Weyman’s Wood. As you descend you’ll notice a stile in a fence a little way to the right – this is on your route, but to stay on the footpath you should go down to the woodland edge, then turn round and go diagonally uphill to the stile.

Continue in much the same direction across a second field to cross another stile in the fence at the far side, then turn left downhill on a bridleway (Sabrina Way).

Keep close to the left-hand boundary and ignore branching footpaths. After 700m, go through a gate on the left so that you continue down through woodland (Slashes Coppice) then along a field edge and past a house to meet the Shelsley lane.

Turn right to the B4204 then left to cross Ham Bridge.

3 Take a riverside path on the left and walk upstream through fields.

The path eventually climbs slightly through woodland to a gate covered in waymarks.

Turn right, without going through the gate, and follow a path uphill, turning right at the first junction and then straight on at all others to meet a lane.

Take a footpath which leaves the lane next to a white-painted cottage on the left, and walk up Rodge Hill.

Soon after passing a timber-framed cottage you’ll meet another footpath and a bridleway.

Turn left through a blue gate and walk to a junction where there are three more gates, and the waymarking has been removed. Go through the middle gate and follow the bridleway to the top of Rodge Hill.

4 Turn left on the northbound Worcestershire Way and follow it for about one-and-a-half miles, until you have passed Birchberrow Cottage and Woodleigh.

Very soon after this it turns left at a junction and descends to a lane.

Leave the Worcestershire Way when you meet the lane and go down a footpath opposite, which is also the driveway to Hillside Farm.

Approaching the farmhouse, branch right where waymarked, along the edge of the garden to a stile.

Go into a sheep pasture then through the first gate on the left.

Pass through a line of hawthorns then keep on in much the same direction, diagonally downhill, soon stepping over an electric fence then passing a redundant stile to enter a wood (Ladywood Common).

Walk straight through, soon passing a ruined cottage.

Keep straight on along a ridge to the end, then descend into a dingle, cross a footbridge and climb up the other side. Cross a stile to a field and turn right. Walk to a gate giving access to a lane.

5 Walk down the lane, if you wish, or down the field, as directed by a fingerpost, keeping well to the right of a brook at the bottom and then following a short track to the lane.

Turn left, then left again at the next junction. Take the first footpath on the right and follow the river Teme to New Mill Bridge.

Cross the bridge, walk to a T-junction and turn right, then take a footpath on the left which is easily followed uphill through Rock Wood, keeping to the right of the stream which flows through Witchery Hole.

6 At the top edge of the wood there are two stiles. Cross the left-hand one and go diagonally to a house, Harrisfield.

Cross a track and walk to the right of Harrisfield then continue in the same direction, along a holloway and to the left of three oak trees.

Go straight on when you come to a gate, along a track to a field.

Turn right, then after a few paces turn left across the field and keep straight on at all subsequent junctions to arrive at Clifton.