THOUGH this walk has much to recommend it, perhaps the best part is towards the end, where it follows Shrawley Brook for nearly two miles.

The brook flows through a peaceful and very beautiful valley.

The valley is at its best in March, April and May, when you can take in primroses, violets, bluebells and wild garlic bloom, which are out in abundance.

The walk also gives glimpses of the famous bluebells which fill Shrawley Wood each spring.

However, for better views of those you’ll need to make a detour to explore the wood, or return there on the occasion of Shrawley’s annual bluebell walks which showcase the flowers beautifully.

These take place this year on Sunday and Monday, May 4 and 5, from 10.30am until 4.30pm.

As well as walks, there will be home-made teas, plant stalls, an art exhibition in St Mary’s Church and a treasure trail for kids.

The proceeds will benefit the village hall funds.

Parking (£3, including a map of the wood) is opposite the church, though disabled drivers and those with small children may park at the village hall.

FACTFILE START Lenchford Inn on B4196 between Holt Heath and Shrawley; grid ref SO812643.

LENGTH Seven miles/11km.

MAPS OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 138 or 150.

TERRAIN Pasture, arable, woodland; mostly flat.

FOOTPATHS There are no problems with most of the paths around Shrawley. However, trying to use some of the paths between Nutnell Pool and Little Witley is like stepping back into the bad old days of the 1980s and 90s, when Worcestershire’s rights of way were among the worst in the UK. This limits our choice considerably, and the rather dull bridleway from Nutnell Pool was chosen only to avoid using seriously obstructed footpaths. The path used at Little Witley is obstructed, but can easily be avoided if necessary (see point five).


PARKING On the old road north of the Lenchford Inn.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Diamond 294/295 Worcester-Kidderminster via Shrawley, Mon-Sat only; worcestershire. 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 138/150.

DIRECTIONS 1 Walk north beside the B4196 towards Shrawley then take the first footpath on the right. Shortly cross to the other side of a fence at a stile but continue in the same direction. After passing Oliver’s Mound (a rock outcrop) you will be walking along the outer edge of Shrawley Wood.

After another mile, when forward progress is blocked by Dick Brook, climb a stile into the wood then cross the brook at a footbridge.

Proceed to either a stile or a gate (about 75m apart), turn left on a bridleway and follow it along the valley to Woodend Farm and the B4196.

2 Turn left, then cross the road to another bridleway, which is also a private road to Glasshampton Monastery and Wulstan’s Farm.

Keep straight on at a junction with a footpath then turn left at the next junction (no waymarking), towards Wulstan’s Farm. At the next junction go straight on.

The bridleway should then go straight across a field, but it’s obstructed by crops, so everybody uses the left-hand headland instead, where there’s a good track.

3 Pass to the left of Nutnell Pool.

The bridleway should then go diagonally across the next field, as indicated by a waymark. It’s obstructed by crops but you can pick the best way through, guided by hoofprints and aiming for a sort of storage area for agricultural machinery and other paraphernalia.

After passing to the left of the storage area, you will intercept a much too-narrow path and should turn right on this, past the end of the storage area to the field edge.

Alternatively, you could go along the left-hand headland to meet the too-narrow path and then turn right to the storage area.

4 Proceed to a waymarked gate below an oak tree, where a sign requests that we use the headland to avoid crop damage. As this refers to the bridleway described above you might wonder why there isn’t also a sign at the other end, near Nutnell Pool.

Turn left, where another notice requests that we use the headland.

If you prefer to use the correct right of way, it continues on a diagonal line, obstructed by cabbages.

If you do use the headland instead, turn right after descending into a dip, climb to a bank planted with willow trees and turn left, back on the correct bridleway.

It’s then easily followed to a road, where it continues opposite, towards Dingle Farm.

The waymarking is unclear, but you should go along the farm drive for about 120m and then take to the fields on the left.

The bridleway is then easily followed to the A443.

5 Cross to a path opposite, which is obstructed by crops. You could walk along the field edge but the correct route is diagonally left, using overhead power lines as a guide.

Meet the field edge at a gap between willow trees where a path enters the next field. Join this path but only for a few paces, until you see an overgrown footbridge on the right.

Cross the bridge and walk up the field edge until you’ve passed a pool. Continue uphill, heading just to the right of a telegraph pole.

Join a lane at Little Witley and turn left to the A443.

6 Cross to a footpath opposite, at Brookside Farm. Descend into the valley of Shrawley Brook and follow a clear path through the valley, ignoring all branching paths.

At one point the path climbs away from the brook, briefly taking to fields on the right, but it soon returns to the valley.

Ignore a decrepit bridge which spans the brook but cross the next bridge a little further on, by the site of an archaeological excavation at the remains of Heads Mill, and continue on your way through the valley.

7 Soon after passing Holt Mill, climb slightly uphill to a junction then fork right to return to the valley.

Turn left after crossing two stiles near a ford and keep left at the next junction, a few metres further on.

When you come to a metal gate the path takes to the fields and is easily followed to the B4196. Turn left to the Lenchford Inn.