WITH its riverside setting, and wealth of beautiful medieval, Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian buildings, Upton has long been popular with visitors.

The town’s economy has always been closely linked to the River Severn, especially in the days when the river was the main trade route in the British Isles.

Nowadays, it’s the tourist trade which is important to Upton, and the 210-mile Severn Way plays its part in bringing visitors to the town.

The first few miles of this walk are on the Severn Way, which provides easy and tranquil walking through very pleasant countryside.

Immediately after leaving Upton the path skirts Upper Ham, a nature reserve where fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides are banned, resulting in diverse flora and fauna.

The ham is a Lammas meadow, one of only a handful remaining in the country.

The Lammas system has been in operation for over 1,000 years and involves grazing the meadows from Lammas Day in August until early the next year, after which they are kept stockfree to allow the grass to grow for harvesting in summer.

Lammas meadows were traditionally managed under a common system, with the grazing shared by the commoners on an equal basis, and with strips of meadow randomly allotted for harvesting, with dole stones used to mark the boundaries between strips.

Dogs must be on leads in Upper Ham during the nesting season (March to July) to protect ground-nesting birds such as skylarks.

They might be best kept on leads further downstream too, because the riverside meadows are used by large numbers of swans.

It’s not unusual to see up to two dozen at a time at Lower Ham or near Holdfast, and one pair is currently nesting on a riverside pool near Queenhill.

As you walk downstream you might see one or two members of Thompson Transport’s small fleet of working boats.

For centuries, rivers were the main highways for the transport of goods and the Severn was one of the busiest rivers in Europe.

Many continental waterways are still heavily used for freight transport but British rivers and canals are mostly left to leisure craft.

Since 2005, however, Thompson Transport has been running a fleet of motor barges on both the river Severn and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, providing a much more sustainable means of transport than road haulage.

They started with Perch, Chub and Pike, and in 2008 were able to add Elver to their fleet.

Their main source of income is from carrying sand and gravel from a quarry at Ripple to a Cemex plant at Ryall, near Upton, where the aggregates are washed and graded.

They are then transported to another Cemex plant near Gloucester for making into concrete which is used in local building projects.

The fleet also carried tonnes of blue clay from Upton to Worcester in 2008 for the building of flood defences.

FACTFILE START: Upton upon Severn; grid ref SO850407.

LENGTH: 7½ miles/12km.

MAPS: OS Explorer 190, OS Landranger 150.

TERRAIN: Riverside meadows and sheep pasture, woodland; mostly flat.

FOOTPATHS: Mostly problem-free, except for some poor waymarking and just one seriously obstructed path leading from the river to Queenhill Rough. Fortunately, it’s possible to find an alternative route (see point one). Note that there are also other obstructed paths in this area so please bear that in mind if planning to alter and/or extend the route described.



BUSES: First 362/363/364 from Worcester, Mon-Sat; First 41/42/42F/42G/43/43F from Malvern, Mon-Sat; worcestershire.gov.

uk/bustimetables 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 150.

DIRECTIONS 1 Join the Severn Way at Upton Bridge and follow it downstream for about twoand- a-half miles.

When you come to a pool you should be able to pass to the right of it but you may find that nettles and brambles make this impossible. If so, keep to the Severn Way until you have passed the pool and crossed a stile, then turn right along a field edge and go through a gate. At this point you will join the right of way.

Turn left, to find it further obstructed by two strands of wire a few metres apart.

Having crawled under these, walk along a field edge then through a waymarked gate on the left.

2 Walk along the base of a slope, along the nettleinfested edge of an otherwise bluebell-carpeted wood called Queenhill Rough. Watch out for rabbit holes, of which there are many along the path, mostly hidden by vegetation.

When you reach the M50 you’ll need to climb up the slope a little way to find three stiles allowing you to pass under the motorway into a field. Go diagonally right across parkland to meet the access road to Bredon School.

Turn right and follow it over the motorway to Queenhill.

Walk past the church and proceed to a road junction, where you turn right.

3 Take a footpath on the left, opposite Queenshill Manor, and follow it uphill to a junction. Cross a stile and turn left, ignoring another path branching left and passing some houses. After about 200m (the junction is not waymarked) turn your back on the houses and go diagonally downhill, passing 50m to the left of a copse to reach the lower left field corner. The path is then easily followed back to the lane, where you turn left.

4 When the lane bends left take a path on the right (the second right, not the unsigned track) and keep straight on at two junctions. Walk to Southend Farm and turn right to join a path which crosses a large field to join an old floodbank which provides a good route back to Upton. Turn left when you meet a street and proceed to the town centre.