Wild daffodils flower from February to early April and are blooming now in the woods, meadows, hedgerows and churchyards of a small patch of north Gloucestershire and south Herefordshire.

Following the ten-mile Daffodil Way is one way to see them (leaflet available from Ledbury tourist information centre) but here is an alternative route which is possibly even better.

There is a fair amount of public access land on this route, including Betty Daw's Wood (a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserve), Hay Wood, Greenaway's Wood and Shaw Common.

You can explore all of these as you wish, with no need to stick to rights of way or the route described here, but please do keep to the wider paths to avoid trampling not only the daffodils but also the newly emergent leaves of the forthcoming bluebells.

Upon leaving Greenaway's Wood you will see another GWT nature reserve, Gwen and Vera's Fields.

There are two fields, Wellings' Garden and The Pleck, one on either side of the exit from Greenaway's Wood, and they are considered to be two of Gloucestershire's finest daffodil meadows.

They also contain other wild flowers and some traditional varieties of apple and pear, which are no longer commercially grown.

Please note that GWT asks visitors not to enter the meadows but to admire them from the gates.

The route also uses part of the towpath of the partially restored Hereford and Gloucester Canal.

Take your binoculars if you're into birdwatching as there are some large pools by the canal. Also, note that where the towpath crosses a lane a short detour to the left will bring you to Oxenhall where wild daffodils fill the churchyard.

* Please remember that it is illegal to pick wild daffodils.

factfile Start: High Street, Newent; grid ref SO720259.

Length: 8 miles/13.5km.

Maps: OS Explorer OL14, OS Landrangers 149/162.

Terrain: Mostly pastoral farmland, with woods, orchards and some arable fields; gentle gradients; very muddy.

Footpaths: Mostly excellent.

Stiles: 22.

Parking: Car park off High Street.

Public transport: Train or bus (First 417) to Ledbury then Stagecoach 132 to Newent, Mon-Sat. Consult www.herefordbus.info or Traveline 0870 608 2608.

Refreshments: Newent.

DIRECTIONS: 1 Leave High Street on Watery Lane, turn right on Holts Road, right again at Glebe Close, walk to the B4221 and cross to Horsefair Lane opposite. Turn right on a footpath after 400m, follow it to the Hereford and Gloucester Canal, join the towpath and walk to Cold Harbour Bridge. Go up to a lane and turn left. Take a footpath on the left after 400m and turn right. Walk through three fields, cross the canal and go uphill through orchards and fields to a lane. Turn right, then soon left at a T-junction.

2 Take a footpath on the left just after a phone box, crossing a field to the corner of Betty Daw's Wood. The right of way keeps to the left of the wood, but you can gain access by climbing over a gate (you may prefer the official access point further along the road). Proceed a few paces to a junction and turn right. Turn left at the next junction and walk to the far side of the wood. Leave it at a gate and follow the left edge of a field (ignoring a second gate) until a footbridge gives access to Greenaway's Wood. Walk straight through on a waymarked path.

3 Turn right along a lane. At Quince Cottage go through an unsigned gate opposite to another wood, Shaw Common. Take the main path, which runs more or less straight through, then cross a farm access track to enter Hay Wood. Keep straight on at three junctions, joining a forest road at the third one. The road eventually comes to a T-junction marked by a green-banded post. Turn left and keep straight on at a fork, to meet a lane. Turn right.

4 Take a footpath on the left which rejoins the lane just beyond a ford. Turn left on a bridleway, passing Brockmore Farm and eventually forking left after Brook Cottage. Cross the B4221 to Stoney Road. Turn left at Place Hill then take a footpath by The Old Cottage. Keep to the left through an orchard then straight on along a field edge. Cross a lane to a path opposite and proceed to another lane. Cross to another footpath and keep to the right through an orchard to another lane. Cross to a path opposite, following a waymarked route through a garden and into a field. Walk along the left edge to the left-hand one of two adjacent footbridges. Walk up a tree-lined path to a driveway and proceed to the B4222.

5 Cross to a path opposite, walk to a track and turn left. Take a path on the right just after Lodge Farm, going through an orchard and a wood. Turn right at the road then right again, ducking low under fallen trees (alternative access is available further along the road) to reach a junction by a picnic table. Turn right to another picnic area. Turn right to find a path on the left. Descend to the bottom left corner of a field and cross a footbridge into another field. Head up a slope towards farm buildings, keeping to the left of fencing. Walk straight on between the buildings to a junction at Wyatts Farm.

6 Turn left to go through a white gate and join the farm driveway. Turn right at a lane then take a footpath on the left at Mayfield. Keep straight on until you reach Broadford Arboretum. Turn right, making your way to the far corner to meet Watery Lane. Turn left into Newent.