THE area around Belbroughton, Broome and Blakedown was once the most important centre in England for the manufacture of agricultural tools, particularly scythes.

This was largely due to the numerous fast-flowing streams draining the Clent Hills. In the 18th century these were dammed to produce pools, each with its own watermill.

The mills powered forges where the tools were made. There were 32 pools at one time, with associated wetlands, so despite all the industry it must have been wonderfully rich in wildlife.

The tool industry declined in the 1940s and the wetlands have mostly gone now, together with most of the wildlife. But many of the pools survive, including lovely Drayton Pool, which features in this walk.

Several mills and forges survive too; some are used for other industrial or commercial purposes, while others have been converted into houses.


Start: Chaddesley Corbett, grid ref SO892734.

Length: 7½ miles/12km.

Maps: OS Explorer 219, OS Landranger 139.

Terrain: Pasture, arable and woodland; no hills.

Footpaths: Mostly excellent, with a few exceptions – the Drollis Farm path needs improving (see point seven) and there are some sub-standard stiles elsewhere. Two paths have not been reinstated after ploughing but field-edge alternatives are available.

Stiles: 20.

Parking: Chaddesley Corbett.

Public transport: X3/X3A Areley Kings- Stourport-Kidderminster-Bromsgrove- Redditch via Chaddesley Corbett, Monday- Saturday, with good connections to/from Worcester (144/294/295/303/350/ train); or Traveline 0871 200 2233.

Refreshments: Chaddesley Corbett and Drayton.


1 Walk up the village street then fork left at Briar Hill. Keep straight on at all junctions. After passing Woodhouse Farm you’ll see two paths on the left: take the second one. The OS map shows the path running diagonally across a field to a point near the far corner but this route has not been waymarked. Instead, a so-called ‘permissive path’ (‘diversion’ might be more accurate) is indicated. If you take this, you’ll go straight across the field on a track and then turn right at the far side.

2 Approaching the far corner, you’ll come to a hedge. Keep to the left of it, and proceed to Tandy’s Lane. Turn left and walk to Stourbridge Road. Turn right, then soon right again on a footpath.

Walk across a long, narrow field, keeping to the top edge. Continue through a second field then descend gradually through woodland to cross a brook. Keep going in the same direction, along the other side of the brook. After passing through a gate, the path climbs away from the brook and leads to a lane at Hillpool.

3 Turn right, then very soon left, along a driveway. Ignore a path on the right at Stable Cottage and proceed a few steps further to find one on the left. Go up a slope to enter a field then turn right over a stile and keep right through two fields to a lane. Proceed to Drayton and turn left. Pass Broughton Mill to find two footpaths signed on the right. You want the second one but there is some confusion as the waymark arrows are at odds with the fingerposts: walk on a few paces further and then turn right on the Drayton House driveway, where further waymarking makes everything clear. Walk past Drayton Pool then keep going beside a brook. Keep straight on at a junction by a footbridge.

4 Turn right at Drayton Road, cross the brook and turn right along the other side of it. Turn left when you reach a junction with a path coming from the footbridge mentioned above (point three), then take a path on the right by a sewage treatment works. After entering a field the path is well-trodden and unmistakeable until it forks, at which point you should keep left.

5 Approaching the far side of the field, look for a junction by a fence corner – the waymarks are on a post on the right, behind two hawthorn trees. Turn round here, as though you were going to walk back across the field, but go diagonally left instead, crossing a plank footbridge to find a stile in the hedge. Walk through young woodland then across two arable fields to meet a bridleway. Keep straight on to a junction. Turn left to meet a lane by Drayton Court.

Turn left.

6 Take the first path on the left and go diagonally across a field to enter another. Continue in the same direction to meet a hedge corner. You should then be able to go diagonally left to meet a lane by a fingerpost but the path has not been reinstated after ploughing. At present, most walkers follow the hedge, turning left in the field corner.

7 Cross the lane to a path opposite and walk straight on through four fields, ignoring a cross-path.

Cross a stile to the right of Drollis Farm, cross the farm drive and cross another stile – take care here not to get entangled in the remains of a wire fence. Turn right, parallel with the farm drive, pass to the right of a barn (beware brambles) and continue along the edge of the next field to a gate to a road.

You’ll have to untie the gate or climb over it.

8 Turn left then first right on Tanwood Lane. Walk to Tanwood Cross and take a path opposite. Walk along a driveway, along the edge of a garden and through a small gate into a field.

Keep roughly straight on, ignoring a path going right to a footbridge.

Descend to another footbridge in the bottom corner of the field. Cross Hockley Brook and turn right, then follow an excellent path to Chaddesley Corbett.

Worcester News recommends the use of OS Explorer Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside. This walk is based on OS Explorer 219.

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 either the author or publisher for errors or omissions, or for any loss, accident or injury, however caused.