ONE of the finest characteristic features of west Worcestershire is the dingle woodland.

A dingle is a narrow, steep-sided valley and there are lots of them above the Teme Valley where they have been formed by tributary streams cutting down through the soft stone.

Happily, such dingles are often too steep for cultivation, afforestation or even grazing, and so some of them retain vestiges of undisturbed ancient woodland. They may be so narrow and enclosed that a humid microclimate develops which encourages such a profusion of vegetation that these dingles are sometimes said to be Worcestershire's answer to the rainforest.

Hayley Dingle, which you will encounter on this lovely walk, runs from Alfrick to the Teme and it's a wonderful place. There is no access to it, except at one point, but a footpath runs along the brink of it and you can peer down into a glorious tangle of trees, ferns, mosses and, at this time of year, more wild flowers than you would think possible.

At one point, the path runs through a small patch of woodland which has survived in the farmland above the dingle. Carpeted with masses of lesser celandines, wood anemones, primroses and bluebells, it provides an idea of what much of the county once looked like.

The footpath which skirts the base of steep, tree-covered Osebury Rock is a treat too, for it takes you through masses of wild garlic (ramsons). Not everybody likes the smell, but nobody could object to the flowers, which can look spectacular when seen in such huge numbers as here.

There are more flowers to enjoy as you take the Worcestershire Way across Round Hill. All too soon, the woodland flowers will be over for this year, so now is the time to get out and enjoy them.


Take the Alfrick road and after 500m join a footpath on the left which crosses a meadow then squeezes between Osebury Rock and the River Teme. Once the rock is left behind, the path is terraced into a slope and runs by the right-hand boundary of a riverside meadow.

At the end of the meadow go towards a group of newly converted farm buildings at Lulsley Court. Pass to the right of them then turn right on a driveway and proceed to a triangular junction.

Turn left, soon passing Upper Court. The lane then bends right to pass an isolated barn. Just after this look for a muddy track on the left, waymarked with black arrows and described as a "public road". It winds between woodland and hopyards before eventually climbing up Red Cliff, high above the Teme Valley.

Turn right, then swing left as the track crosses the dismantled Worcester-Bromyard railway on a substantial bridge. Entering a field, proceed to a junction and turn left along the field edge, still following the public road" waymarkers.

When you reach the piers of a dismantled railway bridge turn sharp right on a footpath skimming the edge of Hayley Dingle. When you eventually come to a stile, climb over and descend into the dingle. As you approach the bottom, fork right to cross a plank bridge then climb up to another stile and leave the trees.

Continue along the edge of Hayley Dingle until you come to another stile. Cross the dingle here and proceed through trees to emerge in a field. Turn right along the edge and soon right again on a bridleway. This leads to a lane where you turn left into Alfrick.

Go straight on at a crossroads by the village shop, along the road signed to Alfrick Pound and Suckley. Ignore a "no through road" on the left and carry straight on when you come to a crossroads. Keep right at the next two junctions, after which the lane climbs up to the crest of Crews Hill.

Join the Worcestershire Way here, at the driveway of a house aptly named The Crest. The Way runs north from here, along the top of Round Hill, before descending to join the Alfrick-Knightwick road not far from Osebury Rock. It's fully waymarked, easy to follow and makes a fine end to your walk.

If, however, you'd like an even finer end to your walk, try the route described below instead. Follow the Worcestershire Way for 10-15 minutes, by which time you'll be walking across a field with woodland on your left and a view of Worcester ahead.

As you approach the far side of this field you'll find a stile (with no waymarkers on it) on the left. Cross this and plunge steeply downhill through woodland. The path isn't obvious at first but you need to be just to the left of a small quarry and then you'll see that a sort of handrail has been constructed, which is useful for indicating the route. When it comes to an end you'll see a stile to the left below, so make your way down to that.

Cross a field and pass under the dismantled railway. Keep to the left-hand edge of the next field then pass through an orchard and to the left of a farm to reach a lane opposite Knightwick Chapel. Turn right, and soon right again, to Knightwick.


Start: Suckley/Alfrick turn, A44 Worcester-Bromyard road at Knightwick, GR732558.

Length: 6.5 miles/10.5km.

Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landrangers 149 and 150.

Terrain: Undulating, mostly woodland and pasture.

Stiles: Five or seven, depending on choice of route.

Parking: behind the bus shelter at Knightwick.

Buses: Worcester-Hereford buses 419/420 call at Knightwick several times daily (additional but infrequent services include 317/421/424); Traveline 0870 6082608

Refreshments: The Talbot at Knightwick, village shop at Alfrick.


This walk has been carefully checked and the directions are believed to be correct at the time of publication. No responsibility is accepted by either the author or publisher for errors or omissions, or for any loss or injury, however caused.