THE wooded, limestone ridge of Abberley Hill and the sheltered, fertile valley of the Dick Brook are just two of the highlights in this lovely walk packed full of things to enjoy.

Don’t miss the interesting churches at Astley and Abberley or the impressive watermill by Dick Brook.


Start: Crossroad by Astley Hall, at the junction of the B4196 with Church Lane and Bull Hill, about one mile north of Shrawley, grid ref SO800678.

Length: Nine miles/14.5km.

Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 138.

Terrain: Pasture, arable, woodland, quiet lanes, hilly in places.

Footpaths: The Worcestershire Way, Abberley Circular Walk and Geopark Way are excellent reflecting the time and money lavished on these socalled ‘promoted paths’ but others, despite some improvements, remain a very poor advert for the county. You won’t actually encounter many problems, apart from poor waymarking and some over-cropping, but that’s only because long stretches of lane have to be used instead of footpaths, as so many of the paths at Astley and Dunley are either seriously obstructed or have even disappeared altogether. Another is closed due to flood damage.

Stiles: 13.

Parking: Near the crossroad, without obstructing the bus stop (alternative parking/starting point available by Dick Brook Bridge on A451).

Buses: 294/295 Monday-Saturday only (but you can get very close to the route on Sundays, changing at Stourport – check timetables for services 3 and 300); or 01905 765765.

Refreshments: Manor Arms, Abberley.


1 Walk along Church Lane. Turn right at a junction, signed to Stourport. Fork left at the next junction, by Astley School.

Reaching the A451, cross to a footpath almost opposite. Walk past houses then straight on between a hedge and a fence to reach a junction. Go straight on into a field of potatoes. There is a stile at the far side and the map shows a path going straight to it, but you’ll currently have to turn left along a track, and then right on another track. Having crossed the stile, cross a track and another stile and go diagonally across the next field, towards the top corner of a plantation.

2 Turn left along a lane to reach the crest of a hill then take an easily missed path on the right.

Cross a field, turn left at the far side and return to the lane, meeting it at a junction. Take Netherton Lane opposite and stay on the lane until you can join the south-bound Worcestershire Way on the left. Follow it across fields to rejoin Netherton Lane and turn left. Go straight on at the next junction, leaving the Worcestershire Way but joining the Abberley Circular Walk.

3 Leave the lane on the right and go diagonally left across a field, after which the Abberley Circular is easily followed past hopyards, along a driveway and through a long, narrow pasture. Returning to the lane, turn right to reach Abberley village. Turn left opposite the Manor Arms and then turn right on a path signed to Wynniatts Way. Rejoin the Worcestershire Way on Abberley Hill and walk the length of the hill. You can stay on the Worcestershire Way (which coincides with the Geopark Way) or you can take another path which follows the crest of the ridge – to take this, just keep straight on when the Way turns right.

Whichever you choose, you will eventually descend to the lane running north of the hill.Take another path almost opposite, leaving the Worcestershire Way but staying on the Geopark Way.

4 Keep to the left through two fields, go through a gate, proceed to a junction and turn right on a track. Return to the lane, turn left, walk to the A451 and cross to another path (still the Geopark Way), which is easily followed through the valley of Dick Brook then past Priors Mill to a lane. Turn left, then turn right when you come to Astley Church.

Keep straight on along a grassy path until a stile gives access to a field. Take the right-hand path which leads quickly to a complicated junction.

5 The Geopark Way goes to the right, through a gate. Don’t go this way but cross a stile instead and then take the left-hand one of three paths, following it along field edges (changing sides as necessary) to meet a bridleway. You need to make a choice here. If you want to avoid a dangerous stretch of the B4196 – only 200 metres, but with no footway – you should turn left and follow the bridleway to Church Lane, then retrace your steps to the crossroad. If you feel able to tackle the road, then turn right along the bridleway instead.

6 As you approach Solhampton Farm the bridleway turns right to descend through woodland, after which there is a rather overgrown fenced section. It soon improves, leading past fishing pools to a junction where you turn left on a track. Follow it through a car park, past the farm and almost to the B4196. Just before you reach the road turn left on a driveway to Lower Old Hill (don’t be put off by the lack of waymarking). Look for a stile on the right and go diagonally across two gardens to meet the road. Turn left to the crossroad, taking great care not to get flattened by one of those idiots who thinks this bendy road is a race track