THE woods which cling to the steep valleys carved out by the tributaries of the Teme are very special places, but access has long been an issue.

After decades of neglect, the path which runs through lovely Witchery Hole has at last been cleared, so please go and do this walk and help to keep the path open.

In addition, the long-obstructed riverside path upstream of New Mill Bridge has recently been diverted and extended, and now forms an integral part of this enjoyable walk.


Start: Clifton upon Teme, on B4204 west of Worcester; grid ref SO713615.

Length: Seven miles/11km.

Maps: OS Explorer 204, OS Landranger 149.

Terrain: Pasture, woodland, arable; moderately hilly in places.

Footpaths: Though two paths in the Shelsleys which were blocked for decades have recently been cleared, some paths in the Stanford Bridge/Sapey Common area are still as appalling as ever. Follow the directions carefully to find a way through all the overgrowth and obstruction.

Stiles: 21, several of them are overgrown.

Parking: Clifton.

Buses: Astons 310, Mon-Sat; s or 01905 765765.

Refreshments: Clifton and Stanford Bridge.


1 Take a path just to the left of the churchyard. Walk past a house then bear right along a track which leads to a field. Cross to the far side and continue in the same direction across the next field to the bottom left corner. Turn left, joining a track. Ignore two paths branching right, and one branching left, then take the next path on the right. Cross a stile into a field and walk downhill by the right-hand hedge. Cross a wobbly stile in the corner, ignore a path branching left and proceed downhill.

2 When you meet a track the path should continue straight on, close to the right-hand edge of the next field, but there’s barbed wire fencing in the way. If you go left towards Top Barn you’ll find a stile. Back on course, follow the field edge to Rock Wood and then walk down through Witchery Hole to a road. Turn right, then cross New Mill Bridge and walk upstream on a riverside path through fields. In the final field keep to the base of a steep bank before meeting a lane near Brockhill Court. Turn left along the lane, then left again at the next junction.

3 Take a path at a gate on the left, just as a line of poplars starts on your right. The path soon leads into a field. Go forward a few paces then turn right past a redundant stile. Continue straight on for 250m then look for a high leylandii hedge in front of you and head towards it, bearing very slightly right. An overgrown stile soon comes into view and gives access to a track which you cross to enter another field. Keep on in the same direction, left of the leylandii hedge, then through woodland and along the edge of another field until a stile gives access to dairy pasture. Cross the pasture then follow the Teme closely, passing under a road to arrive at a footbridge.

4 Cross the river, turn right then soon left on the access track to Stanford Park. When a path crosses the track join it on the left and walk along the left edge of a wood on a seriously overgrown path. Continue past walled gardens to meet the Shelsley road and turn right. After 400m turn right on a bridleway. After a further 300m go through a pair of large metal gates on the left (no waymarking) and walk along the right-hand field edge. At the end of the field follow a well-defined path up to a wood.

5 Turn left for a few paces and then take a wide grassy track.

It looks promising but this is not the right of way. After just a few paces a dry bank of brambles and bracken on your right is cut by a sunken boggy strip overgrown with thistles, rosebay, dock and nettles. This is the right of way.

Follow it uphill. It soon improves, only to deteriorate again as brambles take over. Go carefully, as the overgrowth conceals fallen branches and holes in the ground.

At the top of the slope turn right and cross a stile to a field.

6 There are two paths waymarked here – take the one going diagonally left. At first it’s impassable because of unharvested oil-seed rape so you’ll have to keep to the field edge. The rape is soon replaced by smaller crops and it’s easy to trample a way through to the far left field corner. Pass pheasant pens and follow the righthand hedge towards a fallen shack.

The path should go to the right of this but it’s currently impassable.

Go into the field on the left instead, and walk along the right-hand edge. Turn right at a hedge corner and after a few paces take a justdiscernible path crossing the field to Wastehill Wood.

7 Follow an overgrown path into the wood. It soon improves as you bear right downhill. Turn left over a footbridge, joining a bridleway, which then follows the right-hand field edge. After a short distance it’s so overgrown that you can’t get through on the correct line but if you bear left across a pile of timber you’ll meet a good path. Turn right and go through a gate in the field corner, rejoining the bridleway. Follow it along the right-hand edge of a pasture to a gate in the top corner. Proceed a few metres to a junction and leave the bridleway for a footpath.

8 Go straight on past an oak tree and then to a stile at the far side of a pasture. Continue in the same direction, crossing a brook and then three arable fields to meet the B4204. Turn left, then shortly take a path on the left which is easily followed across several fields. Keep straight on at a junction by a group of Scots pines.

Turn right at the next junction to return to Clifton.