Evesham Vale Circular Walk 1
EVESHAM COUNTRY PARK
Start/Finish: The Almonry, Abbey Gate, Evesham WR11 4BQ
Grid Reference: SP 035 436. OS Explorer Map 205 ‘Stratford-upon-Avon and Evesham’
Length: 6½ miles, 3 hours (approx.)
Parking: Available at Merstow Green Car Park, opposite The Almonry. Parking charges apply.
Refreshments/Toilets: Available en route at The Valley, Evesham Country Park
Terrain: Riverside paths, permissive paths, tracks and roadside pavements. Two gradual climbs. This can be walked at any time of the year but must not be attempted if the River Avon is in flood.
Waymarking : Simply follow the Evesham Vale Circular Walk 1 waymarks and direction arrows
Details of the Walk
A 6½ mile circular walk, combining the historic centre of Evesham, riverside walking, Evesham Country Park and spectacular views.
The walk starts at The Almonry and is indicated by the disc ‘Evesham Vale Circular Walk 1’.
1. From The Almonry go through the gateway that leads to the churches of St Lawrence and All Saints and pass under the imposing Bell Tower.
As you enter the Abbey precincts there is a sequence of interesting information boards. Evesham Abbey of St Mary and St Egwin was initially founded as a monastery circa 701 by Ecgwin, Bishop of Worcester, and was one of the largest and richest Benedictine monasteries in England. It became an abbey in 989, lasting until its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539.
Continue down through the park towards the River Avon and turn left along Monks Walk. Exit the park and cross Bridge Street into Mill Street.
2. Turn right down Mill Bank and just past The Old Mill, look right to find a footpath sign indicating left. As you start to walk alongside the river, notice the weir and Evesham Lock over to the right.
The source of the River Avon is near Naseby in Northamptonshire and it joins the River Severn at Tewkesbury. By 1874, the stretch of the river between Evesham and Alveston (two miles upstream of Stratford-upon-Avon) was no longer navigable, but it reopened to leisure river traffic in 1974. The Lock Keeper’s Cottage was constructed in the 1970s as a toll station and accommodation for the lock keeper. It is one of the most recognisable landmarks on the river.
Pass under the railway bridge to reach a wetland area accessed via a short boardwalk. Following the riverside path, pass through a pedestrian gate then a kissing gate by the Evesham by-pass bridge.
3. Continue along the riverbank.
On the opposite side you will see where Broadway Brook joins the Avon. The village across the river is Offenham, noted for its market gardening. The Bridge Inn on the opposite bank used to operate a foot passenger ferry which could be hailed from this side of the river. (Circular Walk 3 starts in Offenham.)
4. As you cross a small footbridge, you are now entering Evesham Country Park. Continue on the path and off to your right, you’ll see the small island known as ‘Dead Man’s Ait’.
‘Ait’ is an Anglo-Saxon term for a low, river island. Look out for the information board here that will tell you about the connection between ‘Dead Men’s Ait’ and the Battle of Evesham.
Continue to a fork in the path and bear left. Follow this round to the left and then to the right. The path now takes you straight ahead between the river and the wooded slopes of the Country Park.
5. At this point the route is straight on following the river, but there is an option to shorten the walk by turning left at the permissive path sign to go up the steps. This will enable you to rejoin the main route at point (7).
6. After crossing two footbridges, turn up diagonally left on a permissive path and left again to join the bed of an old railway line.
This is the former Midland Railway (Ashchurch-Evesham-Redditch) which opened in 1864 and was closed in 1963. From this vantage point you can look across to the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve on Windmill Hill (Circular Walk 3).
7. Turn right off the railway up a broad track. (The shortened route from (5) continues ahead here.) Go through the gate at the top of the track and pass the Evesham Vale Light Railway Twyford Station to reach ‘The Valley’ shopping area. Turn left down the main thoroughfare where you will find toilets and plenty of food and drink outlets.
8. At the end of the shopping area you will see a broad footpath which leads you back into the Country Park. Follow this path, initially alongside the light railway and then towards the play area and picnic spots. Divert off the path here to the top of the play area to enjoy spectacular views across to Bredon Hill and the Cotswolds. Back on the broad path, cross the railway with care and continue ahead on a well signed route.
9. At the T-junction turn right, following the permissive path which then turns down left at the end of a line of trees. At the track turn right, then almost immediately left to reach the river path. Turn right to retrace the route that you took earlier until you reach the kissing gate beyond the by-pass bridge.
10. At the way mark post turn right to walk away from the river towards the buildings and a kissing gate. Turn right onto the concrete track and as it starts to rise, turn right onto a narrow path leading to open fields. Cross a track to continue in this same direction. The path now takes you between hedgerows and through a wooded area to join a lane. Walk up the lane as far as the first houses.
11. Turn left and follow the path at the top of open fields, again with far reaching views. This path turns right into Hangman’s Lane. Continue ahead until you reach the road at Greenhill. Turn left and walk down into Evesham.
12. Go through Allée de Dreux, passing The Round House on your right, into the Market Square.
The Round House, now a branch of NatWest Bank, was formerly known as ‘The Booth Hall’ and was perhaps originally an inn. It is an exceptionally complete timber-framed building dating from the late 15th century. Opposite the entrance to the bank you’ll see the Eof Statue, depicting the swineherd Eof (or Eoves). It is a representation of the legend surrounding the origin of the town’s name.
13. Continue on through the 12th century Abbot Reynold Gateway back into the ancient Abbey Precincts.
About Evesham Vale Circular Walks
This is one of five circular walks to choose from based in the Vale of Evesham.
The walks are managed and maintained by Evesham Rambling Club as part of a project to attract walkers to the area.
Each walk is supported by a leaflet and is waymarked throughout. A QR code on the waymarker discs allows you to access details whilst on the walks.
1. Evesham Country Park
2. Evesham, Badsey, Wickhamford, Aldington
3. The Littletons, Offenham, Cleeve Prior
4. Evesham, Netherton, Elmley Castle
5. Evesham, Charlton, Cropthorne
Walk 1 Leaflet
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