Ramble Reports November 2023

Today’s ramble will be – Plan B

Alan & Pauline’s Midweek Ramble 8 November

After welcoming new member Jayne Kavanagh we set off on a route devised the day before the ramble as our original route was now under several feet of water. Instead of the intended stroll alongside the River Severn we followed a raised path with temporary ‘lakes’ on both sides.

Just as we reached Southend Farm a sharp shower saw us donning waterproofs but not for long and, thankfully, this was the only rain of the day. Beyond the hamlet of Holdfast we were tasked with tackling three difficult stiles which strung out the group as we climbed Heath Hill. It was interesting to note that several people commented on the tree part way up the hill, so reminiscent of the one recently felled at Sycamore Gap. We regrouped at the top of the hill for a coffee break and to enjoy the distant views before we hit the downside of this new route – a series of very muddy fields, but negotiated with the usual ERC stoicism. The path soon improved and we had the opportunity to drag through long damp grass to clean our boots (but Alan and Pauline knew this was futile!).

Pauline took over as leader to wend our way along a faint twisting and turning path through a dense wood which wouldn’t have been out of place in a ‘Get out of here’ video game. By now, the landlady at The Drum & Monkey in Newbridge Green had been alerted to our imminent arrival and we quickened our pace in anticipation of lunch. The food was excellent and consultation of the printout for the menu choices was needed to convince one member that they had indeed ordered the ‘whale’ and chips and not the small fish and chips. (Those on the walk will understand the significance of ‘whale’ and chips!)

The afternoon walk took us in a northerly direction initially through a large Estate to reach Duckswich and then on to The Hook. There was some discussion between the leaders as to which of three paths was the one eventually decided on after the initial recce. The one Alan settled on wasn’t the original route but it did lead through two very pleasant nature reserves with views towards the Malverns. We headed through Brotheridge Green before passing Clive’s Fruit Farm where we dropped down to the sunken path along the old railway line which brought us back to the cars in Upton upon Severn.

Pauline & Alan

am 5 miles: pm 5 miles

Autumn in all its glory – and the usual mud

Alan & Pauline’s Short Ramble – 15 November

This bright autumn morning saw a good turnout for what was our third annual ramble from Feckenham. This attractive village is an ideal starting place to explore the surrounding countryside and has the added advantage of lunch at the ever-welcoming Rose & Crown after the walk.

We assembled on The Green before heading off past quaint cottages and the watermill to reach the footbridge over the same Bow Brook that runs through Pinvin and Peopleton. A sunken wooded path upward towards the area of Berrow was a delight with shafts of morning sunlight filtering through the golden leaves. Beyond Berrowhill Farm we were treated to extensive views of the Worcestershire countryside as we walked on to Cruise Hill and Alan, so intent on the scenery, missed the ‘easily missed’ entrance to a footpath and started down a parallel driveway. Before the rest of the group could follow, an upstairs window opened and a very genial homeowner pointed out the correct route.

As we’ve experienced on nearly every ramble this autumn, mud featured in several gateways and along the margins of fields but it does have its benefits in that when you fall, the mud guarantees a soft landing. However, that was no consolation to one faller who arrived at the pub caked in mud.

A steep, winding climb through woodland brought us to the trig point on Berrow Hill with spectacular views in all directions. Now on the homeward straight, the going was good – downhill and then uphill on grassy paths with friendly Jacob sheep coming over to say hello. Back in Feckenham, twenty hungry ramblers retired to The Rose & Crown for a well earned lunch.


5.5 miles

Very, very, very muddy

Paul and Fran’s Sunday Ramble 26 November

17 brave (or is it stupid) Rambling Club Members gathered in the car park of Upton Snodsbury Playground on a cold, damp, drizzly Sunday morning.

Four club members were absent because they were walking in La Palma. Another had opted to go drinking beer in St Albans. Undoubtably, they had all made a better choice, but nevertheless, the ramble was set and lunch at the pub was arranged, so off we went. Or at least we did after some juggling of cars on the rather small car park.

The walk started with a potted history of the village of Upton Snodsbury from Fran, and then everyone started walking at a brisk pace to get some warmth into their bodies. Despite Fran’s research into the history of the village, it then transpired that Upton Snodsbury’s main claim to fame is that Alan had built a row of houses there. Well, he had arranged and organised for them to be built, I don’t think he laid a single brick, but we know what he means.

Then it was across the fields towards Bow Wood. The woods gave everyone their first (of many) opportunities to test the waterproofness (or “unwaterproofness”) of their footware. (Note: The walk leaders were both wearing wellies.)

On exiting the wood, we crossed fields from where, on a clear day, glorious views of the surrounding rolling green fields can be had. But not today.

The better news was that as the morning went on, the rain stopped and the mist lifted (OK, lifted a little bit) and it definitely got warmer.

Next on the route was Grafton Wood. A much bigger affair than Bow Wood. And more bigger means more muddier and more puddlier. I think everyone enjoyed the conditions under foot, including the one faller – no damage was done to either the rambler or the wood.

Our reward for the battles of the morning was a lunch stop at the Boot Inn in Flyford Flavell, where everyone was well fed and refreshed and some of the group took the opportunity to dry socks and hats by the fire and on the radiators.

The afternoon walk was a shorter, easier route than the morning. Apparently. So, off we set from Flyford Flavell, walking across the fields towards Naunton Beauchamp, appreciating the magnificent views that were shielding themselves behind the mist which had started to form again. Some of the group have fantastic imaginations, it has to be said. Those imaginations were further exhibited when some damage to a tree was noted. Deer were suggested as the likely culprits, but buffalo, bison and rhino were also volunteered.

Quick stop at Naunton Beauchamp for another history lesson from Fran. Main claim to fame of this place is that Paul and Fran live there. Sadly, as walk leaders we had failed, because we hadn’t thought to lay on mulled wine and mince pies. Sorry.

Then it was on to Cowsden, and the good news for all was that from Cowsden we were just a short hop back to the start point which, more importantly, was also the end point. This section was fairly uneventful until we reached a puddle near a gate. Well, more of a small lake than a puddle. No one had thought to bring a boat, so rather than wade or swim through, an alternative plan was hatched to fight through a small gap in the hedge nearby. Good job the walk leader had some secateurs in his pocket.

And then we ended up at Upton Snodsbury, where we had started six hours earlier. It was still not raining and luck was on our side because by 4.30pm the rain was falling.

Thank you to the hardy souls who braved the conditions. I think a good time was had by all.


am 5.5 miles, pm 4.5 miles