How the other half live
Hazel and Paul’s Midweek Ramble 9 December
In the morning, we set off through Ombersley Park, with views of Ombersley Court, the home of Lord and Lady Sandys until 2017. Ombersley is a black and white’ village, and is the largest parish in Wychavon. We walked towards Holt Fleet, on the hillside above the River Severn, returning through Boreley and Uphampton. There are three conservation areas, Ombersley, Uphampton and Northampton, and 150 listed buildings. After lunch, we walked north to Northampton and Hillhampton, through market gardens and by fine houses. On the way back we viewed the Plague Stone and the ‘weighbridge hut’.
Hazel & Paul
am 5.4 miles/8.6 km; pm 5.2 miles/8.3 km
Ed’s Note: Because their ramble was oversubscribed Paul and Hazel were kind enough to take out four members who had missed out on the same route the following day.
Alan & Pauline’s Short Ramble 16 December
After welcoming new club member Hayley Syril, we set off across Pebworth churchyard, everyone dressed for the heavy rain that had been forecast. We headed down a ridge and furrow field, occupied by a small flock of Cotswold sheep with their lambs – a treat as they are quite a rare breed. Our route took us across grassy fields (where many of the old stiles had been replaced by the Pebworth Voluntary Working Group) to Ullington, and it wasn’t long before we came upon a particularly muddy field which resulted in laborious boot scraping before we crossed Buckle Street.
We were soon climbing Sheen Hill with views opening up in all directions, and as we dropped down towards South Littleton, you couldn’t miss the sprawling expanse of HMP Long Lartin just below. We took the footpath that runs parallel with its forbidding perimeter wall, passing a recent barn conversion with its remarkable glass-fronted personal gym (complete with rocking horse?!) and soon reaching our coffee stop close by the London to Hereford railway line. After the Intercity had thundered by, we crossed the tracks and passed through the Ranch Caravan Park into Honeybourne, where the leaders donned hi-viz vests to safely guide the group over the railway bridge.
A fresh breeze was blowing as we made our way up Baylis’s Hill and into a recently planted section of the Heart of England Forest. Shortly afterwards, we encountered our second muddy field but fortunately, this was followed by pastureland where the mud fell off quite readily in the long damp grass. As we arrived back in Pebworth, the weather was still dry – it had been a fairly overcast day but with occasional, welcome glimpses of sun. The forecasted heavy rain had not materialised but as we left the village to drive home, the heavens opened!
Alan and Pauline
A wandering in the Wyre
Carl & Alan’s Sunday Ramble 20 December
The group met at the Blackstone picnic area, Bewdley, on a damp morning. At least it wasn’t raining. After Chelsea buns and muffins to provide fuel for the day (thanks Hazel and Paul, and Pauline) a brief description of the route was given and the group warned about conditions – it IS muddy. We set off along the River Severn to Bewdley to find the path flooded so had to divert to the field alongside and hop over a gap in the fence back to the path. In Bewdley the flood defences had been erected which meant a minor detour through a car park to get back to the path.
After Bewdley the path was found to be flooded once again resulting in another diversion through a field alongside the path. A steam train spotted on the Severn Valley Railway led the group to wave furiously like extras from the Railway Children. At the remnants of Dowles Bridge we entered the Wyre Forest by following the path along a rather swollen Dowles Brook. We passed Knowles Mill the last of 6 flour mills that used to operate along the brook and now preserved by the National Trust. We then followed the line of an old railway track before heading to the Wyre Forest visitor centre for our lunch stop.
After lunch the sun made a welcome appearance and we followed some narrow and muddy paths towards Ribbesford woods stopping for a socially distanced group photo. Alan pointed out Ribbesford House which had been used as a base by the Free French in WW2. We then passed by St Leonards church and its atmospheric church yard before following the River Severn back to our cars.
am 6.7 miles – pm 4.9 miles