Ramble Reports for July 2021

Chilling in Childswickham

Christine & Marian’s Midweek Ramble 14 July

On a beautiful morning ERC ramblers set off from the Childswickham Inn across the fields to the tiny hamlet of Murcot, unknown to many as it is situated on a ‘no through road’.

We lingered on the bridge over Badsey Brook, which was at the bottom of an idyllic farmhouse and garden. Wrestling ourselves away, we walked over to the outskirts of Aston Somerville, before turning back across the fields to Childswickham.

We walked into the heart of the village by the church, delighting in the charm of the old Cotswold stone houses of many shapes and sizes.
Then back to the pub for a leisurely lunch in the shade, food and drink having been ordered beforehand.

Fifteen of us set off towards Broadway in the afternoon. We passed through the luxurious park homes site at Childswickham, and then, once in Broadway, marvelled at the magnificent residences on Springfield Lane.

The weather remained hot the whole day, so, as we sauntered back to our cars, the small vinyard we passed did not seem out of place.


Perfect weather for butterflies

Marian’s Short Ramble 21 July

10.00 a.m. and 11 ERC ramblers gathered at Condicote Village Hall car park, finding shade to park their cars since it was already 24 °C.

Walking through the village we passed the church of St Nicholas and the walled village green and soon reached Ryknild Street, an old Roman road which is said to run from The Fosse Way, near Bourton-on-the-Water, passing through the Midlands to Templeborough, South Yorkshire.

Walking by a poppy field, Old Hinchwick Farm and then Hinchwick Manor, we were soon in the shade by Beechy Bank. As we followed the Diamond Way through woodland, thankfully there was more shade until we came to several open spaces where we were fortunate to see lots of different species of butterflies and had time for a coffee stop.

Passing Cutsdean Lodge, then up to a ridge, we had clear views of the Cotswold countryside including the nearby greened over disused quarry as well as lots more butterflies in some nearby tall grasses. After passing through fields of ripening oil seed rape we picked up the Gloucestershire Way to bring us back to Condicote village.

Time to look around the Grade 2 listed church of St Nicholas and admire the 12th century stonemasons’ work of the south door way – now protected from the elements by a porch.

After the walk we quenched our thirst and enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the Coach and Horses pub in Longborough.


6.2 Miles

Locking Good after Lockdown

Geoff & Rachel’s Evening Ramble 23 July

This was the first evening ramble since Covid lockdown restrictions ended on July 19th, and it was well attended by 25 ramblers. The intense heat of the previous week had subsided and conditions were perfect for an amble along the River Avon. Conditions weren’t quite so perfect for parking at the planned meeting point and Carl and Geoff did a sterling job redirecting ramblers to Birlingham Church.

From here, we set off towards the first lock of the evening, Nafford Lock. After pausing to watch two canoeists paddle over the weir, we reached the lock, where a 42 foot canal boat, crewed by a chatty group of lads, was negotiating it. After it had passed through, the wooden footbridge was swung back across and we safely crossed to another bridge, before reaching the road which led us through Eckington village and down to the River Avon at Strensham Lock.

From here, we followed the river as it wound its way through farmland. Alan pointed out Strensham Church on the opposite bank. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade 1 listed building and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Although closed for worship it can be visited. It has a 15th Century rood screen and some impressive brass etchings.

Further on, we passed an old pear tree. Worcestershire is sometimes referred to as the ‘County of the Peartree’ and the Black Pear appears on the County Council’s crest. This large oval pear turns a dark mahogany colour when ripe, not totally black! As it remains very hard, it needs to be cooked well before it can be eaten. The pear is a very old variety, believed to date back to Roman times.

After a while we passed under the main Birmingham to Bristol railway line. When the line was built in 1838, evidence of a Roman settlement was discovered and in1890 a prehistoric axe head was found nearby.

Soon we reached Eckington Bridge. This stone bridge is a Grade 2 listed building and has been scheduled as an ancient monument. It has been the subject of a poem titled “Upon Eckington Bridge, River Avon” by Arthur Quiller-Couch. After crossing the narrow bridge, we joined the Shakespeare’s Avon Way for a short while, before leaving the riverside and returning to Birlingham Church, where several members walked a few more steps to enjoy an evening drink at The Swan.


6.4 Miles

Summertime on Bredon

Geoff & Pat’s Longer Sunday Ramble 25 July

We were pleased to be asked to take part in a commemorative ramble in memory of Peter Lee-Smith who loved to walk on Bredon Hill.

Our group of 12 ramblers met at Kemerton and walked uphill past the King & Queen Stones which are thought to be the remains of a collapsed Long Barrow, now difficult to reach. We soon arrived at the Banbury Stone, or Elephant Stone and Parsons Folly which was built 39ft high on top of this hill of 961ft to elevate the height to 1,000ft. Here we took a short break to enjoy the misty views on this cloudy but warm and dry day, so much better than the weather forecast.

Continuing on the Wychavon Way we had our picnic lunch on the Great Hill overlooking Ashton under Hill. After a refreshing drink at The Star Inn, we walked through the pretty village, past the church, then on through Grafton, up Conderton Hill with an Iron Age Fort dating from 200BC before reaching the Belt and Sundial Farm.

Here we met Rachel and Geoff’s party who had walked up from Overbury. A great place for a group photograph before we all walked down the hill together towards Kemerton and Overbury. We had explored the highlights of Bredon Hill and felt that Peter would have loved the walk.

We rounded off the day with a delicious afternoon tea in Sue Lee-Smith’s delightful garden where we shared happy memories of Peter.


am 6.6 Miles pm 5.7 Miles

Time at last to Stand & Stare (with some walking in between)

Geoff & Rachel’s Shorter Sunday Ramble 25 July

After welcoming new member Jonathan, this shorter Sunday ramble set off from Overbury church.

Climbing slowly and stopping to admire the views across Overbury Village, we arrived at Pigeon Lane where we joined a permissive pathway and began our steady ascent of Bredon Hill. Our leisurely climb enabled us to admire the natural world around us; the wonderful views, the abundant bees and butterflies enjoying the masses of wild flowers lining the path, and a young skylark on the stonewall.

When we reached The Belt we noticed a lone rambler walking up the track behind us. As he came closer we realised it was Paul, who had been held up with road closures and arrived at the start after we had left.

Now with our full complement of 12 we continued along The Belt to Sundial Barn, where we were meeting up with the Longer Sunday Ramble group. Here we had a leisurely lunch hour break, enjoying the peace and quiet of Bredon Hill, which was broken when around the corner came a group of ramblers….the other ERC group.

After greetings had been exchanged we paid tribute to Peter and remembered him with an extract from Thomas Hardy’s poem ‘The Walk’, which Peter had included in his last Chairman’s Corner. We descended to Kemerton as one group, where we parted company and continued to Overbury to finish our ramble.

Rachel & Geoff

5.3 Miles