Ramble Reports May 2024

The Welcombe Hills

Hazel and Paul’s Midweek Ramble – 8 May

The group met, with slight difficulty in King’s Lane, Lower Clopton!!

Surprisingly, the first mile took us through deep mud, even though it was a beautiful sunny day. Walking steadily downhill, we joined the Welcombe Hills nature reserve. The reserve may have got its name from a historic well found with its inscription ‘SJC 1686’. Margaret, daughter of William Clopton who died in 1592 supposedly drowned here. It was around this time that Shakespeare was writing his famous play, Hamlet, and it’s believed that this tragic event provided the inspiration for his ‘Ophelia’ and her lonely death.

We passed Clopton House and Tower, and made our way towards the Stratford canal. The tower was designed as a belvedere for Clopton House and has been described as either “the smallest castle or grandest cottage in England”.

Having reached the canal, we followed it and Shottery brook into Stratford, passing some beautiful houses. Having reached the Avon, lunch was eaten with a quick visit to the Black Swan/Dirty Duck for a drink.

The climb back up to the cars took us over the Golf course and to the Obelisk with beautiful views all round.

am 6 miles, pm 5 miles

An Evening in the Vale of Evesham

Trevor and Lesley’s Evening Ramble – 10 May

On a beautiful Friday evening we gathered under shade near to Broadway Library. We set out due west along Back Lane and then north through and along the Sands estate to reach fields adjacent to Smallbrook farm and a herd of Suffolk sheep. Crossing these we reached the A44 and walked through an underpass and sunlit fields to the disused track bed of the railway line from Honeybourne to the (now rebuilt) Broadway Station.

Passing through two fields we reached Collin Lane, linking the A44 and Willersey, negotiated two tricky stiles and then onwards on rough ground through two fields of lush wheat to the junction of paths. Here we crossed a tributary to the Badsey Brook at Five Ways and headed northwest, slightly up hill at field edge to another stile and ditch to reach Hayway Farm, where the farmer had kindly offered to keep his three dogs indoors until we had passed through his land!

Unbitten, we walked westwards through his old orchard, along a field edge to reach Gorse Hill Farm (WR12 7PB) an organic dairy herd. Here, the automated dispensing of milk (milk shake flavours optional) and delicious ice cream is available every day until 19.00hrs.

A milk/icecream break of twenty minutes served to restore energy before passing through the farmyard along a concrete track to turn south uphill at the side of beautiful green hay fields for some distance to reach the A44 just north of the Broadway roundabout.

Taking due care, we crossed to a section of the “old” A44 to reach the B4632 into Broadway just short of Pennylands Bank leading to Childswickham. Crossing this into fields we reached a path adjacent to the south bound “new” A44, encountering cloying mud, largely caused by blocked drains on that road, at the end of which a kissing gate took us to a field-edge path to a bridge over the track bed that we crossed earlier.

A rough track eventually gave way to metalled road, Springfield Lane, and into Broadway at the other end of Back Lane, where we started our walk some two and a half hours earlier.

Diane kindly thanked Lesley and “Treasure” (modesty forbids) for devising this most enjoyable walk over unfamiliar land, and the group dispersed to various hostelries in Broadway, or abstemiously, to home.

Lesley and Trevor

6.7 miles 10.78 km

Lovely day for a stroll by the river

Christine’s Short Ramble – 15 May

It was a relief to see there hadn’t been any overnight rain, and that it was dry when we set off from Village Street in Harvington for our walk along the River Avon towards The Valley Country Park.

We followed the route of the proposed new cycle path from Salford Priors to Evesham, though a final route is still under discussion. We turned off the main road as we entered Norton and walked over the A46 using the accomodation bridge for the 2 farms the other side of the bypass.

A gate led us into a large field which has been the subject of re-wilding, and extensive tree planting. There was also an interesting pod where visitors can relax and reflect. A group photo opportunity presented itself. We then joined the disused railway line that ferried passengers between Barnt Green and Ashchurch until Beeching’s cuts in the 1960’s, walking along this until we turned off to walk up to the shopping area.

After coffee we had a pleasant sunny walk back along the river. On joining the main road again at Norton we followed the route towards Harvington Crossroads, turning off to walk through some delightful blossom filled orchards to get back to our starting point.

5.5 miles

An ale of two walks

Andy & Emily’s Evening Ramble – 24 May

Our Friday evening reprise of last July’s sodden walk around the riverine undulations between Abberley and Heightington proved to be a tale of two walks. 

First there was the planned walking route. Second, there was the extended detour version, made after a recce on which we found both electric fencing and storm-felled trees blocking the paths. Moreover, thanks to a traffic incident en route to our starting point, we also divided into two groups embarking at different times (the first group setting off nearly on time, rather more eager to sample beer at the Nothing Bound brewery-in-a-barn before closing time than to await those delayed by the traffic).

Unlike last year, this time there was no rain and a lot less mud, with cloud cover and some cooling breezes to assist our thirsty pace. No one reported swan dives into the nettles or sliding down mud chutes. The wriggling course of Dick Brook, which waters this green and pleasant land of rolling hills and forested gullies, still meant a lot of strenuous ups and downs on feet and two sticks, though.

Highlights included very cute pigs along with an adult pig very much in need of dental treatment, the magnificently-timbered 15th-century Worsley House nestling in a remote nook of farmland, and the damson-infused Shangri-La hidden in Joan’s Hole. And as well as soothing hilltop views and gurgling streams, the deep silence of these secluded byways and secret corners was a welcome balm for the ears.

With joy in our hearts and relief in our legs, both groups made it back to Worcestershire’s best craft-beer brewery in time for some rich juicy pale ales from Nothing Bound, and very tasty curries and briskets courtesy of Martin Lovell’s pop-up stand. Some of the finest refreshments in the county seemed a fitting end to some of its finest countryside.


5.3 miles

Buttercups – like sunshine in a meadow!

Alan & Pauline’s Sunday Ramble – 26 May

Having all found our way to Kineton by different routes, we were welcomed by the church bells before setting out along Church Street with its many fine houses.

We were soon passing the site of King John’s castle, any evidence long since disappeared. The route took us along the Dene Valley and just beyond the old Stratford to Banbury railway line, we encountered a very difficult stile with unavoidable mud, then by contrast our footpath crossed an immaculately mown garden on the outskirts of Butlers Marston. Leaving the village, we followed a bridleway alongside the river before crossing it for a final time to rise up to a stone barn where we stopped for a coffee break.

We were now close to the Compton Verney Estate and, after walking through the beautiful village of Combrook, we reached a large lake which we followed towards Park Farm. Good tracks took us to Compton Hill and after a short climb we turned towards Home Farm with horses and sheep all around. We encountered a shepherdess training a young dog with a flock of sheep and in the next field, gun dog trials were being held.

Lunch was calling and we made our way through buttercup meadows to picnic tables somewhat obscured by long grass and flowers, but with views of Compton Verney House and the bridge over the lake in the foreground.

After a quick visit to the Ice House we continued on the Estate through a wooded area to arrive at the top of a field with lovely views over Combrook. Good field paths then took us back towards Kineton with splendid views in all directions. Unfortunately, the fine weather we had enjoyed all day was spoilt by a heavy downpour which soon passed and by the time we reached the cars, we had dried out again.

Most of the group retired to The White Swan for a welcome pint to round off a splendid day.

Alan & Pauline

11 miles