Ramble Reports for December 2021

Walking with Dinosaurs

Hazel & Paul’s Short Ramble 15 December


On a rather dreary but dry day, Club members set off from the Plough and Harrow, Drakes Broughton through Windmill Hill and the Stoulton Millennium woods.

Having survived the mud in the wood, we crossed the main road back to Hawbridge, where as the name implies there is a bridge over a stream which once denoted the boundary between the land in the hands of the Bishop of Worcester and the land in the hands of the Abbot of Pershore on the other side. The upkeep of that bridge has long been a source of contention. After walking around Croome Perry Wood and Deerfold Wood we returned to the pub, passing a dinosaur in a garden and a pre-Christmas lunch was enjoyed by all.

Hazel & Paul

5 miles

Festive Mistletoe and Mud!

Alan & Pauline’s Midweek Ramble 8 December


A club member who rang to cancel at short notice because it was pouring down at the time regretted this early decision as, by 10’o’clock at the start of the ramble, the sky was clearing and it was a perfect day for walking.

We set off through the churchyard and circumnavigated the deer park before encountering the first mud of the day. Having dealt with this obstacle, we stopped briefly while Alan recounted a brief history of Elmley’s 11th century castle. We followed a good bridleway up Fiddler’s Knap and then on toward Ashton Wood.

The overnight rain meant that the route was rather slippery in a few places and one unfortunate member took a tumble a couple of times, without too much injury, but alas, a brand new coat suffered!

We reached the outskirts of Ashton under Hill before turning along a broad track where we made steady progress towards Ashton Wood House and our scheduled coffee stop. However, we were thwarted on two counts by a logging operation.

Firstly, they had removed the conveniently situated tree trunks that would have been our intended seating and secondly, they had left massive caterpillar track ruts across our footpath, which caused some hilarity trying to overcome this obstacle.

We found a suitable coffee stop further on and it was fascinating to watch the tracked vehicle lumbering (excuse the pun) up the hill.

Passing through Kersoe, we soon reached The Queens in Elmley Castle in good time to scrub up before our lunchtime meal.

After lunch we followed good, clearly marked paths to Little Comberton. We passed through several gates installed by ERC and the Working Party’s handiwork was much ‘admired’ – mainly by those who had done the installations!

Mistletoe grew in abundance in the trees along the path and Pam could not resist taking a large bunch back with her – not before testing it with a kiss from Peter!

Having passed Bricklehampton Hall, we were soon back in Elmley Castle at the end of a bracing winter walk.

Alan & Pauline

am 5.8 miles; pm 4.2 miles

No hope of a view in Woolhope

Carl & Andy’s Sunday Ramble 19th December


On a misty and damp morning 10 ramblers assembled at Woolhope Parish Hall. Well done everybody for finding their way to the start in the misty conditions. Woolhope is an Anglo Saxon manor that was gifted to Hereford Cathedral by the benefactress Wulviva in the 10th Century. Wool is derived from Wulviva and Hope is a local word for a blind valley – Wulvivas Valley.

We set off past St Georges church, climbing Butchers Lane before reaching the first of 2 lime kilns in the area. The kilns were used from the mid 18th to 19th centuries. Lime was used to treat soil, for mortar and for leather tanning. Here we had our first spectacular view of the Shropshire Hills, except the mist meant we could not see more than 200m.

Following field paths, we picked up the Herefordshire Trail and followed the Marcle Ridge, dodging a Trig Point in the line of the path along the way. The Marcle Ridge gave good views of Hereford and the Malverns to the east and the Black Mountains and Shropshire Hills to the south and west. Apart from the mist once again spoiling the view. Hopefully my description of the view was enough for the group.

On previous visits I had also seen a number of Red Kites in the area. Typically none to be seen today. After passing the Ridge Hill TV mast, which could just be seen through the mist (spot the theme), we followed a stone path down towards Sollers Hope and its vague pantomime connection. A motte near the church marks where a manor house once stood. The house was built by Robert Whittington who was elder brother of Richard (Dick) Whittington, 4 times Mayor of London. From Sollers Hope we followed field paths back to Woolhope and our lunch stop at the parish hall.

The afternoon saw us following parts of the Three Choirs Way through Haugh Woods, famed for its butterflies which were in short supply in December. Paths ranged from good hard standing to very muddy tracks. The mist was still heavy but at least not noticeable in the woods. After arriving back at our cars, most of the group headed to Crown Inn for a well-deserved meal before making our way home.


am 7 miles pm 5 miles