This years programme looks as exciting as ever. My original plan was to travel via train to The Lickey Hills in April but a journey time of almost two hours soon scotched this idea. However the bus service is adequate so cars will be abandoned for public transport and also for the October walk from Knightwick to Worcester. June sees us in the Cotswolds for a superb walk from Winchcombe taking in Belas Knap. This will be slightly longer than average at 12.5miles.
Because of the impending snow forecast the February walk originally scheduled for Leysters north-west of Bromyard was relocated to the Malverns. However on setting out it quickly became clear that driving to Malvern was out of the question so a short local walk in the snow at Nunnery Wood had to suffice for this month.
Much of the March walk was within the parish of Eldersfield which is in that southmost part of Worcestershire cut off by the M50 motorway. After parking near Poolhay on a glorious crisp sunny morning and heading north I was soon on higher ground with good views to the east where Tewkesbury Abbey showed up well between Bredon Hill and Oxenton Hill, with the Cotswolds in the background. The paths took me through Eldersfield Marsh which after recent heavy rain should be renamed Eldersfield lake! There were many hundreds of gulls enjoying the temporary appearance of this sheet of water. Soon the iron age fort of Gadbury bank appeared and atop a nearby scarp slope I came across Fred James's seat placed there by a former footpath warden of that name. The views from this lofty belvedere were superb. A close up of Gadbury Bank and distant views of the Malvern range and May Hill made it the perfect lunch stop. After visiting Eldersfield church the small Berth Hill became prominant in the landscape and several paths later I emerged onto Corse Lawn common to complete an easy satisfying walk.
With unerring accuracy the April walk on the Lickey Hills was positioned to coincide with the only dull, cold, rainy day in the run of fine warm weather up to Easter. With this walk being designated as a Woodsdayout contribution to a reduction in our carbon footprint we abandoned the car and took to the bus which conveniently dropped us right on the edge of the Hills. After few miles walking through the drizzle the visitor centre provided a welcome mid-morning coffee break...I can recommend the fruit cake and the finger djembes! The Bittle reservoirs were distinctly choppy in the brisk wind so instead of a leisurely lunch spotting waterfowl we took refuge on the bank of the river Arrow. By now the visibility was improving and on the return leg we had views across the old Longbridge car plant towards Birmingham city centre. Back at the hilltop viewpoint The Malverns were an indistinct splodge on the horizon, easily surpassed by the adjacent section of the busy M5 climbing up and over the Waseley Hills!
Our May walk in the Cotswolds took place under blue skies and warmer than average temperatures. Starting from Longborough the open views across the landscape were soon in evidence before dropping down into the beautiful Hinchwicke valley. Blockley village is buried deep in a valley and approaching from the west through rape fields there is nothing to indicate its presence. After welcome refreshments of tea and cake in the village we climbed out eastwards towards Bourton on the Hill and so back to Longborough via Sezincote House and views of the "onion dome", said to have provided inspiration to the Prince Regent for his Royal pavilion at Brighton, to record a superb walk of 14miles .
The June walk featured long sections unencumbered with stiles! Starting from Winchcombe a steep climb under dark cloudy skies took us up to Belas Knap Iron age burial mound. From there it was easy going through fields crowded with dog daisies to Whittington. After inspecting the church hard by the Court we turned for home and were soon into the Coln valley. Here settlements had been established along the spring line giving rise to the interesting villages of Sevenhampton, Brockhampton and Charlton Abbots. By now the clouds had given way to blue skies making for a very pleasant descent into Winchcombe and the much anticipated tea and cakes!
The Half Century Woodsdayout walk arrived in November and was a pleasant circuit south west from Little Witley into the orchards through to Wichenford, where the 50th walk was duly toasted with champagne, and then on via Monk Wood and Ockeridge Wood to Little Witley
Another great year of walking came to a close with Christmas Lunch at Kineton
Many thanks go to Judy Chris John and Roy for their support, wit and conversation
|40||Tue January 9||Alderton, Stanley Pontlarge||11.5m|
|41||Thu February 7||Nunnery Wood, Perry Wood||4m..Snow!|
|42||Wed March 7||Eldersfield, Corse Lawn||9.6m|
|43||Tue April 3||Lickey Hills (bus from Worcester)||10.8m|
|44||Tue May 1||Longborough, Hinchwick, Blockley||14.0m|
|45||Tue June 12||Winchcombe, Whittington, Charlton Abbots||13.0m|
|46||Tue July 3||Wolverley, Kinver||9.1m|
|47||Wed August 1||Suckley, Knightwick||9.3m|
|48||Sat September 8||Great Alne,Walcote, Aston Cantlow,Wilmcote||11.7m|
|49||Mon October 1||Grafton Flyford, Himbleton, Dormston||10.3m|
|50||Tue November 6||Monkwood Green,Little Witley||10.1m|
|51||Tue December 4||Kineton (Lunch)||4.8m|
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