Walk D - Dodderhill Common and Hanbury Hall

A more strenuous walk, particularly up to Hanbury Church. Fine views followed by mature park land. Boots advisable in wet weather. The route also incorporates the waymarked permissive path around Harris Brushworks.

(Click on map to enlarge - opens in a separate window)

  1. Stoke Wharf, Navigation Inn - Continue along Hanbury Road and over the canal bridge (there are refreshments here at the café on the Metal Ores Industrial Estate, open weekdays and Saturday mornings). Enter the Picnic Site on left and leave following the waymarked permissive circular walk around the perimeter of Harris Brushworks. Follow the waymarker signs in a clockwise direction until the path joins the public footpath on the far side of the Brushworks. Turn right, and then down the bank to the factory service road. Turn left by factory door J and up the steps. Follow public path alongside fence and then into enclosed path alongside Appletrees. Turn right into Hanbury Road.
  2. Saxon Park Industrial Estate (F/P sign) - After 100 yards, turn left into the woods by the edge of the estate. Continue along the enclosed path. Go through kissing gate at the end of the metal fence. Go round the field, keeping alongside the wood and then bearing right alongside a hedge to leave the field onto a farm track. Turn left along the track and follow the hedge line through a kissing gate. Turn left through gate near the end of the hedge. Cross field diagonally towards house with detached garage and barn, passing through a side gate and kissing gate on to a lawn. Leave lawn by gate with footpath sign (not down driveway).
  1. Westonhall Road - Cross road and go over stile by gate with footpath sign. Cross the stile in the railed fence. Go diagonally left across field to double stile with ditch crossing. Follow hedge up field to leave by footpath sign.
  2. Astwood Lane - Go left along lane for 70 yards. Turn right through kissing gate alongside field gate (F/P sign). Keep hedge on the left through two fields with gate between. At the opening (there is no gate present at the time of writing), go half-right downhill through a gate in hedge to second gate by footbridge in small coppice.
  3. Footpath Junction below farm - Cross the bridge and turn left along field edge. Near the end of the field, turn left over a footbridge and kissing gate. Keep right to double-gated ditch crossing in far corner. Go straight on up to kissing gate into Pipers Hill/Dodderhill Common woods. Turn right onto main path, which leads into a drive towards a kissing gate. Ascend to the church through two more kissing gates.
  4. Hanbury Church - In a marvellous setting with rectory below in the vale, the church has been used for weddings in 'The Archers'. There are various memorials to the Vernon family. Cross the churchyard and out down Church Drive to road junction. Turn right for a few yards and then left through kissing gate with National Trust sign. Follow path towards parallel line of trees. Go through gate and walk between left hand line of trees. Bear right with trees at a waymarked post to join tarmac drive.
  5. Hanbury Hall - About halfway along the drive, turn right at waymarked post and bear half-left across park. (If visiting Hanbury Hall, continue along the drive; the Hall itself is a "Wren-style" brick house completed in 1701, and was the seat of the Vernon family. There is a Tea Room; 'phone 01527 821214 for details of opening times. Allow at least 1½ hours to view the house and grounds. Note that the main entrance and car park are accessed from School Road). Soon after leaving the drive, Brick Kiln Pool becomes visible in the dip on the right. Go straight on through kissing gate and keep right of the small fenced clump of trees around a pond. Keep well left of the Victorian monument to a favourite horse, aiming for two gates in the middle of the far fence.
  6. Hanbury Park - Turn right, crossing a stile, and over a second stile. Cross the field, aiming for a stile in fence with a single tree alongside. Cross this stile and aim for a metal footbridge barrier in the far corner. Cross the bridge and the next field to a stile at the bottom of the canal bank.
  7. Astwood Bottom Lock (Lock No. 17) - Note how the footbridge over the lock was designed so that it is only supported from one buttress. This was to allow the tow rope from the barge horse to slide underneath the planks at the other buttress. Turn right along towpath. The towpath is not a public right of way but walkers are permitted to use it. Note the fine half-timbered building on the left as you approach the road bridge. Continue past lock-keeper's house to Astwood Top Lock (No. 22) from where there are good views back towards Dodderhill Common. (For the Bowling Green pub and the Boat and Railway pub, and the bus, turn left into Astwood Lane and into Shaw Lane. Re-join walk at step 10). The former village school on the left just before Stoke Works was built by John Corbett, the Salt King.
  8. Stoke Works - Leave the towpath and go to the entrance of the warehouse. This former industrial village was massively developed by John Corbett. A plaque by the Business Park and two information displays outline the story. Some claim it was the largest salt works in Europe. Re-join the towpath.
  9. Stoke Wharf - Cross over the bridge to return to the Navigation.

Full circle takes about 3½ hours.

Public Transport

Bus No. Route Points Served (see map)
145 Longbridge - Bromsgrove - Stoke - Droitwich (Mon - Sat only) Serves point 10
149 Bromsgrove - Stoke - Wychbold - Webbs Garden Centre (Mon - Sat only) Serves points 1 and 10
(nearby 1 at Charford)

For times, contact Traveline: 0871 200 22 33, www.traveline.info.

For details of all walks on the Stoke Parish website: www.stoke-pc-worcs.gov.uk

Walk A - Upton Warren
Walk B - Avoncroft and St. Michael's Church
Walk C - Stoke Flight and Woodgate
Walk D - Dodderhill Common and Hanbury Hall
Walk E - Pipers Hill and Two Trees Hill
Walk F - Great Transport Feats
Walk G - Reserve Links
Walk H - John Corbett Way
Walk J - Return to Avoncroft (a return walk to the John Corbett Way)

INFORMATION

Nearest stations: Bromsgrove and Droitwich – Telephone National Rail on 08957 484950

Tourist Information Centres: Droitwich TIC - 01905 774312 / Redditch TIC - 01527 60806

If you encounter any problems, please contact Worcestershire County Council's Countryside Services Team on 01905 768289, www.worcestershire.gov.uk/cms/countryside/public-rights-of-way.aspx