Walk G - Reserve Links

This revised walk links four totally different sites of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust [WWT]. Each site also has marked seasonal contrasts so it is worth doing the walk over a period. Shorter circular walks; such as using Walk E between Fosters Green/Eades Meadows and Pipers Hill, Walk D between Pipers Hill and Stoke Works and Walk A or the John Corbett Way (Walk H) between Stoke Works and Upton Warren, are possible.

The whole walk will take about a day. Parts of the walk remain muddy, except during periods of drought, and boots are recommended. In places there may be slight differences between the right of way and the paths signed by the WWT. Please use their path to minimise any impact on wildlife or plants.

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  1. Feckenham Wylde Moor  - Wet meadows and marshland with a small pool and bird watching hides. Go into the reserve from Moors Lane by the private parking area. For parking, either park in Moors Lane or the public car park off Feckenham High Street. Keep right alongside the reserve boundary. There is a small 'chicane', stile, bridle gate, bridge and made-up path. At the waymarked post bearing a multitude of way-markers, turn right through the wood, crossing a farm track almost immediately. At the waymarked post junction, keep straight on. Then follow a series of bridle gates keeping generally straight on and, where appropriate, the field boundary fences for about ½ mile until you reach a small pond just on the right. Go past the enclosed bridleway and immediately turn left through a gateway and half-right to a pedestrian gate, then a gate with overhead electric fence wire. Then, proceed half-right possibly through tapes, to two adjacent stiles. Keep to an enclosed path up a small bank by farm buildings. Turn left into the Forest pub car park. The village shop is about 100 yards on the left. Cross the B4090 into the High Street.
  2. Feckenham  - Take the first left along a lane and footpath (the second left takes you to the public car park). Cross a meadow and head for the chimney stacks of a cottage. Cross track way and follow fence around front of cottage alongside stream to a footbridge. Keep straight up through wood to bridleway junction. Turn left, signed for Salt Way and Morton Underhill. After 50 yards, turn right over a stile. Go straight up the hill through an opening at the top and keeping straight on alongside hedge. Cross two stiles and a ditch crossing to road.
  1. Berrowhill Lane  - (fingerpost Bridleway signs) - Cross road and through two gates down to farm gate by house with ménage. Go through a gate and go half-right up hill to a field gate. After the gate, turn left, initially alongside hedge. Just before the field gate, go uphill to reach fingerpost on tree line. Follow ridge up to triangulation point (109 m) where you can enjoy fine views.

    Turn half-left across meadow to kissing gate by abandoned trailer (Footpath sign). Go down stepped path in wood to footpath junction and through gate leaving the wood. Go half-left across field, passing half-timbered house on your right to reach gate and stile with black and white stripes. Keep straight on over footbridge to gate, and then a third gate and black and white stile. Turn left for a few yards along a drive.
  2. Moat Farm  (Footpath sign)  - Turn left along lane to Elm Tree Farm and driveway to Upper Berrow Farm. Go right across stile. Aim half-left toward copse [coming the other way, take middle path across field to farthest from farm buildings]. Cross stiles in and out of copse.

    Go half-left across field to reach a hidden bridge and kissing gate in the opposite hedge. Go diagonally left to opposite corner of field with metal gate near Ditchford Bank Farm. Cross concrete farm track through gate aiming for a gap in line with middle pylon containing the remains of stile and ditch crossing. Take right path across the field aiming between the first and second wooden electricity pylon to opposite hedge. Cross the overgrown stile and beware of overgrown ditch crossing (hidden Footpath sign) to join the lane.

    For refreshments at Broad Acres Lake View café, turn left along Wallhouse Lane then left again at the crossroads on to Ditchford Bank Lane. The entrance is 300 yards on the right. Re-join the walk at point 6.

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  1. Wallhouse Lane  - Cross road and go straight over opposite stile. Aim half-left to cross a single stile with ditch crossing and then a treble stile with ditch crossing. Aim for a stile by metal gate just to the left of a house. Turn left along bridleway to reach Tyrells Lane. (Bridleway sign) Turn right in the lane by The Nock - an attractive high timbered house.
  2. Eades Meadow  - Carry on along the lane, passing a stile and footpath sign on the left to reach the main entrance with its information board. If the gate at the main entrance is locked, then backtrack to the stile to enter the meadow along the public right of way. The best time to visit is early May with the green winged orchids. There has been no ploughing in this area for over one hundred years. Keep strictly to the mown path, following a line of ancient fruit trees on your left. Just before the end of the meadow, turn right to double stiles and ditch crossing. Turn left, over another stile and cross field to a pedestrian gate by the house. Join a brick driveway just before the cattle grid and stile (Footpath sign). Turn left along lane until surface ends.
  1. Fosters Green Farmhouse  - Before turning right over a small ditch crossing and stile into copse, continue straight on along bridleway, through gate with information board about Fosters Green Meadow and then to Sun Gate where the bridleway turns right. Before you retrace your steps, note the subtle differences between Eades Meadow and Fosters Green. Leave the copse over a stile and keep hedge on the right to a stile and ditch crossing. Turn left keeping close to hedge to a stile, then to a second stile with ditch crossing a little out from the field corner. Then across double stile with ditch crossing hidden in the left corner of the field. Keep straight on and cross stile at 4-way footpath junction. Go down farm track past marooned stile to another stile. Good views as far as Waseley and Lickey Hills.
  2. Holmes Lane  (Footpath sign)  - For refreshments turn right to The Gate Hangs Well (about ½ a mile), otherwise turn left along lane for about 400 yards to where lane turns left. Follow path over stile, through gate and kissing gate by farm house. The path goes straight up the hill but it may be easier to use the farm road to a cattle grid and turn right along the edge of the wood to B4091.
  3. Pipers Hill  Car Park  - As well as the ancient oaks, it is noted for its insects and fungi. Go past the information board and down the track bearing left around the pool, passing Knotts Farm and then along a path to reach a Footpath sign. Turn right onto the Hanbury Circular Walk to kissing gate. Continue right of hedge to double kissing gate and ditch crossing. Then bear left through kissing gate and bridge in a small copse. Bear right, keeping to left of hedge to footpath junction (Walk D) through gates either side of a farm track. Continue to lane (Footpath sign and gate partly obscured). Cross the road by turning right and almost immediately left through kissing gate. Go slightly left to next kissing gate, then double gate at footbridge to reach the canal.

    In exceptional weather the path could be flooded, in which case retrace your steps to the lane and turn left and left again to Astwood Lane to reach the canal. Coming the other way continue to Astwood Lock (18), turn left along the other Astwood Lane then left into a narrow lane which is crossed by the footpath.

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  1. Worcester and Birmingham Canal  - For more information, see Walk F. Before turning right, it is worth turning left to Astwood Lock (No. 18) with its fine garden. Continue past locks Nos. 19 - 22 of the Astwood flight (for refreshments, turn left over the canal bridge and left at the T-junction, over the railway to the Bowling Green). If pressed for time, turn right at the T-junction and take the first footpath (Footpath sign) on the left and over a level crossing to a gap in hedge. Otherwise continue along the tow path to the Boat and Railway and over the Weston Hall Lane Bridge.
  1. Stoke Works  - This former industrial village was massively developed by John Corbett, the 'Salt King'. A plaque by the Business Park and two information displays outline the story. From here to virtually the end of the walk, you will also be following the John Corbett Way. Leaflets are available from the pubs and the nearby shop in Ryefields Road.

    Go left down Shaw Lane running parallel to the canal. Turn right at the footpath sign just before the former St. Mary’s Church Hall. Cross bridge over the Midland Main Line. Initially, the path goes to the left of the hedge to a gap about halfway along. Often the field headland and gap are obstructed; if so, keep to the right of hedge all the way to the Great Western Branch Line. Bear left, then right over the bridge crossing. Turn right about 25 yards beyond the bridge, over a stile [be especially careful about the stiles beyond this point]. Go diagonally left to the stile by Sagebury Farm and then left downhill to stile by the lake. Continue along the muddy track to stile and keep alongside the National Grid radio transmitter masts to stiles leading to the A38.
  2. Upton Warren  - Turn right past Webbs Garden Centre to roundabout and entrance to Sailing Centre, which is also the entrance to the southern pools and hides. There is a small entrance fee for non-WWT members. Continue past the Shell Filling Station to The Swan pub and the pedestrian entrance to the Northern reserve on the right. There is a marked contrast between the saline and freshwater parts of the reserve. The A38 can be avoided by following Walk A on the other side of the River Salwarpe alongside the rear of Webbs Garden Centre. Visit the church on the way.

Public Transport

Bus No. Route Points Served (see map)
145 Longbridge - Bromsgrove - Stoke - Droitwich (weekdays) Serves points 10, 11 and 12
147 Halesowen - Bromsgrove - Droitwich - Worcester (weekdays) Serves point 12
149 Bromsgrove - Stoke - Webbs Garden Centre (weekdays) Serves points 10, 11 and 12

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

INFORMATION

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

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

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust: 01905 754919, www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk. (Why not consider joining the WWT to support their valuable work?)

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

Walk A Stoke Prior and Upton Warren walk (3½ miles)
Walk B Avoncroft Museum and St Michael's Church (4¼ / 3¼ miles)
Walk C Stoke Flight and Woodgate (3¾ miles)
Walk D Dodderhill Common and Hanbury Hall (6¾ miles)
Walk E Pipers Hill and Two Trees Hill
Walk F The Lickey Incline and Tardebigge Flight
Walk G Reserve Links (11½ miles)
Walk H The John Corbett Way (7½ miles)
Walk I John Corbett Return Walk
   

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