Archers Country

Crosby and I are walking on our own today, Lynnie has decided a day spent around the caravan is just what she needs.  I am not sure if my mention of heading out for a day’s trig bagging had an influence or if it was the chance to get a day’s undisturbed reading of a good book that was too good an opportunity to miss.

It is just a short drive to the starting point for my walk which is a parking space for a few cars on a road triangle close to Astwood Bridge (Grid Ref: SO942656).  From here I head south on a minor road  (Eastwood Lane) and stay with this to reach a T-junction where I turn left.  I keep going until I reach the turning for the church of St Mary the Virgin in Hanbury up a short lane to the left of the road.

Parts of this church date back to 1210 with alterations in the 14th century and a rebuild in the late 18th century.  The church has strong associations with the Vernon family who lived at nearby Hanbury Hall and the interior houses the Vernon Chapel.  Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, the church is locked so I can’t view the interior but there is plenty of interest outside including the ornate tomb of Thomas Bowater Vernon embedded into the church wall.

This church will be familiar to listeners of the BBC Radio 4 series The Archers because it doubles as St Stephens Church in the series.  According to the church’s website it was first used over 65 years ago.  The creator of the Archers, Godfrey Baseley lived nearby in Bromsgrove and mixed with many of the farmers around Hanbury.  It is said he based the series on the local area and used St Mary’s when a location was required for broadcasting scenes from Ambridge village church.  Lynnie introduced me to the Archers when we met over 40 years ago and I have avidly followed the events in Ambridge ever since.

From the church I return to the road and cross to join a footpath onto National Trust land surrounding Hanbury Hall.  The path immediately divides, I follow the path heading through Hanbury Park towards the Hall.

Hanbury Hall was built in the early 1700’s by Thomas Vernon a wealthy chancery lawyer. It stayed in the Vernon family until 1962 when the National Trust took over the property.  Initially it was rented to tenants and only opened occasionally, however it now opens daily and is a popular local attraction.

After passing the hall I continue through the park to reach a junction with a road.  I proceed south besides the road (School Lane) to reach a junction with Salt Way.  Here I cross the road and enter a field and head south.

This way-marked path passes through fields to reach a junction of paths where I turn left and head east towards Becknor Manor.  I ignore a footpath on the right and stay on the route until I near Becknor Manor where I take a path on the right heading south towards a lane.

At the lane I turn left and follow along a track and as it bends to the left I go through a gate on the right and take a footpath heading uphill. The route reaches a crossing of footpaths where I turn right and skirt a property and then head across fields towards Broughton Green.  At a minor road in the village I turn left and continue to a junction where I go right on a lane signposted to Bradley Green and Stocks Green.

This is another single track lane with wide verges so pleasant for walking along and I soon ignore a footpath on the right.  Then after passing a property I turn right on a footpath which goes over a stile into a field.  The map shows the path heading diagonally across the field but there are standing crops and no clear path so I follow the tractor tramlines to eventually reach a point where the footpath is close to the hedge line where I turn right and walk close to the hedge.

At a junction of paths I turn left and head through fields towards Ward’s Farm.  

The path heads uphill and then in a field on my right is an Ordnance Survey trig pillar.  This is the 259th trig I have bagged.

From the trig I continue along the footpath into another field and then into a further field where the path forks, I go left and in the next field turn left and head down to a minor road where I turn right towards Middle Hollowfields Farm.

At a junction I turn right and pass the farm and then take a footpath on the left which heads east across fields towards Bradley Green.

The path enters the village besides the church of St John the Baptist which was built in 1864/65. This church has an interesting tower and a striking stained glass window, installed in 1921 commemorating  twelve men of the village who lost their lives in World War I.  Unfortunately the church is locked so I can’t go inside to fully appreciate  the window.

From the church I continue on the path along a driveway to reach a road running through the village.  I go left along this long straight road to a junction with a B road where I go left again and then almost immediately right following a footpath along a track leading towards Perry Mill Farm.  After passing the farm I turn right at a junction of tracks to follow a bridleway way-marked to Berrow Hill and Feckenham.

This route passes along the edge of Bushyhill Coppice  and at a crossing of paths I turn left and head up towards Berrow Hill.  I pause to take in the view to the south.

The path leads to the top of the hill and then across the summit to the Berrow Hill Ordnance Survey trig pillar.

My 260th trig safely bagged I continue across the field and then enter woodland and descend to reach a track where I turn left and follow the footpath way-markers.  At a fork in the footpath I go to the right to skirt around Littleworth Farm.

On reaching a minor road I turn left and follow this road until it turns sharply to the right.  At this point I continue straight on along a bridleway and stay with it until I reach a road which I cross and follow a bridleway passing Forest Farm and then continue along a broad farm track.

At a junction of paths I turn left and follow a path along a track that soon goes downhill through a field to reach another track below Forest Hill.  Here I turn right and stay with the track to reach a minor road.

At the road I go left, this is a quiet country lane so I decide to stay with it and not take the option of a footpath on the right which leads to Piper’s Hill Farm.  I do not encounter any traffic and then as I near the B4091 I take a footpath on the right leading into woodland on Piper’s Hill.

I keep the road to my left as I go through the woods.  This is a popular dog walking area and there are a network of paths in the trees, but the road serves as a useful handrail.  At the northern edge of the trees I cross the road and enter woods on the opposite side and follow a path that goes steadily downhill towards Hillfields Farm.  Nearing the farm the path turns into a minor road and my route is now very straight forward because I stick with this lane for over a mile to return to my starting point near Astwood Bridge.

I have covered sixteen miles on my jamabout, bagging two trigs is a bonus and finding the connection with The Archers has been interesting.  Time to head back to the caravan to see how Lynnie has been getting on with her book.

You can view this 16-mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer – 204 – Worcester & Droitwich Spa

2nd July 2021

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2021)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.

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