A 3,5 mile, waymarked riverside walk in the Worcestershire countryside. Eckington Wharf is a pleasant place to linger for a while, enjoying the view up river towards Bredon Hill, or watching elegant swans glide beneath the arches of the medieval bridge spanning the River Avon. The wharf is also the ideal starting point for a delightful and undemanding walk which takes you alongside the river to Strensham Lock before returning through Eckington village.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) From the Picnic Place cross the road (with care) and join a riverside footpath next to the bridge. The path simply follows the river through flood meadows until you reach Strensham Lock. Common reeds line the path ahead, while on the far bank two pollarded willows stand guard over a pillbox erected during World War Two, when it was considered necessary to defend river crossings against possible German invasion.
(1) In the next field, notice how narrow it is – this is a feature along this stretch of the Avon, its purpose originally being to ensure that the river frontage was shared between several landowners. Notice, too, a line of splendid pollarded willows along the far bank, and more pollards by Bow Brook, which joins the Avon at this point. The willow, a characteristic riverside tree supports birds such as finches and tits. Other species of birds frequent the river itself. You will certainly see mute swans and mallards, but with a bit of luck you’ll also spot herons, kingfishers and perhaps waders such as redshanks, curlews or snipe.
(2) The path passes under a railway bridge, supported on sandstone piers. A prehistoric stone axe head was found near this spot in 1896 and evidence of a Roman settlement was discovered during the construction of the railway in 1838-40. The railway line was good news for Eckington, facilitating the transport of orchard and market garden produce to cities such as Birmingham, Bristol and Gloucester. Sadly, Eckington station was closed in 1965 and most of the orchards and market gardens have gone too.
(3) After you pass a boatyard (on the far bank) the view ahead is dominated by a prominent church, St Philip and St James at Strensham, topping a steep slope, an unusual feature in the Avon Valley. The tree to the left is an old pear tree. Worcestershire is sometimes referred to as “The County of Pear Trees” and the pear appears on the County Council crest. The nearby town of Pershore was once known as “Peareshore”. Many fruit trees were planted, like this one, to mark field boundaries. Sadly, at least 70% of Worcestershire’s traditional standard orchards have been lost through the effects of old age, neglect and disinterest, so relatively few old and historic trees remain today.
(4) Approaching Strensham Lock, you’ll pass moorings occupied by colourful cruisers and narrowboats. The lock itself is an interesting place, and very lively in summer with the constant passage of boats.
(5) After rounding a bend where a mistletoe-laden willow overhangs the track, you will see Court End Farm ahead. The adjacent field shows evidence of ridge and furrow – the characteristic pattern created by medieval plough teams
To avoid steep steps over the railway bridge, turn left along Boon Street and then right along Drakes Bridge Road to rejoin the main route at the War Memorial.
(6) Look out for the 800-year-old Holy Trinity Church, which is worth a visit. Though much altered and extended, it retains some Norman stonework, including the finely carved west doorway. If you are interested in period buildings you might also like to explore the back streets of the village, where many beautiful houses are tucked away. Return to the Picnic Place via the path alongside the Pershore Road. (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 46ft - Picnic Place
1 : mi 0.23 - alt. 43ft - Field
2 : mi 0.32 - alt. 39ft - Railway bridge
3 : mi 1.53 - alt. 49ft - Boatyard
4 : mi 2.04 - alt. 36ft - Strensham Lock
5 : mi 2.35 - alt. 36ft - Bend
6 : mi 2.88 - alt. 82ft - Holy Trinity Church
D/A : mi 3.44 - alt. 46ft - Picnic Place
Mostly flat with one gentle slope up to Eckington Village. There may be muddy patches after heavy rain or flooding.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The River Avon rises near the English Civil War battlefield of Naseby (1645) in Northamptonshire, and flows for 112 miles (179km) through Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire before joining the River Severn at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. Its catchment is predominantly rural, but the Avon also enhances a number of towns, including Stratford-upon-Avon, Evesham and Pershore.
Though the Avon starts life as a small stream, its many tributaries ensure that by the time it reaches Stratford-upon-Avon it is already a substantial river. Flooding is an obvious natural hazard and, for centuries, river flows have been managed to protect people and property from inundation. A large river such as the Avon has a floodplain, a natural mechanism for the storage of excess water, but in recent years floodplains have increasingly been under pressure from developers. It is essential that floodplains are kept as free from development as possible and the Environment Agency advises local planning authorities on this matter. The Agency also provides a flood warning service.
The Avon is navigable from Alveston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, to Tewkesbury. In 1639 it became one of the first English rivers to benefit from a system of locks and weirs to control water levels. Today, it’s a vital link in the Avon Ring, a popular cruising route which also incorporates parts of the River Severn and canals such as the Worcester and Birmingham, Grand Union and Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Avon supports other leisure activities too, such as canoeing, rowing, sailing, angling, birdwatching and walking. Riverside pubs and tea rooms draw visitors, while moorings and caravan sites occur at intervals along its banks. It also supplies water for drinking and irrigation, acts as a natural drainage system and plays a role in the dispersal of treated effluent.
Not only does the Avon have considerable landscape value, it also supports a huge variety of wildlife, including charismatic species such as otter and kingfisher. No fewer than 89 Sites of Special Scientific Interest are scattered across the river’s catchment. Though much of the associated wetland habitat has been destroyed, a project is currently underway to recreate lost habitat wherever possible.
A peaceful stretch of the River Avon is combined with a beautiful woodland to create this easy and enjoyable walk close to the Georgian town of Pershore. There are good views of Pershore and the surrounding countryside from the highest point of the walk.
The River Severn provides a focus for this walk which starts from the attractive town of Tewkesbury with its wonderful Abbey. The outward route follows the Severn Way following the river to reach Apperley. Here the walk turns inland and continues across fields to Deerhurst and back to the start. The walk also offers good views to the Malvern Hills which line the western skyline.
Crossing a variety of Worcestshire countryside, this circular walk starts from the village of Broughton Hackett and continues along a section of the Millennium Way through the village of White Ladies Aston. The route then continues through open countryside for the return to the start.
If you are in Worcester and you have some time to kill, this short, simple but refreshing walk is a fantastic way to do this. Though it is a lovely route to stroll along, I’m sure it is just as lovely to jog it or even cycle it. As it is short and relatively easy, it is also a good walk to do with children.
This Worcestershire walk starts from the village green outside the Old Bull Pub on which the Archers Radio Show was based. The route explores pleasant countryside taking in the villages of Holberrow Green and New End. The walk also includes a section of the Millenium Way long distance footpath. There is also the option of a shorter route which omits the village of New End.
A walk in the heart of the Cotswolds, its countryside, its hills and its woods from the ruins of Hailes Abbey, taken over from the National Trust. This circuit takes part of the Cotswolds Way, an SGR hiking trail that crosses the Cotswolds from North to South for 164 km (from Chipping Campden to Bath).
Easy level walking along riverside from Northwick to Bevere Island for 2 km, short steepish wooded bank up from river to Bevere hamlet, quiet roadside walking mostly sloping gently down hill from Bevere to Northwick, along roadside paths easy, across recreation ground very at and easy. Walk down Old Northwick Lane level and easy and down track to car park easy but sometimes uneven and muddy.
A varied, circular walk, combining canalside walking, hedge-lined fields, historic buildings and parkland. The walk is indicated by the 'lock gates' symbol.
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