Walk J - Return to Avoncroft
Back to Stoke Heath
Designed to provide a return walk to the John Corbett Way, it is a walk in its own right. Generally it runs through more open countryside, often with the Malvern, Abberley and Clent Hills as a back-drop. Again the walk can be done in sections in conjunction with the appropriate sections of the John Corbett Way, Walk H, which gives more general information.
Droitwich Heritage Centre - Wychbold (for Crown)
Moderate, several stiles, one currently obstructed - might need boots after wet weather. About 4 miles
1. Droitwich Heritage Centre - contains the Salt Museum and the Tourist Information Centre. There are monthly Guided Town Walks featuring Norbury Theatre actors.
Cross the mini-roundabout into St Andrews Street going past the main entrance to the Raven Hotel. John Corbett's other hotel enterprise the former Worcestershire Hotel is behind you. Look inside St Andrew's Church. As a result of subsidence the 13th century tower was demolished in the early 20th century and the seven bells are now on the floor. Turn right by the Town Hall into High Street and take the first left - Saltbarrow Market or second left - Curneys Lane. Cross the Saltway by Waitrose supermarket.
2. Vines Park Attractive open area with several displays and relics. Further enhanced by the opening of the two canals. Leave by the Droitwich Canals Audio Trail post towards the Gardeners Arms. Turn left into Vines Lane and immediately right up signed path across railway track. Keep left along tarmac path and right into Bays Meadow and under by-pass. Turn right up footpath and left to rejoin road. Go up opposite bank. After kissing gate go down slightly left towards railway and far end of industrial estate. At an unmarked point where you can see three 90 degree turns in the right hand hedge go diagonally right to the nearest corner at the bottom of the major slope. Cross stile hidden in copse and go up steps. Keep to left of fence and then along edge of golf course onto track. Turn left onto road for about 100 yards.
3. Junction Ford Lane/Crutch Lane. Go half right to opposite corner and through right hand gate opening, keeping alongside hedge. Cross stile and foot-bridge over the Salty Brook. Cross fence. At the time of writing the stile was impassable and the nearby gate was tied with barbed wire. However, most people could step over the fence. Aim for the right hand wind turbine. Do not go through the gate and over the landing strip but continue straight on along the bridle-way, parallel to the runway going through two gates. Just before third gate turn right by stile on left hand side and go roughly parallel to farm buildings to stile in bottom corner into small copse and into field keeping hedge on left. At end of hedge go diagonally right to bottom corner of field and through another small plantation to a footbridge over the Salwarpe. Go through two gates and between duck ponds. Avoiding the farm yard, turn left and right at gate to a 3 way foorpath sign on the farm road.
4. Walkmills Farm. To return to Droitwich turn right along farm road to reach A38 between M5 junction and the Robin Hood. Otherwise turn left and keep on straight on alongside M5 where road becomes a path. Cross ladder stile. Leave field by stile by gate and re-cross the Salwarpe.
Around Wychbold - several awkward stiles. Need boots after wet weather only. About 1 mile.
5. Wychbold - Junction Crown Lane/Colley Pit Lane. For the Crown and shops etc., keep on up Crown Lane for about 1/3 mile, under the motorway. Otherwise turn left immediately after M5 bridge between it and the river through kissing gate.
6. Salwarpe Bridge Here you rejoin the alternative John Corbett Way (Section 3). Turn left across stile keeping alongside fence and on bank above line of trees after stile. Cross stile where river rejoins path. Keep straight on at path junction up to stile and then enclosed path. Turn right at broken footpath sign over stile. Left after 25 yards across stile. Go diagonally left to stile by gate on opposite corner.
Wychbold - Stoke Heath - reasonable stiles - one needing repairs. Boots advisable to cross arable fields. About 3 miles.
7. Wychbold (Near Alms Houses) To reach the Alms Houses turn right through side gate on farm track to reach A38 and right for about 100 yards. Otherwise cross straight over alongside river. This is part of Stoke Walk A. Go round broken stile into copse. Cross two stiles bordering Nursery Road. The path then goes around Webbs Ornamental Gardens - entrance from A38. Leave over stile and turn right at road junction Swan Lane/Rectory Lane.
8. Upton Warren - St Michael's Church A simple building with several interesting plaques. You can either continue along Walk A to Swan, Nature Reserve and Webbs and possibly to Stoke Works OR retrace steps to Rectory Road and go through kissing gate opposite. Two more kissing gates will return you to Rectory Lane. Go past The Manor and Rectory Farmhouse where road becomes a bridle-way.
9. Motorway Bridge. Immediately before bridge go right down steps acros ladder stile. Keep alongside M5 to inaccessible stile by generally open gate. Turn right for about 100 yards to abandoned cross steps. Change to other side of fence/hedge. Turn left over another plank bridge into enclosed path and stile. Aim diagonally left to line of small trees with footbridge almost at end below line of poplar trees further away. Keep in same direction to stile by field gate.
10. Grafton Manor. The original Manor House was rebuilt in the 1560's but largely destroyed by a fire in 1710. It was a seat of Catholicism in Worcestershire. Look over the hedge and the attractive lake. The Chapel is followed by the Hotel and Restaurant. Just past the entrance turn right across ditch crossing and stile. Go half right up to broken stile with dangerous barbed wire on the ground. Aim for Bowling Green Farm. Cross track alongside fence to farm road. Continue downhill to A38 by Heathbrook House. Turn right along A38.
11. Former Bromsgrove Guild Yard. (Site currently being redeveloped) Turn left through yard with embossed plaques onto drive way. Turn right along Hanbury Road and left at mini-roundabout into Ploughmans Walk. At top continue straight on into open space and then right on rolled path into alleyway. Cross Redditch Road by pedestrian lights and the driveway to Stoke Heath/Avoncroft Arts Centre is opposite.
12. Stoke Heath Arts Centre. Home of the Parish Council Artefacts (to view phone John Ellis - 01527 570287)
Bus Routes Points Served
Worcester - Kidderminster - Birmingham Snow Hill Droitwich
For Times contact Traveline 0871 200 22 33, www.traveline.info. or National Rail 08457 48 49 50 or www.worcestershire.gov.uk/bustimetables
For Tourist Information - Droiwich 01905 774312. They stock a good collection of books and guides including John Corbett Pillar of Salt 1817 - 1901 by Barbara Middlemass
For more on the John Corbett Way, go to www.johncorbettway.org.uk.