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Climbing the tower of Worcester Cathedral

By Philip Halling

Climbing the tower of Worcester Cathedral
SO8454 : Worcester cathedral by Philip Halling
Having visited Hereford last week and climbed the cathedralís tower I thought it about time I climbed the tower of Worcester Cathedral. I have been up the tower before but many years ago, it must be at least thirty years ago. I work in the city of Worcester and the sound of the cathedralís bells are ever present. With the exception of Durham, few of Englandís cathedrals are in a more attractive setting, with Worcester Cathedral overlooking the River Severn. For cricket fans the cathedral tower is a familiar sight as it forms the backdrop to New Road Cricket Ground. The cathedral used to feature on the reverse of the £20 note (1999-2007), along with Worcesterís most famous son, Sir Edward Elgar.
SO8554 : Bredon Hill viewed from Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8454 : View to the west from Worcester Cathedral tower by Philip Halling SO8554 : Fort Royal Park and Sidbury by Philip Halling
SO8554 : View over the Blockhouse area of Worcester by Philip Halling SO8554 : View over College Street by Philip Halling SO8554 : Lychgate Shopping Centre by Philip Halling
The cathedral tower is the third to grace the building and was built in 1374. The first tower fell down in 1175 and the second was taken down in 1350 as it was unsafe. The present tower is 52m (170ft) high to the roof, with the pinnacles adding a further 10m making a total of 62m (202ft). The tower weights 4,500 tonnes and has 16 bells. Whilst on top of the tower a wedding had just taken place and with all the bells ringing I could feel the tower move.
SO8454 : A train crossing the viaduct in Worcester by Philip Halling SO8454 : New Road Cricket Ground by Philip Halling SO8554 : On top of the tower of Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8554 : The city of Worcester by Philip Halling
SO8554 : The rooftops of Worcester by Philip Halling SO8454 : View to the south-west from Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8454 : The River Severn viewed from Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8554 : Fownes Hotel, Worcester by Philip Halling
SO8554 : View to the south-east from Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8554 : View to the south from Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8554 : Worcester viewed from the Cathedral tower by Philip Halling SO8454 : Worcester's Deansway viewed from the cathedral tower by Philip Halling
SO8554 : Elgar statue viewed from the tower of Worcester Cathedral by Philip Halling SO8454 : Traffic on Deansway, Worcester by Philip Halling
There are extensive views from the top, making climbing the 235 steps worthwhile. The view to the south extends down the Severn valley with the distant Cotswold Hills a blue line on the horizon; to the south-east Bredon Hill is clearly visible with the Malvern Hills unmistakable to the south-west. Just beyond the Malvern Hills is May Hill, situated in Gloucestershire on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean. To the west, and lying to the north of the Malvern Hills, are the Suckley Hills. To the north-west are the Abberley Hills with the Abberley Clock Tower standing sentinel. To the north the view extends to the high ground bordering Birmingham and the Black Country, in particular the Clent Hills. Only to the east is the view foreshortened by the suburbs of Worcester, the Rainbow Hill and Warndon areas rise to some 60 metres above sea level. Immediately below, the city of Worcester is at oneís feet and in particular the River Severn flowing past. The river cuts the city in two due to its floodplain which creates a green corridor, within this is Near Road, Worcestershire County Cricket Clubís home.
I once read a description of Worcester which described it lying on the boundary of lowland and upland England. Standing on the top of the tower this is not my impression, it feels that it sits in a bowl with higher ground above 500 feet in three directions.

Itís thought during part of the Battle of Worcester in 1651, Charles II viewed the action from the tower, it is interesting to ponder how much the landscape has changed in the intervening 360 odd years. The city of Worcester has changed and grown enormously in that time, but I wonder how different and how much the more distant landscape has changed?


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Sat, 30 Aug 2014 at 21:52
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