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A Circular Walk on the Severn Way

By Philip Halling

The Severn Way follows the course of the River Severn from its source high on Plynlimon in mid Wales, from where it flows to the east, entering England and flowing through Shropshire before turning south and flowing through Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. If following the path downstream the way ends in Bristol which is a little odd in that the city is on the River Avon, not the Severn, though I suppose this is to reward the walker with an objective, rather then finishing somewhere on the riverbank when the river's estuary becomes the Bristol Channel.

Between Severn Stoke and Kempsey in south Worcestershire the Severn Way splits offering the walk the option of following the riverbank or taking the shorter route which omits a bend in the river. This provides the option of a fine circular walk of approximately five miles, though it is possible to shorten the walk slightly.

Starting from SO848444 at the end of Ham Lane, a country lane which leads off the A38 from by the war memorial in Severn Stoke, one walks north following the bank of the river. After about half a kilometre the Severn Way bifurcates, the original route forks right, however, it is now possible to follow a permissive path following the riverbank. This riverbank path is now signposted as the Severn Way. Walking this riverside walk one passes Cliffey Wood and Cleevelode, both of which are across the river on the west side. At Cleevelode there is a riverside caravan park. On the day of my walk the caravans were perfectly mirrored in the river. Incidentally, the name 'lode' appears at many locations on the River Severn, lode being a former crossing point. Continuing on the riverbank until near Oak Farm the path now rejoins the original route of the Severn Way; it is here the river is left as one turns right and after a short distance the path emerges on the country road, Old Road South. At the road, turn right and walk to its junction with the A38. Take care crossing the road and turn right. Walk on the pavement on the other side. Once round the corner, after a short distance one crosses back over the A38 and follows the Severn Way signs which passes gravel workings being undertaken by the company, Lafarge Tarmac. The small hamlet of Clifton is soon reached, as an alternative it is possible to briefly leave the Severn Way to pass through the hamlet. Much of the land here was owned by the Earls of Coventry who used to live in nearby Croome Court, now in the care of the National Trust. Evidence of their ownership is not hard to find even today, I spotted inscribed stones on a cottage and a farm building, both stating it was built by the Earl of Coventry. Returning to the Severn Way the path crosses the site entrance to the gravel workings along with a conveyor for transporting the aggregates. The footpath follows the field headland with fine views across arable fields with the Malvern Hills lining the western horizon. Sheepcote Farm is passed and then a farm track takes one back to the River Severn where turning left and retracing the earlier steps one returns to the starting point at the end of Ham Lane. You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page LinkExternal link .

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Sun, 22 Feb 2015 at 14:52
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