Welcome to LEJoG Day 29
Day 29 pre-amble
Today I arrived in Worcester. I wanted to give the post a title which played on Wodehouse’s most famous creations. If only because it would also foreshadow a later blog post title acknowledging the two men known for playing them on TV. So I needed a word that rhymes with “Jeeves”. No level of contrivance could justify ‘Reeves’, ‘sleeves’, ‘thieves’, ‘heaves’, ‘weaves’ or even ‘leaves’. So I thought I’d settle for ‘peeves’. But this implied that I had things to moan about. Not today. Finding a way across the Severn via the A4440 was as difficult as it got. And Day 27 included enough moans to last a week.
Then I glanced idly through Worcester’s Wikipedia entry and found something wonderful. It is twinned with the town of Kleve in Germany. Kleve’s English name is Cleves (as in the home of Anne, Henry VIII’s fourth wife). So there you have it: Cleves and Worcester. I cannot believe I have remained unaware of such a perfect twinning for my entire life. It’s such a delight I didn’t even want to use it as just another punning post title. Instead I’m hiding it in the pre-amble, as with “Easter eggs” in movies and television, and simply celebrating a happy accident.
LEJoG Day 29 (Sunday 5 August 2018)
Great Malvern to Worcester (12 miles)
Cumulative: 412½ miles
Facts: Time on walk: 3 hours 25 minutes. Average speed: 3.51 mph. Weather: Warm, sometimes very warm, some cloud and breeze.
Practicalities: Straight out of the door – see ‘After the walk’ for later practical stuff.
Maps used today: OS Explorer 204 (Worcester and Droitwich Spa)
Start: Copper Beech House, Great Malvern, 10:30am. End: Severn bridge (western side), Worcester, 2:00pm. No extended stops – 5 minutes knocked off ‘time on walk’ for map checks.
From the guest house it was east towards the Co-op, but cutting across to the B4208 instead of heading for the shops. Followed the B4208 past the roundabout and all the way through north Malvern, in the direction of Malvern Link. Where the road heads right (E, then NE) I continued to follow. This took me along Townsend Way and straight over the small roundabout (no right-hand exits). Soon after that there is a footpath heading east towards North End Road – follow that in the direction of Madresfield.
Crossing North End Road, the footpath continues straight ahead towards a primary school. But who’s this occupying a patch of land shortly before the school? Why, it’s our old Friesian friends – long time no see! There was a fence in between us this time. But once I realised the school gate was locked, I had to backtrack and use their field in order to reach the road. They didn’t give me any trouble though.
At a bend in the main road through the quiet village of Madresfield, I picked up an obvious, wide footpath continuing east. Here’s the satellite map. Shortly after the grand entrance to Madresfield Court, this path comes to an end. There are signposts encouraging you to continue in the same direction, past trees on the left. The tricky bit is knowing when to go through the trees and strike out NNE, following the new path marked on your OS map. Today it was clear on the ground.
This path takes you to a farm track: turn right and go through the gate. You have the option to cut off the J-shaped track by following waymarks past the ovine grass-munchers on your left. I recommend it. Having done so, take another eastbound footpath across the bottom of a field. Then climb slightly through trees to a clearing with good views to the north. You now want to head north (slightly downhill), again through trees, towards Bush Lane. Another footpath, to the west of Bush Lane, climbs slightly and takes you past residential housing (on the right) to a minor road. Follow this until you reach a sharp left hand bend before Henwick House B&B, then take another footpath to the right (east again).
This one isn’t as clear, but your objective is to reach the B4424. As long as you keep heading east you will have no problems. There may be some doubts as you plough through trees with no obvious path underfoot, but soon enough it becomes a narrow road (called Frog Lane) which takes you to the B4424 at Stanbrook. Turn left, cross to follow the road through the village on the right hand side and come off at the footpath directly opposite the junction with Jennet Hill Lane, heading NE then N.
It’s another footpath that caused some confusion when it ended abruptly long before the OS map suggests. But the trick is to pass through the trees (so they are now on your right rather than left) and keep heading in the same direction. Do not use the gate into the ploughed field. Keep on the right hand side of the field, past the sewage works, then turn right after crossing Carey’s Brook into another field. Again it’s useful to stay close to the tree border on your right.
Now the A4440 is visible ahead. This is where I had the day’s only problem. I wanted to cross from the west to the east side of the Severn, and the A4440 was the only way. The path on my map suggested that I would be able to reach the A4440 via a slip road. And that I should be able to pass underneath it and use the slip road on the northern rather than southern side of the road, thus avoiding having to cross a major bypass on foot.
Unfortunately – and you can see this from the satellite map – a lot of temporary scaffolding and wire had been placed at the end of both slip roads, and there were a number of vehicles parked in the same area. As I got closer it was clear I would not be able to pass underneath the road. I really didn’t fancy taking my chances on the bypass either.
Headed south for a bit, forlornly looking for a footbridge over the river, and finally decided that the only solution was to head west and find an alternative passage under the road. The OS map suggested it was possible, and indeed it was. But it involved a full mile (there along the south and back along the north) and a bit of ungainly clambering over fences that were probably there to prevent walkers from trying their luck. On the north side it was not possible to pass between the scaffolding and the trees which lined the road, so another (shorter) diversion all the way round the temporary structures was necessary in order to reach the northern slip road.
Thereafter life was straightforward: over the bridge and north along the A38 towards Worcester. The more civilised option would have been the Severn Way, but after the kerfuffle crossing the A4440 I just wanted a direct route. As the A38 met a tributary of the Severn I picked up the A44 towards the centre of Worcester. Headed towards the King’s School and Worcester Cathedral, expecting to link up with the Severn Way and at least finish with a riverside walk. However, I couldn’t find the path that took me down from College Green to the river, and had to be satisfied with staying on the A44 all the way to Worcester Bridge. Much more of the Severn Way to follow on Day 30 anyway.
After the walk
Sat on benches near the St Andrews Garden of Remembrance, changed some of my clothes, freshened up and watched families enjoying a beautiful summer afternoon. Then, a short walk to the handy station of yesterday’s teaser, Worcester Foregate Street. Booked and paid for my ticket home. Relatively short wait, so no meal.
Postscript – My Listening Pleasure
For most of this journey (until a mile before Worcester), Chart Music #26. A really engaging episode, capped off with everyone revelling in the brilliance of this record (no.1 for its 9th week) and recalling the absolute certainty of nuclear annihilation, a month or so before this was screened.
For the arrival into Worcester, changing, walking to the station and the train home: Chart Music #27. One of the episodes where it was so much better second time I listened (sun tan lotion in my eyes during the train journey did not help). Two World Cup songs, and one of Taylor Parkes’s finest moments, involving a time machine, a sink and the man who wrote this. You can’t miss him, or his “masterclass in backseat cunting”.
Picture (from Wikimedia commons) shows the Kleve Walk, on the east bank of the River Severn in Worcester. This is the section I missed out on, having not been able to reach it from the A44. The bridge crossing from east to west is also visible and was the final section of my walk today. No other photos were taken.
Next: Day 30 (11 August 2018)… in which one river and one canal carry me almost all the way.