A beautiful church, fine woodland and the opportunity to visit a superb National Trust property.
Distance 5 miles (8km)
Minimum time 2hrs
Ascent/gradient 16ft (5m)
Level of difficulty Easy
Paths Field paths and woodland tracks, 3 stiles
Landscape Rolling Warwickshire countryside
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 221 Coventry & Warwick
Start/finish SP 204713
Dog friendliness On lead at all times
Parking Lane near church at Baddesley Clinton Manor
Public toilets None on route
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1 From the driveway to the church, walk to Hay Wood Lane. Cross the lane, turn left, then right and walk down the track opposite, passing by the Old Keeper's Lodge on the way into Hay Wood. Follow the track through the wood to emerge via a gate. Head for a another gate to the left of Wood Corner Farm. Go through yet another gate to arrive on the farm drive, then go left along the drive, passing close to the farmhouse building. This soon brings you to the A4141.
2 Go left along the grass verge of the A4141 for about 220yds (201m), then cross it and go right along a bridlepath between the buildings of Abbey Farm. Continue until you reach School Lane and walk right along it towards the A4141. About 100yds (91m) before you reach the end of the lane, go right over a stile and cross the corner of a field to reach the A4141 near the Ducklings Day Nursery.
3 Cross the A4141, enter Wroxall Abbey park through a pair of large gates, then follow the track through the grounds. In about 500yds (457m) the route takes you fairly close to the old abbey building, which you can see to your left. Where the track veers left, continue ahead towards a gate set to the left of a small area of enclosed woodland. Follow this path as it goes to the right of Gilbert's Coppice and continue in a south-westerly direction to a stile. Cross the stile and take the path to the left of the hedge to Quarry Lane.
4 Go right along the lane, then bear left at the junction and walk along the quiet Rowington Green Lane for almost ½ mile (800m).
5 Pass by the former windmill on the left and just before reaching Lyons Farm, go right through a gate on to a track which is part of the Heart of England Way. The route takes you to the right of the farm complex along a path/track going over a stile and through several gates. After passing Rowington Coppice you come to a handgate on to the entrance driveway of the church where your car is parked.
This lovely walk through the heart of Warwickshire's delightful countryside provides the opportunity to visit Baddesley Clinton Manor - one of the finest medieval moated manor houses in the country.
Baddesley Clinton Manor is the former home of the Ferrers family and its wide moat may date back to Norman times. The bridge which spans the moat is comparatively recent, being only 200 or so years old. Many of the Ferrers family were laid to rest in the nearby church. Sir Edward Ferrers, the first of some 12 generations, died in 1535. Henry Ferrers, who was born in 1549, was probably the most famous member of the family. His verse was enjoyed by many people in the time of Elizabeth I and he became a notable antiquarian. The Ferrers family, staunchly loyal to the Roman Catholic faith, were persecuted throughout the 16th century by the Protestant authorities. When Henry Ferrers let the house out in the 1590s it became a regular refuge for Jesuit priests. On one occasion as many as six were hidden in specially built priest holes, which can still be seen around the house today. The family fell on hard times again during the Civil War, when they were made to pay for their support for Charles I. Despite a few embellishments over the years, the house has seen little real change since Henry's death in 1633. It stayed in the Ferrers family until 1940, and is now owned and managed by the National Trust.
Nearby Wroxall Abbey was founded by Benedictine nuns in 1135. Owned and occupied by the Bourgoyne family for many years, it was purchased by the architect Sir Christopher Wren as a retreat just three years after he completed his work on St Paul's Cathedral in London in 1710. Today only St Leonard's Church and part of the cloisters remain, surrounded by glorious gardens.
You start the walk from the church near Baddesley Clinton Manor and proceed through Hay Wood. The route brings you back through the splendid park of Wroxall Abbey. From the abbey parkland you continue past a converted windmill on the edge of the village of Rowington Green and join the Heart of England Way long distance footpath. Fine Warwickshire countryside and footpaths, lined with flowers in the spring, lead you back to the lane by the church.
Hay Wood was once part of the ancient Forest of Arden and later owned by Baddesley Clinton Estate. Today it is commercially managed by the Forestry Commission. They have retained a mix of woodland and you'll see the track is lined with oak, rowan, birch and holly.
The National Trust's Packwood House stands in hidden countryside less than 3 miles (4.8km) from Baddesley Clinton Manor. The building was created by Graham Baron Ash and contains fine collections of 16th-century textiles and furniture. It is most famous for its exceptional collection of 17th-century yew trees said to represent the Sermon on the Mount.
There are no pubs along the route but you will find refreshment at the Barn Restaurant and tea rooms at Baddesley Clinton Manor. Here you can indulge in a fine selection of home-cooked foods from soup and a roll to tasty turkey in orange. The apple and orange tart is particularly sublime.