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Battle at Powick Bridge

A walk based on one of Worcestershire's most significant historic landmarks.

Distance 6.4 miles (10.4km)

Minimum time 3hrs

Ascent/gradient 195ft (60m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Pastures, field paths, minor lanes, 14 stiles

Landscape Mostly riverside and gentle slopes

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 204 Worcester & Droitwich Spa

Start/finish SO 834522

Dog friendliness Mostly sheep pastures, but off lead in middle of walk

Parking Car park, unsigned, beside A449 roundabout near Powick

Public toilets None on route

1 Begin by heading upstream beside the River Teme. Barely a mile (1.6km) to the east, it meets the Severn - site of the Battle of Worcester. After just 200yds (183m) leave the river to go under the bypass. In the far corner of this meadow move right, beside huge trees perhaps standing in water as the meadow is prone to flooding. Go through a gate and waymarked stile ahead, not to the right, and another set away to the left. Cross two very large meadows. In the third field go to the top corner by walking right, round two edges. A stile gives into the once busy Lord's Wood. Hazels were coppiced and oaks were left to stand, many now festooned with ivy. Our route follows a discernible woodlanders' lane.

2 After 300yds (274m) stiles zig-zag out of Lord's Wood. Soon pass a solitary house, then turn left on the public road (views of Worcester Cathedral). Fork right 30yds (27m) beyond the signs 'Powick' and '30'. A few paces past the Three Nuns pub take the unsigned track. At the first bend take a stile, half right. Walk along a left-hand field edge. Passing a house, aim for the far right field corner. Along this right-hand field edge, after 140yds (128m) ignore a low waymarker post; after another 240yds (219m) reach a broad field entrance on the right, but turn left, aiming for a stile half-way down the block of woodland. Out of the trees, go forward 60yds (55m), striking three-quarters right to a footbridge behind a telegraph pole. Skirt right of Elms (farm), picking up its driveway to the A449.

3 Turn right briefly, then cross this fast road carefully, to go perhaps 350yds (320m) along Ridgeway Farm's driveway to a fingerpost. Walk 220yds (201m) up the left-hand field edge, then pass into meadow. Briefly, go close to Carey's Brook, later moving to the right-hand field edge. Go over a corner stile, initially slightly uphill, for two fields. A stile beside a rusted gate gives on to a very wide, green lane. Through another gate in 75yds (69m) - not the pylon field - walk along the right-hand field edge. At a pond turn left. After Broadfields Farm follow its driveway for 400yds (366m) to a cattle grid. Over this, move immediately down to the right. Walk round the young deciduous plantation, then one arable field to the B4424.

4 Turn right on the pavement for 60yds (55m). Cross to a gate and overgrown stile. Turn left, parallel to the road into Powick. After about 300yds (274m) turn down any convenient track, then turn left at the field boundary. Enter St Peter's churchyard by a metal kissing gate. From the outside the stonework of different building phases is very noticeable, a mixture of 12th-, 15th- and 18th-century building.

5 The route goes straight past the church door, beside more graves, to another kissing gate. Go ahead on a level path (not down to the right); this becomes a service road to the A449. You want 'Public footpath, Bransford' up to the left, but cross using traffic-lights to the right. Pass Severn Trent Water's Powick Hams installation, then take a waymarked path through young woodland on the small escarpment for about ¼ mile (400m). Wooden steps lead down to the flood plain. Strike diagonally right, to the underpass and the car park, but you've not quite finished yet!
Stroll along the old and disappearing road to Powick Bridge (the 'new' one dates from 1837). A little further, on the left, is the former hydro-electric power station.

Powick Bridge is an historic place. Mills have stood here since the 11th century or earlier. The big mill-leat, clear on the OS map, was cut in 1291, and great ironworks used the water. The walk passes a magnificent former hydro-electric power station, first built as a mill, and on the site of generations of mills before it. Now private residences, it is a rare case of a tasteful conversion. In fact, externally, virtually nothing has been changed except the balconies and roof windows (not pretty, but essential).

Powick has another claim to fame - the then unknown Edward Elgar once led the band at the mental asylum, and wrote compositions for it.

Close to the beginning of the walk is the site of the Battle of Worcester in 1651, which resolved the Civil War that had blighted the country since 1642. Charles I had been executed in 1649. His heir, Charles II, had returned from exile in France to drum up support, primarily among the Scottish army and die-hard Royalists, to overthrow Cromwell's Parliamentary forces. Die hard they did. At Powick Bridge a plaque, unveiled as recently as 2001, commemorates the men who fought in vain in 1651.

While you're there

Bennett's Farm Park is very near, on fields once soaked in battle blood. Apart from the animals, it has a small wooded park, a children's adventure play area and an ice cream 'factory'.

Where to eat and drink

Try the Three Nuns at Collett's Green, the Halfway House (at the crossing of the A449), the Red Lion Inn in Powick village or Powick village stores.

What to look for

Inspect the tower at Powick's church for battle scars - small craters at about head height and, higher up, marks from small cannon, thought to have been fired by Parliamentarians when Scottish soldiers were using the tower as a look-out.


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