Walk 11 - A Walk on the Herefordshire side
Gardeners Quarry car park (Kettle Sings) to Colwall returning via the hamlet of Evendine. This circular walk on the Herefordshire side of the hills will take 1 hour 20 minutes without refreshment stops. During wet weather it is advisable to wear boots and if you have them gaiters as a couple of sections of the walk can be rather muddy.
Commencing from Gardners Quarry car park at SO 76599,42039 cross over the main road which was constructed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, Jubilee Drive (or the rather unglamorous sounding B4232) and head towards the Chase Road and not directly down to the Kettle Sings Restaurant, however tempting it may seem. To the right of the Kettle Sings there is a wooden fence leading downhill, behind it a line of trees and tucked away is a five barred gate and footpath sign.
Go through the gate and follow the footpath with the fence to the right down a narrow path with views towards Colwall. At the next gate SO 76128,42274 do not head to the right (north west) continue to follow the stream which has taken the footpath (this is one of the muddy sections mentioned) as this route is in a slight gully with fenced off fields either side until a gate is reached. Go through the new galvanised kissing gate, the little footpath sign indicates the route-more or less straight ahead in the slight depression of a gully, do not be tempted to head to the right which appears to be the obvious choice, then cross over the open fields towards the line of trees. Further down the slope at the edge of the field, if you are lucky, the little wooden footpath post comes into view as the line of trees is reached. It is unfortunately quite visible from a distance coming up the hill but not on the way down. The footpath sign is at SO 75994,42355.
The wall of trees is hidden from view a broad horizontal path. Jump down the bank to the footpath and turn right (north). To the left further down the hillside in the direction of Colwall is a large wooden 5 barred gate which is used for the return journey. For now follow the path with Colwall to the left and the impressive line of the Malvern Hills to the right. Walk towards the farm outbuildings where a new galvanised gate has been established to the left of the farm/tractor entrance, which at the best of times is extremely muddy. The footpath indicates to walk past the farm buildings along the single track access road to a stone wall and modern houses.
On approaching the Malvern stone wall use the cleverly placed little steps set into the wall to cross over into the road where the route goes left down the road. Further on, to the left the hillside has been cut away revealing the entrance to the railway tunnel under the hills linking Colwall to Malvern. Along the edge of the road a number of miniature pyramid shaped concrete blocks remind me of their larger counterparts which were used throughout Europe to impede the movement of tanks during the Second World War. Maybe these are Colwall’s Dragon’s Teeth. The single lane road meets Walwyn Road, now turn left and continue down the road towards the former Schweppes Bottling plant.
Continue past Colwall Court and on the left just before the 30 mile speed limit sign that is virtually hidden amongst the foliage of the hedge is a lovely old cast iron sign for Colwall Village.
A little lower down the road on the right, Brockhill Road comes up from the Downs School where the poet W.H Auden taught for three years during the 1930’s. Here he wrote some of his finest early poems.
Go past the extensive grounds of the former bottling plant where at one time the drinks company, Schweppes were bottling over 12 million litres of water each year from the Primeswell Spring. Interesting to note that the original name was the Pewtress Spring which may give an indication why Schweppes changed the name when they acquired the use of the spring in 1929.
Continue down Walwyn Road past Peters Fruit and Veg shop and Provisions of Colwall towards the Colwall Park Hotel. Note the Green plaque to Dame Laura Knight who stayed here. Dame Laura Knight became the first women elected to the Royal Academy in 1936. She was known for her paintings amidst the world of theatre and ballet and for her famous commissions by the War Office to encourage women into factories and to work on the land during the Second World War. A little further down on the opposite side is the pleasant Crown Inn. Turn left next to the hotel and head towards the station. On the left is a useful information board complete with a map of the local area.
Waypoint SO 75630,42454 is Colwall Station. The route takes us over the rather plain railway bridge. Just down the other side on the right is the delightful Charlie Ballard Nature Reserve. Take the opportunity to enjoy a picnic or walk around this tiny nature corner. Our return path is close to the fence and hedgerow to the left and not diagonally across the fields. Go through the gate and alongside a stream heading uphill. On reaching the gate at the top left hand corner of the field there is now a choice. A shorter route back, is to scramble over the gully and footpath and up to the field for the return route to the Kettle Sings or alternatively for the excursion to Evendine follow the horizontal path into the copse away from Colwall.
The broad path follows the contour of the hill through the woods. Pass through the metal gate with the view ahead to the ancient iron age hillfort, British Camp. The footpath hugs the edge of the fields with the woods to the right. A new galvanised kissing gate comes into view, pass through and shortly after a single track road is reached. Continue down the gently sloping road where there are some interestingly designed houses up the bank to the right. The track which has been metalled for the last section now meets a minor road. Although the footpath sign indicates to continue across the road, instead head left up the road towards Evendine. There are plenty of daffodils and snowdrops adorning the banks of this road in the spring and further on there is a lovely black and white timbered building called the Malt House complete with millstone and an opportunity to purchase seasonal produce such as Herbs Du Provence (surely Herbs du Evendine), apple juice etc.
A little further on a seat bearing the plaque in loving memory of Geoff Flint (no relative I am sure but unusual to find another Flint in this neck of the woods, most of mine appear to be clustered around a small village in Bedfordshire), is located on a wedge of grass on the left where the route heads up towards Spindrift Cottage. A small stream gurgles in the ditch to the left. Follow the sign to the cottage along the road crossing over a miniature ford. Do not be tempted to follow this first footpath sign which if taken comes out a little too far south of our planned route. Walk up and past the entrance to the cottage where horseshoes and plants are for sale in aid of local charities. The footpath heads uphill around the cottage and its well-kept gardens.
The path continues uphill under the canopy of the trees with a large hedge to the right. After clambering over a stile the path finally emerges next to open fields and views onto the Malverns. A wrought iron gate straddles the boundary betwixt woods and fields and a few metres further on the path enters the lumpy field made so by mole hills. The path keeps close to the boundary with the woods passing through a couple of kissing gates until 50 metres or so from the corner of the woods the final stile of the walk is reached where the path now re-enters the woods at a particularly muddy spot. Continue uphill until a large 5 barred wooden gate beneath the trees and footpath signs indicate the route down from the Kettle Sings towards Colwall and very shortly after the restaurant then comes into view providing the final uphill stage of this circular walk in the Herefordshire countryside.
This is an abridged version of a walk from Book 4, A Pictorial Guide to the Malvern Hills. The Royal Well, Colwall and Alfrick Pound returning to the Dingle in West Malvern.
Available in local bookshops like the Malvern Book Co-operative (2 St Anne's Road, Malvern) and Tourist Information Centres in Malvern, Upton Upon Severn, Ledbury, Worcester.