As a nation of dog lovers, Love Where You Live founder Gillian is no exception! So, in honour of National Walking Month next month, she has pulled together some of her favourite Worcestershire walks that are both dog friendly and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
From rambling on the rolling Malvern Hills to embarking on secret walks in Earls Croome, here are our top three dog friendly walks in and around Worcestershire.
1. The Malvern Hills – *Gillian’s Top pick
One of my favourite things to do is discover a new walk especially now that we have a new puppy to entertain and, here in Worcestershire, we’re so lucky to have so much outdoor space to explore.
I love to get lost in the Malvern Hills and it was getting lost one day that helped me to discover one of my favourite walks. It takes us about three hours but that allows for picnic time!
We used to live on Cowleigh Road in Malvern, a short walk from the starting point but now we park at the car park next to the clock tower near North Malvern Quarry.
From there, head up the hill, not forgetting to notice the famous Malvern gas lamp on the side of the track (these lights inspired C.S Lewis when he was writing the Narnia books!)
This first hill is particularly steep but don’t let it put you off. After about 10 or 15 minutes, the hill levels off and you’ll come across the option to carry on up the hill by turning back on yourself. This path zigzags its way to the top and brings you out on a path that goes around North Hill.
Carry on straight ahead (left and towards the Beacon). This path then takes you past the beautiful Sugar Loaf Hill and what I call the ‘haunted bench’ – I’m not overly spiritual but I always get the feeling that I’m not completely alone as I pass it!
From here, head straight to the top of the Beacon. If you’re feeling energetic (like my crazy children!), you can walk straight up the hill. I usually like to amble up the path to the left, which snakes around the Beacon.
We always stop at the top to take in the view at the highest point of the hills (and to get our breath back!).
At this point, you’ve conquered all the big hills so well done! Head down the other side of the Beacon towards the Wyche. When you get to the large stone circle, take the path that almost goes back on itself (we’re walking back on a path on the side of the Beacon).
Carry on through the trees, all the way down the Hill until you reach Earnslaw Quarry. We always stop for a picnic here. It’s so peaceful and a great spot to allow your dog to have a swim/paddle and cool off if it’s a warm day. We normally sit on the bench and look at the view!
As you walk away from the quarry, head to the path in the opposite corner that starts going up again (not the really steep path that goes down). After a minute or so, there is a sharp left turn, but you want to take the smaller path that feeds off to the right. At this point, I should probably say, this path isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s quite narrow in places and you do have to climb over some roots and rocks but nothing overly taxing.
Follow this path all the way around…eventually, you pass a mini waterfall on the side of the Hill. Keep snaking your way around and you’ll come to a small area with a bench where the path forks. You want to take the lower path and this will take you all the way down to the clearing just above St Ann’s Well – a great spot to stop for ice cream or cake when it’s open!
As you come to the end of the path, you can either snake around and down to the café or take the path that goes back on itself and down a slight hill. This takes you down to a stream (perfect for the dogs to get a little drink and for the kids to play in!) Head straight across the road to join the path opposite and follow it all the way around (don’t deviate off onto any of the smaller paths) and this eventually brings you out to rejoin the path at the bottom of the zigzag Hill!
Follow the Hill down and back to the Narnia car park where it all began!
Length: Around 5/6 miles
Time: Roughly 3 hours
Difficulty level: Moderate/Difficult – some tricky obstacles so watch out.
2. Donkey Lane, Earls Croome
Another of my favourite walks starts next to the garden centre on the A38 in Earls Croome.
I like to think of Donkey Lane as a bit of a secret walk because we very rarely see anyone else while we’re out exploring.
To start your walk, you’ll see a small track near the entrance of the garden centre. If you follow that as far as you can, you end up right on the banks of the River Severn.
On your way ambling down the tree-lined track, you might notice the cobbles underfoot. A very wise chap once told me that Donkey Lane used to be the main thoroughfare for horse and carts. Apparently, at certain times, they were able to cross the tidal River Severn from this point…long before the bridge at Upton was built.
Eventually, you’ll reach a gate – go through and turn right, you should be able to see/hear the river through the trees and bushes ahead of you. You can then turn left (which will take you into Upton) or take a right and walk up the hill, over the field.
Follow that all the way along until you reach the single-track road. A little further on, you won’t be able to miss Severn Bank House, a spectacular white castle. Built in the early 19th-century, this country house was built in the Gothic style for Lord Deerhurst, the heir to the Earl of Coventry, as part of the Croome estate. There are also lots of lovely horses to look at.
If you follow the road to the end, you can either turn right which will eventually take you back to the garden centre or take left into the village of Severn Stoke and stop for a drink and a meal in the lovely, newly refurbished beer garden at The Rose & Crown pub.
Length: Approx 3 miles
Time: Approx 1 hour.
Difficulty level: Easy
3. The Old Hills, Callow End
The first two weeks of May is some of the best time to explore bluebells and what better way to kick start National Walking Month than rambling the Old Hills at Callow End with your four-legged friends.
One of my favourite simple walks in Worcestershire is the Old Hills at Callow End. As a common area of Worcestershire, the hills provide ample opportunity to spend up to half an hour or even two hours rambling in wonderful woodland surroundings.
I say it is a simple walk as the hills only reach up to 65 metres high but don’t let this fool you as the hills offer surprisingly impressive views of Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills.
The amazing thing about this walk is there is no set route. No matter where you start or how long you spend there, you are guaranteed a lovely Worcestershire walk with lots of scope for exploring. It’s a particularly great walk if you have young children…just beware, after heavy rain, it can be really muddy but for my children, that just adds to the adventure!
Length: Up to 5 miles.
Time: Roughly half an hour to 2 hours.
Difficulty level: Easy.
4. Broadway Tower
Now where would the round-up of the best walks in Worcestershire be without our trusty Broadway Tower?
On the cusp of Worcestershire, Broadway Tower is perfect for those with four-legged friends. The rolling hills, vast open spaces and a plethora of dog-friendly pubs (with lots of treats), Broadway Tower is a national landmark and is a classic case of a short stroll for fantastic views.
As the second-highest point of the Cotswolds, walking enthusiasts can begin the ascent from Broadway village. It is a relatively short walk but do make sure to take your time as it is hilly, but the views are not to be missed.
This beautiful walk will lead you through some of the most scenic Cotswold high streets, along historical pathways all the way up until the captivating Broadway Tower. If you want to download the walking details, head to National Trail’s map here.
When you reach the top of the hill, you will be presented with panoramic views of Worcestershire and even Wales. While you’re up there make sure to see the resident herd of red deer and ‘William’, the stag of the herd. If you’re lucky you may even be able to spot calves which are born around June or July.
Tip: At the top of the hill, you can take refuge at Morris and Brown Café (dog friendly of course) for a well-earned break.
Length: 3½ / 4 miles
Time: Approx 3 hours.
Difficulty level: Moderate – some steep sections so be careful.
* Remember to always prepare and equip yourself properly before heading out on any type of walk. Always stay in touch with others, tell them where you are going and what time you are going to be back. You can never be too prepared when doing outdoor activities!