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Cleeve Prior Walks

Walking and riding around the area

Walks and Rides

The footpaths and bridleways in the area offer a variety of different walking experiences. The relatively flat land around the villages, and to the east, have paths going through growing and farming country. To the west of the Cleeve Road (B4085) the land rises onto Cleeve Hill, giving views over the Vale of Evesham, Bredon Hill, The Malvern and Shropshire Hills . Cleeve Hill is a Nature Conservation Area where wild flowers and butterflies abound. By taking the steep path (519) down the western side of the hill you meet the beautiful river Avon, giving a lovely riverside walk.

The area offers scope for short strolls and dog walks, but also makes a starting point for more ambitious walks further afield. It is easy to walk to neighbouring Cleeve Prior and its Pub, The Kings Arms. If you don’t fancy returning by foot, the 247 bus route offers an alternative means of transport (see timetable on the local transport page). The path along the river is part of the Shakespeare's Avon Way. This is an 88 mile long footpath following the river from its source in Naseby to its confluence with the river Severn in Tewkesbury. Another type of walk would be a walk through history following the routes taken by armies in the civil war.

 

 

Circular walk
BEGINS IN:
Bidford On Avon, United Kingdom
DESCRIPTION:
Start at Cottage of Content PH in Barton (Car Park). Go left from PH to Riverand walk along bank of River Avon. Continue along FP to the Pack Horse Bridge. Cross over road at traffic lights into park, and continue along river bank opposite The Bridge Restaurant. Walk along River Avon to Marlcliffe, and go towards village centre. Just before Thatch cottage turn right uphill, and immediately fork right along top of escarpment. Continue along minor roads into Cleeve Prior. Go into village centre of Cleeve Prior, and continue to Kings Arm PH. Turn left through churchyard and continue across fields back towards Marlcliff. Descend down steps into village of Marlcliffe. Go straight ahead along road onto public footpath. Continue across fields towards Bidford on Avon (Packhorse Bridge). Cross back over road at traffic lights and retrace your steps along the River Avon back to Cottage of Content PH in Barton.
Starting from Middle Littleton
DESCRIPTION
This is a level walk apart from one descent and a later ascent of Cleeve Hill. In between there is a leisurely stroll along the River Avon.
The route from Middle Littleton to Cleeve Prior is through typical ‘Vale of Evesham’ countryside.
Map reference of start SP 078 469. The walk starts from Middle Littleton which is just off the B4085 Bidford-on-Avon to Badsey road, 2 miles north-east of Evesham. It is reached from the A439 (T) at Bidford by crossing the Avon and following the signs through Cleeve Prior, or from turning on to the B4035 and turning on to the B4085 just before the ‘Round of Gras’ at Badsey. Cars can be parked at the beginning of Manor Road, which is opposite the British legion Club. The three Littleton’s – North, Middle and South – are sheltered on the west by slightly higher ground and away to the east by the Cotswold’s. The Littleton’s lie in one of the most important market garden districts in ‘The Vale’ and this walk goes through some of the market gardens, with their crops of rhubarb and thyme, onions and asparagus (known locally as ‘gras’). In the 1930’s there were some 3,000 small units of between three and five acres round Evesham and the same around Pershore. The break up of the large estates in the 19th century was greatly encouraged by the acceptance of the ‘Evesham Custom’, whereby tenants owned the improvements they made to holdings and could realize the added value as ‘ingoing’ paid to the new tenant. Life in ‘The Vale’ was almost in another world- hard work for little return, save the freedom of working the land for oneself and being one’s own boss in the open air. Walk the few yards back to the ‘T’ junction and turn right. Go around the bend and when the road turns right keep straight ahead. On the right is the entrance to a huge tithe barn owned by the National Trust. It can be visited without charge and is still used by the farmer. Built about 1300 by the Abbey of Evesham and restored by the National Trust in 1977, it has eleven bays and is partly aisled. Continue the walk by going to a gate at the end of the track. From here bear right to the second of two stiles in the right- hand hedge. In the next field turn left and with the hedge on the left, go to the road on the edge of North Littleton. Cross the road and follow the track which is signposted to Cleeve Prior. On the left are some of the traditional crops of ‘The Vale’ but further on, competition from foreign imports has forced the smaller landholders to turn to cereals, some to ‘set-a-side’. In ½ mile this track turns left but you keep the same direction At the corner go over a stile and stone bridge and turn right. Go round the edge of the field, with first a hedge and then a ditch on your right, to join a track. This will take you into Cleeve Prior. Cleeve Prior was held in the Middle Ages by the Prior of Worcester – Prior’s in contrast to the Bishop’s Cleeve which was held by the Bishop of Worcester. The remains of a number of Roman period settlements have been found in the area and Cleeve Prior was one of over forty early medieval farms established on the highly productive land of ‘The Vale’. Go straight across the road to ‘The Green’, noting the group of fine stone cottages on the right, and on into the churchyard. Bear left, following a faint path past the church, to go out between the eighth and ninth poplars from the right. Pass through the present graveyard to go to the left of a large old chestnut tree. On the right is the very fine 16th century Manor House.
At the end of the field cross a stile and a footbridge and follow the path round the field to the left. Go forward with the hedge on the right to pass through a gap in the corner and keep the same direction, but now with the hedge on the left. At the lane go straight ahead and at the next cross-track keep the same direction. On reaching the bridleway along the ridge, cross straight over to go down and round to the left following the garden fence. At this point there is a wonderful view over the Lenches. The path goes down to a wide turning area for cars.
A riverside path can be found on the right a few yards up the track which comes down from Cleeve. Follow this path for ¾ mile to a stile at the end of the wood, where a track comes down from the left. If you walk quietly you may see a heron, as this is one of their favorite haunts. Another bird often seen here is the kingfisher. Walk on along the riverside passing through the ends of many long narrow fields, each having its own individual stile. After one mile the path goes to the left chalet, opposite the old mill house at Harvington. This is now a well-known hotel and restaurant. Continue, to go through a caravan park and out to the road. Along to the right is ‘The Fish and Anchor Inn’ and a natural weir, which strangely enough has a public right of way for people on foot along the top of it - - but it is NOT to be recommended! From the caravan park entrance bear left across the road to a gap in the hedge. Follow the path across the field and up to the top of the ridge. Turn right along the bridleway. At the junction turn right and then left to follow the hedge on the left for ½ mile to the church at South Littleton. Cross the main road and turn left. Ina few yards bear right along the front of South House, a fine Georgian building, with the old bakery opposite. Cross the beginning of Farm Lane to a footpath. This path takes you into the field which divides South and Middle Littleton. The switchback effect as you cross the field is caused by the ridges and furrows made by medieval farmers when they ploughed. It has remained unploughed ever since. Life before the 19th century was very different from that of today because most people were farmers. For example, in the 16th century the Vicar of Badsey, just down the road, was responsible for the parish bull – but in South Littleton the vicar was only responsible for the parish ‘heyfur’. Keep to the left of the field and at the end pass between the houses to the road. You should be able to see the car along to the left.
 6 miles
 
 

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

WINDMILL HILL NATURE RESERVE

Situated on the scarp slope of Windmill Hill, this scrubby grassland has been maintained for centuries by the grazing of farm animals. This continues today with cattle being allowed to graze during the winter months.

This grassland is dotted with lime loving plants and the reserve is important for butterflies

 

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Access to the Reserve is by permissive footpath which runs from the top of Fish and Anchor Bank to the lane leading from Middle Littleton between Kanes Foods and Botts Skip Hire. There are excellent views across the Vale of Evesham to Bredon Hill and the Malvern Hills.

The Site is maintained by volunters from Worcestershire Wildlife Conservation. This group meets at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of every month to carry out various tasks to maintain the area and keep the habitat in the correct state so that the various rare flora and insects continue to occupy the site. Anyone wishing to help in joining the volunteers would be heartedly welcome. Meeting point will be at the top of Fish and Anchor Hill opposite the Car Layby.

In June look for orchids which are readily visible from the path.

 

A circular walk from Middle Littleton Tithe Barn – 6 Miles

 

This is a level walk apart from one descent and a later short but steep ascent of Cleeve Hill. In between there is a leisurely stroll along the River Avon. The route in the main is along field tracks and may be muddy after rain. The route from Middle Littleton to Cleeve Prior is through typical ‘Vale of Evesham’ countryside.

 

1. From the car park at the Tithe barn walk up Croft Road and turn right, go through the gate at the end of the road, bear right across the field to two adjacent gates in the righthand hedge. (You will have a good view of the back of the tithe barn). 2. Go through the left hand (furthest) gate, and turn left keeping the hedge on the left. Carry on until you reach the road on the edge of North Littleton. 3. Cross the road and follow the track which is signposted to Cleeve Prior without turning off for 1.3 miles until you reach Cleeve Prior. Along this track, after three quarters of a mile you will cross a stile and a wooden bridge and then pass by the Severn Trent water works, eventually entering Quarry Lane into the village of Cleeve Prior. 4. Go straight across the road to ‘The Green’ and bear right into the churchyard. 5. Bear left, following a faint path to the left past the church to a gap in a row of poplars, go through the gap into the present graveyard, cross to a gate and follow the path past a large old chestnut tree. (On the right is the very fine 16th century Manor House) 6. At the end of the field cross the footbridge go through the gate. About 60 meters further on there is a gate in the left hand hedge. Go through the gate and walk across the field keeping the hedge on your right. 7. After 150 metres, at the end of the hedge go through the gate and turn left continuing until you reach a lane. (Froglands Lane). 8. Cross the lane and continue to a second crossway, keep going straight ahead until you reach the ridge. 9. On reaching the bridleway along the ridge, cross straight over through a set of upright posts to go down and round to the left following a garden fence and past a house, the path goes down through a wooded area to a wide turning area for cars near the river. 10. Here a track (Mill Lane) comes down from Cleeve Prior. Start up the track and after a few meters on the right you will see a path off right towards the river. Follow this path along the river for just over half a mile to the point where a track comes down from the left. (If you walk quietly you may see a heron, as this is one of their favourite haunts. Another bird often seen here is the kingfisher.) 11. Continue to the right along the riverside passing through the ends of many long narrow fields, crossing the occasional stile. After one mile the path goes to the left of a chalet, opposite the old mill house at Harvington. Continue along the path for 500 metres to a caravan park, walk through the caravan park and out to the road. (Along to the right is ‘The Fish and Anchor Inn’ and a natural weir, which strangely enough has a public right of way for people on foot along the top of it - - but it is NOT to be recommended!) 12. From the caravan park entrance bear left across the road to a gap in the hedge. Follow the path to the left across the field, through the gate and up to the gate at very top of the ridge. Turn right along the bridleway. (There are excellent views of the river and the Vale of Evesham from here.) 13. At the junction turn right and then left to follow the hedge on the left for ½ mile to the church at South Littleton. Cross the main road and turn left. 14. After 70 metres bear right along the front of South House, a fine Georgian building, with the old bakery opposite. Cross the beginning of Farm Lane to a footpath. This path takes you into the field which divides South and Middle Littleton. A circular walk from Middle Littleton Tithe Barn – 6 Miles 15. Go through the gate into the field and walk diagonally across the field to a metal gate, go through the gate to a second wooden gate and pass between the houses to the road (Manor Rd). 16. Turn left and follow the road round to the right to the T junction with School Lane, the Village hall is on your left and a play area to your right. 17. Turn right into School Lane, go around the bend to the left and when the road turns right keep straight ahead into Croft road signed to the National Trust Tithe barn and return to the car park. A circular walk from Middle Littleton Tithe Barn – 6 Miles

The three Littleton’s – North, Middle and South – are sheltered on the west by slightly higher ground and away to the east by the Cotswold’s. The Littleton’s lie in one of the most important market garden districts in ‘The Vale’ and this walk goes through some of the market gardens, with their crops of rhubarb and thyme, onions and asparagus (known locally as ‘gras’). In the 1930’s there were some 3,000 small units of between three and five acres round Evesham and the same around Pershore. The break-up of the large estates in the 19th century was greatly encouraged by the acceptance of the ‘Evesham Custom’, whereby tenants owned the improvements they made to holdings and could realize the added value as ‘ingoing’ paid to the new tenant. Life in ‘The Vale’ was almost in another world- hard work for little return, save the freedom of working the land for oneself and being one’s own boss in the open air. Cleeve Prior was held in the Middle Ages by the Prior of Worcester – Prior’s in contrast to the Bishop’s Cleeve which was held by the Bishop of Worcester. The remains of a number of Roman period settlements have been found in the area and Cleeve Prior was one of over forty early medieval farms established on the highly productive land of ‘The Vale’.