The Worcester to Hereford Midweek Holiday 2014, 11th to 15th August. Reported by Viv and Andrew.
Early on Monday August 11th saw 53 of us gather at Sandon Village Hall ready for the coach journey to Worcester. After a couple of motorway stops we arrived at Worcester University in time for an afternoon walk through the historic city. Worcester is known as the birthplace of Edward Elgar and for its role as a Royalist Town in the Civil War when the Cathedral was badly damaged.
Following a night in our student accommodation under the watchful eye of our flat master/mistress we set off on our first walk starting on the Three Choirs Way and following River Severn before turning west. Here we had our first encounter with disappearing footpaths but skilful map-reading soon put us back on track to our lunch-stop on the slopes of Old Hills . A very pleasant afternoon walk took us to Great Malvern via Madresfield Court, said to have been used by Evelyn Waugh as the real Brideshead. On the outskirts of Great Malvern we were swallowed up in a huge rambling industrial estate, not what we expected. With ‘tea and buns’ on some of our minds we just made it up the slope to Great Malvern Centre before the tea-shops closed.
Wednesday was the day of the walk over the Malvern Hills and the most anticipated walk. Climbing steeply out of Great Malvern we walked along the tops of the hills in almost perfect walking weather and with superb views of the Severn valley to the east. It was easy to imagine Edward Elgar striding across these hills whilst mentally composing his famous works.
The afternoon walk took us round the British Camp, a second century fortification, and over Hangman’s Hill before a gentle descent to Ledbury, passing the Eastnor Castle estate on the way. Once again there was little time for ‘tea and buns’ before we mounted the coach to return to Worcester.
Walking from Ledbury to Fownhope took the group through orchards of apples, pears and cherries before joining the Herefordshire Trail which we thought would be well-walked and well-way marked – not so. Our navigators had to resort to a well thought out plan B which took us to our picnic sitting on graves in a village churchyard. During the afternoon walk we were treated to a lesson by Eric on how to deal with a herd of charging cattle. Most of us knew the theory but it was good to see that it worked in practice. As we approached Fownhope the weather was deteriorating and the walk ended with an unseemly dash to be first in the pub for a pint (or two) of delicious HPA. No sooner had we raised our glasses when the heavens opened. The gods were on our side that afternoon.
The gods were not on our side on Friday. Heavy traffic, roadworks and poorly signed diversions meant that our morning walk to Hereford had to be cut short. We started at Mordiford, instead of Fownhope and took the Wye Valley Walk into Hereford, arriving at lunchtime. Most of us visited the Cathedral to see the famous Mappa Mundi of 1300, and the equally fascinating Chained Library, before we had to depart for Chelmsford. We returned having enjoyed excellent walking and excellent company.
Thanks are due to Graham for organising the week and to Malcolm and Bob for their map-reading skills. I’m sure we are all looking forward to Exeter 2015.