<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today click here

Cotswold Ways Walk: Springing thyme on Bredon Hill

PUBLISHED: 14:04 23 March 2018

Don’t lose heart: the views will be worth it!

Don’t lose heart: the views will be worth it!

Candia McKormack

A bracing walk up to the summit of Bredon Hill is the perfect way to see in the Spring. A local saying warns ‘When Bredon Hill has on his hat, men of the vale beware of that’, but whatever the weather the charm of Elmley Castle and its inn will more than compensate!

The distinctive bulwark of Bredon Hill is, at 981 ft, the highest in the Cotswolds. It is a magnificent summit to ascend on a spring day, affording edifying views over Worcestershire and Gloucestershire and beyond. It draws the eye and inspires the legs, and has attracted the attention of Celtic chieftains and Roman centurions, a raggle-taggle of merry fair-goers followed by a disapproving bustle of Victorian worthies, plus a whole murmuration of poets, artists, writers and composers.

The most notable bard to be associated with it is A.E. Housman, who immortalised it in his classic evocation of the land of lost content, A Shropshire Lad: XXI, ‘In Summertime on Bredon’. With its memorable opening lines of ‘In summertime on Bredon/The bells they sound so clear;/Round both the shires they ring them/In steeples far and near,/A happy noise to hear’ it may seem like an odd choice for brisk March, but the poem that begins so optimistically strikes a chillier note half way through (‘But when the snows at Christmas/On Bredon top were strown,’). Like the two counties the hill overlooks, the poem seems to position itself between two extremes, tonally and thematically. Halfway between winter and summer seems like the ideal time to check out the source of Housman’s inspiration.

The view from Bredon Hill, Worcestershire The view from Bredon Hill, Worcestershire

An outlier of the Cotswold Hills, Bredon (etymologically, Bre: ‘hill’; Dun: ‘hill’: so good they named it thrice!) has some fascinating features including Roman earthworks (Worcestershire’s largest hoard, of 4,000 coins, was discovered there in 2011), the romantic tower known as the Parson’s Folly (or more prosaically, the Banbury Stone Tower), and some strange stones. Most notable of these, unmissable indeed as the ‘elephant on the hill’, is the so-called Elephant Stone.

Until c. 1876 a fair and summer games were held on the hill every Whitsun, until things got a bit too Bacchanalian for Victorian sensibilities and the tradition ended. Today it remains a popular spot for hikers and picnickers.

The Banbury Stone The Banbury Stone

The walk:

1. Park in at the picnic area, just outside Elmley Castle. Heading towards the ridge, cross over the stile and proceed along the edge of the field.

2. Heading south-east, carry along the top end of the field until you reach a metal gate, where the path joins the Wychavon Way.

3. Through the gate make your way through the woods, climbing the steep track.

4. Just past a little footbridge over boggy ground, you will see, on the rise, a footpath sign pointing right, between the trees. Taking this, make your way between Fiddler’s Knap and Castle Hill.

5. Keep climbing, heading up to the ridge. Don’t lose heart: the views will be worth it!

6. Finally you emerge out on the ridge. Now the way is a lot easier. After you’ve caught your breath (there is a bench conveniently situated for this purpose) turn right, and follow the path along the edge of the escarpment, with the slope of Long Plantation on your right.

7. The footpath drops down a few contours, but soon regains the height as you push up to the tower, which will soon hove into view. Nearly there!

8. Following the path along the edge westwards, you’ll pass through the earthworks of Kemerton Camp, finally reaching the magnificent Parson’s Folly, aka Banbury Stone Tower, which is nowhere near Banbury! It is apparently a derivation of ‘Baenintesburg’, a fact you can impress your friends with (perhaps!). The tower was built in the mid-18th century for John Parsons, MP (1732–1805), squire of Kemerton Court and intended, somewhat optimistically, as a summer house.

9. Admire the views, you’ve earned them!

10. Before you leave the tower (retracing your steps along the path) take a moment to squeeze through the King and Queen Stones – it’s meant to be good for your health (unless you get stuck of course)!

11. Continue back past the fort to the point where the footpath starts to drop down the hill. Take this first turning on your left.

12. Follow the path as its descends the hill back towards Elmley Castle. It eventually emerges by some farm buildings (Hill House Farm) at the top of Hill Lane. Follow this metalled lane down to the village.

13. A footpath on your right cuts off a corner of the field, but either way, it’s not far.

14. Turn right into the village. Proceed along past the charming houses with their heavy eaves of thatch, Tudor beams and babbling brook. A more charming corner of England it would be hard to find.

15. Around the corner you come to the Queen Elizabeth Inn. Time for refreshments!

16. Once restored, take the narrow alley opposite the pub back to the picnic place carpark. Well done!

Need to know:

Distance: 4.88miles / 7.85km walk

Level: Moderate. Some steep/muddy sections. Suitable footwear and walking poles essential.

Dog-friendly: Yes.

Parking: Elmley Castle picnic area

Pub: The Queen Elizabeth, Main Street, Nr Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 3HS

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Mon, 10:38

Becoming a more and more popular pastime, outdoor cinema experiences are popping up in a number of stunning, and unique, locations all over the Cotswolds. We pick 10 places to catch a movie al fresco in and around the region

Read more
Friday, April 20, 2018

Stow-on-the-Wold may be the highest point of the Cotswolds and a few degrees colder than its counterparts, but it has a warm community heart

Read more
Monday, April 16, 2018

Expect plenty of flower power at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Thursday May 10 - Sunday May 13

Read more
Friday, April 13, 2018

What’s black and white and well-bred all over? Tracy Spiers explores Tewkesbury’s abbey and ancient alleyways

Read more
Thursday, April 12, 2018

There are many beautiful spots in and around the Cotswolds to lay your blanket down and enjoy a good old fashioned picnic! Here are 13 of the best…

Read more
Monday, April 9, 2018

On a soggy day in Oxfordshire, Tracy Spiers and family discover first-hand just how warm a Witney Blanket is

Read more
Friday, April 6, 2018

Marking the arrival of sunny days and warmer weather, spring has truly begun once we spot a beautiful display of bluebells. We pick 10 places in and around the Cotswolds to marvel at the pretty blue flower

Read more
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2018 is set to take visitors on an exciting journey of discovery from May 10-13

Read more
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

With an average audience of 2.5 million viewers and a global audience, it’s safe to say Father Brown is a hit. We talk through the gorgeous Cotswold villages and locations that have been used as the backdrop to BBC One’s popular crime-solving drama...

Read more
Monday, April 2, 2018

If only walls could talk! Featuring gorgeous Cotswold almshouses, stunning market squares and honey-coloured architecture, we pick 8 beautifully historic market towns to visit in the region

Read more
Friday, March 23, 2018

Imposing manor houses, quiet medieval villages, idyllic swathes of countryside - the Cotswolds offers a lot for location scouts in the film business. We pick 19 famous filming locations in the Cotswolds, as seen on screens big and small

Read more
Friday, March 23, 2018

A bracing walk up to the summit of Bredon Hill is the perfect way to see in the Spring. A local saying warns ‘When Bredon Hill has on his hat, men of the vale beware of that’, but whatever the weather the charm of Elmley Castle and its inn will more than compensate!

Read more
Friday, March 16, 2018

As the weather warms, blossom blooms from the trees and colourful flowers burst from the ground, we can’t wait to explore the Cotswold countryside. We pick 9 walks that will make you want to lace up your walking boots straightaway!

Read more
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The finest horses, jockeys and trainers are preparing to battle it out at The Cheltenham Festival. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 12 suggestions on what a racegoer needs to do during the four days of racing...

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search