Around Powick Bridge

NEAREST LOCATION

Powick Bridge

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

6.5 miles (10.4kms)

ASCENT
195ft (59m)
TIME
3hrs 15min
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Easy
STARTING POINT
SO834522

About the walk

The bridge across the River Teme, close to both the beginning and end of this walk, was the scene of one of the very first skirmishes of the English Civil War in 1642. It was a brief but aggressive engagement, from which the Royalists emerged victorious against the inferior cavalry of the Parliamentarians.

Barely a mile (1.6km) east of the starting point, the River Teme meets the Severn. This was the site of the decisive Battle of Worcester in 1651. The more famous of the two local battles, it brought an end to the Civil War. The exiled king, Charles II, had returned from France to drum up support, primarily among the Scottish army and die-hard Royalists, to overthrow Cromwell’s Parliamentary forces. Die hard they did. During the Battle of Worcester, the church at Powick was used by Royalists as a lookout, due to its elevated position, enabling views of the surrounding area and the bridge. The church’s tower still shows the marks of small-bore cannonballs, fired by Parliamentary gunners, extending up the south face of the tower from as low as head height to the very top. The original brick and stone Powick Bridge, dating from 15th century bears plaques commemorating the battles of 1642 and 1651.

Powick Bridge is a historic place. Mills have stood here since the 11th century or earlier. The big mill leat was cut in 1291. The buildings that still stand today, now sought-after private residences, were once part of a magnificent hydroelectric power station. This started out as a water mill and was converted in 1894 to become the world’s first combined steam/hydroelectric power station, providing about half of the power needed by the city of Worcester. The station continued generating until the 1950s.

Powick Hospital was formerly known as the Worcester County Pauper and Lunatic Asylum (1847–1989). The asylum had workshops for a variety of trades, a gas works, a brewhouse, farm, bakehouse and chapel. In 1879, local musician and composer Edward Elgar was appointed bandmaster to the hospital band, made up from employees, after it was decided that music was therapeutic to the patients.

Walk directions

Walk 30yds (27m) towards the chimney. From the car park walk upstream, beside the River Teme. After just 200yds (183m), leave the river to go under the bypass. Aim towards a large white house (Ham Hill) but in the far corner of this meadow move right, beside huge trees perhaps standing in water. Roughly follow the river, keeping to the left of it, for over 0.5 miles (800m) passing over a steep wooden footbridge. Pass a solitary oak, mid-field, to locate a stile (with dog hatch) and hand-painted marker beyond.

Follow the right-hand field-edge, then turn left along the same field, in front of a large metal gate with waymarkers. At the top corner, a stile gives into Lord’s Wood, to follow a discernible woodlander’s lane. After 300yds (274m), stiles zigzag out of Lord’s Wood. Pass a solitary house, then turn left onto the public road. Fork right 30yds (27m) beyond the signs ‘Powick’ and ‘30’. A few paces past The Three Nuns pub take the track on the right.

At the first bend take a stile, half right. Walk along two left-hand field-edges to a partially hidden stile in the top left, into a paddock. Follow the complicated but clear way-markers around a house and its grounds, before crossing stiles to emerge in a field. At the clear field opening on the left, turn left, to effectively double back along an obvious wooded track. Leaving the trees, aim for the far right field corner. Along this right-hand field-edge, walk 400yds (366m) to a broad entrance on the right, but cross left instead, aiming for a footbridge halfway down the block of woodland. Out of the trees, go forward 60yds (55m), striking half-right to a solitary oak smothering a telegraph pole. Carry on 40yds (37m) to find (perhaps with difficulty) a footbridge.

Skirt right of Elms (farm), picking up its driveway to the A449. At the main road, turn right briefly before crossing very carefully, to go 350yds (320m) along Ridgeway Farm’s driveway to a fingerpost (walk around the hedge end). Walk 220yds (201m) up the left-hand field-edge, then pass into meadow. Edge along this narrow pasture, briefly going close to Carey’s Brook, later moving to the right-hand field-edge. Go through a kissing gate beside a large oak, skirting the left-hand field-edge. In a corner take another kissing gate.

Just beyond a junction of tracks, a stile beside a rusted gate gives on to a wide, green lane. Through another gate in 100yds (91m) – not the pylon field – walk along the right-hand field-edge. At a pond turn left.

After Broadfield’s Farm, follow its driveway for 400yds (366m) to a cattle grid. Over this, move immediately down to the right. Walk through, then beside young deciduous plantations, then one field to the B4424. Turn right on the pavement for 60yds (55m). Cross to a gate and gap where the remains of a stile can be seen. Cross a stile and go three-quarters left across former strawberry fields, for about 0.25 miles (400m), aiming to enter St Peter’s churchyard by a metal kissing gate. From the outside, the stonework of different building phases is very noticeable, a mixture of 12th-, 15th- and 18th-century building.

Pass the church door to another kissing gate. Go ahead on a level path (not down to the right), which soon becomes a road to the A449. Cross at the pedestrian crossing to the right, before turning left, to take the route signposted ‘Public Footpath, Bransford’ on the left. Pass Severn Trent Water’s Powick Hams installation, then take a waymarked path through young woodland for about 0.25 miles (400m). Steep wooden steps lead sharply down to the flood plain. Strike diagonally right, back to the underpass and car park, but you’re not quite finished yet!

Make the short walk from the car park to Powick Bridge to see the plaques commemorating the important battles fought here during the Civil War. A little further on is the former hydroelectric power station, now desirable private homes. Return to the car park.

Additional information

Pastures, field paths, minor lanes, many stiles

Mostly riverside and gentle slopes

Mostly sheep pastures, but off lead in middle of walk

OS Explorer 204 Worcester & Droitwich Spa and OS Explorer 190 Malvern Hills & Bredon Hill

Car park, unsigned, on the A449/A4440 roundabout

None on route

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WALKING IN SAFETY

Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.

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About the area

Discover Worcestershire

Worcestershire is a county of rolling hills, save for the flat Vale of Evesham in the east and the prominent spine of the Malverns in the west. Nearly all of the land is worked in some way; arable farming predominates – oilseed rape, cereals and potatoes – but there are concentrated areas of specific land uses, such as market gardening and plum growing.

Worcester is the county town, and home to Worcestershire County Cricket Club, which has what some regard as the most attractive grounds in the country, in a delightful setting with views of Worcester Cathedral. The Malverns, Great and Little, set on the slopes of the Malvern Hills, are renowned for their refinement. Great Malvern, terraced on its hillside site, came to prominence as a genteel spa for well-to-do Victorians, rivalling the likes of Bath, Buxton and Cheltenham with its glorious surroundings.

Sir Edward Elgar was a Worcester man, and his statue stands on the High Street, facing the cathedral. The cottage where he was born is now a museum and he is commemorated on the £20 note. Other notable Worcestershire figures include poet A E Housman, chocolate magnate George Cadbury; and Lea and Perrins, inventors of Worcestershire sauce.

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