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Exploring geological and cultural marvels on foot — Geopark Way

In=Sight (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Exploring geological and cultural marvels on foot — Geopark Way

Hiking Collection by Kit P

8-16

days

3-6 h

/ day

112 mi

9,475 ft

9,550 ft

Putting the emphasis on geological interest and changing landscapes, this 111-mile (179 km) hike flows through the Abberley and Malvern Geopark, taking you to fascinating site after fascinating site. A sprawling natural region, the geopark spans five counties and 700 million years of geology. With cultural heritage, natural wonders and vibrant wildlife all present, you discover something new with every step.

As this route has been specifically designed to take in both natural and cultural features, you can expect a lot of variation. On the geological side, you hike along valleys, across ridgelines, through forests and past rocks that pre-date the dinosaurs. On the cultural side, the Way takes in quarries, market towns, hill forts and even a cathedral.

Starting at Bridgnorth in Shropshire and winding its way south to Gloucester, the River Severn is not only present at the start and end, but you reunite with it at many points on the trail. I’ve plotted this Collection to run from north to south but you could just as easily do it in reverse or enjoy the stages in isolation.

Nine stages make up the route, each between 9 and 15 miles (14 and 24 km) long. Every stage starts and ends in a settlement where you can find some amenities and where accommodation or food is sparse, I’ve added extra information in the Tour description. While this area is rural, you’re never too far from a town or a bus stop. Do book accommodation in advance however, as options are spread out in most places and require some planning.

You can hike the Geopark Way throughout the year although I would recommend embarking on it between late spring and early autumn. This allows you to enjoy more sunlight hours, more settled weather and the most gregarious wildlife and plants. Aside from the last, all the stages are either gently undulating or outright hilly. With only a few steep ascents, you won’t find anything too challenging on the Way and instead will find the landscape endlessly rewarding.

Bridgnorth is well connected to surrounding towns and cities by bus. If you want to arrive in style, you could technically take the heritage steam train from Kidderminster but this is more of a tourist, full-day option. The best way to arrive is to catch a train to Kidderminster, Wolverhampton or Telford and take one of the many bus routes that pass through Bridgnorth.

Gloucester is well connected by train too, with a large station and services running north, west and south. Taking a train to Bristol is the best way to reach London, whilst Worcester Parkway opens up more directions in the east.

Regardless of the season, bring waterproofs and sturdy hiking boots. Of course, don’t forget your sun cream in the warmer months. The weather in this region can be variable throughout the year so it’s best to be prepared.

On The Map

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Geopark Way

110 mi

9,375 ft

9,475 ft

Last updated: November 4, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Bridgnorth to Highley — Geopark Way

    Difficult
    05:24
    12.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    900 ft
    675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This first stage of the Geopark Way begins on the banks of the River Severn and returns to its course several times over the course of the hike. Taking in sights such as Dudmaston Hall and Highley’s heritage train station, there’s some fascinating culture as well as beautiful landscapes on this walk

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    06:29
    15.0 mi
    2.3 mph
    850 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    While this stage begins on the banks of the River Severn and ends on them, it spends its duration rambling about the countryside to the east. Exploring undulating farmland, pretty woodlands and the vast, ancient Wyre Forest, there’s lots to see.

    

    Leave Highley and follow the trail east through the tranquil

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    05:22
    12.7 mi
    2.4 mph
    550 ft
    475 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Nature reserves, river stepping stones and ancient caves carved into Triassic sandstone, it’s easy to see why the Abberly and Malvern Geopark is so highly renowned. This stage is low-lying with almost no elevation gain or loss. It weaves around the rivers Stour and Severn, taking in local towns and villages

    by Kit P

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  • Intermediate
    04:54
    10.6 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage has 1,325 feet (404 m) of elevation to contend with but every hill is well worth the climb. The views are majestic and the landscape of woods and fields knitted together unravels before you, adorned by distant, upward reaching church spires.

    

    Leave Astley to the south west, hiking down a steep

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    06:20
    14.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Another beautiful, hilly stage, this hike takes you into the northern reaches of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the thriving town of Great Malvern. You get to explore nature reserves, river valleys and vibrant woodlands and there are a few pubs near the route, should you fancy

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    05:55
    12.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,750 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Spending its entire time in the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this stage sends you gallivanting around fantastic landscapes with exquisite viewpoints, thriving woodlands and secretive trails. There are some steep ups and downs but clear days will definitely reward you. Better still

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    06:53
    15.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Initially hilly as it works its way through the southern end of the majestic Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), this hike has some grand sights for you. The second half is considerably gentler on the legs and spends its time meandering through fields, along tracks and by the side

    by Kit P

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  • Intermediate
    03:59
    8.72 mi
    2.2 mph
    950 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This penultimate stage has a pleasingly symmetrical look about its elevation profile; starting low, rising to the summit of May Hill in the middle and ending low. This, of course, means there’s a rather large ascent in the middle and a correspondingly large descent. While there are certainly steep sections

    by Kit P

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  • Intermediate
    04:29
    11.0 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Blissfully flat, this final stage of the Way follows the River Severn for the majority of the hike. Not only can you enjoy the serenity of this important river as it flows towards Bristol Channel, but the very last section takes you past some of Gloucester’s best historic sites. This stage is utterly

    by Kit P

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Distance
    112 mi
  • Duration
    49:45 h
  • Elevation
    9,475 ft9,550 ft

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