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Conquer the longest inland trail in England — Monarch’s Way: Part 1

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Conquer the longest inland trail in England — Monarch’s Way: Part 1

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson

12

Tours

73:50 h

175 mi

7,300 ft

Part one of the Monarch’s Way takes you on a historic hike from where the first and last battles of the English Civil War were fought to where William Shakespeare was born.

The Monarch’s Way traces the escape route taken by King Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, the final battle of the civil war between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. At 615 miles (990 km) in total, it is the longest inland trail in England.

The epic journey begins at Powick Bridge, where the first and last battles of the civil war took place. From the tower of Worcester Cathedral, Charles II watched his forces defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s army and so began his six-week escape.

From Powick Bridge, this first part of the Way winds 175 miles (282 km) through the heart of Worcester, around the patchwork countryside of Worcestershire and into Shropshire to the River Severn, where Charles’ attempt to escape into Wales was thwarted.

The Way then loops back around Wolverhampton, skirts Birmingham and drops into the beautiful and wildlife-rich Warwickshire countryside to finish in Stratford-upon-Avon, where playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born and laid to rest.

The trail is waymarked throughout and follows well-maintained paths. The hiking is generally quite leisurely but there are some challenging sections, making it a good choice for all abilities.

In this Collection, we split the route into 12 stages, each averaging 14.6 miles (23.5 km). Of course, you can divide each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or couple of stages, in isolation. As stages 4 and 6 are both around 18 miles (30 km), however, there is a suggestion on how to split the routes in the stage description.

Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.

If you are planning to arrive by public transport, Worcester has excellent transport links, including regular and direct train services direct from London and Birmingham. From the city centre, it is a 2-mile (3.2 km) hike to the start of the route at Powick Bridge. Alternatively, you can catch the 44 bus, which runs regularly to the start. To get home, Stratford-upon-Avon also has excellent public transport links.

If you plan to drive, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B owner in Worcester to stay for a night either side and leave your car for the duration. Alternatively, there is long-stay parking available in Worcester. To get back, there are regular trains between Stratford and Worcester, which typically take two hours.

For more information about the Monarch’s Way, visit: monarchsway.50megs.com.
For the 44 bus timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/44-county-hall-worcester-the-malverns.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.

Click the links below for more Collections on the Monarch’s Way.

Part 2: komoot.com/collection/914707/conquer-the-longest-inland-trail-in-england-monarchs-way-part-2.
Part 3: komoot.com/collection/918048/conquer-the-longest-inland-trail-in-england-monarchs-way-part-3,

On The Map

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Monarch's Way

590 mi

36,425 ft

36,475 ft

Last updated: November 8, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    04:47
    11.6 mi
    2.4 mph
    225 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage of the Monarch’s Way starts from where the first and last battles of the English Civil War took place, winds through the historic city of Worcester and finishes in Droitwich Spa.

    

    The start location is highly symbolic for the story of this route. The Monarch’s Way traces the escape route

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:50
    16.1 mi
    2.4 mph
    825 ft
    575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This hike explores a patchwork of farmland dotted with pretty villages and historic buildings.

    

    From Droitwich Spa, you cross Westlands, follow Kidderminster Road to Hampton Lovett, head underneath the railway line and continue through farmland.

    

    Rock fans behold when you reach the small village of Rushock

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:18
    15.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    575 ft
    625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Fine views over the Severn Valley and gentle walking along tree-lined canals await on this hike.

    

    The stage begins with a steady climb over Wychbury Hill. Whilst the ascent is small, the rewards are great and you experience lovely views over the Severn Valley, Malvern Hills, and Clee Hills.

    

    You also find

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    07:32
    18.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    575 ft
    600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The narrative of King Charles II’s escape really comes alive on this stage as you visit some of his most famous hideouts.

    

    Whilst the climbing is minimal and the paths are easygoing, at 18 miles (29 km) this challenging hike will really test your mettle. (See below for a suggestion on how to split the

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:42
    15.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    950 ft
    975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage explores stunning Shropshire countryside and takes you to the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

    

    From Shifnal, the trail heads southwest through farmland and small woodlands, cuts through Kemberton and continues to Ironbridge, a town on the Severn at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:38
    15.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    625 ft
    450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Peaceful farmland interspersed with woodlands, nature reserves, and sleepy villages lies ahead on this stage.

    

    You complete a loop on this hike, too; returning to Whiteladies Priory, Boscobel House, and the Royal Oak, before continuing east as Charles II would have done.

    

    From Codsall, follow the A442 briefly

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Intermediate
    05:00
    11.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You see another one of Charles II’s hideouts on this stage, which explores natural habitats on the edge of Wolverhampton.

    

    From Codsall, you head north before making a tight loop and dropping into Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve, which has been naturally-managed since the 13th century.

    

    The trail then heads

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:04
    12.4 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The urban landscape on this stage is interspersed with a surprising amount of nature and tells a little more of Charles II’s tale.

    

    You begin by hiking along the tree-lined Wyrley and Essington Canal path to Rough Wood Chase Nature Reserve, which is home to many species of birds, amphibians, mammals

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:15
    14.7 mi
    2.4 mph
    775 ft
    500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This contrasting stage explores an industrial landscape reclaimed by nature, visits one of the largest Hindu temples in Europe, follows many canals, and affords great panoramic views.

    

    You begin by hiking south along on Wednesbury Old Canal, cross to follow the Birmingham Canal, and then head left along

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:51
    15.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage explores a landscape that is hailed for its wildflower displays, birdwatching opportunities, and beacon-worthy views.

    

    You start the hike with a short ascent of Beacon Hill. One of the highest points for miles around, this summit affords breathtaking views over the countryside and into Birmingham

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:18
    12.5 mi
    2.4 mph
    500 ft
    800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage skirts the urban landscape on a surprisingly-green journey filled with history and beauty.

    

    You start by hiking around the western edge of Redditch and then follow footpaths and country lanes through farmland to Astwood Bank.

    

    You continue along quiet paths through patchwork fields, hedgerows

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:36
    15.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Literature fans who appreciate great countryside will be in heaven on this stage, which takes you to Shakespeare’s home town, Stratford-upon-Avon.

    

    This stage, the last in this first Collection on the Monarch’s Way, begins by following serene footpaths to Wootton Wawen.

    

    You cross the River Alne and walk

    by Dan Hobson

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    175 mi
  • Duration
    73:50 h
  • Elevation
    7,300 ft

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Conquer the longest inland trail in England — Monarch’s Way: Part 1

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