Just a stone’s throw away from Birmingham, Worcestershire is as famous for its beautiful English countryside as it is for the vinegar based sauce so synonymous with the county. There are almost limitless options when considering walks in Worcestershire, from scenic rambles in the verdant Cotswold hills, spectacular ridge walks traversing the Malverns to exploring trails between the picturesque villages that are characteristic of the region.Hiking in Worcestershire is sumptuous at any time of year. Breathe in the crisp winter air as you stride across the frosted hillsides, alongside gorse, bracken and snowdrops. The coming of spring brings swathes of colour and resplendent blossom to the riverside trails, whilst hazy summer days offer long hikes under huge blue skies. Meanwhile, the earthy autumn tones are perfect for hikes through Worcestershire’s ancient woodlands and nature reserves.
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In the south east of the county sprawl the upper limits of the beautiful Cotswolds. Famous for its rolling green beacon hills, honey-coloured brick houses and miles upon miles of bridleways and historic stone walls, the Cotswolds are a delight to explore. Verdant wildflower meadows and ancient woodlands abound in this rural paradise.
Some of the best walks in Worcestershire begin from the charming village of Broadway, known informally as the Gateway to the Cotswolds. From here you can hike to the iconic Broadway Tower, a Norman style battlemented folly that stands proud on Beacon Hill. Such is its lofty perch that it offers sensational wide-ranging vistas to no less than sixteen counties.
In the surrounding hills and valleys there is plenty more to discover and experience. Lush grasslands sprawl for miles. As you tread freely amongst them you might even run into one of the red deer that roam here or catch a glimpse of a kestrel or skylark.
Some of the best hiking trails in Worcestershire are undoubtedly those that explore the magnificent Malvern hills. One of Britain’s musical greats, composer Edward Elgar lived here and loved these hills. Their beauty and majesty is often cited as the inspiration behind his masterpieces. The high escarpment divides Worcestershire from Herefordshire for a full 8 miles (13 km) and is formed of some of the most ancient rock in England. Sculpted by ancient glaciers and millennia of relentless weathering, the characteristic smoothly rounded ridge is a prominent landmark from miles around.
The ridge reaches its lofty summit on the Worcestershire Beacon, which at 1,394 feet (425 m) is the highest point in the county. An adventure to its summit ranks amongst the best hikes in Worcestershire. Signal fires were famously lit here to warn of the incoming Spanish Armada in 1588, such is its command over the surrounding countryside. The spa town of Great Malvern, famous for its fresh spring water, acts as a great base for the exploration of these hills.
Two of Britain’s longest rivers flow through Worcestershire, the River Severn and the River Wye, creating verdant pastures and wetlands containing a rich diversity of wildlife. At 220 miles (354 km), the Severn is Britain’s longest river and plays host to many picturesque spa towns and villages. Boasting forest trails, ancient castles and beautiful meadows, this is delectable countryside for a ramble.
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