Wyre Forest, River & Rail
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This walk starts in beautiful Bewdley on the Shropshire-Worcestershire border - once an important medieval port on the river Severn that grew into an elegant Georgian town. It's well worth arriving early to have a look around the free museum and gardens or the riverside market.
From here we set off into the Wyre Forest, following a former railway through this ancient and nationally significant oak woodland. The route takes us past (and through) an old watermill, once one of many in the steep-sided valley of Dowles Brook supplying the local area. Once up the other side we'll cross the Elan aqueduct and take in the views of the Severn vale below before emerging from the forest at Arley, where we'll make a long stop to enjoy afternoon tea and the choo-choo trains.
Relaxed and refreshed, we will follow the path back along the river's eastern bank to Bewdley for a pint in one of several excellent pubs.
Getting there & parking
Bewdley's nearest mainline station is Kidderminster, which is served by regular trains from Birmingham Snow Hill (4 trains per hour) and Worcester (twice per hour). From there you can catch the half-hourly bus or take the Severn Valley Railway into Bewdley.
Parking in the town's pay & display car parks is unfortunately at a premium and will cost £6.60 for the day. Please do consider car sharing.
What to bring
The essential items are comfortable boots and a waterproof jacket (ever the optimist) in addition to your food and drink. You'll also find a useful kit list below:
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Food & drink
You should bring a packed lunch and plenty to drink. There will also be the option of tea & cake mid-afternoon as well as a pub at the end of the walk.