Start Point is the junction of the A456 and the A4112 at Tenbury; Grid. Ref 595687. Cross the 'bridge with a bend' over the River Teme, heading south on the A4112 down Teme Street through Tenbury Wells. The historic Pump Rooms are just off to the left as Teme Street bends right and the oval Victorian Butter Market on the right shortly after. As you leave Tenbury, turn left on to the B4214 to Bromyard.
On the left in the hedgerow there is a 1930s milestone. It replaced a Victorian iron milestone that is now located outside Pipers Brook at Eastham.
Look out for an historic oast house on the right, once used for drying hops, which are still grown in the Teme Valley.
The road winds its way through the undulating farmland following the course of a stream to the left.
A brown Flower Garden sign directs you up a drive on the right to Kyre Park and Gardens. The 32 acres of pools, cascades and winding walks were laid out from 1754. Can you find the Hermit's Cave, the Green Man, the Folly and the cupola temple?
A roadside sign indicates that you are crossing the county border from Worcestershire into Herefordshire.
At Collington, pass St Mary's Church on the right. To the left is Edvin Loach and the ruins of an eleventh century church built within the earthworks of a Norman motte and bailey castle.
Edwin Ralph village has fine views to the left of Worcestershire hills. Ralph Court gardens, on the left, are set in the grounds of a gothic rectory and comprise 12 gardens that will take you around the world with a bit of fun and fantasy.
Straight ahead is a view of the Worcestershire Beacon, the mountain at the centre of the National Park.
The road passes between the ruined ramparts of an ancient railway track, now disused.
At the T-junction, turn left for the town centre. Bromyard is one of the Gateway towns. To continue the circumnavigation, turn right at the afore-mentioned T-junction. At the X-roads with the A44, cross straight over to the B4214 signposted to Ledbury.
There is another oast house on the left and magnificent views of the Malvern Hills ahead. Just past the oast house, Stoke Lacy is signposted on the right. Its medieval church, St Peter and St Paul's, was rebuilt in 1863 by local architect F R Kempson, whose father was rector here from 1839-58. The Kempsons were forebears of the famous Redgrave family of actors. An earlier rector, James Rawlins, was described in a Puritan survey of 1642 as a 'vayne man who seldom precheth'.
More impressive was the Morgan family. Henry Morgan, rector from 1871, was succeeded by his son George, the father of Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan (1881-1959). It was in this village in 1909 that HFS Morgan invented the 3-wheeler car that led to the establishment in that year of the Morgan factory in Malvern Link that today produces the iconic 3-wheeler and 4-wheeler sports cars. (Guided tours of the factory are available on week days.) The church has several stained glass windows dedicated to Morgan cars and the Morgan family. Can you find their graves in the churchyard?
From 1938, Symonds Cider and English Wine Company was based in Stoke Lacy. It was eventually taken over by Bulmers in 1989. The plant closed in 2000 but today the Wye Valley Brewery produces real ale on the Symonds site.
Almost immediately after the sign to Stoke Lacy, Frome Valley Vineyard at Paunton Court is signposted to the left. Check opening times if you wish to visit.
Bishop's Frome's St Mary the Virgin church has a magnificent lych gate which can be spotted on the left from the road. A little further along the road on the left is The Hop Pocket, a craft centre and shopping village. At the junction with the A4103 Hereford - Worcester Road, turn right then immediately left keeping on the B4214 to Ledbury.
Cider apple orchards can be seen each side of the road. At Castle Frome, take a narrow lane on the left signposted to the ancient church St Michael and All Angels. On the south wall is a Saxon sundial high up in the porch but still discernible.
The Saxon sundial right.
There are fine views of the Malvern Hills on the left.
Join a road coming from the left as you approach Ledbury.
Look out for the jam factory on the right as you enter Ledbury and Ledbury Railway Station is a short distance on the left. Immediately under the railway bridge, the A438 joins from the right from which the famous railway viaduct can be seen a short distance down this road. Continue straight on, down the A417, Ledbury's High Street. On the left, a road is signposted to Hope End where the poet Elizabeth Barrett (later Browning) spent her early years. In the town centre, look out for the medieval market hall on the left.
At the roundabout south of the town take the A417 south.
The road passes from Herefordshire into Gloucestershire, as verified by the roadside sign.
Eastnor Castle is signed left. Cross the M50 motorway and then turn left. Ignore the first turning pointing to the Malvern Hills. Take the second signposted Pendock
Follow the road towards Pendock; the Chartists' Lane is passed on the left. This refers to the rare Chartist settlement, built circa 1840 nearby.
At Pendock, The Redeemer Church is passed on the left by a crossroads. It was built in 1899 as a temporary wooden building and is still in use; head straight across. Cross the motorway and head east towards Tewkesbury.
The intriguing castellated house 'Fishers Place' is passed on the left.
Pendock Old Church, now disused, is a Grade 1 listed building under the care of the Church Conservation Trust. It can be viewed up a trackway to the left. The churchyard contains the grave of W S Symonds. He was rector of Pendock, Lord of the Manor and author of 'Malvern Chase'. The windows at the west end of the church are dedicated to him. The church access trackway has superb views of the Malvern Hills seen from the southern end.
Turn right onto the A438 under the motorway.
Cross the Mythe Bridge over the river Avon; then turn right for Tewkesbury.
You may wish to visit Tewkesbury Abbey at the far end of the High Street. After that, you need the A38 north from the end of the High Street that you came in from.
Cross the M50 motorway.
To the left can be seen another splendid view of the Malvern Hills.
Turn left on the A4104 to Upton.
Upton Marina can be seen on the left just before the road bridge crossing the Severn. Immediately after the marina entrance is a small lane on the left. This cul-de-sac leads to a charming riverside picnic spot.
Cross the river and then turn right on to the B4211 heading towards Worcester unless you wish to explore the town in which case turn left immediately after the bridge. A scene from Henry Fielding's Tom Jones was set at The White Lion.
On the left is a sign to the Three Counties Showground and Malvern Wells. The showground has events throughout the year ranging from Agricultural Shows to Antique Markets. Keep on the B2411 heading north.
Pass Oldhills Common on the left. This is one of a number of 'freedom to roam' areas incorporated into the National Park. At Callow End on the left is Stanbrook Abbey. This was formerly a monastery inhabited by Benedictine nuns and is now an hotel. It was first built in 1625 with later Victorian additions by the sons of the more famous architect A W N Pugin.
Almost 100m before the roundabout where the B2411 meets the A449, turn right through the ornamental gates of St Peter's church Powick. Walk through the lych gate, turn left, follow the path through the iron gate and turn right down the steps. At the bottom, cross the stile to stand on the field where the final battle of the Civil War took place on 3rd September 1651. The Royal Scots were routed and chased back into the city of Worcester by superior Parliamentary forces.
At eye level on the south face of the church tower you can see the round pock-marks of Roundhead musket balls as they tried to dislodge Royalist observers from the top of the tower. See picture right.
On the south side of the graveyard you will discover the grand tomb of English pharmacist John Wheeley Lea (1791-1874) who, with his partner William Henry Perrins, manufactured and sold the piquant, world-renowned Worcestershire Sauce. (PIC 16)
Leave the church and turn right. Take the 2nd exit at the roundabout, the A449 towards Worcester. The battlefield is now on your right.
At the roundabout, stay on the A449 towards Worcester. Cross over the River Teme, take the next turning on the left and park. Walk down to the medieval sandstone bridge. In this area you can discover the similarly-dated water mill, the 18th-century iron forge, the 1894 hydro-electric power station and the 1651 Battle of Worcester. Wander across the bridge, which suffered damage in the Battle of Powick Bridge, a Civil War skirmish in 1642. The bridge crosses the River Teme on its way to join the River Severn. See pictures right and below.
Rejoin the road and, at the next roundabout, continue along the A449 towards Worcester. At the next roundabout, which has traffic lights, continue along the A449 (one way system) keeping in the left-hand lane. At the next junction, turn left along the A443 towards Tenbury, passing under the railway viaduct. The River Severn is on your right.
Worcester University entrance is on the left.
Pass the B4204 on the left signposted Shelsley Walsh, the oldest motorsport event in the world still using its original hill-climbing venue, dating from 1905.
A prominent landmark with spire, Hallow Church, is on the right.
Turn right past the church and park in front of Hallow's old churchyard. A delightful walk leads through deciduous woods down to the River Severn. Continue along the A443.
Top Barn is on the right where farm produce can be purchased. On a left-hand bend shortly after the turning into Top Barn, take the right-hand turning to Holt Church. The church, St Martin's, has fine Norman carvings inside and out. Can you spot the capital depicting the fable of the stork putting stones in the pitcher to raise the level for the fox? On another capital, can you see the dragon eating its own tail?
Inside the church (left), look for the colourful tomb of a female member of the Beauchamp family.
On the inside back cover of his service book, the vicar of Holt wrote: '11 April 1925. Easter Eve. A party of 2 gentlemen and 1 lady visited the Church. After viewing the interior, when on the point of saying goodbye the younger said - I must introduce you to my friend - Sir Edward Elgar!! And he [Elgar] praised our organ & church also! He should know! Sir Edward was born at Broadheath!' (Elgar's Birthplace below at Lower Broadheath, which is 4 miles from Holt church, is run by the National Trust. Look online for opening times.)
Opposite the church is Holt Castle, a late fourteenth-century fortified manor house built by John Beauchamp on the site of a Norman fortification. Beauchamp, much favoured by Richard II (1377-99), was knighted in 1385 but his life and the castle were lost in subsequent changes of monarchy. The residential wing was doubled in size in the 19th century and continues as a private residence. Return to the Circumnavigation route A443.
Turn right onto the B4196 to Stourport. You can see the Abberley Hills on the left.
The local geology comprises Permo-Triassic Sandstone which was laid when Britain was only 20 degrees north of the equator 199-299 million years ago. In several places the road passes through cuttings in the sandstone. This is the first of three distinctive cuttings.
Passing though Shrawley, a turning on the left leads to Great Witley. Witley Court (English Heritage) was a medieval manor house that was transformed into a Jacobean mansion in 1655. Among its fashionable visitors was the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. The house burned down in 1937 and is now a charming ruin but it is well worth a visit. It has extensive parkland, the Jerwood Foundation Sculpture Park, and the famous Perseus and Andromeda Fountain, which occasionally delights visitors with its water display. St Michael and All Angels church adjoins the court and has the most impressive interior, including the window pictured left, and is said to be Britain's finest Baroque church.
Another sandstone cutting. Signposted right is Astley Vineyard where tours can be booked in advance.
Another cutting. Follow the Stourport road A4196 right when the Bewdley Road goes off to the left.
At the T junction, where the B4196 joins the A451, turn right to Stourport. On your left is a brown sign to St Bartholomew's Church.
Cross the River Severn into Stourport heading straight on through the town. At the end of the High Street bear right onto the one way system then take the B4195 road on the left to Bewdley.
Pass through another sandstone cutting illustrated right. Cross over the roundabout. At the traffic lights, take the B4195 to Bewdley.
After a mile, Station Road on your right will take you to the Severn Valley Railway station.
Continue along the B4195; the River Severn is on your left. Follow the road into Bewdley, turning left over the bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1798 and into High Street (B4190).
In High Street you'll see a bronze statue of local boy Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), who was Prime Minister three times - 1923-4; 1924-9 and 1935-7. (pictured left)
Continue up the High Street to the large church. Turn right behind the church and then swing left on to the A456/B4190 towards Tenbury.
At the roundabout where the B4190 joins the A456 Bewdley by-pass, take the A456 towards Tenbury and Leominster. As you climb Longbank Hill, look out on the right for Beaucastle (see picture right), a Venetian Gothic Arts and Crafts mansion built in 1877 to designs by Birmingham industrialist George Baker, architect Richard Doubleday and art critic John Ruskin.
The Wyre Forest country park is on the right. This has a refreshment facility and freedom to roam over an attractive area of forest. It is a popular place to bring children. Continue along the A456 towards Tenbury.
At Clows Top crossroads, go straight across, catching a glimpse of the Malvern Hills in the distance just after.
Pass Mamble on the right where coal was mined from the 14th century. The last mine, at Hunthouse in the south-east of the village, closed in 1972. The Leominster Canal opened in the 1790s and the coal was carried to Tenbury Wells and beyond into Herefordshire. A private drive on the right leads to Wharf House, which was the canal's headquarters. Wharf House became the terminus of the canal after a disastrous tunnel collapse in 1795 prevented it extending to Stourport. The canal wasn't profitable and closed in 1859 to be replaced by the Tenbury and Bewdley Railway in the 19th century. The railway eventually closed in the 1960s.
English Poet and playwright John Drinkwater wrote a poem about the village called Mamble. It begins....
I never went to Mamble
that lies above the Teme,
so I wonder who's in Mamble,
and whether people seem
who breed and brew along there
as lazy as the name,
and whether any song there
sets alehouse wits aflame.
Opposite a large farm house on the right, take the narrow lane on the left signposted to Eastham. You emerge on the A443 Droitwich to Tenbury road where you turn right.
Eastham Bridge over the River Teme is immediately on your left signposted to Eastham. The original 1793 bridge collapsed in 2016. A new bridge was built a year later ensuring continuity of access for local residents. For more details click the picture above.
Continue towards Tenbury.
At Newnham Bridge you'll pass on your right the Talbot Inn, a nineteenth-century coaching inn, then you'll cross the River Rea, a tributary of the River Teme, which flows on your left as far as Tenbury. At the Talbot Inn, the A456 comes in on your right. If you divert along this road and take the next turning right to Knighton-upon-Teme. St Michael and All Angels is a delightful Grade I listed Norman church built in 1120. The unusual bell turret is date 1137; its shingles were replaced in 2016 following a partial demolition job by green woodpeckers. Back on the circumnavigation route at Newnham Bridge, you'll see on your right the now defunct but recently-restored railway station. Built in 1864, it retains its platforms and passenger buildings. The railway once ran from Bewdley to Tenbury and beyond but was closed when the rural railways were axed in 1962.
Pass the 14th century Peacock Inn on the right. The Inn is pictured above and to the left is a lane with one of the old railway bridges just visible in the trees. In several places the remains of Tenbury and Bewdley Railway bridges can be glimpsed up turnings on your right, once carrying the line that ran behind roadside properties.
At Burford, as you approach Tenbury Wells, Tenbury Community Hospital and cricket ground are on your right.
If you continue past Tenbury's Teme Bridge, you'll see the Rose and Crown on your right. Take the narrow road beside the pub and, on your left, is the site of the old railway station and, later, the home of Wells Wonderful World soft drinks. Return to Teme Bridge to start the circumnavigation journey all over again!