I reckon that we start at Great Malvern, and go via North Hill onto the Worcestor way to Knightwick, where we get the number 420 bus back to Worcestor.
Thats the extent of the plan thus Far. Chris reckons it's a cracking boozer.
Slightly ambitously we didn't start this walk till about half one. This, in hindsite was a mistake, and we should have listened to my partners Aunt when she suggested it was utter madness to begin such a walk that late in the day. The walk took us about four and a half hours and we finished it in the dark.
The brief above was based upon a conversation with a friend, and a fleeting glimpse of a very rough illustration of the whereabouts of the Worcestor Way, which I understand is a waymarked path based upon the historic Worcestor Way. I thought that a distance of 12 miles was appropriatte for a winters weekend afternoon, but after a late start we drove to Worcestor, parked up, and caught the train to Great Malvern. We walked up the highstreet to Belle Vue terrace, stopping en route to visit the well stocked Tourist Information Office. Whilst in said establishment, we contemplated buying the guide book for the Worcestor Way, but as a bit of a intermitant tight arse ( a trait which seems to be inversly proportional to the amount I have had to drink ) I decided that 5 quid was a bit much for a guide we would only use on two or three occasions. We made our way up the stairs, where someone had been diligent enough to count the steps and chalk up the total - 95 in all. We then followed the well trodden path upwards, once again making our way past St Annes Well as we made our way up into the Malvern Hills.
On the way up I debated with myself the merits of taking in North Hill. One one side, it's a nice little hill, and it would add a nice start to the walk, but on another, taken in isolation I'd find it a questionable addition to the "twelve peaks in twelve months" thing we want to do this year, especially as we had walked a large part of the Malvern ridge the week previous. I felt it might be a bit of a snub to bag it and then not class the hill as a twelve in twelve though. I did ask my partners opinion, but she seemed a lot less interested in the moral dillemas associated with bagging the peak, and a lot more concerned with loosing the path by following one of my "dead cert" short cuts. In the end we decided to respect North hill, by avoiding the peak and thus preventing this walk from qualifying for the "12 in 12", or in my partners eyes, keep things simple by staying with the path.
The Path is well signed ( as far as we followed it for ) with arrows directing the direction of travel accompanied by a pear icon. Its also apeared to be quite winding, and on a few occasions we found ourselves commenting that we felt that the path had taken a longer route than strictly necessary. I think its fair to say that the path from North Hill down through West Malvern to the Orchards was not at its best this time of year, but as we walked through the orchards towards Longley Green we vowed to return and do this walk during the Apple Blossom Season. The ground was frosty underfoot, which was good in places as it could have been very muddy otherwise.
At the A4103 we momentarily cursed the lack of availability of daylight as we caught glimpse of the New Inn public house. Had my partner, who has slightly more geographical awareness of the area than I, realised we were only on the outskirts of Storridge she may not of been best pleased. Fortunately for the enjoyablity of the walk her ingorance continued for a few more kilometres before our relative lack of progress became totally apparent. At some point, perhaps 30 minutes or so after crossing the A4103 we got slightly optimistic, and given our lack of resources started beleiving we were further ahead than we actually were.
We continued to make good progress, though not as good in reality as we imagined at the time, as we passed through more orchards, before gaining a little height and walking through a charming bit of woodland. The Worcestor way then followed along a road, cutting a bend through a field where we saw one of the sponsored, but charming seats that has been placed along the walk.
As we made our way downhill into what appeared to be a sizable river valley we were reasonably confident that we were close to finishing the walk, and on the way to the River Teme and the Talbot pub beyond. We thought that the buildings we were passing were the outskirts of Knightwick, and at this point, in hindsite that the 5 pound guide could have proved it's self quite valuable.
We were gutted when we found that "Knightwick" was infact Longley Green. This sense of dissapointment may have contributed to us loosing the Worcestor way and continuing by foot through Longley Green, past the village stores ( closed ) and a pub. I suggested we walk through the village, and look for either the parish map or a sign post to give us some sense of direction. The village ran out shortly after the pub, and we ended up at a junction, with signposts directing traffic to a number of directions, excluding Knightwick
We wondered back to the pub feeling slightly lost and forlorn, with the aim of admitting defeat and heading back to Worcestor via taxi. The feeling of forlorness increased substantially when we found that the pub was closed. A sign on the door indicated that it opened at 6, about an hour and a half later. Fortunately there was a friendly chap, possibly the landlord - we should have asked really, in the Garden, who gave us directions to Knightwick via road, saying it was in the region of 4 miles. We gave up on the Worcestor way and figured that getting a taxi might be tricky, and decided the best option was to make our way to the Talbot on foot by road
Strangely, the thought of heading off in the dark down unlit, and initially unsignposted lanes on the say so of a total stranger rattled my partner a little, but on the large part we were untroubled, and there was relativly little traffic, much of which slowed significantly and gave us a wide birth when I flashed the torch. It only takes a single arsehole to get you into a mess though, and I would have much preferred to have followed the Worcestor way in daylight.
Upon reaching the A44, it was with great relief that I saw the lit building with "The Talbot" illuminated across its side in the distance. We followed the A44 to the B4197 turn off, and followed the B road to the pub. There are undoubtedly better ways to do it, and some cars flew past us with an almost alarming velocity. Walking that close in the dark to a road with such fast traffic left me with a residual fear that didn't dissapear until we entered what in the dark appeared to be a car park outside the Talbot.
The Talbot appears to be a decent country pub, that has managed to offer what appears to be an inviting menu without having to go OTT on interior decor and maintains an authentic charactor. The food looked inviting, but as my partner had arranged to meet family there, we settled on a few refreshments. Whilst I was supping a refreshing but slightly anticlimatic orange juice and lemonade or two, my partner embarked on a tasting session, trying three of the locally produced ales they had on draught - named "This", "That", and "T'Other". The pub appeared to be a fine establishment, and we promised ourselves that we would return to sample the tempting sounding menu.