Worcester to Bewdley
Another day, another walk, and to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to this one. I’ve not enjoyed the Severn Way that much over the last couple of days and the thought of having a similar walk today was not a pleasant one. One saving grace I guess was the fact that it wasn’t supposed to rain, but on the flip side of that it was going to get hot during the afternoon.
I got up early in an effort to try and get on the road sooner rather than later and went down for breakfast, eventually hitting the trail around 8:40am, a whole ten minutes earlier than yesterday. I don’t know why it seems to be taking me so long to get ready in the morning these days?
A short walk through the high street and I was back by on the Severn Way making my way out of Worcester. Worcester was ok as cities go and it certainly had a better feel to it than Gloucester but I don’t think it’ll be somewhere I make an effort to get back to. So, crossing the Severn to head towards Bewdley was nice.
The first hour of the walk was good. Good paths, nice scenery, a welcome change to the last couple of days. I was hopeful that the rest of the Severn Way was going to be this good, thinking that the parts I’d walked previously were the less used bits.
No sooner had I thought that than the path started to get slightly worse. The actual path itself was still ok, it was just a little overgrown. It didn’t cause too much trouble so I continued to make good progress.
That was until I made a massive error. When I started the walk this morning I checked the route and I was certain that I’d be following the river path all day. With that in mind I didn’t check the map or my GPS pretty much at all for the first few hours and this is what caused the problem. I would like to add though that the Severn Way isn’t the best marked path but I have to put my hand up to this one as I could quite easily have missed a sign “knowing” that I just had to follow the river.
What I should have done was follow the path in to Grimley, but as I’d missed the turn I instead followed the river path and ended up walking through some woods. To start with, although not the best path, it wasn’t the worst path I’d had to follow so it didn’t click that I’d made a mistake. The further I made my way in to the woods though the worse the path got, until the path was no more as it was completely overgrown by plants and weeds as tall as me and crossed by lots of fallen trees – not good. By this time I was so far in to the woods it would have added too much time to go back and make my way round on the correct path, so there was only one way to go: forward!
I struggle on, including crossing a very dodgy looking bridge – without hand rails or anything! – until, checking my GPS, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I was almost out the other side…phew! It wasn’t going to be that simple though as I reached the edge of the wood to be faced by a little stream that I now needed to cross to get out and back on track.
I looked around for a few minutes, swore, looked some more, swore again and finally thought I’d see whether or not it would be possible to walk through the stream. With that decided I clambered down the muddy bank – without slipping in I hasten to add – and checked the stream with one of my walking poles. The verdict wasn’t good as I was certain my boots would just sink beneath the mud and I’d then be well and truly stuck. Bollocks!
Determined not to have to go back to the start of the woods I struggled back up the bank – again without slipping into the stream – and had another look round, after another little swear. Fortunately I spotted some fallen trees that spanned the stream, and with no other option open to me, I decided that I’d use them to get across. So, I clambered down the bank again and carefully made my way across, almost coming to a sticky end as I struggled up the other side. I made it though and out of the woods I dropped the pack on the floor and took a small rest.
It’s a shame as I was beginning to enjoy the Severn Way for the first time since I started walking on it but I was utterly shattered by the time I’d struggled through the woods and I wasn’t happy.
Checking my GPS I made my way through a farm to get back on the proper track and it wasn’t long before I was heading in the right direction. Well, that was until the badly signed path disappeared on me again! This time I was checking my maps and keeping an eye out for markers after my last mistake and still I couldn’t find the path. Back-tracking up the farm track I eventually found the correct path, again over grown and hidden by trees. I was beginning to just about give up on the day and if things didn’t start getting better, fast, I think I would just drop my pack and not bother moving again, regardless of where I was at that time!
Fortunately, I came across the Holt Fleet pub and seeing as I didn’t have any lunch with me, and I was exhausted, I parked my backside on one of the benches in the garden and waited for it to open – about 15 minutes. I would have carried on walking but no other pubs were marked on my map for some way so stopping now seemed like a perfect idea.
Feet rested and a pint of shandy and ham baguette later, I headed off to try and get through the remaining ten or so miles left ahead of me. Lucky for me the path was pretty good and I made good time to Stourport-on-Severn, passing more locks along the way.
Stourport-on-Severn was a bustling place, with lots of people enjoying the river and the sun. There was a fun fair there and lots of kids enjoying an outdoor paddling pool. I can’t blame them as the heat was beginning to get ridiculous. I had to make do with finding a bench in the shade to take my boots off for ten minutes and cool down.
Feet rested for the final time I made a push to finish the last four miles of the day’s walk. My feet were beginning to ache now, even after the little rest, but I was determined to get to Bewdley in good time; sooner there, sooner I could have a shower and properly rest my poor feet.
At last, and not a moment too soon I made it to Bewley and then had the task of finding somewhere to sleep for the night. I knew the Wetherspoon pub did rooms so I headed there to see if they had anything going for the night, which they did – hurrah!
While checking in I had a good chat with the girl on reception as she’d done a lot of backpacking and was soon off to Australia to do some more. Other than the girl who took my breakfast order this morning and the barman at lunch time, this was the first proper conversation I’d had all day and it was great to actually talk to someone. Walking and listening to music’s fine but sometimes it really is nice to have a chat you know?
I popped out, after speaking with the girls, to see what was about. As my feet hurt a bit I didn’t go too far but Bewdley looked like a nice enough place and there seemed to be plenty of pubs that looked worth a visit so maybe it deserves a return some time to properly see what it’s all about?
It had been a tough day’s walking, especially with the detour through the woods and then the rising temperature as the day went on. Tomorrow I say goodbye to the Severn Way, well, after a few miles more of it first thing. I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see it go as it really has made for some tough walking this week.