Sunday, 24 March 2019 (Group: Sandwell)
Meeting time 9:00,
Start time 10:00
8 miles / 12.9 km
(Estimated finish time: 14:30)
A varied walk that takes in extensive areas of woodland, a number of small lakes and pools and a section of the River Severn near the attractive village of Hampton Loade. The start is next to a saw mill which, interestingly, manufactured many of the stiles around here.
Starting from the Old Saw Mill Car Park we cross into the tranquil Comer Woods (a part of the large 3,000 acre Dudmaston Hall Estate), and the three pools called Wall, Seggy and Brim. We will walk alongside these pools and then further into this large area of woodland. The wood has a mix of gravel and grassy paths which have recently seen some significant improvements as part of a major project to better connect the woods to the rest of the Dudmaston Estate. We will stop for drinks at the new café in the middle of the woods.
We will then head towards the River Severn along broad tracks with impressive views over the gardens and parkland around Dudmaston Hall, which was gifted to the National Trust in 1978. The Hall is a late 17th Century mansion and houses one of Britain’s most important modern art collections.
We will walk along the Severn to Hampton Loade, where there will be a lunch stop at the River and Rail pub. There are also public benches here for those who want to picnic. There used to be a ferry at this location until quite recently, but sadly it is no more. Loade in old English meant a passage apparently, and presumably referred to the ford that was once here.
We return to the car park through more attractive woodland, past a small waterfall and along a stream before crossing the Dudmaston Estate driveway.