THE BENEDICTINE WAY
An exciting and informative new trail walk of approximately 57 miles over 6 days, developed for the Malvern Walking Festival.
The Benedictines have been in England since the 6th century. Learn about their key role in creating and running major seats of religion and learning, including Worcester Cathedral and the Abbeys at Pershore, Tewkesbury and Malvern, until their dissolution under Henry VIII. Visit these, and several others, on a historical walking tour, including battlefields, manorial houses, and much more, en route.
Booking is essential and is only taken for the entire walk, at a cost of £85 including dedicated coach transport and booking fees.
Day 1, Saturday 23rd May. 9 miles
At the Anglican Mucknell Abbey we'll be welcomed by the Abbott, nuns and monks, before setting off on field paths and country lanes to Pershore. We tour the impressive Pershore Abbey, learning about its Benedictine past. At the old Pershore Bridge, we see evidence of the 1940 invasion “block” line. We continue near the picturesque River Avon, on “Shakespeare’s Avon Way”, crossing at Nafford Lock, to finish at the pretty village of Birlingham.
Day 2, Sunday 24th May. 10 miles
We continue along a beautiful part of the Avon Way below Bredon Hill, and pass several locks and weirs. We eventually reach the fascinating, historic town of Tewkesbury. We visit the confluence of the Avon and Severn rivers and pass several of Tewkesbury’s historic buildings. We learn, via a short battlefield walk, about the decisive 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury, the ultimate defeat of the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses.
Day 3, Monday 25th May 9 miles
Day 3 begins with an informative tour of the imposing Tewkesbury Abbey, built to house Benedictine monks. We continue to Deerhurst church, formerly another Benedictine Abbey. We visit the adjacent Saxon Hall, famous for the treaty agreed there by King Odda and the Danish King Cnut, and walk on the east bank of the River Severn, before crossing via the old Lower Lode ferry, now closed, but reopened temporarily specially for our visit. We proceed on lanes and field paths west of the river, to nearby Chaceley.
Day 4, Wednesday 27th May. 9miles
Starting at the village of Chaceley, we continue in rural Gloucestershire on scenic paths and lanes, to visit the remote and redundant church near Sledge Green. Next, we reach the large historic 15th century moated grange of Birtsmorton Court and visit the house and gardens. The day concludes at a nearby pub.
Day 5, Thursday 28th May, 10 miles
We begin with a delightful walk over the open vista of Castlemorton Common, below the southern Malvern Hills, with outstanding views to the Cotswold ridge. On reaching Little Malvern Court, we visit the Church and the Benedictine 14th C Priory Hall. We continue to St Wulstan's, a C19th (Catholic) Benedictine church and visit the nearby Elgar graves before climbing up to the ridge, and following the contour round to Holy Well, the surviving water bottling facility. We continue to the Wyche Cutting, a part of the important, historic “salt way”, to enjoy distant views to the Welsh Black Mountains. We descend gently, via Rosebank gardens, to visit Great Malvern Priory church, a Benedictine monastery until the 1540 Dissolution. A short section through woods above Great Malvern brings us to our destination near Malvern Link.
Day 6, Friday 29th May, 10 miles
We enjoy the open spaces of Malvern Link Common, pass the Morgan car factory, and continue on urban paths to reach Madresfield. We pass close to Madresfield Court, said to be Evelyn Waugh’s inspiration for “Brideshead Revisited”. We continue via Old Hills to Stanbrook Abbey, originally a contemplative house for Benedictine nuns. Our route to Worcester follows the Teme and Severn, passing the first and last battles of the English Civil war i.e. Powick Bridge (1642) and Worcester (1651). We walk through the historic docks at Diglis, Prince Charles’s headquarters at the Commandery, and Fort Royal. We conclude our new trek with a visit to the Cathedral and learn of its deep Benedictine heritage.
Meet at 8.45 am daily at Malvern Link Top free car park for a prompt 9 am departure. For a map of the start point, click HERE for an aerial view, and then select "Show points on OpenStreetMap" or "Show points on OS Map"
Finish back in Malvern at approx 7.30 pm on Days 1-5 and approx 5 pm on Day 6.
Meet: Coach leaves Malvern Link Top free car park, Newtown Rd. daily at 8.45 am prompt,
Grid SO 774470
Post code WR14 1PD
Walk Leader: Bob Baldwin