I had not known that the bells of Hanbury church in Worcestershire were the ones used for The Archers.
This was just one of many things I learned on the Worcestershire Ramblers’ Welcome to Walking weekend, based on the National Trust’s magnificent Hanbury Hall, about three miles east of Droitwich.
Like all Ramblers Areas, the Worcestershire Area wants to encourage more people to go walking, and more walkers to join the Ramblers. It has set a great example by organising a weekend of public walks to encourage people to join us.
People met and registered at the Ramblers’ gazebo in the car-park.
The National Trust allowed all who registered to enter the grounds of the hall for free, and the walkers set off from the ornate little gatehouse at the entrance to the gardens.
While we were waiting a baby robin came and sat on my rucksack. There was also a spotted flycatcher flitting around.
There were three walks: nine, six and three miles. As each walk set off I gave a talk about what the Ramblers achieves nationally: lobbying for more access, getting paths reopened and championing our Ramblers’ manifesto for walkers.
I went on the three-mile walk and was delighted that the new MP for Redditch, Rachel Maclean, and Tom Baker-Price (county councillor for Arrow Valley East, and Redditch Borough Councillor for Headless Cross and Oakenshaw) came with us for part of the way. Rachel is a keen walker and wants to learn more about the Ramblers and our work for public access to be part of the post-Brexit agricultural package.
We walked over the park to the impressive Hanbury Church, at the top of an escarpment with a view from the Cotswolds to Bredon Hill, May Hill and the Malverns.
The church door was decorated with flowers.
On the way back the view opened out even further to embrace the Abberley Hills and Clee Hill in Shropshire.
We stopped for lunch by a monument to ‘Allan’ and ‘Pulpit’ which may have been a dog and a horse belonging to the Hanbury family.
On the way back we encountered a difficult, wobbly stile which I have reported to Worcestershire County Council.
We returned to the hall and a complementary tea from the National Trust.
The event was the inspiration of the Area chair, Clare Stallard.
It was particularly good that the National Trust were willing to cooperate with free entry and tea. It made the event thoroughly welcoming and I hope that many people discovered the joys of walking in Worcestershire. Congratulations to Worcestershire Ramblers for pioneering this great idea.
Update: the Ramblers tell me that over the weekend they were joined by 29 walkers who were new to the Ramblers and that three of them have joined.