Three weeks after my last visit I was back on Bredon Hill with the Radical Ramblers, a long-standing and extremely congenial group of left-wing walkers led by Alan (Lord) Haworth.
Nine of us met at Ashton under Hill on the west side of Bredon Hill. Most of the RRs came by train to Evesham and then bus. There was an open garden day and plant sale so the village was buzzing. We set off straight onto a footpath leading north-west towards the top, in a steady climb with lovely views east.
We came to a point where two bridleways diverge (GR SO 985384). One heads straight on, purposefully in a north-west direction to Greathill Barn (visible as a group of trees). The other turns north and then north-west around the edge. The path straight ahead is not waymarked at this point.
In fact, it was completely blocked with wheat.
After about half a mile, the definitive route ends at the parish boundary between Ashton under Hill and Conderton to the west, and resumes two fields further on when it enters Overbury parish (B-A on the map).
That tells me that in the early 1950s there was a hostile landowner in Conderton who ensured that the path was not recorded (perhaps he or she was a member of the parish council, or an employer of some of the members?). That is speculation of course, but the route must be researched before the definitive map cut off on 1 January 2026 or it could be lost for ever.
Meanwhile, I have reported the cropped half-mile of bridleway to Worcestershire County Council: although the path appears to be a dead end that is no reason to allow it to be obstructed. Even a walk to Greathill Barn and back would be worthwhile.
We carried on up the side of the hill
and soon a view of Castle Hill, the mound of the mediaeval castle at Elmley Castle opened out below us to the north-west.
As we climbed higher the views got better.
Close to the top there was an old countryside stewardship scheme sign indicating that the landowner was once paid to allow access on Bredon Hill. The scheme has long expired but fortunately there is still access (though it was not mapped as access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, a sad and rather odd omission).
As we walked on towards the top I heard, then saw, a male redstart: always a delight.
The view from the top was better than it was three weeks ago. We could see the Malverns, Clee Hill, May Hill and Skirrid (or was it Sugar Loaf?).
We had lunch out of the wind, leaning against a wall, and I read A E Housman’s Summer Time on Bredon to the group. Alan told us later (or may be at the time too) that this was his 410th Marilyn (peak with a prominence above 150 metres). He is an intrepid walker.
After lunch we headed down to Kemerton, taking the route past the ruins of Sundial Farm.
As we walked down the lane to the village we could see Gloucester cathedral ahead.
Some of our party went to The Crown in Kemerton and others, including me, caught the bus back to Ashton; it is an hourly service and very good for local use and for walkers.
The sun was out and the open garden event was in full swing.
I bought plants from the stall,
ate ice cream and chatted to parish councillor Claire Vincent, one of the leading lights of the village. There is a great sense of community here (see the newsletter for instance).
I ended with a visit to the church (tower begun in the thirteenth century), outside which stands a fifteenth-century cross, the top of which has been replaced by a sundial.
My two walks on Bredon were very different but equally enjoyable, and there are still other routes to explore.