Clent Hills history walk
Romsley, WorcestershireRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The Clent Hills have been enjoyed by day-trippers from nearby Midlands towns and cities for over 200 years. This short walk leads through woodland to the top of a hill where on a clear day the Welsh Black Mountains are visible on the horizon. Visitors in spring will see the hillside and woodland floor coloured lilac by bluebells.
- Bus stop
Start: Nimmings Wood car park, grid ref: SO938807
Climb up a gentle zig-zag slope into the woodland from Nimmings café and information point. Turn right and follow an easy access path through the trees, with some fine views and resting points on the way. Just 8 miles (12.8km) from Birmingham, the Clent Hills have attracted huge numbers of visitors since the early 19th century when they formed a picturesque back drop for Hagley Park, the fine home and estate of Lord Lyttelton. Adams Hill was once a tourist honey pot with crowds of people arriving by train. Tourists in the early 1900s enjoyed swing boats, donkey rides and shooting galleries and grass tobogganing. One Victorian report raised concerns about midnight revelling and to discourage such rowdiness the park gates were locked to the public for a while. This didnt last for long though and by the early 1900s, the hills were more popular than ever.
Bicknall Beacon on Clent Hill was such a good viewpoint that in 1588 it was used as part of a chain of bonfires which sent warning of the Spanish Armada into the Midlands.
Emerging from the woods you reach a sweeping panorama looking west towards Wenlock Edge and the Malvern Hills. Return to your start point via the all-ability path you came on or turn left and walk up to what appears to be some prehistoric standing stones... The views from here are some of the best in the Clent Hills. To the west is the Severn Valley and the Welsh border, while to the north is Birmingham and the Black Country.
The Four Stones on the summit of Clent Hill may look ancient and mysterious, but they were actually created in the 1770s for Lord Lyttleton as a folly to be viewed from down in the valley by visitors.
Skirt to the left of the clump of trees behind the standing stones and enter through a gate into Horses Mane Woodland. As you walk through this area, youll pass lots of old beech pollards. These are 250-year-old trees which were cut just above head height so that they sprouted a mass of branches low down, providing food for livestock. Today, they are home to insects, beetles and nesting birds. Listen out for, or try to spot, birds like thrush, nuthatch, redstart, warblers and perhaps even a greater-spotted woodpecker.
The colourful yellowhammer can be found in and around the woodland and scrubby hillsides here. They have an interesting high-pitched song which is said to sound a bit like 'a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese'.
While taking care not to trip on exposed tree roots, look up through the woodland canopy and you may catch sight of buzzard circling above. Skirt left and return to the car park.
Donkey rides and grass-toboganning were among the activities that thrilled visitors but led to quite severe erosion of the Clent grassland. At the same time local farmers grazed their sheep and cattle less and less on the hills. All this meant that if the open landscape wasnt being churned into mud by tourists, it was being invaded by bracken and scrub. Today the National Trust is restoring acid heathland here. It is now a rare habitat throughout the UK, but a great environment for supporting birds like linnet, butterflies such as the small heath and small copper, and solitary bees.
End: Nimmings Wood car park, grid ref: SO938807
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1 mile (1.5km)
- Time: 20 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 219; Landranger 139
A wide all-ability path, with compacted gravel and little gradient, goes to the fantastic viewpoint of The Four Stones. It is suitable for pushchairs and most wheelchairs. The circular route returns via a steeper and slightly more uneven woodland trail. Many paths criss-cross the National Trusts Clent Hills estate. If you want to extend your walk, try taking a route off to the south-west from The Four Stones, towards Adams Hill, for more interesting countryside and Clent village (see dotted-line on this map).
- How to get here:
By foot: on the North Worcestershire Way; North Worcestershire Path also goes through Clent Hill and Walton Hill. Other footpaths connecting local villages
By bike: no clear cycle path to Clent Hills, but cycle paths and bridleways in surrounding hills. Cycle parking in Nimmings Wood car park
By bus: route 192, Birmingham, Halesowen, Hagley and Kidderminster. Alight Hagley, then 20 minute walk from Nimmings Wood car park, up a steep hill; 318, Stourbridge, Hagley and Bromsgrove. Bus stop 0.5 mile (0.8km) from Clent village
By train: Hagley, 3.5 miles (5.5km); Stourbridge Town, 5 miles (8km) and Bromsgrove, 10 miles (16.1km)
By car: south-west of Birmingham, between villages of Clent and Romsley. South-east of Hagley and 6 miles (9.6km) from M5 (J4), signposted off A491
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