With cool pools, muddy puddles, woods and open grassland, the Clent Hills offer a doggy paradise.
- Bus stop
Start: Nimmings Wood car park, grid ref: SO938807
Climb up a gentle zig-zag slope into the woodland from the car park. Turn right and follow the wide and level easy access path through the trees, with some fine views and resting points.
Emerging from the trees you reach a topograph and can view the sweeping panorama looking west towards Wenlock Edge and the Malvern Hills. Turn left and walk up towards The Four Stones, which offer fantastic views; 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 old and mysterious but they were actually created in the 18th century by Lord Lyttleton as part of his landscaping project. This folly acted as an eye catcher to impress his guests.
With your back to The Four Stones, continue on past the toposcope and down the widest, most clearly defined path to your left. At the bottom there is a gate; take the right hand path here. To your left you can see beautiful views of Walton Hill. Continue along the path until you see an area of open grassland to your right with a large fallen tree in the distance. This is the site of the old rangers cottage. Take the path to the left, leading into Deep Wood. Stick to this path all the way down to Dark Pool and a wooden bridge.
During springtime, Deep Wood is awash with bluebells. Over the last few years the warden and a wealth of volunteers have been working hard to clear scrub and thin out trees so that more dormant bluebell seeds have a chance to grow.
Cross over the bridge at Dark Pool and walk up the slope of the wood, take care not to trip on exposed tree roots. Look up through the woodland canopy and you might catch sight of a buzzard circling above. At the top of this climb, turn right back up the path and continue along this path until you get to the gate.
The area to the left of Deep Wood and Dark Pool has been set aside as an arboretum where more exotic trees such as a monkey puzzle can be found. In autumn Dark Pool is transformed into a leafy wonderland of bright copper and huey reds. Your dog will love paddling around in here.
Walking through the gate you will often see wood piles which the warden and his volunteers have collected from the hills. Continue on the path directly in front of you back to the topograph area. Take the lower path below the topograph. The bilberry bushes with their deep purple berries show that our attempts to restore dry acid grassland to Clent are working well. Plants that thrive on this habitat provide a great environment for insects, which in turn attract birdlife.
We're committed to restoring dry acid grassland, now a rare habitat throughout the UK. It was once prevalent on Clent when animals grazed the land, keeping down any new plant growth by eating seeds and shoots before they could establish themselves. When the animals were removed, scrub, bracken and trees started to take over and the grassland and wildlife it supported was lost. Through careful management, plants such as bilberry, sheep sorrel and heath bedstraw are returning, encouraging birds such as linnets and willow warblers, and butterflies such as small copper (pictured) and small heath, as well as solitary bees.
End: Nimmings Wood car park, grid ref: SO938807
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 2 miles (3.2km)
- Time: 40 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 219; Landranger 139
Circular walk with occasional uneven paths that run through woodland and fields. There are tree roots and other obstacles in places and a small bridge to cross. No need for leads if your dog behaves itself around other dogs, horses and people. Bins and water bowls at Nimmings Wood car park.
- How to get here:
By foot: on North Worcestershire Way; North Worcestershire Path also goes through Clent Hills 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, then 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 the villages of Clent and Romsley. South-east of Hagley and 6 miles (9.6km) from M5 (J4), signposted off the A491
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