Trail to Spernal and the Heart of England Forest
This gentle walk starting from Coughton Court runs along the River Arrow, visits the former Church of St. Leonard's and gives you views of Studley Castle before skirting Spernal Park.
Welcome Centre, Coughton Court, grid ref: SP083606
From the Welcome Centre, walk back to the car park across the bridge. Turn right and walk half way through the car park until you see a wide gate on the left. Go through the gate and bear left across the field towards a wide metal gate with a National Trust sign post beside it. Go through the kissing gate and onto the Arden Way.
With the hedge on your left, walk along the edge of the field to the corner, turn right and after a few metres go through a metal gate on your left. Continue diagonally across the field to another metal gate.
Follow the path, soon running alongside the River Arrow. Cross the river over a foot bridge. You can now either turn sharp right and return to Coughton or walk ahead to view the former church of St Leonard’s Spernall with its overgrown churchyard.
St Leonard's Church
The first documentary evidence of the church is in the 1190s, and much of its fabric, including the chancel arch, and some of the glass, dates back to the 12th century. Additions and amendments were made in the 14th century. The northwest corner of the nave was rebuilt in brick in the 18th century. It was declared redundant in 1972 but there have been several works since then to preserve it. It is now under the care of the Friends of Friendless churches and is currently used for storage and entry is not possible.
From the church walk along the track to a road. Turn right along the road, looking out for a footpath on the left, and go through two kissing gates. Follow the enclosed path uphill along the edge of fields, and through plantations of new trees, with a view of Studley Castle on the left. Go downhill to reach a lane with St Giles Farm on the left.
Heart of England Forest
The Heart of England Forest Project was recently assisted to make its first purchase of existing woodland – 186-acres of mainly conifer trees called Coughton Park Wood. These conifers are being felled in stages and the plantation will be transformed into native broadleaf woodland. The aim of the partnership between the Project and Felix Dennis is to plant and preserve a large native broadleaf forest in the heart of England. Look at the progress as you pass by.
At St. Giles's farm turn right and walk along the access road to the main road and turn left. After a ¼ mile turn right through a large metal farm gate.
Keep ahead with clump of trees on right, go to the left through a gate and over a footbridge. Follow the path around the field before skirting the edge of Spernal Park. Follow the track around the wood and round to the right. Go over the footbridge, through the kissing gate and across the field to the far hedge. Pass through the kissing gate and follow the path over the brow. Take steps down to the road.
At the road, turn left, and at the farm gate on the left, turn sharp right through a gate into a field and turn left to follow the field edge. As you enter the wood, bear left and then right to emerge into a field again with newly planted trees. Keep the hedge on your right and walk along the field edge to a gate leading to an enclosed path and a track.
Turn right, following it downhill to a lane, and turn right along it. Follow the lane to a T junction. Turn right along the road, looking out for a footpath on the left, almost opposite.
This footpath is the Arden Way: follow it all the way back to Coughton Fields Lane. Turn right along the lane, taking the foot bridge over the river at the ford. Turn right along the drive back to Coughton Court, passing first the Roman Catholic Church and then the Church of England Church.
The Coughton Kitchen
At the end of your walk why not pop in to "The Coughton Kitchen" for a well deserved cream tea or something else from our delicious menu.
Coughton Court, grid ref: SP083606
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