The Arden Way is a 26 mile circular long distance path linking Henley in Arden in the north and Alcester in the south. The route takes you through quintessential English countryside; a rolling landscape of mixed farming, woodland, water meadows and pleasant villages. This is the countryside of the Forest of Arden, often associated with Shakespeare and in particular with his play 'As You Like It', but the fantastic forest of the play no longer exists.
The Arden Way guide book describes the route beginning from Henley in Arden and travelling in an anti-clockwise direction. The route passes through Ullenhall, past Studley Castle and shortly afterwards follows the River Arrow to meet Icknield Street and Coughton Court. From here the route makes its way over Windmill Hill and then to Alcester, the overnight stop if you are walking the route over a two day period.
From Alcester the route soon climbs Primrose Hill and skirts Oversley Wood to reach the three sleepy villages of Upton, Haselor and Walcote. The route then leads to Aston Cantlow where it crosses the River Alne to Little Alne. From here the route follows quiet field paths and lanes, meandering roughly northwards to Spernall Park and Bannam's Wood and finally back to Henley in Arden. The route is waymarked with directions arrows containing the Arden Way logo and follows, in some sections, the Heart of England Way.
At 26 miles the Arden Way could be walked in a day by a strong walker, but this would just be a strenuous and tiring march. The best way to walk the route is over two days, which allows time to enjoy the scenery and explore places that interest you along the way. Alcester is an attractive little town which has retained a medieval street pattern and many old buildings and provides a pleasant location to spend a night.
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