Winding its way for 109 miles through the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark from Bridgnorth to Gloucester, the Geopark Way passes through delightful countryside as it explores 700 million years of the Earth’s history. The trail offers varied walking alongside rivers, through forests, along ridges and across heathlands. Passing through an assortment of habitats there is a diversity of wildlife adding to the occasion, with majestic views to match. Quaint villages and towns dot the route, bringing further elements of exploration and enchantment.
The Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark is a region that has been defined by its specific geology and landscape. While the area has no clearly defined legal boundaries it is overseen by a partnership of organisations with interests in geology, forestry, conservation, wildlife, landscape protection and conservation. This partnership has influence over strategic initiatives and day to day activities within the Geopark area.
The 1250 square kilometres of the Geopark span four counties; Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, in a strip of countryside that is at most 18km wide and 83km long. This straddles the boundary in the West Midlands, between lowland and upland Britain, reflected in the nature of the rocks which underlie the Geopark. The eastern border of the Geopark is almost entirely defined by the River Severn.
The Geopark Way is the first long distance footpath to be created in order to demonstrate the special qualities of a Geopark. It runs for approximately 109 miles through the heart of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, traversing the upland ranges of the Abberley, Suckley and Malvern Hills and May Hill to the south. Along the way you will be able to piece together the 700 million years old history of this part of the Earth’s crust, which has resulted in some of the best rural scenery in England. If you have an interest in geology this is a must-do walk.
Taking the guidebook on your walk is essential, as it not only provides route finding information but also explains the geology and landscape in detail as you progress and this, of course, is the primary reason for walking the Geopark Way. The guide describes the route in seventeen sections each designed to give an interesting day’s walk at a modest pace with plenty of time to look at the rocks and wider landscape. This may be OK if you plan to walk each section as a day walk, but for a continuous walking holiday we would expect most walkers will want to complete the route in less time than 17 days.
Our itinerary for a continuous walk is therefore as follows:
Day 1 - Bridgnorth to Highley 12.8 miles
Day 2 - Highley to Bewdley 14.3 miles
Day 3 - Bewdley to Abberley 15.7 miles
Day 4 - Abberley to Martley 7.6 miles
Day 5 - Martley to Malvern (north) 13.7 miles
Day 6 - Malvern (north) to Ledbury 12.0 miles
Day 7 - Ledbury to Ketford 10.4 miles
Day 8 - Ketford to Huntley 10.7 miles
Day 9 - Huntley to Gloucester 12.8 miles
This is a fairly strenuous itinerary averaging 12 miles per day, but breaking it down further increases the problems of overnight accommodation in remote areas.
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