RambAle 3: Callow Hill & Feckenham

route3Distance: 8.6 miles/14km. Allow 3 hours (excluding pub stops).

Starting and finishing venue: Bramley Cottage, Redditch B97 5QB.

This walk explores the countryside between Redditch and Feckenham, visiting the Feckenham Falls along the way. It passes through a series of fields in a steady descent before reaching the village; then slowly climbs through another set of fields to return to Redditch via a series of urban footpaths.

Turn left out of the pub and walk up Callow Hill Lane. Take the second right onto Morton Lane, then just past Loughborough Close you will see a footpath on your left. Follow the trail in a north-west direction through Walkwood Coppice until you meet a concrete path at the other side. Turn left, and then left again at the turning before the footpath crosses the brook. Continue west, passing the football pitches on your right to join Green Lane, then turn right and take the immediate next left. Continue down the driveway to a footpath on your left, then cross the stile and follow the footpath west through some fields. Follow this footpath through four fields, then bear south-west on the footpath with a private field fenced off on either side of you. When you reach Norgrove Lane turn left then right at the T-junction. The Brook Inn will be on the left-hand side, serving up to three real ales from the Marston’s portfolio. Food is served at lunchtime and during the evening.

IMG_0505Head south on Ham Green Lane then take the footpath on your right. The trail will cross a field and climb a hill before merging onto a farmhouse driveway. Turn left at the road onto Cruise Hill, then continue south at the bend onto a bridleway*. Follow the bridleway into the fields, then continue to follow the footpath south through four fields and into the woods.

*Our map shows an alternative route as the bridleway was churned with mud during the time of our walk! From Cruise Hill, turn right onto Tricksee Lane, then head south-east on the first driveway on your left. When the driveway bears to the west towards the holiday cottages, head directly south through the footpath into the fields. Follow the trail south through eight fields and into the woods.

Once in the woods, turn left and follow the footpath downhill and to the south, then at the brook turn left and follow the footpath to the east. Look out for a gap on the hedgerow to your left for a viewing point of the Feckenham Falls. Continue east on the footpath which opens up onto Mill Lane and you will find the Feckenham Cricket Club’s clubhouse on your left, which occasionally serves beers from Wye Valley.

042Head west down Mill Lane to return to the brook, then turn left and head south through a series of three fields. Upon reaching the road, turn left onto the Saltway then continue east passing the independent Feckenham Village Shop on your right; which sells a selection of locally produced deli style sandwiches to eat in or take away. The shop also sells bottled real ales and ciders. Further on, the Forest is on your right. The focus here is on food, though there are usually two real ales on offer.

The next pub is only five minutes away on the high street opposite, though there is a country detour to stretch your legs. Continue east on the Saltway, then take the first footpath on your left. Head north through three fields then follow the next footpath bearing west. The trail will cross a further three fields then merge into a passageway and onto the high street, where you will find the Rose and Crown on your left. This pub serves a good range of real ales alongside excellent bar food and a full a la carte menu.

There is a fair stretch to our next pub as we head north-east towards Redditch. From High Street, turn right and enter the church grounds on your left. Continue north-east until the footpath rejoins the road, then head directly north, taking the next available north-east footpath only when you have crossed the brook. This footpath will cross a small road then continue north-east alongside Swansbrook Lane. Follow this footpath, bearing east over the weir then to the south and through a set of modern farming workshops. Turn left and head north-east along Blaze Lane, then when the road bends to the north bear north-east onto a footpath. This will cross a field and pass through another set of modern farming workshops, then joins onto Feckenham Road. Turn right and follow the road east, and the Red Lion will be on your left, serving up to two real ales.

056Continue north-east on Enfield Road, then at the road junction use the underpass to pass under Windmill Drive. Follow the first immediate footpath on your left, heading north-west, leaving the main road and passing a triangular junction on your left. Follow the footpath through Avonbank Close, then turn right and at the end of the cul-de-sac follow the footpath on your immediate left, taking you north-west onto Rye Grass Lane. Cross the road and into Bilbury Close which will bear round to the left, then follow the footpath on your right which will bear north-west. Turn right and follow the path onto Walkwood Road, then turn left and head up the hill. At the very top where the road bends to the south, follow the footpath west and the Bramley Cottage will be in front of you. If you follow the footpath north, you will find an underpass on your left which passes under Windmill Drive. Turn left and follow the footpath, then when it emerges alongside the road bear south-east to safely reach the pub. Here you will find a selection of up to five real ales alongside an all-day food menu.