UK Mountains Walking, Mountaineering and Equipment Reviews
Three Choirs Way
A tour of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire
100 Miles longOfficial Guide Available
Gloucester to Hereford32.5 miles
Hereford to Worcester36.0 miles
Worcester to Gloucester34 miles
Worcester to Gloucester
Day 1 : Worcester to Comers Green : 21 miles

For the final section I have split it into two separate days with no overnight camp. There is no sinister reason for this, just finding the time to fit it in.

Leaving Worcester along the River Severn is infinitely better than the arrival, which, as the guide says, is tedious! The route out quickly leaves the city behind and follows the Severn for some way until a bridge gives a route choice. Straight on brings the walker to the 'New' Bridge crossing the Severn which is always busy with traffic. Crossing the bridge and turning left allows the walker to follow the Teme down to the 'Old' Powick bridge. I followed the latter as I have walked the Severn many times. Arriving at the Old Bridge I passed underneath it to the old Mill and then left to pick up the main Malvern Road for a short section before crossing it and into a field to walk up to Powick Church and joining the alternative route from Broadheath. Some nice country walking eventually arrives at Callow End where the route crosses the road and heads up to the Old Hills past the Abbey (now a hotel).

Looking towards the Malvern Hills

I was now on very familiar terrain having walked and mountain biked around this area many times, so stowed the guide for the rest of the day. The Old Hills provide an excellent view of the Malverns some four or five miles distant. Dropping down, the path to Madresfield is picked up and followed to the village where the path crosses and heads almost in a straight line to Malvern Link. Some random route choices here lead up to the top of Malvern Link. It is possible to follow quiet paths but you really have to know them (which I do). Across the common, the climbing starts, albeit quite easily up to the Nags Head and from there, free choice. Most times I go up to the clock tower and directly up North Hill. This time I decided to walk in the direction of Great Malvern and pick a quieter path that leads up a zig zag path to emerge close to Ivy Scar; one of the few rock outcrops on the Malvern Hills where it is possible to indulge in a spot of rock climbing. More zig zag paths bought me onto the upper path and then a direct assault on North Hill, the first big one.

So far the weather had been pretty good, not hot, but not cold either, so a single thermal top sufficed. Dropping down to the saddle the next ascent (Sugar Loaf) was dispatched with ease which bought me to the big climb to the Malvern Beacon; the highest of the Malvern Hills. Once on top I sought some shelter from the cold wind which had picked up, and paused a while for lunch admiring the excellent views of Bredon Hill and the Cotswold Escarpment of Cleeve Hill.

Soon off I dropped down to the Wyche Cutting and back up again over a roller coaster of tops to head towards the British Camp. looking to my right I could see a rain curtain heading my way and looking quite menacing. A combination of fast walking and jogging bought me, just in time to the Camp and the shelter of the cafe where I had coffee and toasted teacake. It is an excellent little cafe and very reasonably priced but the service can be quite slow. I'd long since finished my coffee before the teacake arrived which surprised me as it only required toasting and there were only two other people there!

The rain looked settled in for some time, so I donned my newly treated waterproofs and headed off for the ascent of the camp. Not surprisingly I saw no-one else on the climb up. As with all British weather, it changed and on the descent I removed my waterproofs as the rain had stopped and there were no follow on rainclouds in the distance - it is possible to see 30-40 miles due West from here and the wind was blowing Westerly so I figured it would be some time before any more rain arrived. In fact it stayed dry for the rest of the day.

Rain on the way!

From here it gets quieter as it is the less frequented end of the hills so the walk over to Hollybush via Midsummer Hill I was virtually alone, seeing just a couple of other people. From Hollybush there is a good pull up onto Raggedstone Hill, from where I could see both the final hill (Chase End) and the end point for the days walk. It is quite a steep descent, especially in or just after rain and I was quite relieved to reach Whiteleaved Oak without incident. Whiteleaved Oak is a beautiful Hamlet with just a handful of extremely well-kept cottages. Down a short track and I was soon on the final hill. Another steep slippery descent down to the forest track and across a field to Comers Green (or at least the road to) where my ride out soon arrived.

Day 2 : Comers Green to Gloucester : 14 miles

A cheeky morning out and I finished the final section. Setting off from my previous pick up point, the route soon leaves the road and heads across fields to pop out at another lane which is followed to Pendock. Thankfully quiet roads. I am still amazed that roads are necessary at all in this area but they seem to be a feature of this walk sadly. Out of Pendock and across several fields where the footpath has all but disappeared in the ever growing crops. At times I felt I was making a new route but in my view, if the landowner can't mark the paths well enough, they can't be too surprised if several 'variations' appear, not intentionally, but out of frustration that no clear path is available.

Looking back at the Malvern Hills

Some pleasant walking eventually bought me to Staunton where some very limited choices meant that road was once again required, although the route does avoid the main road for the most part, emerging at the 'Prince of Wales' pub (long since closed) before crossing and heading down a lane which is nothing but bungalows. The guide takes the trouble to explain that these were built to house the Chartist Settlers with enough land to be self-sufficient. Apparently the project failed miserably, but there are some very nice properties, improving as the walk proceeds, all bungalows and all in very big plots.

At the end of the lane the route goes directly across the field ahead and, after another road crossing, heads up Corse Wood Hill which is pretty much the only climb on the entire section - something of a contrast with the first section on the Malverns. The walk to Ashleworth is slightly confusing in terms of which side of the stream the route actually is, but I spied a couple of way signs so presumed I'd managed more or less to follow the expected route, although I don't think it is terribly important. Into Ashleworth requires a careful reading of the guidebook as it is slightly misleading. The Pavillion needs to be passed with it on your right and the enclosed path is immediately after. Emerging onto the road the guide says turn left to the T-Junction and then right. What it should say is emerging onto the road, turn left and walk to the first T-Junction, then left again into Ashleworth and at the *next* T-Junction turn right.

Gloucester Cathedral - the end

The walk out to Longridge Lane is some distance but signposted. The Lane is also quite long but continue down until it changes to a dirt track and into a field. Across this field I could see the line of the River Severn. My initial thoughts were that I would follow it until the turn off to Maisemore then follow that in preference to more River walking - having walked the entire length of the River Severn I was keen to avoid it! On closer inspection, the alternative is to walk the equivalent length on a road, so even though the river wasn't my first choice, it was preferable to the road so I stuck to it until the bend where there was no choice but to leave and walk up into Maisemore. Thankfully I was soon back onto bridleways and paths which were followed right into Gloucester and just a short section up Westgate to the Cathedral again.

Well, that was the Three Choirs Way. In parts very nice with some excellent views, sadly there is a lot of road walking, especially on the section from Gloucester to Hereford which I am sure could be avoided, especially as the walk follows nothing more than the general direction between cities, but perhaps I am being optimistic. Overall I enjoyed it but I doubt I will ever do it again, there are simply too many long distance paths and I am sure I will find others to take an interest in.

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