Friday, 1 October 2010

Walking the Severn Way Stage 18

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Clifton to Upton-upon-Severn
Only 5.8 miles

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In this issue…
  • The amazing yellow sea
  • Bluebell walk
  • Let’s buy a mansion
  • Return of Puddleduck
  • Camp sunset
Hello and welcome along again to the next stage of our meandering stroll alongside the River Severn, through some of the most beautiful countryside of Wales and England tracing the whole of its length right from the source at Plynlimon high up in the Mid Wales mountains to its end at the Bristol Channel. Join us now for 210 miles of the stunning River Severn Way with its wonderfully diverse scenery, its fabulous flora and fascinating fauna.

Click here to see how far we've travelled to date


Hello and thanks for dropping in here once again. This is our second day of our short camping trip to Hanley Swan where we stayed 3 nights in order to walk 2 more stages of The Severn Way. Once again I’m writing retrospectively in mid September for a stage we did in April but let’s pretend it’s today! After this stage we’ll be back on course as Pam and I intend to walk the next stage this week.

So we spend a leisurely morning on ‘camp chores’ and although we’ve had many a happy hour camping and doing nothing much else than relaxing, it’s good on this trip to actually have a purpose and I can’t wait to get moving with another stage of this fantastic walk.


booted, sarnies packed, flask of tea in rucksack? Let’s go!

Leaving the small village of Clifton, parking the car at the side of the road, we head through fields on a somewhat cloudy but warm day on our way back to the riverside. The Severn Way leaves the river behind for a few miles and then returns.

I stop to inspect loads of little iridescent beetles on dock leaves again as Pam strides out and leaves me behind once more!

Wandering on I marvel at the mass of the Malvern Hills in the distance to our right - a backbone of undulating rises and troughs - and a hill-range that continues with us from yesterday’s stage.

In a short while we arrive at Cliffey Wood which marks our return to what has become known as ‘our river’. Do you sense it too? ‘Our’ River Severn. You can’t see it just yet but it’s just in front of the trees.


I ponder on how we will do the remainder of the walk as we progress further away from home. It’s just about conceivable to drive south to Upton-upon-Severn from home, walk to Tewkesbury (which is our next stage), catch a bus back to Upton and drive home all in one day, but it will be a tight schedule! But then what happens after that? We’ll soon be in October and I’m fully aware that Pam won’t want to camp again until next year and as my original plan was to finish this walk by LAST November I can now see this as an ongoing project through to next summer - 2 years after the start! But we’ll see. Hope you can all stay with us anyway.

All too soon it’s lunch-time and although I forgot to take the obligatory pic of one or both of us in mid-sandwich I did manage to take a quick shot as we left.


For practically all the way from Bridgnorth - some 40-50 miles - we see that Birmingham Anglers have fishing rights alongside the river so we often come across the odd angler - actually I perhaps shouldn’t call them ‘odd’! I’m sure they think of us walkers in the same way.

As the sun comes out and warms the air, pockets of midges dance in front of us as we stroll on. They look happy, performing acrobatic manoeuvres with seemingly carefree ease. In truth though they’re on a desperate mission to procreate before the inevitable death knell sounds and they fall as dust to the ground! There are hundreds, maybe thousands in each midge-cloud and they’re all there for a purpose. Tiny they may be but significant they surely are.



This splendid building sitting above yonder tree-line is Severn Bank House, a Grade II Listed building currently up for sale for £1.8 million. Anyone interested? It has 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and fab views!


We walk alongside 2 huge fields of dandelions swaying in the breeze and looking for all the world like a huge yellow sea. You might just be able to pick out a church spire in the distance? That’s Upton-upon-Severn so we’re getting close to the end of this stage but still a way to go.


A hibernating Comma butterfly basks in the sunshine after her long sleep. A Peacock butterfly dances ahead of us as if to show the way as the path heads at right-angles away from the river and alongside a wood teeming - absolutely teeming - with bluebells. A delightful sight and a heady aroma.


Sporting an England flag the Severn Stoke church appears before us.
And these are the imposing gates that open onto the drive of Severn Bank House as we walk around the opposite side of this rather graceful Building. Sure you want to turn this sale down?



The path now sends us back to the river once more and now we’re getting close to Upton-upon-Severn and the end of this delightful dandelion, bluebell and butterfly walk.

And here we are… journey’s end.


As we wait for our bus to take us back to Clifton and the car we meet up with an old friend - remember Puddleduck? The narrow boat owned by Ann and Barry? They’re moored at Upton for provisions and I guess, looking at Barry’s t-shirt, more beer!


You may recall we met up with them in Worcester some 12 miles back. They explain that they live on the boat, it’s their home and they’ve lived like this for the last 7 years. That’s just fab isn’t it? They’re heading down to Sharpness (which is where we’re heading over the next few stages) and then they plan to return to Stourport-on-Severn in October to moor up for the winter. What a life! They bought their home for a song and spent time and money lovingly restoring and refurbishing it and Barry explains if he was to sell it now it wouldn’t go for less than £30,000!

Time to leave you now as the bus is just coming around the corner. Oh before we go; just a quick mention to Bernise and Howard from Matlock, Derbyshire who camped near us in a tiny camper van.

And this was our sunset with the Malvern Hills as our backdrop on our last night in Hanley Swan.


Catch up with you soon - we won’t leave it so long this time!

Paul Watts and Pam Greenwood
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