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A walk on the site of the Battle of Worcester

By Philip Halling

The Battle of Worcester

Worcester played an important role in the English Civil War for it was here that the first and last fighting of the war took place. The first battle was at Edgehill in Warwickshire on 23 October 1642, however, exactly one month early on 23 September the first action of the war took place at Powick Bridge just two miles from the city of Worcester. This was a skirmish rather than a battle, when the Royalist cavalry under Prince Rupert pushed back the Parliamentary cavalry under Nathaniel Fiennes. This walk takes in Powick Bridge and passes through the meadowland where some of the Battle of Worcester took place.

The walk begins from the car park at the battlefield viewpoint, beside the roundabout on the junction of the A38 with the A4440, Worcester’s southern relief road. This is a good place to start the walk as the battlefield viewpoint gives an insight into the Battle of Worcester which took place on 3 September 1651.

Cross the Carrington Bridge over the River Severn (this road which was built in the 1980s is scheduled to be dualled with work starting in 2019). After crossing the bridge, turn left and follow a track down to the meadowland and then pass underneath the bridge. Climb a stile and then turn left following the field boundary on the left beside the A4440. After walking for about half a kilometre an access road to Temeside Cottage is passed, its location must mean it is vulnerable to flooding. At this point the A4440 is still on your left and here it passes over another a bridge. Continue with the road on your left, following the field boundary until a gate with a stile beside it is reached. From the stile cross the field in the direction of Powick Bridge, the chimney at Powick Mill provides a good landmark to walk towards. Just before the bridge you will reach the banks of the River Teme which flows from its source just over the Welsh border, flowing past Ludlow Castle and Tenbury Wells on its course. There are two Powick bridges, the first one the walk encounters is the newer of the two, despite this it is almost two centuries old, having been built in 1837 to a design by William Capper. The remarkable think is this bridge is still in use today, bearing the weight of heavy juggernauts and has no weight restrictions. Walk through the side arch of this bridge, or if it is too muddy cross the road above, though take care as this is a very busy road. Beyond this bridge the earlier medieval bridge is reached, this is the bridge at the centre of the skirmish at the very start of the civil war in September 1642. There are a couple of memorial stones to the civil war here, one was unveiled by the late MP, Tam Dalyell on 3 September 2001, the 350th anniversary of the battle of Worcester, one of his ancestors was here in 1651.

Cross the old bridge, and as you do so you will see on your left Powick Mill with its tall chimney, this was an early hydro-electric power station dating from 1894. Powick Bridge is the starting point for the Monarch’s Way, at 615 miles long, it is the longest inland long distance path in England. This walk continues by following the Monarch’s Way into Worcester. Following the north bank of the River Teme, passing under the newer Powick Bridge again, and then following the riverbank to the Teme’s confluence with the River Severn. The path following the riverbank except for a short cut avoiding a long meandering loop in the river. It was near the Teme’s confluence with the Severn that the Parliamentarian forces crossed the river using pontoons during the battle. Follow the bank of the River Severn, passing the city’s boundary stone, keeping the open farmland where much of the fighting took place on the left. This land has remained undeveloped because it is floodplain. Approaching Diglis, Diglis Bridge a footbridge built in 2010 is passed. Adjacent to the footbridge are four cut out metal figures of people associated with Worcester, they are Ernest Payne, a gold medal winning cyclist in the London 1908 Olympics, Sir Charles Hastings, a founder of the British Medical Association, and two civil war soldiers, representing the Battle of Worcester in 1651. This bridge can be crossed if the walk is to be shortened, doing so would mean missing fine views of the cathedral and Worcester’s riverfront. Continuing past Diglis weir, a good path named Bromwich Parade follows the river as far as Worcester Bridge. This path provides fine views of Worcester Cathedral, the Bishops Palace and former warehouses. Worcester Bridge is crossed, this bridge originally built in 1779 by John Gwynn and widened in 1931.

Standing on the bridge there is a classic view of the river with the cathedral dominating the view. Having crossed the bridge turn right and walk down South Parade in front of former warehouses. The river frontage now opens up on the left with St Andrew’s Garden and St Andrew’s Spire. The riverside walk continues along Kleve Walk, named after Worcester’s German twin town and passes below the Bishop’s Palace and Cathedral. The Watergate is passed which there are numerous flood depth markers cut into the wall. The lock where the Worcester and Birmingham Canal enters the Severn is crossed. This area of Worcester has been largely redeveloped in the last fifteen years with many modern residential apartments overlooking the canal basin and river. Diglis Weir is passed again along with the pair of locks. The riverside footpath here is followed by two long distance paths, the Severn Way and the Three Choirs Way. After passing the Diglis Bridge the footpath passes through a wooded area and crosses Duck Brook. As the Carrington Bridge and Worcester’s southern relief road is approached the sound of traffic increases. The footpath crosses a caravan park before passing under the Carrington Bridge and then turning left up a short steep climb back to the car park and start point.
You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page Link .

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Thu, 3 May 2018 at 21:19
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