Real Ale Rambles

REAL ALE RAMBLE 269 RIVER ARROW

Sat. 24th March RIVER ARROW

6 miles and 6 pubs

This month we are in a part of Warwickshire that we have never used for a walk before; in fact few people visit it! They race north or south along the A46 through the Arrow valley, but very few ever stop to see the charming villages of Broom or Wixford, or the little market town of Alcester. And how is it that both villages manage to suppor

If you wish to do this walk contact Fred Luckett as there is a good possibility that he may be driving there!t two pubs?

We meet at Hales Street bus stop HS1 at 10.30 to catch the 10.43 X18 to Stratford. Arriving at 11.55 we change to the X19 which leaves Stratford at 12.20 and arrives in Alcester at 12.39. Then we can have a swift drink in Alcester before starting our walk. The SWAN HOTEL and DOG & PHEASANT are conveniently at the start of the walk, whilst the GBG listed Turks Head is a little further away in High Street.

At 1.00 we set off down Bleachfield Street, which is part of the Roman Ryknield Street, and cross the River Arrow, just below the point where it is joined by the River Alne. After a little twisting and turning the path follows the river under the bypass, crosses a field and joins the route of an old railway. This railway takes us, in two miles, to the village of Broom, where we find the BROOM TAVERN and BROOM HALL, both handsome timber framed old pubs. We should arrive sometime after 2.00.

If we leave at 2.40-ish we follow a path to the east of the river to Wixford, where the FISH stands on the bank, arriving at around 3.10. There is also the THREE HORSESHOES to have a look at, so we should set off again at 3.50 and travel north along the bridleway to Alcester.

Here we pass Wixford's little parish church, one of only five churches dedicated to St Milburga. She was a Saxon abbess of Wenlock Priory who died in 715. She was the daughter of Merewalh, King of the Mercian sub-kingdom of Magonsaeta and his wife Domne Eafe, and the granddaughter of King Penda of Mercia. Wenlock abbey was destroyed by the Danes and was refounded after the Norman conquest when Cluniac monks built a monastery on the site. They revived the cult of Milburga, which explains why a church dedicated to a Magonsaetan royal saint is in the sub-kingdom of Hwicce. The oldest part of this church is Norman and it is also said to contain the best brasses in Warwickshire, dedicated to the Crew family. From here we follow the bridleway, which is also part of the Roman Ryknield Street, back to Alcester, a Roman town. It is fascinating how much history there is within yards of all this modern traffic racing past. The last return bus leaves at 5.50

If you wish to do this walk contact Fred Luckett moc.liamg@ttekculfg() as there is a good possibility that he may be driving there!

FUTURE EXPEDITIONS

REAL ALE RAMBLE 270

Saturday 14th April RIVER ALNE

6 miles and 3 pubs

This is the third of our Warwickshire rivers. The Alne is a tributary of the river Arrow, which is itself a tributary of the Avon. Boots are needed as the riverside is poorly drained in places and therefore muddy. There are also a couple of tributary streams which may have to be leapt or splashed through ! However, don't let this put anyone off, as this is one of the most beautiful walks that we have done.

We meet at Coventry station at 10.30 a.m. to catch the 10.42 train to Birmingham. There we change to Moor Street to catch the 11.31 which gets us to Wootton Wawen at mid-day. Then we walk down to the BULLS HEAD for 12.10 and stay there till 12.40.

We set off through the village and take the track opposite the church that takes us down to the river. We follow the river downstream through fields and past the sewage farm to Pennyford Bridge. Left over the bridge, then right under the railway viaduct the path continues. At the next road we turn right and go down to Little Alne bridge where we find a footpath sign on our left. This takes us through a couple more fields before crossing an old railway line and entering Aston Cantlow village.

We should reach Aston Cantlow at around 2.00 where we can try the KINGS HEAD, which calls itself a country inn and restaurant these days, and the VILLAGE CLUB. In the past I have been told that the club is the better bet of the two. We shall see.

We should set off back at 3.00. Returning to the old railway line, this time we cross to the opposite bank of the river, which we follow up to Little Alne. Slightly left at the junction in the middle of the hamlet a path starts which climbs Round Hill. There are wonderful views behind us from the top of the hill, looking down the valley towards the Avon. Next we pass Grey Hill Farm ( not Grey Mill as on the O.S. map ! ). We are soon back at Pennyford Bridge. Here we cut the corner off Pennyford Lane and then follow the lane back towards Wootton Wawen. We pass Pennyford Mill and continue until we reach Field Farm, a typical farm, full of derelict machinery and vehicles. Through a number of small fields we reach a footbridge with views of St Peters church. We rejoin our original path and soon are back in Wootton Wawen.

At Wootton Wawen you really should visit St Paul's church, which claims to be the oldest in Warwickshire. The lower part of the tower dates from the 900s. The church itself was created as a minster, or missionary church, in the 700s by Aethelric, son of Oshere the King of the Hwicce. St Paul's was built to spread christianity amongst the tribe of the Stoppingas, who were absorbed into the kingdom of the Hwicce, which itself becam a sub-kingdom of Mercia. There is a very good exhibition of all this ancient history inside the church. Apart from the tower crossing the rest of the church is more recent.

Also the village stores is worth a visit. It is a proper old style village stores, which stocks everything from barbed wire and buckets to pies and chocolates, all jumbled up together. Just how a village store should be!

Then we can have a last pint in the BULLS HEAD before catching the return train. They run at 3.37, 4.37, 5.35, 5.51, 5.24, 6.31

If you wish to do this walk contact Fred Luckett moc.liamg@ttekculfg() as there is a good possibility that he may be driving there!

REAL ALE RAMBLE 271 PUTLEY CIDER FESTIVAL

Sunday 6th May

5 miles and 1 cider festival

TRAINS

11.24 from Coventry arrives Birmingham NS 11.47

12.00 from Birmingham NS arrives Ledbury 1.14

This year I believe the consensus is that we walk to the festival from Ledbury station. If this is so, then we take the northern route on the map as this is the easiest and quickest. The festival starts at 2.00 and we should get there about 2.30. Commercial stalls are advertised from Avenue Cottage Perry, Bartestree Cider, Greggs Pit Cider and Perry, Lyne Down Cider, Newton Court Cider, Once Upon a Tree Cider and Perry and Woodredding Cider and Perry. I shall, nearer the day, book a taxi for 4.30 to return to the station and catch the 4.52 train back, which gets us to Coventry at 7.13 p.m. LEDBURY TAXI SERVICE 01531 633596

OLD ROADS

June 2 KENILWORTH

Meet at Flying Standard 12 noon

July 14 BERKSWELL

Meet at Unicorn, Eastern Green, 12 noon

Aug 11 HOLLYBERRY END

Meet at Queens head, Meriden 12 noon

11.38 X1 bus from Pool Meadow stand H arrives Meriden 12.04

Salt Way, Welsh Road, Canley Ford, Ridgeway Lane ( Hunningham )

SUNDAY LUNCH WALKS - in conjunction with the Health Development Service of Coventry City Council.

All start at 12 noon on a Sunday

April 1 COVENTRY & DISTRICT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY HISTORICAL WALK No4 KERESLEY

Meet at Hare & Hounds, Watery Lane

May 6 KENILWORTH TO MEER END

Meet at the Queen & Castle, Kenilworth

June 3 LONDON ROAD CEMETARY

Meet at Drapers, Earl Street

I now intend to do a series of farm shops / cafes for tea and cakes ( as well as a beer ! )

July 1 TEMPLE BALSALL

Meet at Saracens Head, Balsall Street, Balsall Common at 1.00 p.m. The teas are only available berween 2.30 and 4.30 at Temple Balsal

Copies of these walks can be obtained from Fred & Sharon. They are usually in Beer Gonzo in Earlsdon on Thursdays, from around 7 pm to 9 pm.