Eckington Wharf

A 3,5 mile, waymarked riverside walk in the Worcestershire countryside. Eckington Wharf is a pleasant place to linger for a while, enjoying the view up river towards Bredon Hill, or watching elegant swans glide beneath the arches of the medieval bridge spanning the River Avon. The wharf is also the ideal starting point for a delightful and undemanding walk which takes you alongside the river to Strensham Lock before returning through Eckington village.

Technical sheet
No. 4159437
A Eckington walk posted on 09/10/20 by Aurelie-21. Update : 09/10/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h35[?]
Distance Distance : 5.54km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 14m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 14m
Highest point Highest point : 28m
Lowest point Lowest point : 10m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Cotswolds
Location Location : Eckington
Starting point Starting point : N 52.078619° / W 2.11476°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) From the Picnic Place cross the road (with care) and join a riverside footpath next to the bridge. The path simply follows the river through flood meadows until you reach Strensham Lock. Common reeds line the path ahead, while on the far bank two pollarded willows stand guard over a pillbox erected during World War Two, when it was considered necessary to defend river crossings against possible German invasion.

(1) In the next field, notice how narrow it is – this is a feature along this stretch of the Avon, its purpose originally being to ensure that the river frontage was shared between several landowners. Notice, too, a line of splendid pollarded willows along the far bank, and more pollards by Bow Brook, which joins the Avon at this point. The willow, a characteristic riverside tree supports birds such as finches and tits. Other species of birds frequent the river itself. You will certainly see mute swans and mallards, but with a bit of luck you’ll also spot herons, kingfishers and perhaps waders such as redshanks, curlews or snipe.

(2) The path passes under a railway bridge, supported on sandstone piers. A prehistoric stone axe head was found near this spot in 1896 and evidence of a Roman settlement was discovered during the construction of the railway in 1838-40. The railway line was good news for Eckington, facilitating the transport of orchard and market garden produce to cities such as Birmingham, Bristol and Gloucester. Sadly, Eckington station was closed in 1965 and most of the orchards and market gardens have gone too.

(3) After you pass a boatyard (on the far bank) the view ahead is dominated by a prominent church, St Philip and St James at Strensham, topping a steep slope, an unusual feature in the Avon Valley. The tree to the left is an old pear tree. Worcestershire is sometimes referred to as “The County of Pear Trees” and the pear appears on the County Council crest. The nearby town of Pershore was once known as “Peareshore”. Many fruit trees were planted, like this one, to mark field boundaries. Sadly, at least 70% of Worcestershire’s traditional standard orchards have been lost through the effects of old age, neglect and disinterest, so relatively few old and historic trees remain today.

(4) Approaching Strensham Lock, you’ll pass moorings occupied by colourful cruisers and narrowboats. The lock itself is an interesting place, and very lively in summer with the constant passage of boats.

(5) After rounding a bend where a mistletoe-laden willow overhangs the track, you will see Court End Farm ahead. The adjacent field shows evidence of ridge and furrow – the characteristic pattern created by medieval plough teams

To avoid steep steps over the railway bridge, turn left along Boon Street and then right along Drakes Bridge Road to rejoin the main route at the War Memorial.

(6) Look out for the 800-year-old Holy Trinity Church, which is worth a visit. Though much altered and extended, it retains some Norman stonework, including the finely carved west doorway. If you are interested in period buildings you might also like to explore the back streets of the village, where many beautiful houses are tucked away. Return to the Picnic Place via the path alongside the Pershore Road. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 14m - Picnic Place
1 : km 0.38 - alt. 13m - Field
2 : km 0.52 - alt. 12m - Railway bridge
3 : km 2.47 - alt. 15m - Boatyard
4 : km 3.29 - alt. 11m - Strensham Lock
5 : km 3.78 - alt. 11m - Bend
6 : km 4.64 - alt. 25m - Holy Trinity Church
D/A : km 5.54 - alt. 14m - Picnic Place

Useful Information

Mostly flat with one gentle slope up to Eckington Village. There may be muddy patches after heavy rain or flooding.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The River Avon rises near the English Civil War battlefield of Naseby (1645) in Northamptonshire, and flows for 112 miles (179km) through Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire before joining the River Severn at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. Its catchment is predominantly rural, but the Avon also enhances a number of towns, including Stratford-upon-Avon, Evesham and Pershore.
Though the Avon starts life as a small stream, its many tributaries ensure that by the time it reaches Stratford-upon-Avon it is already a substantial river. Flooding is an obvious natural hazard and, for centuries, river flows have been managed to protect people and property from inundation. A large river such as the Avon has a floodplain, a natural mechanism for the storage of excess water, but in recent years floodplains have increasingly been under pressure from developers. It is essential that floodplains are kept as free from development as possible and the Environment Agency advises local planning authorities on this matter. The Agency also provides a flood warning service.
The Avon is navigable from Alveston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, to Tewkesbury. In 1639 it became one of the first English rivers to benefit from a system of locks and weirs to control water levels. Today, it’s a vital link in the Avon Ring, a popular cruising route which also incorporates parts of the River Severn and canals such as the Worcester and Birmingham, Grand Union and Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Avon supports other leisure activities too, such as canoeing, rowing, sailing, angling, birdwatching and walking. Riverside pubs and tea rooms draw visitors, while moorings and caravan sites occur at intervals along its banks. It also supplies water for drinking and irrigation, acts as a natural drainage system and plays a role in the dispersal of treated effluent.
Not only does the Avon have considerable landscape value, it also supports a huge variety of wildlife, including charismatic species such as otter and kingfisher. No fewer than 89 Sites of Special Scientific Interest are scattered across the river’s catchment. Though much of the associated wetland habitat has been destroyed, a project is currently underway to recreate lost habitat wherever possible.

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