"A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" - William Henry Davies
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You feel like you're on top of the world when you reach the Bredon Hill viewpoint and having been given a walk starting from the lovely village of Kemerton by a friend of mine (Walk No 9), I decided it would be rather nice to try to approach the summit via alternative pathways offering different aspects along the way, and this I feel I have achieved. I checked my map and plumped for a village unknown to me until now, namely Elmley Castle and headed out there.
Yet again attempt 1 ended in disaster. The route up was event-free but quickly descended into chaos once I began to pick my route down. I exited Bredon Hill through a gate in the circumference wall and picked my way down a track that descended steeply down the side of the hill. Once at the bottom the tracks seemed to disappear and stumbling around somewhat on uneven ground, I tripped and went flying through the air landing with a thump face first on the ground. Unfortunately my camera swang round mid-flight and my hip/pelvis landed with a smack on top of it. The air was blue as was my hip which ended up with an almighty bruise for the next week. I was in a good deal of pain instantly but carried on across a field trying to regain a path when I heard whistling ahead. As I looked up I saw a man in the distance waving frantically at me. I stopped to hear him shouting quite aggressively that I shouldn't be there and I should get lost. I tried to explain that I had already got lost having strayed from the path and didn't know where I was going, but he continued to growl at me so I quickly walked in the opposite direction. I stopped to check what they were up to through my binoculars and saw that one of them was lying on the ground with a gun. I don't know if they thought I was taking a photo but at this point the other chap started to run down the hill towards me. He explained in gentler tones that they were shooting and didn't want to shoot me. I thanked him for his consideration, showed him on my map where I wanted to be at which point he sent me on a wild goose chase. He pointed to a farm telling me to head in that direction and then to head 2 o'clock from there, which is fine if you are a crow but after walking for some distance I found I was bound in by electric fences and padlocked gates and so I had to make my way back. I gave the men with guns as wide a berth as I could, dragged myself back up to the top of Bredon Hill and retraced my steps back to Elmley Castle feeling sorry for myself. A hot bath and a bottle of wine that evening lifted my spirits and I got my map out again to plot my next attempt.
Attempt 2 was on a gloriously sunny February morning; a day when it is really cold but you don't mind because all of your senses are piqued by the sight of rolling fields, sculpted trees, the blueness of the sky, the sounds of nature, and yes the cold. It was blummin' marvellous! To cap it off there was a dusting of snow at the very top which added to the splendid vista. I felt my chest properly swell with emotion on more than one occasion. If you haven't yet done so you must pick a beautiful day, cold or not, and make your way up there!
As you walk away from Elmley Castle, a beautiful village that looks as if it really hasn't changed much for centuries, walking past thatched cottages that have the most delightful rivulet trickling down the roadside with wee bridges crossing them to access each house's front garden, you begin what is a slow and steady climb. The houses on the hill are stunning with such enviable aspects and birds in abundance, so although not the countryside quite yet, there was plenty to keep me interested.
I cannot stress enough how muddy it was pretty much all the way up and down so wellies were absolutely essential. I would also say that if you do not see at least one buzzard on this walk you really are not looking hard enough.
So there is the climb and then there is all this.
The first picture I took simply because I had just emerged from a wooded path and could not believe how blue the sky looked. I love the next field with the groups of trees casting shadows over the grassy slopes. And I am a sucker for an old tree with twisted gnarled branches, especially against such a fine back-drop.
There is a small overlap here with the Kemerton walk as I had to include Lalu Farm and the subsequent walk past what I call Skylark Fields simply because you have to see and/or hear the Skylarks. They are always present and in numbers and their constant chirruping never fails to make me smile. I also saw a Yellowhammer fly by and a Wren hippity hopping in the hedgerow.
Once at the top the walk takes quite a different turn from the walk that begins its life in Kemerton. The Kemerton walk climbs up to the viewpoint and then descends straight back down. This walk elongates the walking experience at the top prolonging the amazing views for that little bit longer. So the next mile or so is on the flat and is simply lovely. Farmland stretching into the distance with hills beyond.
Just as I was walking away from the Bredon Hill viewpoint and beginning the walk alongside the above farmland I spotted this wee bird. It simply would not play ball and turn around and pose for me but it is a Reed Bunting which is another first for me. I aslo saw a Fieldfare in the same vicinity and another Yellowhammer made a fly-by.
Just before you begin your descent you will come across this sweet bench that deserves to be visited and you may feel inclined to do so. This is the bench and this is the view from the bench. Take a last lingering look.
And finally, to make my day complete look what I clapped my eyes on whilst winding my way back down. Or should I say what clapped their eyes on me. Having just had a very close encounter with a hare on another walk - those of you that follow my facebook page will have seen the pictures - I was thrilled to see this group of deer having a relaxing 5 minutes. They were some distance away so I needed all of my zoom to get this image. Aren't they beautiful? And I just hope this isn't what the goons on the slopes of Bredon Hill were hoping to snaffle.
The walk brings you down to a path that meanders past the back of the church where I parked which has a delightful pond together with resident ducks. Very picturesque indeed. Eeeeh it were a grand day out.