Walk this May

Walking on the Malvern Hills

Walk this May

May is National Walking Month and a great time of year to get more active and enjoy the natural beauty nearby.

Walking or wheeling is a free, fun and flexible way to build exercise into your everyday routine or spend your leisure time. 

Throughout May, you will be able to find stories of where to walk, just how good walking is for you, and stories of people who make walking part of their everyday life on this page. 

These stories have been put together by Worcestershire County Council, Active Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Herefordshire Council and Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire, to promote the benefits of walking in a collaborative campaign.

To find out more about walking in Worcestershire including our Health Walks, over 30 walking routes including circular walks and improvements , go to our Walking page. You can also find cycling guides there too. 

There’s also lots of information and suggestions of where to walk on the Visit Worcestershire website.

The health benefits of walking by Huw Griffiths

Our first story comes from Huw Griffiths from Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire who talks about his personal experiences of the health benefits he feels from walking.  

“It is common to hear ‘go for a walk and clear your mind’ during a period of stress or struggle, but does walking really help? Surely walking is just a means of getting somewhere that doesn’t require another form of transport, a way of moving around short distances or something you need to do if you have a dog? How good is walking?

Blog - Huw Griffiths with his partner Emily Griffiths and their daughter Florence
Image: Huw Griffiths and his family 

“Walking had a big impact on my life during a time when I really needed something to give me a boost. During a difficult mental health phase, when I didn’t have a huge amount of energy, I used to think walking was boring. As a runner, the idea of walking just didn’t work for me. There was a time where I couldn’t run because of a persistent injury, and walking offered me a chance to be active but also keep a clear head. It became something to look forward to within the day and gave me that boost of ‘happiness’ that being active offers. It even reduced the amount of money I was spending on doing piles of washing from all the running kit that wasn’t being used!

“One of the great things about walking is that you don’t need any fancy equipment, you do not need to book a court or get to a certain facility. You can simply step out the door and put one foot in front of the other. When I was injured, on some days I might have walked for 10 minutes, and other days I might have walked for over an hour. It allowed me to have time and space to think about the challenges I may be facing throughout the day and helped me to refocus and realise the good things around me. I used to walk the neighbouring streets, through the city centre, around the cathedral or along the canal path. On other days, it could have been a trip to a local park or a drive to the nearby country park to be amongst the trees, climbing over the fallen logs and kicking through the autumn leaves.

“It’s funny how given the simplistic nature of walking, it offers so much physically, psychologically and socially. I found myself greeting other walkers whilst I was out and seeing them again either on my way home or the next day. I would see walking groups around my area that I didn’t realise existed, and although I never joined, it was tempting when seeing the range of ages and abilities. Although I am back running, I still make time for some walks through the week. I take my young daughter to spend time together on the trails or use walking as a time to listen to a podcast or an audiobook.

“Across the two counties, we are blessed with beautiful public parks, abundant countryside walks and bustling city centres. So, walk to the city centre, walk around your village, walk to the local shop, walk wherever and however you want. Join us for this month and #WalkThisMay.”

Huw Griffiths 
Strategic Lead for Active and Healthy Ageing at Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire

You can find out more about the health benefits of walking on our Getting Active pages.

Linking walking to your wellbeing by Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s blog talks about how walking can benefit your mental wellbeing.  

“We want to look at the link between walking and our wellbeing, and how you can utilise the simple act of walking to improve your wellbeing  

Mental wellbeing is related to how you feel about yourself and being able to feel happy and present in the moment. It’s often related to our thought processes and the way we see the  world, as well as the way we view ourselves. Similarly, social wellbeing involves a lot of similar aspects of mental wellbeing but places a particular emphasis on looking at our relationships and connections.

Lots of people feel increasingly isolated in the world, particularly since a lot of our communication is now done via digital channels rather than face-to-face. It is therefore imperative that we continue to find ways to make meaningful social connections that are not just confined to a screen.

Through walking, whether that’s a 20-minute stroll, a brisk half hour-walk or an extended hike, you have the chance to improve your overall wellbeing. Here are just a few of the many benefits:  

Keeping you fit

Walking physically benefits you by increasing your heart rate and getting the blood pumping - contributing to essential cardiovascular exercise that you need to keep fit and healthy.

Switch off

Mentally, it allows you to switch off from the noise of our digital world and take in the sights, sounds and smells around you. This is a great technique to use when out on a walk as it can help to ground you and enable you to feel present, which is a key asset in helping us to achieve a state of positive wellbeing.

Lower your risk of developing dementia

A study by JAMA Research has found that people who walk just 3,800 steps per day (about two miles) are around 25% less likely to develop dementia. This percentage increases with further steps. There are also benefits for those living with dementia as walking can slow down the progression of the disease.

The social side

Finally, walking can also be a great boost to your social wellbeing. On a walk, you have the chance to interact with lots of people along the way, or you could even go for regular walks with a friend and use it as a calming period to catch up with each other.

Better yet, why not join a local walking group to make new connections and socialise with even more people - groups like this are great for forming a habit of walking and holding each other accountable, all while getting a plethora of physical and mental health benefits. 

Don’t take our word for it, hear from our walking group leader, Hilary. “The group is really important from the walking and health side, but equally just as much from a social side. Everybody really enjoys meeting up and having a chat and it’s something to look forward to each week.”  

Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire have several groups across the two counties, set up for walking and socialising, which include the Lower Wick Walkers. You can find out more on the activities and events page of Age UK H&W’s website.


The Lower Wick Walkers

Image: The Lower Wick Walkers

Why not challenge yourself to go on as many walks as you can this week and note down any thoughts or feelings that present themselves when you’re on the walks.

This can be a great tool for understanding how we’re feeling internally, and combined with the endorphin boost from the exercise of walking it can really help you to feel mentally and physically refreshed.  

So, with such a host of benefits to wellbeing and a multitude of beautiful places to walk, what’s stopping you from getting out there to #WalkThisMay?”

Getting Active is one of the five ways to wellbeing, useful simple steps you can take every day to keep yourself well. The other four ways to wellbeing are Take Notice, Keep Learning, Connect and Give.

You can find out more on the 5 ways to wellbeing page of Mind’s website.  

Making walking part of everyday life by Abigail Marshall

Abigail Marshall discusses her morning routine and how making walking part of her everyday life helps the beginning of the day to become calmer and more reliable while building in time to talk to friends.

“I don’t know about you, but my morning routine can be somewhat hectic? With three children it involves making multiple breakfasts and packed lunches, helping my youngest look down the back of the sofa for yesterday’s discarded jumper and all whilst giving out time checks ‘Time to clean your teeth!’ So the thought of walking to school and work used to seem like another HUGE mountain to climb, just to get where I needed to be.

However, when I march the first few steps away from my house all those stresses fall away …a deep breath of the crisp morning air and finally some mental space and time to spend with my children.

…I don’t have to worry about whether my car will start.

…I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.

…and I know exactly how long it is going to take me to get there.

It wasn’t always easy to ‘just walk’ though…I don’t miss grappling with a toddler to get them into a pushchair while helping another child to do up their shoes as I’m trying to leave the house - and I’m relieved that “I don’t want to walk” tantrums are a thing of the past  During the Covid lockdowns, (when a daily walk was about the most fun you were allowed) my family got used to walking more and they naturally aged to a point where we could easily build more walking into our lives. Now all three walk to school and college.

I am also in a great situation for an active commute - home it is only about a mile from primary school and my work place. My flexible employer also allows me to work from home a lot, which also makes walking to school easier.

The school run really boosts my mood, especially on days where I work from home. I catch up with friends who are walking the same way and a good chat helps put any morning mishaps and work stresses into perspective. It also means I build free, regular exercise into my day and keep my step count up.

It’s great for children too; they can chat and run off steam before and after school. As well as exercise, it gives them a great sense of their local community, raises their awareness of wildlife and signs of changing seasons, and gives an opportunity to learn about road safety.

Walking to school is proven to help children concentrate better once they are in the classroom, and less cars approaching the school, means a reduction in air pollution and less congestion around the school gates, making school a safer place.

Making walking part of everyday life by Abigail Marshall

Image: Abigail Marshalland her son

However, there was a time where we could not be where we all needed to be - school, then nursery, then work, without using a car. I think there are certain points in life where everything just comes together, so if walking every day isn’t doable for you right now then be kind to yourself. Try swapping a journey once a week – if everyone did this then there would be 20% less cars on the road Monday to Friday.  Alternatively, park up and walk the last 10 minutes of your journey. It all has benefits for you and the environment.

Now though, I will enjoy the warm spring sunshine on my walk to school, chatting with friends and strolling past the traffic, remembering those days when one of the children would need a wee as soon as we entered the long queue of cars and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it!”

Abigail Marshall 

Top tips for walking to school

  • walking with children can take longer than walking on your own so leave plenty of time
  • try a trial run with your children on a weekend to get an idea of timings
  • give yourself a 10 minute lee-way in case something happens or you forget something
  • find your umbrella and waterproof coats the night before if the weather forecast is bad
  • have fun and enjoy spending some time together 

Walking for fun and helping others to get active by Bob and Lucy Lloyd

Our final story comes from Bob and Lucy Lloyd who volunteer with Worcestershire Health Walks and run two walks a week in Worcester.

“We have always enjoyed walking having both grown up in the countryside. 

Bob and Lucy Lloyd

Image: Bob and Lucy Lloyd

When we retired in 2016 we were keen to find things to occupy our time and looked at various options, one of which was volunteering.

Initially we helped out at a retirement home for over 55s and joined the Worcestershire Walking for Health group from The Commandery.

Later we saw there was a Worcestershire Health Walks group running from The Hive in Worcester City, so decided to join that group.

The Hive Walkers

Image: The Hive Walkers

We enjoyed our weekly walks and soon made new friends. The walk was led by one person and as the group numbers increased, she asked if we would like to help out by ‘back marking’ the group. ‘No problem’ we said but were told we needed to attend a training course for Walk Leaders at The Countryside Centre. This we duly did in April 2017 and, as they say, the rest is history.

The course was enjoyable and our Walks Co-ordinator is always on hand to provide support, advice, etc., when needed. Our walk leader friend eventually decided to "retire" due to health and personal issues, so we agreed to take over the group.

We now run a lovely, ever expanding, group of walkers, or should we say friends who walk, split into two groups, both for an hour, but one for those who want an easier walk.  At the end of the walks, we return to the city centre for coffee, and maybe cake too! This results in even more socialising and making friends.

Over the years we have seen people come and go but have some who have been attending for more years than us.  We have found it is very rewarding especially when you see people who attend on their own and soon make good friends, as have we.  For some they describe it as the highlight of their week.

It can be challenging at times and is a commitment.  However, when we need a break we have a group of walk leaders we can turn to, to cover our walk.  This works both ways as we regularly help out leading walks from The Commandery or Lyppard Grange on a Tuesday and Woodgreen Church in Warndon Villages on a Friday.

We are lucky to have such a lovely city to explore although we are, of course, restricted by duration of the walk and this year by the all too frequent floods!  Some of our walks are by the river or around the racecourse, no good when they are flooded!

We firmly believe in the benefits of the Health Walks, no cost, no planning, no need to book, just turn up and enjoy the company of likeminded people.

We feel the social and mental benefits are just as important as those of walking, if not more.

Several of our walkers, for various reasons are not able to walk from time to time and just join us for coffee and a chat which is great as this enables them to keep in touch.”

Bob and Lucy Lloyd

Volunteering helps to keep you mentally stimulated, improves your self-confidence and provides you with a sense of purpose. Together with the health benefits of walking, that adds up to an enjoyable and healthy lifestyle.

To find out more about Worcestershire Health Walks and information about becoming a leader go to our Health Walks page.

Discover more opportunities to volunteer in Worcestershire on our volunteering page.  

Worcestershire Walks: 8 hikes you need to try!

Worcestershire offers some of the country’s best walking routes. We've put together some of the best!

8 Worcestershire hikes you need to try

There are miles and miles of glorious English countryside on our doorstep and we can’t wait to share our favourite Worcestershire walks with you!

1. Malvern Hills – Worcestershire Beacon

A Worcestershire landmark which needs no introduction.

The Malvern Hills offer fine vantage points across the county and excellent walking trails. A hike up towards the Worcestershire Beacon is one of our preferred routes.
Starting at Beacon Road Car Park the walk is a moderate level of difficulty which takes around 1.5 hours. 

The trail will start around the western slopes of the Beacon and will pass through exciting landmarks such as St Anne’s Well and Earnslaw Pool.

Starting Location: Beacon Road Car Park WR14 4EH

2. Broadway Tower

Experience panoramic views, English heritage and explore 200 acres of parkland. Broadway Tower is the ideal destination for a Worcestershire walk.

The Broadway Tower Circular Walk allows visitors to explore all of the grounds which includes a deer park, a nuclear bunker and the 18th-century tower.

The walk takes around 20 minutes but this doesn’t include the time spent viewing the fascinating attractions. Hikers can also stop for refreshments at the Tower Barn café. Please note that admission tickets and car parking fees do apply.

Starting Location: Broadway Tower Car Park WR12 7LB

3. Stourport Basins

For a more leisurely, shorter walk Stourport Basins is the ideal spot alongside the waterways.

A walk around the canal systems can be an enjoyable but fascinating visit with plenty to do and see. See if you can spot some of the native wildlife which call the basin their home, which includes wildfowl, bats and if you are super lucky an otter!

The Canal and River Trust have downloadable maps free of charge for visitors, helping to plan your route. Guided tours and boat trips are available from Stourport Heritage Rooms.

Starting Location: Stourport Wharf, Severnside, Stourport Basins, Stourport, Worcestershire, DY13 9EN

4. Bredon Hill Circular Walk

This walk incorporates Visit Worcestershire’s Pub of the Year. Who doesn’t love a walk followed by a pub visit?

The Bredon Hill Circular Walk rises steeply from the village of Elmley Castle and showcases Worcestershire’s elegant countryside. 

The route starts and ends at The Queen Elizabeth Inn so be sure to pop in for a pint and a bite to eat!

Starting Location: The Queen Elizabeth Inn WR10 3HS

5. Croome Court

Discover the many historic buildings that are located within the parkland and the wider estate at Croome. Paired with wonderful walking routes and acres of gardens/parkland.

The walking routes take you through 'Capability' Brown-designed landscapes, spring flora and historic woodland. A wonderful family day out.

The Conservation Walk throughout the grounds highlights the estate in all its glory. Please note admission fees do apply.

Starting Location: Croome Visitor Centre WR8 9DW

6. Wyre Forest

The UK’s largest native woodland, the Wyre Forest is ready to be discovered. Accessible walking routes, family trails and an impressive visitor centre are some of the key features of this attraction.

Take in the sensory experience of the forest which includes bird song, running streams and floral displays.

For a scenic forest walk, we would recommend the Dowles Brook route which allows you to find a historic National Trust property, Knowles Mill. We would mention that this route is a moderate walking trail with uneven surfaces.

Starting Location: Dry Mill Lane Car Park DY12 2LT

7. Clent Hills

Located at the tip of North Worcestershire sits the Clent Hills, where displays of bluebells can be found during the Spring months. The hills offer views to explore looking out towards Shropshire, Mid Wales, Worcestershire and the West Midlands.

From Nimmings Wood Car Park a walk towards the four stones offers incredible views on a clear day and is a must when visiting! There are also a number of excellent country pubs in walking distance.

Make sure to grab a snap by the four stones!

Starting Location: Nimmings Wood Car Park DY9 9JR 

8. Diglis Loop

Explore Worcester at its riverside from Worcester Bridge to Diglis Bridge!

This easy walking route allows you to appreciate the River Severn’s riverside landscape as well as some famous Worcester landmarks. Calculating around 2.4 miles, this walk takes around 1hr 10 minutes.

You can encounter the sights of Worcester Cathedral and the Swan Sanctuary all by the riverside which makes this walk perfect for young children.

Starting Location: Worcester Bridge (Head towards Worcester Cathedral) WR1 3NN

We would love to see your photos of your favourite Worcestershire walks!

Use #VisitWorcestershire and tag Visit Worcestershire on social media.

Full routes can be found on the Visti Worcestershire website.

5 accessible walks in Worcestershire

In this blog, we'll highlight some of the most accessible walking routes in Worcestershire.

5 accessible walks in Worcestershire

Worcestershire is a beautiful county located in the heart of England. The county is home to many stunning landscapes and walking routes that are perfect for people of all abilities.

1. Worcester Riverside Walk

The Worcester Riverside Walk is a 3.5-mile circular walk that begins and ends at the city's cathedral. The route takes visitors along the banks of the River Severn and offers stunning views of the city's bridges and historic buildings. 

The path is fully accessible with smooth surfaces, and there are several benches along the way for people to rest.

2. Bewdley Riverside Walk

The Bewdley Riverside Walk is a 2.5-mile circular walk that offers great views of the River Severn. The route takes visitors through the charming town of Bewdley and offers beautiful views of the town's landmarks, including the historic bridge and St Anne's Church. 

The route is accessible with wide, smooth paths and plenty of benches for rest stops.

The walk can be finished with excellent, riverside fish and chips from Merchants of Bewdley.

3. The Malvern Hills

The Malvern Hills are a range of hills that offer stunning views of Worcestershire and the surrounding countryside. The hill range is home to several walking routes of varying difficulty levels. 

However, the council has made sure that many of the easier routes are accessible for people with disabilities. For example, the Earnslaw Quarry Car Park is a gentle incline that is fully accessible.

Visitors can now hire all-terrain mobility scooters from Café H20.

4. Worcester Woods Country Park

The Worcester Woods Country Park is a beautiful park that offers several walking routes through the woodland. The park's trails are wheelchair-friendly with firm surfaces and gentle inclines.

The park is famous for its ancient woodland, attractive wildflowers and abundant wildlife.

The Orchard Café at the park is the perfect place for a refreshment serving a range of hot and cold dishes. As well as an extensive range of drink options.

5. Arrow Valley Country Park

The Arrow Valley Country Park is a 900-acre park that is home to several wildlife habitats and beautiful walking routes. 

The route around Arrow Lake is flat, well-maintained and fully accessible. 

It offers stunning views of the lake, abundant wildlife and wildflowers.

Make sure to take lots of photos and let us know what wildlife you spot!

For the full routes, please see the Visit Worcestershire website.

Canal and riverside walks in Worcestershire

The best canal and riverside walks that Worcestershire has to offer.

The gentle flows of canals and rivers can provide the ideal backdrop for a relaxing stroll through the Worcestershire countryside.

Canal and Riverside Walks in Worcestershire

Explore the county’s riverside towns and picturesque nature on foot.

Kidderminster to Cookley

Taking around 1 hour and 30 minutes, this moderately challenging route takes in some of the best of North Worcestershire’s waterways. 

Walkers can start from the canal towpaths of Cookley with visitors quickly transported into the idyllic countryside.

The Lock Inn provides the perfect pitstop after 1.5 miles of following the canal, serving plenty of lunch options and local ales.

Once refreshed from the Lock’s tasty delights, follow the canal over the footbridge and head towards the town of Kidderminster. Along the route, you will see signs of Kidderminster’s industrial past, including a crane which helped transport the goods of the town’s carpet industry.

The route has been recently benefitted by improvement works from Worcestershire County Council.

Things to note:

Parking is limited around the Cookley area. Plenty of parking is available in Kidderminster if you wish to do the route in reserve.

Worcester Canal Walk

The Worcester to Birmingham Canal offers the opportunity for a stroll to take in the charm of the city’s industrial past as narrowboats drift lazily by. 

Walkers can choose the length of walk with experienced hikers maybe wanting to explore as far as Tibberton, which is the location of a great canal-side pub, called the The Bridge Inn.

We would recommend starting from Diglis Basin.

For those seeking a shorter walk, you can always head back into Diglis Basin to refresh with a gin and tonic from Piston Distillery or a seafood dish from The Anchor Inn.

Hanbury Canal Walk

A circular walk passing the iconic Hanbury Hall is a pleasant walk once again highlighting Worcestershire’s beautiful green spaces and nature. 

This 7-mile canal walk features hedge-lined fields, historic buildings and parkland. Simply follow the Hanbury Circular Walk ‘lock gates’ symbol and direction arrows and you won’t get lost. Start from Gateway Park, Droitwich.

Pub stops include the Eagle and Sun serving excellent pub grub.

This route has been recently been benefitted from improvement works from Worcestershire County Council.

Eckington Riverside Walk

Meandering along the tranquil banks of the River Avon, visitors will be greeted with nature and the sounds of the moving river. Eckington Wharf is a pleasant place to linger for a while, enjoying the view up river towards Bredon Hill. 

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.

The dedicated picnic area provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a traditional riverside picnic with impressive surroundings.

Stourport Basins

The Stourport Canal Basins are made up of five historic basins, home to nearly 100 narrow 

The basin and surrounding canal paths create the ideal destination for leisurely walks.

For those who are seeking a walk where you just admire the views then this may be just for you! 

There are plenty of parking nearby and visitors can enjoy also enjoy the summer-time Theme Park and riverside attractions.

Bewdley to Arley

A scenic but challenging route which is popular for hikers and dog walkers. This 8-mile route offers some of the finest stretches of the River Severn with marked paths and viewpoints.

Your halfway point is Arley Village, where you are able to find a pub, The Harbour Inn and a traditional Arley riverside tearoom. 

This circular route will then guide walkers back alongside the river towards your starting point of Bewdley.

Please respect the countryside code and keep dogs on leads near livestock.

For the full routes, see the Visit Worcestershire website.


Was this page useful?