Teme Valley Tour
The Teme Valley Tour passes through some of the most attractive countryside and prettiest towns and villages in the Heart of England, and we feel sure that you will find a day or half-day driving around it extremely enjoyable. As you will see from the map there are a number of places where you can park your car and picnic in beautiful surroundings. The route also passes through three small towns with a wide range of facilities, and with lots of interesting things to see and do.
The route has been clearly signposted in an anti-clockwise direction in order to cut down on the number of awkward right turns. The drive will take you through some of the most fertile agricultural land with many hopyards and orchards. This makes the route particularly attractive in the spring when the blossom is out, while later in the year produce can be bought directly from the farms. However it is worth taking extra care while driving, as tractors and other agricultural machinery also use these roads.
Although the commentary starts at Tenbury Wells, it is possible to join the route at any point. The total distance is about 50 miles, but if you want a shorter drive, we suggest you take the road shown on the dotted line on the map (the A443 between Newnham Bridge and Tenbury Wells). This will enable you to cut out either the northern or southern sections of the route.
This ancient market town of Tenbury Wells (1) has been an important crossing point over the Teme since the Iron Age. Visit the newly refurbished Pump Rooms - a unique example of Chinese Gothic architecture dating back to the heyday for British spas in the 19th century - as well as the fascinating Museum (limited opening May to September) and the Norman Parish Church of St. Mary's. Wide range of eating places and ample parking.
Take the A4214 south towards Bromyard (3) a market town on the River Frome since before the Doomsday Book. Several old inns dating from the 16th and 17th Century are among the fine half-timbered buildings. Visit the fascinating 'Year of the Hop' exhibition in the Heritage Centre (Easter to September).
East of the town lies the Bromyard Downs (4). Hundreds of acres of heath with good views of Wales, Shropshire and the Malverns, and opportunities to walk and picnic.
A short drive down a private lane off the A44 towards Worcester is Lower Brockhampton (5), a small but superbly picturesque half timbered, moated manor house dating from the early 15th century. Now in the care of the National Trust, it is open daily from February to December, except Tuesdays, Thursdays and Good Friday. Look carefully for the sign at the entrance. Lower Brockhampton
The grounds of Brockhampton Court contain two nature trails which go through young plantations and mature oak woods.
The route continues over Bringsty Common (6), an area of rolling heathland dotted with cottages. It is ideal for walking, playing or picnicking - or visit the recently refurbished and re-opened Live and Let Live pub.
About 2 miles further on an interesting detour south towards Alfrick takes in Ravenshill Wood (7) with its nature trail and picnic area.
The route crosses the River Teme at Knightwick. (8) Immediately afterwards turn left along the B4197 towards Martley and take in the views across the Valley and to the Malvern Hills from Ankerdine Hill. Alternatively take a short detour along the A44 eastwards from Knightwick to visit the Elgar Birthplace museum at Broadheath (9) to learn more about England's greatest composer and the scenery that inspired so many of his works. Open every day except for annual closure from Christmas to the end of January.
On through Martley (10) which has a beautiful red sandstone church containing a fine collection of medieval wall paintings.
Keep on the B4197 and after two miles Woodbury Hill (11) (part of the Abberley Hills and on the Abberley and Malvern Hills GeoPark Trail) comes up on the left. On the 900ft. small summit is an ancient fort, once held by Owen Glendower for the Welsh against the English, and accessible by public footpath. There are good views to the north.
At Great Witley the route proper turns left along the A443, but to find the 17th Century Parish Church (12) - perhaps one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Britain, with superb stained glass windows and paintings - make a detour by turning right here towards Worcester and then right again after 200 yards. Open daily. The church adjoins the gutted ruins of Witley Court (13), once one of the finest country houses in England, a disastrous fire in 1937 caused serious damage and resulted in the house being abandoned. Since 1996 English Heritage, assisted by Heritage Lottery funding, has been restoring the parkland and its centrepiece, the magnificent Perseus and Andromeda Fountain that is fired regularly. A new visitor reception, car park and access road has been constructed. Open daily 1 April to 1 November and Wednesday to Sunday in winter.
The route now passes through the well wooded Abberley Hills dominated by a clock tower (14) built in 1884, and one of the major follies in Worcestershire. Beyond here there are more good views as the road drops down into the Teme Valley again.
After Stockton on Teme the road follows the valley floor to Newnham Bridge, which crosses the River Rea.
Turn right here along the A456 and follow this road to Clows Top (16) where there are superb views towards the Wyre Forest which has well laid out nature trails, picnic area and an excellent interpretation centre (17).
You can include this in your tour by continuing along the A456, then turning direct to Cleobury Mortimer along the A4117. A longer detour, but worth making, is into Bewdley (18), with its well preserved Georgian buildings fronting the River Severn. Well worth a visit here is the Museum in the Shambles designed to show the crafts and industries of the area. Open daily from March to November, there are also special demonstrations. The town is also one of the main stations on the steam-hauled Severn Valley Railway, and the home of the West Midlands Safari Park.
From Clows Top the leisure drive proper turns left along the B4202 to join the A4117 at the Mawley Oak (19), just turn to your right at the junction. This magnificent specimen underwent drastic surgery some years ago, but is still impressive. Just beyond here Mawley Hall (20) an early 18th century house can be visited by prior written appointment.
Cleobury Mortimer (21) is an attractive small town dominated by the Parish Church with its twisted spire and memorial window to William Langland, author of Piers Plowman, who is reputed to have been born here.
After Hopton Wafers the road climbs up Clee Hill (22) and offers superb views towards the Malvern Hills in the south and the Welsh Mountains in the west.
For even finer views carry on through Clee Hill along the A4117 towards Ludlow. After half a mile turn right up the road marked Dhustone and continue straight up virtually to the top of Titterstone Clee Hill, which is over 1500 ft. high. Here you can park and picnic in the remains of the old quarries (23). Follow the B4214 towards Tenbury Wells.
One mile to the west of Tenbury is Burford House and Gardens (24). A year round gardeners paradise - home of the National Collection of Clematis. Over 2,500 varieties of plants in gardens sweeping down to the River Teme. The House was built in 1726 on the site of Scrob's Castle and is open as a gallery for contemporary art. Open daily all year.
Contacts: Tourist Information Centres
Bromyard Heritage Centre 01885 482341
Lower Brockhampton 01885 488099
Elgar Birthplace Museum 01905 333224
Witley Court 01299 896636
Please note: locations (2) and (15) on the map are no longer open to the public.