Walk the week: Bredon Hill, south Worcestershire

On the summit of Bredon Hill in south Worcestershire stands a stone elephant known as the Bambury Stone (or Banbury Stones). It is on a ley or spirit path marking sunrise and sunset at the equinoxes.

On the summit of Bredon Hill in south Worcestershire stands a stone elephant known as the Bambury Stone (or Banbury Stones). It is on a ley or spirit path marking sunrise and sunset at the equinoxes.

Come here at dawn or dusk in late March or September and you will witness the alignment with British Camp on the Malvern Hills to the west and Saintbury Cross, Dover's Hill and Castle Hill just north of Brailes Hill and, most significantly, Banbury Cross in the east. Banbury, or Bambury, is a corruption of Ambury or Amberstone, meaning "sacred to the sun". The sun is a central figure in Banbury's coat of arms and the town's motto is " Dominus nobis sol et scutum (The Lord is our sun and shield)".

Near to the stone elephant on Bredon Hill stands Parsons Folly. A Mr Parsons of Kemerton built this to be exactly 39ft high so that the height of this magical hill could be counted as 1,000 feet, rather than 961 feet. It is certainly worth the strenuous climb.

Start this six-mile ramble from Bredon's Norton (grid ref. S0930390 on Ordnance Survey Explorer 190). More detailed instructions are in walk 9a of David Hunter's book Walking in Worcestershire. Pass St Giles Church on your left and leave the road to take the signed bridleway for Bredon Hill, passing the manor house on your left. Follow waymarked paths to a viewpoint above an old quarry. Pass through pasture before the woodland of The Warren.

Enter the Iron Age hillfort and admire the views from Parson's Folly. Spot the churches below and call to mind the words of A E Houseman:

"In the summertime on Bredon

the bells they sound so clear"

Continue with a wall on your left, heading for a clump of pines. Swing right to walk with the Cotswolds away to your left. Go right to Sundial Farm. Bear left after a barn, pass a large ash tree and continue just inside a small plantation.

Descend to a metalled lane. Go right and climb to pass Aldwick wood and retrace your steps to Bredon's Norton. Such is the magnetism of Bredon Hill that it is sure to call you here again.

A detailed description of this walk is in 'Walking in Worcestershire' by David Hunter (Cicerone Press, £9.99).

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