A pilgrimage – date – retreat – marathon all in one – the delight of walking with the one you love. Creating a bubble in time, cutting through the busy, creating a thin place to reach heaven.
To spring clean the soul takes intention.
Hope you enjoy our iPhone pics and a few musings from along the way.
The familiarity of Bewdley and the River Severn sent us on our way. The weather forecast was unusually spot on as the morning rain pelted on us as we made our way along the ‘coffins way’ to St. Anne’s church. We visited the church and dedicated ourselves, family, community and our walk to God.
The Way led us through farms and fields for miles as we left the pounding machine of life to a new rhythm, a rhythm of peace. Paths that told an ancient story. Stories I remembered from my childhood ringing loud as the fields I walked were the fields Great Uncle Cyril had worked, ploughed and dug deep… in (only) his boots and hat.
Onto the ancient woodlands of Oak and Ash, steep walks and the Abberley ridge. We were encouraged to trust the Way. It is easy to feel unsure how far you’ve gone at times and wonder whether you have missed a turning along the tunnel of trees, but we trust.
We reached the Manor Arms Hotel for lunch, to find they had stopped serving food. After a cup of English breakfast tea, a few olives and some pecans we were on way towards the Woodbury Quarry. Rolling wooded hills that held majesty and mysteries with views to the Welsh Mountains beyond.
At the top of the steep slope of Wasgrove Hill a strategic bench offered us a place to sit and enjoy the view.
Where we recognised the change of our inner landscape, realizing the new that must come this spring, seeing the future and what must change.
Woodbury Quarry to Kingswood Common was our next leg, it was here we found ourselves in the shadow of an Iron Age fort, the markers had disappeared and I sank ankle deep in mud. A few miles of confusion led us back the right path as we walked through the blue hour alongside the River Teme.
Onto our hotel for the evening, the Admiral Rodney, where an open fire and the jumboist, fishiest, jumbo fish ‘n’ chips and the familiar Martley accent welcomed us.
‘Would you like a Full English breakfast this morning travellers’? asked the landlady.
‘Naturally’ we replied. We were the last guests of the landlady of the pub as she was moving onto a new life.
Our first leg of the day took us to Knightwick. The fields and openness of our first day changed as we walked trails and coppices. Focus flowed as the steps grew.
Ankerdine hill and the River Teme led us through. The walk took on different processes as we dreamed, prayed and mind-surfed. Our next leg was Knightwick to Longley Green, passing through one of the most varied landscapes in Worcestershire. We enjoyed the closeness of lambs cheering us on as we walked. The rustle of the undergrowth following our steps. Bumblebees revving like Harley’s around our ears.
Our destination slowly drew us and grew larger each step.
A short detour through a pheasant filled forest led us on the track towards Longley Green, here the Nelson Arms and its new owners offered us lunch and the recommended pint of Worcestershire Way.
The next leg took us through orchards to Cowleigh Park. The Beauchamp fountain greeted us, as the fountain’s spring still flows from the pale turquoise tiles. It was here our path started to climb towards the Malverns.
We are now 29 miles in and the climb began – starting with 109 slightly torturous steps nestled between two cottages.
Then… the ascent to the highest point of the Malvern Hills.
The hills we had aimed for, we now stood on. Blue skies and sunshine helped us see where we had come from, the Severn plain with its vast patchwork, the Vale of Evesham, the vales of the Cotswold’s and the Lickey Hills.
We completed the walk – happy that we still like each other even when the Way is boring, when we find ourselves lost in shadows and even stuck in mud. Happy that we find vision, clarity and purpose together. We ended with a great sense of achievement, and lighter, as we had cast off cares that had weighed us down, hindered us.
And as we walked – the season changed, and we declared it so.
Happy Spring friends.
Love, Phil & Michelle.
‘See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms it’s early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.’ Song of Solomon 2:11.