During the Summer months Stratford Ramblers Group take the opportunity to visit areas of the Midlands which are beyond the usual boundaries available for the weekly walks. On the 1st Wednesday in May the destination was the Wyre Forest with a finish at Bewdley. As the group of 40 members left Bearley it was clear that Summer had arrived. Lighter clothing was the order of the day and waterproof jackets were left on the coach. The first drop off point was at Button Oak at a point where the recently created long distance walk styled GeoPark Way crosses the road. The path followed through typical Worcestershire farmland until reaching the boundary of the forest. This provided some shade as the path dropped steadily down to Dowles Brook followed inevitably by a steady climb on to the higher ground and access to the Forestry Commission Visitor Centre. A smaller group had been dropped off at this point earlier in the day and had enjoyed a leisurely coffee break before starting to walk. The guided walk leaflet gave details of a route through the forest climbing gently to reach a disused railway line. This led to a riverside path and on to the delightful town of Bewdley.
Both walking parties commented on the extent of the wildlife in the woodland but it felt slightly strange to be in heavily forested areas without very much sign of bluebells. That was something of a disappointment. On the other hand the very active ants` nest which was seen alongside the path was a source of wonder. Bewdley is known as a well preserved Georgian town and it lived up to the billing. There was ample opportunity for refreshment at various stopping points along the river and members were happy to sit in the sun and watch the world go by. The town has a selection of historic buildings, a fine riverside location, attractive public gardens, a wide choice of refreshment provision and well maintained public lavatories free to use. It also has a traffic problem. Sound familiar?