A Daffodil Walk: Newent to Dymock

Growing daffodils for urban markets was big business in the 19th century, especially in the Golden Triangle, an area between Newent, Kempley, and Dymock. Every year the villages of Dymock, Kempley and Oxenhall celebrate this heritage. After all, the daffodil is one of the harbingers of Spring alongside lesser celandine. Wordsworth curiously thought that the latter was the prettier of the two. 

In terms of wildlife diversity the small wild daffodil, identified by its narrow green leaves, six pale yellow petals and a deeper yellow trumpet, is now a rarity. Fortunately, at this time of year, you’ll come across both cultivated and wild daffs on this walk which follows the old canal to Oxenhall, and picks up the Daffodil Way at Four Oaks for the last part of the walk. It finishes at Dymock, an easy 5.5 mile walk which includes field paths with a small number of stiles, back lanes and woodland tracks. Some sections can be very muddy after rain so boots or wellies make sense. There are a few inclines, but no hills of note.

1. From the Lake Park bus stop at Newent, go back to the High Street and then right to reach the main road. Turn right at the crossroads so as to cross at the pedestrian crossing. At the other side go left and immediately right to head down to the Fire Station where you cross over into Old Station Road. In about100 yards cut right up steps into woodland where you’ll see the platforms of the old Newent railway station. Follow the path (white and green waymarks) as it dips left and runs near to the Ell Brook which at one time powered four local mills. You then rise up and ahead across open ground, rich with wild flowers in summer, a lovely spot looked after by the Ell Brook Community Project. 

2. The path bears slightly right over what was once an aqueduct and rises alongside the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire canal, past the locks and House Lock cottage. It then runs along a track to meet a lane. Go left here to walk up to a junction with Oxenhall Church on the left, dating from the late 12th century, but fully restored in the 1860s. On the right you’ll see the old Vicar’s school dating from 1842 and now the parish hall. 

3. At the road junction go left down a sandstone cutting, but as the lane bears left go right into a narrow winding lane which soon crosses the old daffodil railway line and passes near to the old earthworks of a small colliery. The road begins to rise with an orchard on the left festooned with daffodils. However, look for a footpath post on the right where you enter the pasture, now on the Three Choirs Way. Keep ahead with a hedge and stream to the right; ignore the path leading off right through a gate and continue to a stile ahead. Once over climb up alongside a hedge to your left and at the top of the field go over a stile into the next field. Head slightly right, through a kissing gate and ahead through another in the next boundary. Rise up the field to pass a cottage on the left to a stile onto a track and up to a lane.

4. Go right for about 100 yards to reach a turning on the left, the entry point into Greenaway’s wood. However, be sure to note the two best examples of wild daffodil meadows in the area managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Gwen and Vera’s fields. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest.  Follow the wide and usually muddy path that winds through the wood to a footbridge then ahead up the bank to Betty Dawe’s wood. Enter by way of a kissing gate and turn right within a few yards at the junction. The path winds right then left to the top right corner of the wood and left to another junction where you go right to exit through a gate to a road.

5. Turn right and look for a footpath sign marked the Daffodil Way on the left in about 150 yards. The path leads down a narrow pasture, at one time the route of the old railway and site of Four Oaks halt, to a short underpass beneath the M50. Once through, turn right to follow the field’s edge, through a gate into the next field and down to a corner where you go left to reach the top right corner of the field. Go through a kissing gate, cross a track and through another gate. Keep ahead to cross over a stile and then another to a track, with Timber Hall farm on the right.

6. Follow the track to a gate leading into woodland with a view of Boyce Court on the left, a 17th century estate house. The track leads to a gate hung on fine old pillars at a junction. Turn right here over the decaying canal bridge and left through a kissing gate to descend to the towpath alongside the old canal. Once over the footbridge keep ahead near to the right hand field boundary and through a kissing gate into the next field where the path follows the hedge around to a gap in a mid-field point. Go right here through a small field to a grassy path which exits very conveniently opposite the Beauchamp Arms. If time permits a visit to Dymock Church is strongly advised.  

  1. Factfile

Map

Explorer OL 14 Wye Valley & Forest of Dean and a small section on Explorer 189 Hereford & Ross-on-Wye

Travel to Newent from Ledbury, and Ross-on-Wye on the 232 Daffodil Line

Check https://daffodilline.co.uk 

Or from Gloucester on the Stagecoach 32 check bustimes.org

This is a linear walk, so you’ll need to catch the bus back to your starting point. The bus back from Dymock to Ledbury leaves from across the road from the green. The bus stop for Newent and Ross is by the bus stop pole on the village green.

Refreshment

Beauchamp Arms, Dymock see www.thebeauchamparms.co.uk

Or phone 01531 590005 for opening times (closed Mondays)

Tea and cake available at St Mary’s church Dymock throughout March

Information

Thanks go to the following groups…take a look at their websites:

Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Canal Trust see https://h-g-canal.org.uk

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust see https://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk

The Daffodil Way see https://Windcrosspaths.org.uk

Authors

2 thoughts on “A Daffodil Walk: Newent to Dymock”

  1. Note to Les and Martyn – and the publisher Daffodil Line

    please may I suggest there are more stories along this subject of the Golden Triangle and sustainability in the present climate emergency and Nature Crisi. I am Chris Bligh , Progarmme Director fo the 600 strong subscribers to Dymock Forest Rural Action database..

    March 2024 is a crucial date, and the conservation successes now need to be rolled out in all the parishes of your excellent bus service – the Golden Triangle. particularly the conservation success of the Wild Daffodil Project since 2005 – an idea of our work is on a website http://www.dyfra.org and the full newsletter archive is available to subscribe to on dyfradaffs@gn.apc.org – for which I will need your emails please. The database members (subscribers) are mostly working conservationists, climate change activists, natural history and policy makers that for a lobby on behalf of Forest of Dean District Council. Dymock ward is the key bioidiversity action campaign for the Forest, and thus in the counties of Hereford and Gloucester we are the Umbrella network .

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