Hill Top aptly describes the starting point of this 4-mile walk through to Gorsley, and a fine walk it is. It captures a range of landscapes from parkland, orchards and pastures as well as amazing views across to May Hill, the Malverns and Black Mountains. There are also a number of fascinating features such as the fine sculptures at Hartleton Water, truly magnificent yews lining the path to Linton Church and apple orchards throughout. It ends at Gorsley opposite Goff’s School, near to the Roadmaker Inn where there are bus stops and seats to rest awhile.
1. This is a linear walk between two points and the start is at the bus stop and shelter at the roadside at Hill Top if you have travelled from Ross. Buses from the other direction stop on the opposite side of the road where there’s just a green verge. With your back to the shelter, cross the road with care and turn left to walk along the roadside facing the traffic to reach a junction about 200 yards away. Go right here down a quiet lane signposted to Linton and Bromsash. The road descends past a wood and a few houses, then it bends right and left. At this point look out for a track off to the right by a large oak tree and orchard on the left of the track. That’s your way.
2. Follow the track down to a gate leading into a field where there are superb views across to Garway Hill, the Skirrid and Black Mountains. Keep ahead alongside a hedge on the left but do not go through the kissing gate at the bottom, instead turn right to walk along the field edge where you’ll find a range of wild flowers including Common Centaury and St John’s Wort. Keep left through a gate and the path narrows between tall hedgerows down to an underpass beneath the M50. Go left through it to reach Hartleton Water, one of two lakes constructed for recreational purposes.
3. Keep ahead between the lakes and then turn left at the junction to wander along the road with the lake to your left. You’ll pass by several metal sculptures, the work of the acclaimed artist Walenty Pytel working from his nearby studio. Follow the road to join a lane where you turn left by the old Lodge to descend to a group of houses. As the road bends left, go right over a stile into a field to join the Platinum Jubilee Walk. Keep left to climb a hillock with a stream to your left. Continue ahead until you reach dishevelled stone steps up to a stile. Go over it and keep left in the next pasture, a bit of a scramble at first, but still keeping parallel to the stream below as you rise up to a stile by a gate. The path continues ahead through wet ground to a drive and onto a road. Turn right to walk up the road to the Alma Inn at Linton, a welcoming pub which has won many awards over the years. Its unusual name refers to the Battle of the River Alma fought in the Crimean War.
4. Continue up the lane to walk up stone steps into the churchyard and be sure to stand back to admire the ancient yew trees; one is thought to be over 1500 years old. Take a look at the Norman church which contains many monuments noted by Pevsner, the famous architectural historian. The path curves to the right of the church and then runs along the back wall of the village hall to a road. Before the junction cut left down steps through woodland, right at the junction, then across another footpath down a gap by an old water tank to enter an orchard. Head diagonally between the trees; there are waymarks to guide you to the far edge. Go left for a few steps and then right over a stile into a field. Head slightly left across to the hedge and then ahead to a field gate leading into a lane where you turn left to walk to the turning for Great Woodend Farm.
5. Go left here as signposted, but be sure to cut right within a 50 yards into an orchard. Turn left to walk up to the top and then right to follow the hedge on your left for the entire length of the orchard to a narrow path which leads to a lane at Gorsley Common. Cross over and squeeze by a dwelling on a link path to another lane.
6. Turn left here to walk through the scattered settlement of Gorsley, the name referring to the abundance of gorse in the area at one time. Pass by the sizeable Baptist Chapel dating from 1852, a fine looking building which has been much restored in decades past. Just beyond is a village shop and a café on your right. If not calling in, continue until you reach the main road where you’ll see the Roadmaker Inn on the right and bus stop to the left or across the road by the school turn.
Explorer OL14 Wye Valley & Forest of Dean
Travel to Hill Top from Ledbury, Newent and Ross-on-Wye
Check Traveline:www.traveline.info or Buses4Us.org for timetable. Allow two hours for the walk and extra if you stop off for refreshment.
The Alma Inn at Linton has a great reputation as a homely pub, for its cask beers and good food…see www.almainnlinton.co.uk or phone 01989 720355. Closed Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes
The Roadmaker is widely known for its Nepalese dishes, especially traditional Gurkha cuisine see www.theroadmakerinn.co.uk or phone 01989 720352. Closed Monday lunchtimes
The Orchard café is open Tuesdays to Saturdays until late afternoon.