The Geopark Way Long Distance Walking Trail

Meandering its way for 109 miles through the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark from Bridgnorth to Gloucester, the Geopark Way passes through stunning countryside as it explores 700 million years of geological history. The trail offers varied walking alongside rivers, through forests, along ridges and across valley floors; all with majestic views to match. Passing through an assortment of habitats there is a plethora of wildlife adding to the occasion. Quaint villages and towns dot the route bringing further elements of exploration and enchantment.

Starting in the town of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, the Geopark Way explores the Permian sandstone cliffs that separate Bridgnorth into a High and Low Town, both lying on the banks of, and overlooking the River Severn.

Travelling south from Bridgnorth the trail passes through the Wyre Forest Coalfield. Along with exposures of Carboniferous cyclothem lithologies the trail encounters evidence of the social and industrial impact that the availability of natural resources had on local communities. There is much to be seen highlighting the mining history of the area.

Leaving the coalfield the trail passes over a succession of Permo-Triassic sedimentary rocks and visits the Quaternary wind blown sands that cover the lower terrace of Hartlebury Common. This local nature reserve is celebrated not only for its geology, but as a lowland heath and as a common with a social history spanning at least 2000 years.

Next the trail veers westwards and crosses over the East Malvern Fault where the topography becomes more dramatic as the Silurian limestones and shales of the Abberley Hills come into view. Rock exposures, fossils, bentonites, quarries and abandoned lime kilns collectively tell a compelling story of this series of rocks.

Dropping down from the Abberley Hills the trail reaches the River Teme following its’ course through the dramatic Knighwick Gap, before heading to Alfrick and the spectacular Knapp and Papermill Nature Reserve.

Continuing south and travelling further back in time to the Precambrian the route encounters the Malvern Hills; an area still not geologically fully understood, or at least with theories of chronology still fuelling debate amongst geologists. The Geopark Way visits several sites on the hills to capture the essence of their geological history, peppering the science with tales of folklore and the Victorian Water Cure phenomenon that placed Malvern on the map – what better way to explain hydrogeology!

Leaving the Malvern Hills, the trail pasees the Malvern Hills GeoCentre and then explores the Silurian hills and valleys of the south west quarter of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty before sweeping back to the Malvern Hills ridge Line. Here the horizon changes as the Cotswold Hills come into full view. Into Gloucestershire the trail passes over the inlier of May Hill with its distinctive crown of Jubilee (Queen Victoria) trees, before entering into Huntley Quarry Geological Reserve to explore the fault and fold structures clearly seen on the quarry face.

The final leg of the trail leads you over the relatively flat plains of late Triassic and early Jurassic sediments, visiting sites to unveil the River Severn’s formational history, and perhaps view the Severn Bore, before arriving at its final destination of Gloucester Cathedral. This wonderful building constructed from oolitic limestone marks a fitting end to a traverse across 700 million years of Earth history.

To download a Geopark Way information leaflet click here

The Geopark Way Trail Guide

The rocks along the Geopark Way tell amazing stories of continental collision, of tropical seas, hot deserts, equatorial swamps and coastal lagoons and of vast ice sheets and polar deserts. But just as interesting are the building stones of churches, bridges, town halls, cottages and even a cathedral. These stories can be followed in the guidebook, across different parts of the four counties that make up the Geopark and they deliver a totally new perspective on long distance walking.

The Geopark Way trail guide conveniently splits the Geopark Way trail into 17 comfortable day walks. Each of these 17 sections describes and interprets the geological sites found along the trail. The geology is peppered with interesting facts about the area, along with comprehensive route directions. Each trail section within the guide is headed by a map detailing the route and sites of interest.

The geology and landscape encountered on the Geopark Way is described in a manner suitable for people with no previous knowledge of Earth Science. For those with an understanding of the subject, the Geopark Way is a great opportunity to further their discovery of the geological evolution of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark (well, 109 miles of it at least!).

Geology is best understood and appreciated from outside of four walls. All the same the there are a number of fundamental principles to get your heads around to fully appreciate the wonder of what you see along the trail, for example: geological time (we’re talking millions of years here). Such fundamental concepts are covered in the trail guides introduction. The guide also makes use of diagrams, annotated photos and line drawing to explain what is being seen. A concise glossary covers all terms used within the guide.

The guide, complete with a  Visitor Guide costs £9.95.

Alternativeley the guide is available to purchase with a special edition Geopark geology map. The package costs £15.00

The  guide is available direct from the publishers, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust:

Tel: 01905 855184 or order online.

The Geopark Way trail guide is also available to purchase at numerous locations in the Geopark including the Malvern Hills GeoCentre, Cob House, Tourist Information Centres, bookshops and museums.

The Geopark Way is listed by Book Data and may be ordered through any high street bookseller. ISBN: 978-0-9558390-0-9

Geopark Way Visitors Guide

Geopark Way 20 page Visitor Guide

Geopark Way 20 page Visitor Guide

It is possible to combine a walk on the Geopark Way with a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, with the use of bus and train connections, with visitor centres packed with interest and with top quality bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation. Thus the Geopark Way trail guide comes with a slim supplementary booklet that details useful information on public transport routes, tourist amenities and attractions, further geological walks and countryside sites within the Geopark along with other information to add to a fantastic Geopark Way experience.

Click here to download a Visitor Guide.

For tourist information in the districts through which the Geopark Way passes, please follow the links below.

Footpath closures along the Geopark Way

Below is a list of temporary footpath closures along the trail.  Please do not take this as an exhaustive list, there may be others that we not yet aware of.

23/02/2014: Section 7 of the Geopark Way between trail point 32 and Kingswood Lane. Path 671 Kingswood. An alternative route, which avoids the river side path, is shown on notices found on the footpath at either end of the diversion.  This footpath will be closed for a minimum of 21 days.

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