Coughton Court and the Spernal Estate
Get walking in the Heart of England Forest
Discover the Heart of England Forest at Spernal with this lovely walk from the National Trust’s Coughton Court
Distance: 6 miles
Start / finish: Welcome Centre, Coughton Court B49 5JA
Terrain: Uneven sections and field paths may be marshy after wet weather.
- Walk through the car park and across the bridge. Turn right and take the wide gate. Bear left across the field and through a metal gate signing the Arden Way. With the hedge on your left, walk to the corner of the field, then turn right and take the metal gate. Continue diagonally across the field to another metal gate.
- Follow the path along the River Arrow. Cross the river over a footbridge and walk down to the former church of St Leonard’s Spernal. Take the track to a road. Turn right, then through two kissing gates on the left. Follow the path uphill and through plantations of new trees, with a view of Studley Castle on the left. Continue to a lane with St Giles Farm on the left.
- Go through a wooden kissing gate, along the edge of the farm garden and through a gate into a field. At the far side of the field, take the farm gate and follow the path to the right. Continue to a road.
- Cross the road and take the footpath opposite. Go left at a clump of trees, through a gate and over a footbridge. Follow the path around the edge of Spernal Park. Where the track turns left at the old trees, look for a path on the right, down to a hidden kissing gate. Take the steps down to the road.
- At the road, turn left and at the farm gate on the left, turn sharp right through a gate into a field. Turn left to follow the field edge. As you enter the wood, bear left and then right to emerge into a newly planted field. Keep the hedge on your right and walk to a gate leading to an enclosed path and a track.
- Turn right along the track, following it downhill to a lane, and turn right. Follow the lane to a T-junction. Turn right along the road, then take the footpath on the left. This is the Arden Way: follow it back to Coughton Fields Lane. Turn right along the lane, taking the footbridge over the river. Turn right along the drive back to Coughton Court.
LOOK OUT FOR…
TOMORROW’S WOODLAND – This walk takes you through the Heart of England Forest and you’ll see acres of saplings nurtured inside their protective tubes as the new native forest starts to grow.
TREE SPOT: HAZEL COPPICING – Look out for hazel coppicing in the older woodland – an ancient tradition of cutting the trees back to the base of the trunk to encourage variety to the height, age and diversity. A single hazel can live for about 60 years, but a coppiced one can live up to 500.
STUDLEY CASTLE – This impressive 19th-century manor house has never actually been a castle… but the site of the medieval castle at Studley is nearby.