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|Staffs Railway Trail|
|Author: sammy_benbow, Published: 12 May 2014||Walk rating : Rating:|
|West Midlands, Dudley|
|A 5 mile circular walk that takes you from Himley Hall & Park, through Baggeridge Woods, along the Wom Brook in Wombourne then follows the path of the dismantled South Staffs Railway line back to Himley. This trail encompasses woodland, fields, a small brook and then managed woodland walks. There are several points of interest along the route, including Himley Hall and the adjacent St Michael and All Angels church. |
For the most part, the route follows a footpath. However, there are several stiles and some steps and a section of the trail goes through an arable field. The gradients are mainly shallow. There is a busy road crossing and also several hundred yards of track alongside a busy road at the end of the trail.
There are toilets available in the park. These are not disabled, however there are disabled toilets available within Himley Hall. Be aware that opening times for the Hall vary. Pay and Display parking is available at Himley Hall & Park, £1.10 for up to 2 hours and £1.60 for over 2 hours (correct as of May 2014). Parking is open from 7AM until dusk, all year round. There is also a café at the nearby Golf Centre.
Himley Hall and Park is 4 miles from Dudley town centre on the B4176 and approximately 6 miles from Wolverhampton off the A449. The 256 Wolverhampton - Stourbridge bus route runs quite nearby along the A449, see nxbus.co.uk for a timetable.
|Start to Wishing Pool Turn|
Start point: 52.5215 lat, -2.1642 long
Head NNE from the car park towards the bridge. Follow the path to your right with the stream on your left. Walk 450m along the tarmac footpath, then go through the green kissing gate by the trees. In front of you is Lower Wishing Pool. There is also a nature board detailing the types of flora and fauna that can be seen here. Follow the path to the right as it skirts around the edge of the pool. There are generally several species of duck on the pool, which people often feed. Through the trees to your right you will see Himley Golf Club. Follow the path past Upper Wishing Pool, which will be on your left. You will also see the Cress Beds on your right, with a nature board. At the first split, take the right hand path slightly uphill of the life buoy, then keep straight on the left hand path signposted "Car Park". After 60 metres, the path turns a sharp left. There is a small waterfall between Spring Pool and Upper Wishing Pool and a bridge. Cross the bridge, go up the steps and through the gate. This fence is the boundary between Himley and Baggeridge and you are now entering Baggeridge Woods.
|Wishing Pool Turn to Wombourne Turn|
Start point: 52.5291 lat, -2.1569 long
After going through the gap in the fence/crossing the stile, the path rises slightly uphill into Baggeridge Woods. The path goes through woodland for the first 450m, along a muddy path, before opening slightly with fields to the right for the following 500m. 50m before the end of the path, a view of Baggeridge Brick Works tower can be seen across the field to the right. Continue on, and soon you will see a field to the left and a path that takes a sharp right. There is a way marker, but it is quite short and may not be easily visible. Turn left here.
|Wombourne Turn to Wom Brook|
Start point: 52.5356 lat, -2.1628 long
Head across the field for 90m then into the woodland. While following the path you will go through a large wall. Just beyond this, to the right of the path, is a derelict cottage. Little is known about the provenance of this cottage. Continue on and you will soon come to a stile. Cross this and head out across the field, following the Hawthorne hedge. After 550m, go through the metal gate onto a footpath. Mobile phone signals will be strong here, due to the phone masts in the field. After a further 200m, go through the metal kissing gate and you will find yourself on the A449. This is a very busy dual carriageway, cross with care via the stile in the central reservation.
|Wom Brook to South Staffs Railway|
Start point: 52.533 lat, -2.1853 long
Turn right, then after 30m cross Gravel Hill. Go through the wall, by the bench, then turn left. Go over the green bridge, then follow the path to the right. There is a nature board here, titled "Wom Brook Walk, Village West Section", that details the local plant and animal life. The footpath follows the course of the pretty Wom Brook for 400m. The brook disappears into a culvert, but the path continues left, uphill slightly, onto the course of the South Staffs Railway.
|South Staffs Railway to Himley Plantation|
Start point: 52.5319 lat, -2.1922 long
After joining the dismantled railway line, turn left and follow the footpath for 1200m. The path goes under five bridges and avoids the main roads, eventually meeting Himley Plantation.
|Himley Plantation to St Michael And All Angels Church|
Start point: 52.5225 lat, -2.192 long
The path continues on along the railway for another 1600m, crossing over several bridges. The trees along this path are managed woodland. During the latter part of the trail, there are many Corsican pine trees visible to the side of the path. These were planted by the Earl of Dudley to hide the railway from view, at his residence at Himley Hall. At the bridge over the A449, there is a flight of steps leading down to the left. Follow these down, turn left to the road, then right along the A449. Head to the traffic lights 300m away. The 256 bus stops along here. Cross the road here, noting that there is no pedestrian crossing and that this is a busy junction. Turn right along the B4176 towards Dudley. After 50m, you will see the entrance to St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church. This has been a Grade II listed building since June 1963.
|St Michael And All Angels Church to Himley Hall|
Start point: 52.5174 lat, -2.1737 long
Continue walking along the road towards Himley Hall, for 750m. At the entrance, turn left and follow the drive back to the car parks.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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