Worcester Ancient Path 1: A missing link

Public Rights of Way make up a network of paths. It is very unusual for a right of way to stop without connecting to another public route. This is because they are imprints of where the public traveled between places. The below post demonstrates that evidence of a historic route can be inferred from a gap or missing connection between other marked routes.

The above image shows where a footpath should exist. Although there is no track to follow, there is a legal Public Right of Way (PRoW) crossing this land. The PRoW runs for roughly 250 meters before connecting with another Footpath that runs through the Madresfield Estate into the village of Madresfield. Worcestershire County Council have confirmed it is missing from the map.

The area is located outside of the village of Callow End on the B4424, or the Upton Road. It is north of Falconer’s farm. It’s route crosses West into the Madresfield Estate and joins up with another footpath that turns into a Bridleway and runs into the Madresfield Estate.

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This route was found using the Rambler’s Don’t Lose Your Way Mapping tool. It is apparent from the 1906 Ordnance Survey Map.

It is not, however, located on today’s OS maps, yet there are good reasons to believe that a PRoW should exist here.

First, the PRoW network is just that: a network. WAP 1 is an integral piece of this network. It’s a small leg of the most direct route from Madresfield to nearby Clevelode and the River Severn. A footpath leads off the opposite side of the road East towards Clevelode Farm and onto the River Severn, photographed below. You can also see this footpath on the 1884 OS Map above.

The connecting PRoW that connects Clevelode Farm The sign is clearly marked on the right of the path.

We can only infer, but it is likely that that WAP 1 was part of a broader route that connected Madresfield to the Pixham Ferry, one of the main crossing points for the River Severn for small cars, lorries, and horses. A Bridleway still connects Pixham Ferry to Clevelode, which then links to a byway towards WAP 1.

When viewed this way, it’s clear the absent WAP 1 is part of a much broader network. Without it, the walker must walk down the busy B 4424 towards Whiteacres Farm for another 100m, around a blind bend, to find another PRoW that takes them to Madresfield.

Work is underway to research, register and protect WAP 1 and its historical legacy.

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