Through this kissing gate turn left, then straight ahead towards the end of the field
where you will find an identical gate under some branches to go through.
This has to be a much nicer start to the walk than going down the road because of the elevated open views, without traffic. It’s a good place to start exploring. Don’t forget to look back towards West Malvern once through the gate by the tree, and that this section is where sheep graze. Country code. Of course.
I would like to reflect that although a public footpath has existed here for many
years, it has fairly recently become clearly identifiable and a pleasure to use.
The excellent kissing gate above has replaced a barely climbable, wobbly section
of the fence; the next one along was not much better. Robin Whittlestone has played
an important part in the relocation of this path. To read his notes hover pointer
over the button. Many thanks to all who made it happen.
There’re lots of public paths to use, but the first section alone is worth it. J M
The story of this footpath.
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Foreground: Last house in the road. Background: Runnings Park. The leaves had not started to come out when this shot was taken allowing us to see more of both foreground houses. I’m pretty sure the Worcester - Hereford boundary runs between r/h foreground house and its garage. Taken from point X - r/h picture.
West Malvern’s southern area - a view of W. M. from a different perspective. The two foreground houses (left) are the roadside view of the houses in the above picture, and are nearest to point X. You’re right - Croft Farm is top centre.
Quite obviously, and for good reason, visitors to West Malvern or the Malverns generally want to walk on the hills and take in the wonderful all-round views for which the hills are justly famous. West Malvern is a good starting off point for this as it is higher than Great Malvern. There is also the Brewers Arms near the Dingle car park!!
Having explored the hills, visitors might like to know that there are really nice walks to be enjoyed by walking down Croft Bank or the Quabbs, then following the pictorial start. This avoids having to walk down the narrow road.
The gate at point X (above right)
This gate is just a few steps further; then through the gate by the tree.
Walking down the road you’ll get here, where a Public Footpath crosses the road from the left or right. The left path is the same as reached via the kissing gates.
Looking back at the kissing gate - above left - and countryside.
Runnings Park Footpath - article by Robin Whittlestone
The ‘Runnings Park Path’ runs from the lower end of The Quabbs to Mathon path MA-38, part of the old Worcestershire Way route. It gives access to paths in Colwall, Cradley and Mathon, avoiding the narrow and busy lower section of Croft Bank. The new section in Herefordshire is now confirmed as Mathon Public Right of Way (PRoW) MA46.
The history of the path is interesting. The 1832 1” Ordnance Survey map shows the path as a clear track from the Quabbs path to Mathon Lodge, yet in the 1950s Mathon parish council did not claim it as a Public Right of Way (PRoW) when the county Definitive PRoW Map was drafted. The Worcestershire section, from The Quabbs path to the county boundary was claimed by Malvern Urban District Council, and confirmed as a Malvern PRoW 257A-476 (recently renumbered as West Malvern WM-632). In the 1970s, landscaping work on the upper lake area in Runnings Park grounds required the path to be diverted closer to the Croft Bank end of The Quabbs, just behind the houses. This diversion was confirmed, and, interestingly, a short added section of PRoW was created in Herefordshire to connect this new PRoW to the old route of the ‘non PRoW’ in Mathon. At this time an application was also made for the then Herefordshire and Worcestershire Council to make the whole path a PRoW. Some 70 users of the path confirmed unopposed use of the route for at least 20 years, some of the users going back to the early 1900s, though I understand that there was some confusion, with several routes being claimed. The application was however never considered, and soon after the two counties split, with the paperwork going to Herefordshire. The short diversion section was confirmed on the 1989 Herefordshire Definitive Map, but the section in the county was later removed without notification, leaving just a signpost, which, though faded, still remains in place. When I was asked by other regular path users to help claim the track as a PRoW, this fingerpost was a useful part of the supporting evidence, together with copies of some of the documentation from the 1970s and statements from a number of long term users. The path finally became Mathon PRoW MA46 in December 2011.
The original path of the 1970s had stiles along its length, though these had suffered with the passage of time, and had become difficult to use. Herefordshire (like Worcestershire) now prefers to replace stiles with gates if the ground is suitable, budgets permit and the landowner has no objection. They are easier for those with mobility problems to use. In early 2012 two kissing gates appeared at the SW end of the path and it appeared that that was all that would be done. However, the delay was caused by flooding in the county which necessitated the work party to divert to more urgent work, and it was some time later that the final gates were installed; creating a path that is a pleasure to use, and cuts off the hazardous road section which was the only previous legal route between The Quabbs and the MA38 and other Mathon paths.