Local Walks around Hanley Swan

Local Walks around Hanley Swan

Many guests who visit Orchard Side Bed and Breakfast come to enjoy and explore the beautiful Malvern Hills and the surrounding area. There is so much to see and places to visit around Malvern, but sometimes, it’s nice to leave the car behind and simply get out into the countryside and experience the local area.

From Orchard Side Bed and Breakfast you will find some lovely country walks that take you across fields, through villages and even one that takes you through the impressive Tyre Hill Racing Stables and the Swan Inn is open all day, so it’s a perfect location for a spot of lunch or an afternoon cuppa.

Thanks to an active Parish Council the public paths are well signposted and maintained so there are plenty of options for short or longer walks just turning left or right out of Orchard Side Bed and Breakfast and the self-catering Annex.

On arrival at Orchard Side, you will be offered a helpful map of the Malvern Hills to help you plan your walks. Gigi knows the area like the back of her hand, so she will help you get the very best from your time here.

You will also find copies of a small booklet written by villager Margorie Nelson that offers some interesting walks around the Hanleys and Gigi has also put together information for some local walks, so be sure to ask when you arrive or check out the information located in the hallway.

If you are visiting the Annex and bringing your dog, then you will find some great walks for you all to enjoy and you will wish you were staying longer.

There is also a lovely dog-friendly nature reserve in the next village of Welland. St Wulstans nature reserve is a 7-minute drive that offers a very safe environment for your dog and a good option if the weather is a bit inclement.

Many of the local walks from Orchard Side Bed and Breakfast are easy to follow and range from 1.5 to 4.5 miles. Some of the walks follow paths that are marked with yellow discs with TROT written on them. These walks are part of the Toll Rides (Off-road) Trust set up in 1990. This charity was formed due to concern over the amount of traffic on the roads for horse riders so landowners gave permission for horse riders to use specific routes to ride across their land.

The Hanleys is made up of Hanley Swan and Hanley Castle and offers easy varied walks across arable and pasture-land with the opportunity to walk across brooks and around lakes. All the paths within the Parish are Waymarked for guidance: yellow arrows for footpaths and blue arrows for bridle-ways. If you want to explore further afield a good map to buy is the OS Explorer Malvern Hills and Breden Hill 190, which you can purchase at the Map Shop in the next village, Upton Upon Severn.

Gigi has tracked some of the walks which you can review below and when you arrive at Orchard Side she will have copies available to help you enjoy your walks or click on the image and download the map now.

Walks from Orchard Side Bed and Breakfast in Hanley Swan

History notes for the Hanleys

The Hanleys was at one time at the heart of Malvern Chase, had a Castle, medieval pottery and was an area visited by Royalty.

In 1213, King John ordered a castle to be built so he could stay there. John’s son Henry III then gave the castle to Gilbert De Clare, who became the Earl of Gloucester or the Red Earl as he was sometimes known. He was the benefactor of the two Malvern priories and married Joan d’Arce and Upton, Hanley Castle and the Chase formed part of her dowry. The castle was held for about a century by the Earl of Gloucester’s family but damaged in 1231 following fighting between various Baronial parties. The Castle was deemed an important building which later became a hunting lodge. Today all that remains is the site mound and traces of the moat. In the booklet ‘Walks in the Hanleys’ walk number 6 will take you past the site. You will find copies of the booklet in the village shop or you can borrow a copy from Orchard Side Bed and Breakfast when you stay.

Blackmore House was the former site of a Tudor mansion owned by the Hornyold family, the largest landowners in the area and the family still live and own the house today. The mansion was badly damaged in 1880 by a fire and rebuild in the 1920’s, and escaped being pulled down by the Duke, following the death of his only son in infancy.

You can read more about this history of the Hornyold family and Blackmore house here

Blackmore Park Mansion 1870

The Magnificent Oak Tree on Hanley Swan village Green

Planted in March 1863 to commemorate the marriage of the Prince of Wales, future Edward VII, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark it remains a puzzle as to why it is so large. One theory comes from a story handed down from generation to generation that the young sapling took a long time to ‘get going’ and appeared to be stunted. One day a travelling circus stayed on the green and the tale suggests that an elephant while being exercised leaned over the railings and bit out the top of the young tree. The result, villagers have maintained ever since was that the tree then grew into the magnificent, perfectly shaped tree we see today.

The Hanley Swan oak tree was recorded on the Woodland Trust’s ancient tree inventory in 2009 as having a girth of 4.75 m and today that has increased to 4.95 m. So the mystery, based on tree growth websites saying in ideal conditions the girth of a common oak should grow by no more than 2.5 cm a year, our tree would be doing well to have reached a 4 m girth! This is assuming the tree planted over 162 years ago was around 5 years old when planted in 1863.

But this beautiful oak tree is no common oak, it’s a sessile, which has stalkless (sessile) acorns, and the Woodland Trust does not have records to compare the growth rates of different types of oak. There are in fact 4 other veteran (150 – 300 years old) sessile oak trees in the Parish but the Hanley tree is the only one with a known planting date. To reach 4.95 m it has grown on average more than 3 cm a year, so either all sessile oak trees grow at this fast rate or our tree, with the help of an elephant has achieved its exceptional girth!

hanley swan oak tree in snow
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