Coughton

Circular Walk 23  (6.75 Miles)

Walk Overview

This delightful circular walk starts from The Throckmorton pub, near Coughton Court a well known National Trust property. If you are parking at the pub, please use it afterwards. If not, park on Coughton Fields Lane 500 yards into the walk. This is our longest circular without a single stile and takes you across gently undulating countryside. Sections D and E give you a flavour of The Millennium Way, which has our distinctive black and white waymarkers.

Walk Details

  • Start: The Throckmorton pub, Coughton B49 5HX
  • Start Grid Ref: SP049 608
  • Parking: The Throckmorton car park or by Coughton Court
  • Refreshments:
    • The Throckmorton (01789 766366)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 220 or OS Landranger 150
  • Distance: 6¾ miles
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Stiles: None
  • Download: Walk GPS (GPS Exchange Format, GPX)
  • GPS and GPX explained
  • Find a mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Updated January 2024

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Walk Instructions

Section A

Turn right out of "The Throckmorton" pub car park and carefully cross the very busy A435. Walk for 400 yards, joining the Millennium Way which comes in from the left by a cottage. Pass the car entrance to Coughton Court, then see the fine view of Coughton Court on your left, to reach the crossroads a few yards past the pedestrian crossing (where the Millennium Way leaves us!). Turn left down Coughton Fields Lane to pass the coach entrance to Coughton Court and Throckmorton Catholic Church on left after 250 yards.

Coughton Court has been the home of the Throckmorton family since 1409. It holds a unique place in English history with its close connections to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. See our Points of Interest below.

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Coughton Court

Continue along the lane to bear right and cross the ford via the footbridge. Once over the footbridge cross directly over the road and take the wide track opposite, past the "farm access no parking" sign. You are now on The Arden Way. Continue ahead on this wide track for well over a mile. The track rises gently towards a converted barn (Windmill Barn) on your left. Ignore track to barn and stay ahead on the main gravel track with hedge right to continue gently uphill. Keep ahead along gravel track until you reach the road.

Section B

Turn right at road and after 50 paces turn left down the lane signposted Shelfield Green. Continue along lane for nearly half a mile and at sharp right hand bend take the footpath left to Mutton Farm, through metal gate (signed Bridleway and Heart of England Way). The track rises gently to pass the southern tip of Alne Wood on your left. Near the top of the track ignore footpath left and keep ahead to pass in front of the renovated Mutton Barn. Go through gated gap immediately ahead to join bridleway keeping close to hedge right and pass under power lines. Bear slightly right through gated gap to enter woodland path, then follow the Heart of England Way to continue down woodland track, which can be muddy. Emerging from the woodland, stay ahead on path with woodland on left. When you reach a solitary way post, (damaged & lying on ground)  go 20 paces further then take metal kissing gate left signed Arden Way and Heart of England Way. Entering the large field go diagonally half left towards top left hand corner near dwellings and exit via metal kissing gate to lane. Here we leave the Heart of England Way and go left.

Section C

Continue past a thatched cottage right, called The Cote. Walk a further 230 yards downhill and keep a lookout for a partially hidden footpath on right (no waypost). Go  up damaged steps and through gap with crude metal barrier into field, then turn diagonally half left to walk across field corner and over brow to reach a waymarked metal kissing gate. ( Note: if this diagonal footpath is heavily cropped, just go left with wire fence parallel with road to reach corner of field. Ignore gate to road at corner and stay in same field, turning right and go with hedge left to find the metal kissing gate.) Go through the waymarked kissing gate and then ahead towards wood. Go through another metal kissing gate ahead and over small footbridge maintaining line ahead on central path towards edge of wood to find waypost and then track. Follow track round to the right keeping wood right and continue to reach a gap where gate has been removed. Go through the gap then diagonally slightly left across field (waymark arrow points too far left) keeping the young plantation on your right. As you get closer to the hedge, just ahead of you,  stay along with hedge left to take hidden footbridge in steep dip (be careful here) and metal gate left. Continue ahead with wood left and on reaching road cross over, taking footpath directly ahead, to cross small stone footbridge over stream then continue through what is sometimes extremely muddy scrubland and under power lines. Continue to far left corner to cross a wooden ditch bridge and take the metal gate into field.

Section D

Here we join the Millennium Way and you will be guided from here by our distinctive black and white waymarkers. Having gone through the gate go slightly left keeping hedge left continuing under power lines to exit by wooden gate. Go ahead into garden of house and stay ahead with hedge left and pond right to exit garden by gate just to the left of main entrance gate. Emerge from this gate at a junction of several tracks. With your back to the gate, go ahead veering very slightly right to go up the steepest & narrowest of the grassy tracks keeping tall hedge with oak trees on your right and young plantation left. Continue up with hedge right, ignoring two wide gaps right, to narrow corner gap at top of field. Take gap and go forward uphill for 40 paces when you will see twin electricity poles in mid field ahead. Continue to summit passing just to the right of these twin poles and stay forward to take gate in corner near two large trees. Go ahead with wire fence right to walk downhill and take metal gate ahead. Continue downhill with hedge right to take another metal gate then follow down between wooden fence and hedge passing to rear of cottages. This very narrow path is often quite overgrown and tricky. Having turned left reach and take corner metal gate, then go forward a few yards to take next metal kissing gate and turn right onto road. Follow road for 250 yards to take first surfaced lane on left.

Section E

Pass the former Church of St. Leonard's Spernall and go through wooden kissing gate on your right. Go ahead across field with fence right to reach metal gate to metal footbridge over River Arrow. Continue ahead keeping riverbank left into the narrowing of field, past Millennium Way waypost, to take kissing gate ahead. Go half right across the next field to the corner, by a half dead oak, to find gate. Take gate, turn immediately right with hedge right and a fence on your left. Go short distance to field corner, stay in field but turn left in front of gate and go with hedge right walking towards Coughton Court ahead. On reaching next corner take kissing gate turning right into next field for a short distance to take another kissing gate, then go half left across field towards the cottages on far side to exit by kissing gate to emerge on to main road where we leave the Millennium Way by turning right, to bring you back to your start point at "The Throckmorton" for some welcome refreshment.

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see...

by Andy Botherway
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Coughton Court

Coughton Court

Coughton Court is a largely Elizabethan house and the home since 1409 of the Throckmortons, a catholic recusant family who refused to give up their faith and suffered the consequences (heavy fines and even imprisonment).

Sir Francis Throckmorton (1554 – 1584) was a conspirator against Queen Elizabeth I of England in the Throckmorton Plot. He was convicted of high treason and executed in 1584.

Later generations, together with the Catesby family, were heavily involved in the Gunpowder Plot, the plan to blow up Parliament and kill the King in 1605.

Although the house is now in the hands of the National Trust, the gardens, which were designed and created by the present Throckmorton generation, are still maintained by them and the family still live in the house.

Coughton Parish Church

Coughton Parish Church - Dedicated to St. Peter, built by Sir Robert Thockmorton between 1486 and 1518, the church is conveniently (for the family) located next to Coughton Court. The church is built on the plan of an earlier church, which was the endowment of the 12th Century Studley Priory.

The survey of the clergy by the puritans in 1586 described the then vicar, Thomas Penford, as "dumbe & unlearned, a verie aged man, he can scarce reade, yet he hath learning enough for 2 benefices; for he reapeth the fruite of Studley & Coughton both, he hath of late gotten him a certaine hireling to serue his turne at both places, one Robt. Cathell a seelie Welshman that can scarce reade English distinctlie.”

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St Peter
Coughton Court

Spernall

Spernall - The village consists only of the church and rectory and a few scattered farms and cottages, because at some time between 1195 and 1361 the parish was largely depopulated by pestilence. Recently the Purity Brewing Company was established in Upper Spernall Farm and the brewery can be visited and ales sampled and memorabilia purchased.

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St Leonard's
Spernall

St Leonard's Church

The delightful St Leonard's Church was closed and declared redundant in 1972 and in 1976 the diocese applied for demolition. The Friends of Friendless Churches and the Ancient Monuments Society took an interest in conserving it. In 1980 it was bought by the Ancient Monuments Society. It is the only church to have been owned by this society. The churchyard has been extremely untidy, but is now much improved and is worth a 30 yard diversion off our route.

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