PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Motorists need to leave the major roads to explore this area. Four bridges cross the river. Many of the minor roads are very narrow. For more detail refer to O.S. Map - Explorer 204
EXPLORING THIS AREA
The river flows due south following a sinuous course through a narrow valley bounded by steep wooded slopes. The ancient route westwards crosses the river at Ham Bridge. It links the historic settlements of Martley and Clifton upon Teme. To follow this route the motorist should drive north from Knightwick up Ankerdine Hill towards Martley. Martley was an important Christian Centre before the Norman Conquest. Today its fine church with ancient wall paintings boasts a beautiful new stained glass west window to celebrate the second millennium. Try to visit Martley when the red sandstone tower of the church glows in the evening sunshine.
This is an area of fine views and ancient settlements, Iron Age Celts built hill forts high up on the hills. The B4202 crosses the river and climbs steeply up 600 ft. to the rim of the valley and the village of Clifton upon Teme. Clifton can also be reached from the hidden village of Whitbourne. (off A44).
In 1991 the Peregrine Falcon returned to breed in Worcestershire it was the first time in 100 years – and it came to the Shelsleys!
In Whitbourne drive through the village to the old centre that nestles around the church near the river. As you descend the hill notice the footpath on the left, it leads down to the river, you might like to take a walk. This attractive area was much favoured by the Bishops of Hereford who had a moated summer palace on the site of Whitbourne Court.
Clifton was settled before the Norman Conquest. In medieval times the mighty Mortimers of Wigmore and Ludlow held lands around here. It was a Mortimer who petitioned Henry III for the Charter to raise Clifton to borough status at the end of the 13th century. This enabled it to hold a weekly market and annual four day fair. An effigy of a 15th century Mortimer lies in Martley Church where there is still a Mortimer chapel.
Fugitives once found sanctuary in the tiny church of Shelsley Walsh. Adjacent to the church is the Court, it was once home to Thomas Walsh, the Sheriff of Worcester, who helped track down the conspirators of The Gunpowder Plot. The Shelsleys are a group of settlements that lie almost hidden around the river. Tradition has it that witches were burned here at Witchery Hole just above New Mill Bridge – they say that nothing grows on the spot. Today the area hosts the annual Shelsley Hill Climb.
A narrow road travels the valley bottom to Stanford Bridge. Medieval hermits favoured this place. In early Norman times the local rock known as tufa stone (a travertine limestone) was extensively quarried and used in the building of many local churches. Most Teme Valley churches were built in Norman times but standing alone on the hillside above Stanford Bridge is a church built in the 18th century. Inside there are many fine memorials to the significant local families. The present building replaces an earlier one. In the waters of the lake lie the ruins of an earlier church and a village! Destroyed in the 18th century to provide a view from the newly built Stanford Court.
Stanford bridge is one of the few places along the river where there is good river access. It is a popular place on a summer’s day.
CHURCHES TO VISIT
St. St. Kenelm, Clifton upon Teme.
St. Peter, Martley.
All Saints, Shelsley Beauchamp.
St. Andrew, Shelsley Walsh
St. Mary, Stanford-on-Teme
St. John the Baptist, Whitbourne.
SHOPS, PUBS & RESTAURANTS
The Village Store, Clifton upon Teme. Tel:01886 812303
Central Stores, Martley. Tel:01886 888728.
The Mill and Garden Shop, Stanford Bridge. Tel: 01886 853267
The Village Shop, Whitbourne.
Long distance: A Teme Valley Walk – a new route by David Milton. ISBN 1-869922-45-X. Designed to be used with public transport it covers the length of the river. Available from book shops and information centres.
Walk: The Worcestershire Way
Local walking: O.S. Explorer maps: Nos. 204.
Some churches and pubs have details of local walks.
PARISH HERITAGE WALKS - audio walks around Broadwas and Cotheridge
AROUND & ABOUT
1 Great Witley Court. (EH) O.S. 204: 769648
2 Great Witley Church. O.S. 204: 769649
3 Abberley Village and its churches. O.S.204: 755678
4 Lower Brockhampton Hall. (NT) O.S. 204: 688559
5 Lower Sapey Church. (CCT) O.S. 204: 699602
6 The Mill Farm Shop, Stanford Bridge. O.S. 204: 716658
Petrol Tenbury Wells, Martey and Great Witley.
Train: 08457 484950
Buses : Worcester to Knightwick: 085457 125406