THE Clent Hills is a beauty spot less than 10 miles from Birmingham city centre, with stunning scenery offering panoramic views of the Cotswolds, Welsh borders and Shropshire Hills.
Miles of footpaths await keen walkers at the countryside haven, which has a National Trust car park at Romsley, between Halesowen and Bromsgrove.
With just under a million people estimated to visit Clent Hills every year, they are Worcestershire’s most popular free attraction and draw people from Birmingham and across the Midlands.
Clent Hills are a haven for birdwatchers and include 440 acres of woodland and heathland managed by the National Trust.
The range was once part of ancient forest and includes Clent Hill, Adams Hill and Wychbury Hill – which has the remains of an Iron Age hill fort – along with Walton Hill and Calcot Hill. Together with the nearby Lickey Hills, they form the Clent-Lickey Ridge of north Worcestershire.
The summits of Clent Hill and Walton Hill are the property of the National Trust, with the latter an important site for breeding birds and rare insects.
In the 1750s, Lord Lyttleton of Hagley Hall added several ornamental buildings or ‘follies’ to the hills, including the Wychbury Obelisk, several Greek and Roman-inspired temples and The Four Stones – a mock set of standing stones on top of Clent Hill itself.
Legend tells how Anglo-Saxon saint Kenelm was murdered while on a hunting trip on Clent Hill in 821AD, and St Kenelm’s Church in the village of Romsley – the starting point of the 60-mile St Kenelm’s Trail – is said to mark the site of his death.
In 1588, a beacon was lit on the hills as part of a chain of fires across the highest points of England to warn of the coming of the Spanish Armada.
Walton Hill is the highest of the Clent range, at 316m or 1,037ft, followed by Clent Hill at 309m or 1,014ft.
The National Trust can help you find your way around this rural haven with suggested routes as well as a monthly programme of five-mile guided walks. The next guided walk is the Bluebell Walk on May 15. Booking is essential using the telephone number below. There is a wheelchair-accessible trail to the top.
There is also a camping and caravanning site off Fieldhouse Lane, Romsley.
Address: Nimmings Wood Car Park, Hagley Wood Lane, Romsley, B62 0NH
Tel: 01562 712822