The John Benbow Trail links the Gadfield Elm chapel with the Three Choirs Way and the Herefordshire Trail and thus the Benbow Pond, allowing walkers to retrace the steps of the 19th century United Brethren preachers and Mormon missionaries in the Malvern Hills area along a (mostly) waymarked trail.
Please leave any comments about the walk at the bottom of this page.
For those wishing to cycle a similar route, the Ledbury Loop of the National Byway (signposted) goes past Gadfield. At Ledbury, the Byway continues on to Fromes Hill near Benbow Pond.
From Gadfield Elm, the John Benbow Trail follows the Three Choirs Way to Eastnor Park, and then diverts to Ledbury where it connects with the Herefordshire Trail as far as Benbow Pond. Use OS Landranger 149, 150/Explorer 190, 202. The whole walk totals about 34km/21miles and could be walked in one or two stages, with an overnight stop in Ledbury.
Stage 1: Gadfield Elm to Hollybush
Start: Gadfield Elm Chapel GL19 3PB
Poor footpaths in the area necessitate the use of country lanes to first reach the Three Choirs Way. The roads are quiet but take care! On the way you will pass the Chartist village of Lowbands before going under the M50 motorway at Pendock. If you look back towards Gadfield you will see the Iron Age fort of Gadbury Bank to the east of the chapel. The trail then makes its way to the southern end of the Malvern Hills at Chase End, passing Chase End Hill and Raggedstone Hill before reaching Hollybush.
Stage 2: Hollybush to Bosbury via Ledbury
The Three Choirs Way skirts Midsummer Hill to the west. At a crossroads above Gullet Quarry we turn left towards Ledbury via Eastnor deer park and leave the Three Choirs Way. Head towards the church in Eastnor village then follow the footpath to Ledbury, a lovely town to enjoy a rest. Just past the Market House follow Church Lane and pick up the Herefordshire Trail which wends its way to Wellington Heath, Coddington, and then Bosbury.
Stage 3: Bosbury to Benbow Pond
End: Hill Farm HR8 1HL
The Herefordshire Trail comes near to Hill Farm and Benbow Pond by the medieval fishpools in Fishpool Wood. A series of permissive paths sponsored by Natural England wind their way around the woods and offer a nice circular walk from Hill Farm, which is the end (or beginning!) of the John Benbow Trail for those who have walked from Gadfield Elm.
The trail is sponsored by the Mormon Society of St. James.