A few weeks ago I caught the bus to Pershore and trekked back. It seemed logical that I should be able to do the same trip in reverse, so that’s exactly what I tried out.
The route itself is pleasant enough. Across the road from The Oak Apple is a hidden footpath that leads down towards St Peters. You parallel the railway line until you come to the A440, where the footpath then cuts directly across this busy road. However, whereas there was a clear path and a set of steps just a matter of days ago, this time I discovered that the diggers had moved in to continue the expansion of the road. Getting up the freshly dug hillside and locating the path again was a bit of challenge.
From there, the route takes you along the road to Norton, and at The Retreat you can again join footpaths – albeit seldom used ones. After crossing a field, you then have to cross not one, but two railway lines at a junction, and following this there is a 1km cross-field hike. For the latter, it’s best to take a compass bearing, or you have to circumnavigate the fence line in order to get out of the field.
A short hike brings you to Stoulton church, and from here you essentially parallel the B4084 South East towards Pershore. The only tricky part is where one farmer has utilized the entire field to grow corn, with the adjacent path reduced to nothing more than thick, vicious and impenetrable brambles. The only way to get through is to crouch along between two of the rows of corn.
My new boots were still not broken in, and they were continuing to bruise my lower legs. I’d brought my Crocs with me to change into at the completion of my hike, but in the end I needed to change my footwear early. There were only some easy fields left to cross anyway.
My real problems started when I tried to get the bus home. Knowing which way Worcester lay, I was confused to see that the bus stop to my home town lay on the Evesham side of the road, and that the bus to Evesham has to be caught on the Worcester side. Worst still, the buses were not arriving at the advertised time. I had a beer in The Pickled Plum, and asked where I should catch the bus from. The barman suggested walking the 2km to the train station. ‘You’ll just get old waiting for the bus,’ he said.
I decided to walk up the road towards Worcester, reasoning that the next stop must surely only be for buses going to the city. I calculated correctly, but discovered that there was only one bus per hour – and the next one was not for another 50 minutes.
So, deciding I would be able to get to the next stop or two within that time, on I walked. Had I know that there was not another bus stop for miles, I would probably have thought about getting the train after all. The bus passed me long before I got to the stop after Pershore.
When I reached The Plough in Drakes Broughton, I decided on having another pint. I’d been walking for several hours, and was still unsure how I’d actually get home. It was fully conceivable by now that I’d have to walk all the way back – wearing Crocs and carrying around 13kg.
But, as I soon discovered, there is another bus stop just down from The Plough. Here I learned that I had around 17 minutes until the next X50 bus. That was ample time for me to get to Stoulton, where my friend Ali catches the bus from, so on I trekked.
I arrived in Stoulton with five minutes to spare, and happily waited for the bus…
Which did not come.
Having had more than enough for one day, I called in on Ali. He quickly explained that the X50 does not stop at Stoulton. Had I waited near The Plough, I’d be on my way by now.
Happily for me, with 18km already under my belt, and needing to get home to help with the kids, Ali offered to give me a lift back.
Who would have thought that catching a bus could be so difficult?
One time soldier, part-time author, full-time training manager, husband and father.