Coppett Hill is owned by The Coppett Hill Trust. who saved it from development in private hands. It offers some of the most splendid walks in our area. With hardly any houses enroute, an elevated outlook and variable terrain and unspoilt scenery makes this my favourite walking area.
A walk along Coppett Hill ridge, taking in a mix of hill top, valley, riverside and historic country estate lands of the Vaughn family.
Approximately. 10Kms. Walk time 2,1/2 to 3 hours.
Follow the ‘blue’ route on this map.
Drive to Goodrich from Whitchurch. Just past the old school building turn right taking the road that goes over Dry Arch bridge towards the Courtfield Estate. A mile on towards the top of the hill and a few metres before the cattle grid, there is a small quarry space on the right side of the road. Park in here.
Take the footpath on the left side of the Coppett Hill sign. In a few yards you can see the part restored lime kiln built into the hill side on the right.
Continue up the path keeping the stone wall on your left.
When coming out of the trees to a grassy area at the top of the hill keep straight on to the ‘trig point’, a concrete conical structure used for early map surveying instruments. See the views North over Goodrich to Ross on Wye and beyond to the Malvern Hills.
Follow the edge of the grassy area left and take a smaller footpath South slightly down from the ridge of the hill. This part of the route can be more sheltered in windy conditions.
Alternatively keep the woods immediately on your left and follow the main footpath past the old ‘folly’ along the hill top. Take in the splendid views over the Wye Valley to Whitchurch and the Doward Hills with Huntsham House in the foreground. On a clear day the Malvern hills and the Black mountains are visible.
Look out for fallow deer, signs of wild boar, buzzards, ravens, and fungi in the autumn.
Continue along the hilltop footpath keeping the stone wall on your left eventually entering the slightly mysterious woods with a small stand of old yew trees on the left.
Soon the footpath descends the hill to the beautiful Wye Valley with Caldwell Rocks opposite. This is a nesting site for local peregrine falcons in the spring when nestlings can be heard calling for food.
Turn left walking along the riverside footpath. You are now on the Courtfield Estate, ancestral home of the Vaughn family, and is essential to keep to the footpaths with dogs kept on leads.
The path takes you through a short section of woodland where the track is used by estate vehicles and can be extremely muddy in places in winter months. See the stone memorial to two children who drowned in the river years ago.
Soon you leave the woods and enter fields again where the walking is easier.
One of the estate farms can be seen in its beautiful setting on the left.
Continue along the river bank top footpath until you enter some more woods.
Here the footpath follows the river bank top and it has been eroded away in places making some difficult walking, perhaps even hazardous in wet conditions.
To avoid this take the track on through the gate on the left before entering the wood.
Soon you will come to the old railway bridge, neglected and closed for years because of safety reasons, until it was reopened recently thanks to some local enterprise involving temporary scaffolding, a timber walkway and walls.
Opposite the near end of the bridge is the old railway tunnel that used to take the railway under the hill.
The entrance to the disused railway tunnel and an old pill box is seen on the left with the bridge to Lower Lydbrook.
On the other side of the bridge is the little known but once locally famous wire works. This large factory was very active into the late twentieth century making electrical cables for front line communications in two world wars, the first undersea telephone cables and even the petrol pipe under the English Channel for the D day landings in WW2. It is now largely derelict.
Speak to people about it and hardly anybody knows it is there.
In a short distance you leave the woods and enter a large clearing where you will find the beautiful Vaughn family church of Saint Margarets, Welsh Bicknor ( in England) the rather grand old rectory is now a Youth Hostel.
Leave the church by taking the narrow road going uphill behind the youth hostel eventually arriving back at your car just over the crest of this hill.