Directions for Wyre Forest bike ride from Stourbridge

START: Mary Stevens Park - This is a good starting point, it's on the right side of town and there is plenty of space if you are meeting friends or bringing your bike by car. To get to the park simply take the Kidderminster turn off the Ring Road (Worcester Street) after about half a mile you come to an island with the park gates over to the leftt. There is normally plenty of parking inside the gates.

Turn right out of the park gates, then take left at the mini-island down Norton Road in the direction of Kidderminster. After about half a mile turn right into Whittington Road (pedestrian lights close by). Cross over Heath Farm Road then turn left into the Broadway (shops on your left) then take next right into Maynard Avenue. Go straight on at the island, cross Shenstone Avenue into Westwood Avenue.

At the top of Westwood Avenue you cross the old Roman Road and go down the unmade road (1st photo on map) directly in front of you. After about a mile you will join Whittington Hall Lane, go straight on for a mile or two until you get to the main Kidderminster/Wolverhampton Road. Cross (carefully - fast road!) over into the lane right ahead, converted barns to the left. Cross over the canal bridge (beautiful spot, 2nd photo) and carry on along the unmade road (NOT along the canal towpath). You will cross over the River Stour and pass the Anchor Hotel as you enter the outskirts of Kinver. Keep going, up the steep bit past the Anchor then carry on till you get to a tee junction with a pub on your right (The Cross?). Turn right, then branch left into Kinver High Street (3rd photo). Go the full length of the High Street then turn left at the mini island, going up the hill towards Kinver Edge - several hundred acres of national trust land with great views, sandstone escarpments, caves - (in fact, if you have small children with you or don't want to do more than about 10 miles then this is a great bike ride on its own.)

Kinver Edge will now be on your left, look up and you will see the restored cave house that was occupuyed up to the 1970's (4th photo). Go straight on at cross roads at the top of the hill (curiously named Rocky Wall to your right!). You are now out in open countryside, after about a mile take the left turn in the dip then after half a mile turn right and go up Beacon Hill (5th photo). This hill will test your fitness, well it does me anyway! It's a bit of a killer and its the first of several!

Once at the top of the hill (6th photo) you have about 3 miles of largely single track lane, there is only one turning to the right, which you ignore. The road twists and turns (7th photo) and eventually you will reach the main Kidderminster/Bridgnorth road at Shatterford. Cross over (carefully again!) it's signposted Upper Arley 1.75miles - downhill all the way - glorious!

Arley is a great place for a break, it is such a beautiful place, alongside the River Severn, the UK's largest river. (See 8th and 9th photos) Cross the footbridge and go up the steep hill, stop and take a breather at Arley station (10th photo) - the Severn Valley Steam Railway, again a lovely place, used many times as a scene for major film productions. Sorry, more hills! Carry on up the lane and keep going for a mile or two till you get to the main road at the village of Buttonoak, which is pretty well in the middle of the Wyre forest. Turn right, signposted for Kinlet and Cleobury Mortimer. (11th photo). As you leave the village stay on the road, go past the first car park on your left, continue cycling up the hill and turn into the forest at the car park at the top of the hill on your left - less than half a mile out of the village.

You are now in the forest, follow the main track ahead of you, it twists and turns at first then straightens out and goes down hill for more than a mile. On a sunny day this downhill stretch is totally exhilarating, (photo 12) and if you are lucky you might see deer. At the bottom of the hill it opens out into a small valley close to Dowles Brook (photo 13) and there are several tracks signposted. Head for "Callow Hill visitor Centre 2.5 miles", but you aren't going that far! Cross the stream, if you are brave go through the ford, if you are a wimp like me use the footbridge! Cycle up the hill for about a third of a mile then turn left on to the old railway line, signposted Bewdley 2.5 miles. This is a dead straight run through the middle of the forest for almost 2 miles. Eventually you reach a car park and go on to the road just below. Get off the bike and go up the steps opposite - you can see the remains of the old bridge parapet, so you are effectively carrying on along the old railway track for another half a mile. Be careful, you are very high up and the sides are very steep particularly to the right, but because of the undergrowth its not easy to see.

You now come to the end of the track where it meets the Buttonoak to Bewdley road. Turn right down the hill for Bewdley, about a mile away. Bewdley is well worth a break, it must be one of the prettiest towns in the Midlands and there is a very good cafe right by the river that does great bacon sandwiches! You can sit outside most of the year and watch the world go by. (Photos 14, 15 & 16)

Back to work! Cycle over the bridge and follow the road, going under the Severn Valley Railway bridge. After almost a mile take the left turn signposted B4190 Wolverley, go along for a couple of miles, up a steep hill, down to an island, straight over. A mile further on there is another island (petrol station on right), go straight over. Follow the road untill you get to the Wolverley island, turning right - B4189 for Stourbridge. Go down a small hill, crossing the River Stour, then you will see a pub by the canal, The Lock (photo 17). It is a very nice bike ride alongside the canal but to keep it simple we are going to turn left into Lea Lane immediately after the pub. Keep going, canal below to your left (photo 18), till you get to the village of Cookley. Cross over the main road into Austcliffe Road, after about a mile you drop down to the main Kidderminster to Wolverhampton main road, cross over into Common Barn Lane opposite. Turn right at the end of the lane into Beechtree Lane (no sign) carry on (photo 19) for nearly a mile then turn sharp left into Sugar Loaf Lane, 50 yards BEFORE the main Kidderminster to Stourbridge road. This is a gentle incline for a mile or two, then you drop down into the Norton on the outskirts of Stourbridge. Continue along Greyhound Lane, then turn left at the mini island into Norton Road. A mile down the road is Mary Stevens Park where you started from, hope you enjoyed it!