A pre-Christmas stroll in mild but windy weather.
From Castlemorton Common the path leads up to Pink Cottage and Swinyard’s Hill (a corruption of Swineherd’s Hill).
From the top there are long views east across Worcestershire and south and west across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.
The path south drops off the edge of Gullet Quarry and so we turn west through Gullet Woods towards the Eastnor estate.
We then make our way towards the obelisk, erected by the Somers family in memory of various of their deceased: John Lord Somers, Baron of Evesham and Lord High Chancellor in the reign of William III and Queen Anne; James Cocks who fell in battle at St. Cast in France in 1758; and Edward Charles Cocks who died in 1812 at the Siege of Burgos. The obelisk serves as a useful reminder that in England’s wars, the gentry have not escaped death’s reach.
South of the obelisk lie the scant remains of Bronsil Castle which once guarded the border area with Wales and are the reputed site of buried treasure. Old Lord Beauchamp hid his gold and silver here before setting off on a crusade. He promised his wife that even if he died in battle, the hoard would easily be found so long as all of his bones received a proper Christian burial. Alas, he died on crusade and evidently not all of his remains returned from the Holy Land because the treasure is still lost. (The croak of the raven set to guard it can still be heard.) With John Masefield we easily imagine here “a silent army of phantoms thronging a land of shadows.”
The walk ends as we retrace our way back to the common via Gullet Quarry which, if the Malvern Gazette is to be believed, is pretty much the most dangerous place in Britain.