The walk explores the dingle known as The Batch to the west of the village. It is one of several narrow deep valleys nearby that were carved by meltwater under a glacier during the last Ice Age between 25 and 20,000 years ago.
Now it is a beautiful shaded habitat.
Click the markers on the map below to explore the walk. | Download a printable copy of the map.
The walk explores the dingle known as The Batch to the west of the village. It is one of several narrow deep valleys nearby that were carved by meltwater under a glacier during the last Ice Age between 25 and 20,000 years ago. Now it is a beautiful shaded habitat.
The shaded and aquatic habitats in the Batch, originating as a glacial meltwater channel and the historic and picturesque Almeley village.
Fields, lanes and quiet village roads. Stout footwear recommended. Locally muddy. Several stiles and one brief steep grassy descent.
Almeley is in a wonderful rural landscape setting with spectacular views across to the Black mountains.
There is evidence of continuous occupation in Almeley parish for 4,000 years. Almeley means “elm meadow” and is recorded in the Domesday Book as a manor. Much of the present village is built around a triangle of roads, with St Mary’s parish church to the south, dating largely from the 14th century and is a grade I listed building. The village also has many historic vernacular buildings.
The Batch – a dingle near Almeley
Of historical interest are the Oldcastle (on the north-west side of the village) and Almeley Castle just south of the church where you can find a scheduled ancient monument. A brook running through The Batch, offering a reliable water supply, runs past both castles.
Almeley is notable as the birthplace of Sir John Oldcastle, a Lollard sympathizer. The Lollards wished the church to return to simple values without pomp and ceremony. Oldcastle, was a close friend of Henry IV and Henry V, but was eventually executed for treason in 1417 after plotting to overthrow the monarch. His was the original name given to Shakespeare’s character of Sir John Falstaff.
Quaker meeting houses
One of the early Quaker meeting houses is in Almeley Wootton. It was given to the Quakers in 1672 by its owner, Roger Prichard, and is still in use by Quakers today. Two of the Quakers who worshipped there (Roger’s son, Edward Prichard, and Edward’s brother-in-law, John Eckley) were involved with William Penn in setting up the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682.
Almeley’s railway station was on the line from Hay-on-Wye to Kington and closed in 1940. Remains of the station platform can be seen south of the crossroads to the west of the southern entrance to the Batch.
Parking and Start of walk
Parking is at Almeley Village Hall on the south-east fringe of the village, grid reference SO 4519 4192, postcode HR3 6LB.
From here go to the right of the Hall and turn left, heading westwards for 400 m to a T-junction.
A2: Western end of field | back to map
Approaching the western end of the field, use the ladder stile or metal gate to enter the field, follow the edge of this field to its northern margin where there is a stile, point A3.
Under the footbridge on the further stream bank is a bedrock outcrop. These mudrocks are about 420 million years old from a period known as the Silurian. They would have originally formed on a river floodplain, and characteristically are mottled red and greenish grey. These bedrocks are overlain by young gravels formed after the valley was cut. It is difficult to see this here because of vegetation
The period of deep erosion by glacial meltwater in the Ice Age which created the valley of the Batch was followed by a period of sediment build up, known as accretion. The action of accretion can be seen here in a streambank west of Almeley Castle and the process is explained in the next photo.
At the base is the Silurian mudstone bedrock, it is overlain by a layer of gravel, including many angular pebbles, shaped by frost action representing sediment mobilized by freeze-thaw conditions at the end of the Ice Age. This is followed by a muddy layer representing a slower build up of material such as sand and gravel in the dingle. In recent millennia, these deposits have been eroded, especially during flood events, supplying the gravel layer to the floor of the Dingle.
A5: House at Pooh Corner | back to map
The valley has steeply sloping sides and a narrow notch into which the stream has cut leaving just enough room for the vehicle track on the valley floor. The fairytale-like feel of the valley is heightened when you pass The House at Pooh Corner and shortly afterwards (A5), see this fallen tree spanning the track (look out for the carved owl!).
A6: The Batch
At A6, the stream bank on the right shows pebbles transported by the stream resting on bedrock, these are overlain by material (sediment) that has crept down the slope. Here the valley abruptly ends and the track suddenly lurches uphill, but as you reach the trackside bollards you will see the valley has actually swung round sharply to the west, with the stream passing under the track. This is typical of a meltwater channel whose direction depends on the unpredictability of water supply underneath the glacier.
LIDAR image of Almeley area
The LIDAR image is showing detailed topography (land height) overlaid by geology. There are three main, deep dingles in this area, eroded by meltwater in the Ice Age creating the wonderful habitats we can see today.
A7: Incised stream | back to map
After A6 turn around and walk back down the Dingle to A7.
At A7, the incised stream next to the track can be clearly seen and there are local outcrops next to the track of muddy sediment with angular pebbles that have crept down the valley sides.
A10: Hard layer of conglomerate | back to map
Here is a hard layer of conglomerate (a rock made up of a mixture of sediments, originally a river gravel) in the Silurian bedrock that creates this miniature waterfall and the slot downstream.
A11: Bridge over stream | back to map
At A11, you will cross a bridge over a tributary stream that also occupies a meltwater channel. Between the two streams is higher ground where the Motte and Bailey called Oldcastle stands.
A12: Wider valley
Below the stream junction, there is a wider valley floor and it is easier to walk around on the stream bed.
Gravel in stream
The gravel in the stream bed often rests directly on bedrock showing that the stream has continued to erode downwards in recent millennia.
The Batch | back to map
The Batch today falls within Almeley conservation area and is a designated Special Wildlife Site. Notable species include yew, opposite-leaved golden saxifrage and several species of fern. In contrast to the peaceful surroundings today, in the 19th century it was an active economic area with a brickworks and a mill. The other dingles to the west have substantial artificial ponds today, and it may be that fishponds were constructed in the Batch in the past. Like other dingles, the Batch is subjective to periodic flood events, making the maintenance of infrastructure difficult.
A13: Head | back to map
At A13 is a bridge across to a kissing gate and then a narrow path. In the bank next to the bridge you can see angular pebbles in a muddy surrounding. This is material (technically called head) that has worked its way down the slopes of The Batch, perhaps initially in periods when this land wasn’t covered by a glacier but was still frozen, known as periglacial periods.
A16: Into Almeley | back to map
The path emerges into a field and on the other side is (A16) a farm gate with adjacent kissing gate into the built-up area of Almeley.
Pass through the gate into Almeley.
A18: St Mary’s Church
Continuing south, the road junction on the right leads to the historic St. Mary’s Church (A18).
A19: Almeley Castle
A little further south is a footpath to the right (A19) which leads into a field with the Motte and Bailey remains of Almeley Castle.
A20: Motte House
At the road junction to the east on the way back to the car park, the Motte House on the corner is built of local sandstones,