VISIT | Seek Artistic Inspiration at Eckington Wharf | Worcestershire
Ambling Along the River Avon at Eckington Wharf
Find yourself at a quiet spot on the banks of the River Avon
Admire an 18th century red sandstone arched bridge
Contemplate your life whilst strolling by this watery place
"...this relaxing riverside stopping point in the Avon valley..."
The Eckington Wharf picnic area sits on the bank of the River Avon just off the road which runs between Pershore and Tewkesbury.
The River Avon rises at Naseby in Northamptonshire, wends its way through the heart of England, passing through Warwickshire and Worcestershire and ends when it joins the River Severn at Tewkesbury.
In Worcestershire on the banks of the River Avon, overlooked by the Malverns and Bredon Hill, this picnic area sits adjacent to Eckington Bridge. Originally a medieval bridge, but replaced in 1720 by a stone bridge distinguished by its six arches and red sandstone construction. This location has inspired many different artists.
Eckington and its bridge are mentioned in the ‘Warwickshire Avon’ written in 1892 by Arthur Quiller Couch and illustrated by Alfred Parsons. It documents their journey, travelling down the River Avon by canoe from its source at Naseby to its end at Tewkesbury where it joins the River Severn. He reflected on the emotional impact of their journey down the river and the effect of the landscape and architecture and wrote about Eckington:
“It was a time, I think, that will pleasantly come back to us in days when we shall fear to trust our decrepit limbs in a canoe. The bridge, six arched, with deep buttresses, seemed as old as Avon itself. It is built of the red sandstone so common in the neighborhood; but time has long since mellowed and subdued its colour to reflect the landscape’s mood, which just now was sober and even mournful. Rain hung over the Malverns; now down on the flat plain, where the river crept into the evening , the poplars were swaying gently; a pair of jays hustled by with a warning squawk.”
In the poem ‘Upon Eckington Bridge, River Avon’ also written by Arthur Quiller Couch, published in 1912 in the Oxford Book of Victorian Verse, the poet covers many of the same themes from his earlier book. In particular he reflects on the transitory physical impact on the landscape of major events, like historical battles:
Man shall outlast his battles. They have swept
Avon from Naseby Field to Severn Ham;
And Evesham's dedicated stones have stepp'd
Down to the dust with Montfort's oriflamme.
If you should stop here you will find a usually quiet, innocent spot where you can park, sit, picnic and stare at the River Avon as it gently flows past. Admire the willows and other trees that sit on the bank and droop into the river. The occasional swans and river boats that drift past.
The river dominates this place. Its presence, brooding or playful, is all around you. Of course the river can flood at Eckington wharf and the road can be closed making access to the site impossible to visit at certain times of the year. So choose your moment to visit wisely.
Observe the bridge. Study its details and contours. Learn to see the history revealed in the scars and blemishes on its surface.
Stand where poets and painters have stood in the past and use your imagination to evoke the history and events associated with the River Avon and the English shires that it flows through.
Directions and Map |
Find Eckington Wharf on the B4080 between Bredon and Birlingham near Pershore in Worcestershire