What it's like
With rocks representing 11 of the 13 different geological periods, Shropshire is an area of contrasts. Its most rewarding and inspiring landscape lies south of Shrewsbury. The industrial past of the Clee Hills in the southeastsweep round to the wooded 17-mile long Wenlock Edge escarpment, once a coral reef near the Seychelles. Next, are the rocky Stretton Hills and the more rounded Long Mynd, lying on the Stretton fault line. Welcome to earthquake country! In the far west lie the Stiperstones, a series of jagged quartzite tors steeped in superstition.
Steep climbs are rewarded with far-reaching views, some viewpoints offering vistas stretching from the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire to Cadair Idris on the Welsh coast. There are beautifully scenic valleys (including the Severn and the Teme), forests and ancient woods as well as plenty of traditional pubs and small independent breweries.
Whilst North Shropshire is flatter, it is home to England’s forgotten Lakeland, the Meres around Ellesmere. These remnants from the Ice Age offer a different bird-watching opportunity to the rugged hills of the south.
Take time out to visit Ludlow’s huge castle, the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms, Cardingmill Valley in Church Stretton, the huge Iron Age Hillfort at Oswestry and Quarry Gardens in Shrewsbury. Ironbridge Gorge may be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, but it still offers great walking opportunities along its steep Severn-side hills, an array of interesting museums, and an opportunity to climb the most famous hill in Shropshire – The Wrekin.
- Church Stretton – Long Mynd Spoilt for choice as to which hills to climb, a good circuitous route climbs up Townbrook Hollow onto the summit of the Long Mynd with its far-reaching views, before dropping back down into Cardingmill Valley home to the perfectly placed National Trust café, and one of the best log fires in town!
- Housman’s Blue Remembered Hills – Clun Explore the Clun Valley from this picturesque village climbing up to reach the Iron Age settlement of Bury Ditches Hillfort, before returning via the Clun valley, the poet AE Housman’s favourite spot – “the quietest under the sun.”
- The Wrekin If you only climb one hill in Shropshire, make it this one. At 407m, its volcanic rock erupts out of the north Shropshire Plain majestically towering over the sprawling Telford conurbations, yet has spectacular views over the rurally tranquil South Shropshire Hills, Shropshire Plain and mid Wales.
Must see and do
- Visit Bishop’s Castle Not only is this border town great for walking, close to Offa’s Dyke, the Kerry Ridgeway route and the Shropshire Way, it is also home to two celebrated independent breweries at The Three Tuns pub and the Six Bells.
- Walk the Olympian Trail in Much Wenlock Dr William Penny-Brookes was the town’s Victorian GP. Follow this trail around the town and discover that today’s modern day Olympic movement wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for this quiet Shropshire market town.
- Steam and lean! Walk along the Severn Way, then get a steam train back to Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway. Visit the castle remains, which list at 15 degrees – further than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Tel: 01743 281200 (Shrewsbury TIC)
Tel: 01694 723133
Tel: 01588 638854
Tel: 01588 676000
Destination County : Shropshire