It was time for day one of walking in the Shropshire Hills. I was looking forward to a day of walking that included wonderful landscapes combined with ancient history.
An 11 mile walk that starts in the village of Clun, a beautiful place that is nestled in the Shropshire Hills and near the Welsh border.
The route sounded full of variety, involving beautiful green valleys, being up on the top of 3 of the hills and some wandering on historic earthworks. Perfect, let’s go!
A lovely place to start, on the outskirts of Clun before we walked to higher ground. This gave us some super views looking back down to the village. Certain research has led to Clun being known as one of the most tranquil places in England. Having been in the area now, I can certainly see why.
I will be making time to head back and discover more of this tranquil village. There is more to it than meets the eye. The ruins of a Norman Castle, a 15th century, virtually original stone bridge that is used by cars today and of course, walks galore to be done.
As we dropped into the next valley, the views opened up in the other direction. Rich in colour, the greens and yellows made the whole area look out of this world. I would say it is a lot more lush than other well known walking areas of the UK.
Onwards and upwards once more, at the top, above the treeline was the Iron Age Hill Fort called Bury Ditches. A great opportunity to look at it within and from above as I had the drone in my bag. The main image atop this post and here below.
As you can see, it is one of the best preserved hill forts, dating back to the iron age in the country. As you walk around it you get a big sense of the mounds, barriers that were made. Remember this fort dates from over 2 thousand years ago. Hard to think of the logistics involved. From above I could clearly see the well preserved entrance at the front.
The fort was hidden under a pine plantation until the 1970s, that was until a storm blew down most of the trees at the top and uncovered this remarkable example of a historic place. The Forestry Commission now keeps the top, Bury Ditches, clear so that all can come to see it, see the views, and learn too.
After a spot of lunch it was time to head down the other side and back on our walk. The rolling hills, the livestock watching us pass by, the greenery in full view.
Looking up is always a good idea in these parts, all kinds of birds circle around the fields. Buzzards, songbirds a plenty. Today I was lucky to see, on more than one occasion, Red Kites making their turns and dives amongst the nature.
This whole walk, as I have said, is full of rich variety. The views change all the time. We were well onto the Shropshire Way and can see why I had heard it talked about in my circles. What surprised me was that this section was so quiet. Maybe too much of a secret, beautiful landscape.
This was a guided walk too with HF Holidays, and that made it very refreshing for me to relax about route and knowledge. I could concentrate on taking photos, taking in the scenes and learning a lot about the others on the group.
On holidays like this it is great to realise that all walks of life come together and enjoy the same things away from it all.
The guides also know a lot what you may miss! Take this next little gem of history for example. Many people will walk past but our guide was full of all its history and local quirkiness. St Mary’s Church in Hopesay.
A church that quite obviously on looking has been through a lot of history and changes. It was built in and around the end of the 12th century. But quite obviously you can look up at the top of the tower and see a later addition. A double pyramid wooden addition from the 17th century.
Looking inside there is a stunning medieval roof dating from the 15th century.
Back out onto the glorious green fields and a few more miles to go. One more hill before our end point, Craven Arms. And yet another chance to take in some magnificent landscapes all around us.
Before hitting our end point though we had some curious followers. A herd of young bulls running around and taking interest in us. Harmless, young and simply curious.
Craven Arms, sounds more like a pub than a town doesn’t it? Well the place is indeed named after the main pub in town. Which itself was named after the Lords Craven who occupied the nearby Stokesay Castle.
It is also host to the Secret Hills Discovery Centre, that was voted the midlands family attraction of the year in 2017. Lots for the family to see and learn about, including a larger than life mammoth! Outside there are clues that alludes to this.
Phew!!! Day one walked and a great day it was! Two more walks to go as well. Great. Now for a pint and look back on the day.