A long distance bridleway from Church Stretton to Clive, with several interesting circular routes

Humphrey Kynaston Way image

About Humphrey Kynaston

Humphrey Kynaston, a notorious highwayman known as ‘Wild’ Humphrey, was descended from a Welsh Prince. He was born around 1468, to Lady Elizabeth Grey, the granddaughter of Humphrey Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, and second wife of Sir Roger Kynaston, Constable Keeper of Myddle Castle.

Humphrey became Constable on his father’s death, but, through his dissolute and riotous manner of life, he fell into debt, and Myddle castle fell into ruin. His horse, reputed to have been called Beelzebub, the devil’s horse, was said to have been shod backwards to confuse pursuers.

Humphrey, following a skirmish in Oswestry, along with his half brother Thomas, and Oliver and Richard Kynaston, was accused of felony in December 1487, and he became a notorious outlaw. These were unsettled times, with the Wars of the Roses still ongoing, and the Welsh Marches a lawless no man’s land.

In December 1492 Humphrey, now of Nesscliffe, rode to Stretton Dale, (Church Stretton) with his half-brother Thomas Kynaston of Shrawardine, and Robert Hopton of Hopton, Nesscliffe. There, they killed John Heughes. Many aided and abetted them, and in their escape they were lodged and fed at Pontesbury, Shrewsbury and Nesscliffe. They were tried and convicted for felony and murder in 1493, but escaped capture. The under Sheriff tried to capture Humphrey by removing some of the planks from the stone pillars of Montford Bridge, but he spurred his horse, and leaped the gap, escaping to Nesscliffe where he, with his horse stabled alongside, is reputed to have lived in the cave there reached by climbing 24 steps cut into the rock face. They were given food and fodder by those around: it is said ‘by the rich through fear, and the poor through gratitude’.

Later pardoned by Henry VIII, legend has it that he died in the cave at Nesscliffe. His will of 1534 requested that he be buried in St Mary’s Church in Welshpool.

The Routes

The routes vary from 2.4 miles up to 14 miles and you can combine routes and use links to create your own tailor made journey. For an overview of the linear and circular routes please download the Humphrey Kynaston Way map. The map and more information can be found on Humphrey Kynaston Way Rides Folder.

Please note that the Church Stretton to Pontesbury sections can be linked to Ride Shropshire South Shropshire Hills routes 5, 7, 8 and 9. Parking places have been identified, some by kind permission. Please check availability before setting out. For horse riders allowing approximately 3 miles an hour gives a relaxed ride, with time to take in the views.

Although created primarily as routes for horse riders the routes are equally suitable for cyclists and walkers. Cyclists please be aware your sudden appearance may startle horses. When approaching from behind please give a verbal warning and remember that when using a public bridleway, cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders.

The routes were only made possible by the hard work of Zia Robins and local volunteers of the Nesscliffe Hills and District Bridleways Association Parish Paths Partnership group, with funding from Natural England’s Paths for Communities project.

Routes in the HKW Long Distance Promoted Route group

Routes in the Humphrey Kynaston Way Circular group