A leap to a highwayman’s haunts

Humphrey Kynaston Way Route 6: Montford Bridge to Nesscliffe image

Distance

8.8 miles

Terrain

Quiet lanes. Cross fields and tracks

Start from

Montford Bridge

Nearest to

Montford, Nesscliffe, Shrewsbury

Parking

Rest Area carpark off A5 or layby on B4380 N of Montford Bridge

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.7278451661, -2.8425091351

OS: 343200

The route

We cross the River Severn on Telford’s Montford Bridge, built to the west of the one where Wild Humphrey jumped the gap made when the Sheriff’s men removed the planks from the stone piers. Passing Montford Church, where Charles Darwin’s parents are buried, we follow the old hedged Gipsy Lane bridleway towards the small farming hamlet of Ensdon, and on west, with views to the Breidden Hills, and nearer glimpses of the few remains of Shrawardine Castle. These old tracks were once main routes leading to the ancient river crossing from Shrawardine to Little Shrawardine. A bridleway still goes down to the edge of the River Severn by Ferry Cottage, too deep to ford now, and the ongoing route to the Motte at Little Shrawardine is not registered. This ancient route once led north east past Ensdon and Nibbs Heath via Bunny Lane, Adcote, where a Roman farm lay to the north, crossing the River Perry at Flanders Ford, and on past the site of ancient round houses to Baschurch, and beyond to the Berth.

Country lanes take us from Shrawardine, on to Nesscliffe, and the Three Pigeons Inn, where Wild Humphrey is reputed to have had his seat beside the old open hearth.

It is only a short distance from here to his cave up the cliffs on Nesscliffe Hill. The cave was reached by 24 steps, which his horse Beelzebub, when grazing in the fields below, would, when whistled up, climb to his stable alongside.

Country lanes take us from Shrawardine, on to Nesscliffe, and the Three Pigeons Inn, where Wild Humphrey is reputed to have had his seat beside the old open hearth.

The Wingfield Arms

The Wingfield Arms, set at an angle to the road to the south side of the current bridge, which had the smithy next door, reflects the line of the old road. A new wooden bridge and Toll House were built over the River Severn in 1637, but that bridge was swept away by floods about 50 years after. Thomas Telford’s new bridge was completed in 1792 just to the west of the old bridge, bypassing Severn House, the old pub, which was built before 1600. It stands down a drive to the north east of the current bridge, on the line of the original wooden bridge. As well as providing rest to weary travellers and dispatch riders, it had stabling for their horses. It also provided stabling for horses used to tow barges up the River Severn and to help pull the coaches across the old ford.