Cavaliers, Fossils and Folklore

Distance

9.0 miles

Terrain

Hilly, grass and stone tracks.

Start from

Church Preen School Crossroads

Nearest to

Church Stretton, Much Wenlock

Parking

At start/finish

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.5870474643, -2.6035972259

OS: SO592990

The route

Ride along the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge rich in folklore and legend. Travel through ancient villages where Romans walked and Parliamentarians fought royalists.

Renown as a site for geologists Wenlock Edge even has an era of our world’s history named after it. In the limestone rocks are fossils formed 425 million years ago when this was the floor of a warm Silurian sea.

There are shells, trilobites and coral to be found all along the Edge.  But the escarpment is not just famous for its fossils. Legend tells of a cave where a robber baron called Ippikin lived. One day the rocks fell covering the entrance. Ippikin, his robber band and a vast treasure of gold were sealed in forever. Be careful, they say he lives on as a ghost and anybody who stands here and says “Ippikin! Ippikin! Keep away with your long chin” will be dashed to death on the rocks by his evil spirit. When you pass Blakeway Farm look up at the Edge. Here Major Smallman, a Royalist soldier, was cornered by Roundheads. His only escape was to ride his horse over the cliff. He survived by landing in a tree but the horse was not so lucky.To this day the spot is called Major’s Leap. You will also cross a Roman road by Lower Springs. Imagine the legions that walked this route from the Roman city at Wroxeter to fight the Celts on the western borders of their empire.

Wild Flowers

The limestone escarpment provides ideal conditions for a wide variety of wild flowers. In the Spring the ransoms (wild garlic) are almost overpowering and the display of bluebells is magnificent. Other limestone loving plants inhabit the Edge and include orchids, ox eye daisies and wild thyme.

Wenlock Edge

This limestone escarpment runs virtually unbroken from Ironbridge to Craven Arms. This section of the Edge is owned by the National Trust and the many tracks and trails are good for cycling as well as horseriding and walking.

This popular route is part of the Shropshire Way as well as the Jack Mytton Way.

Cavaliers, Fossils and Folklore

Ride along the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge rich in folklore and legend. Travel through ancient villages where Romans walked and Parliamentarians fought Royalists.

Renown as a site for geologists Wenlock Edge even has an era of our world’s history named after it. In the limestone rocks are fossils formed 425 million years ago when this was the floor of a warm Silurian sea.

There are shells, trilobites and coral to be found all along the Edge.

But the escarpment is not just famous for its fossils. Legend tells of a cave where a robber baron called Ippikin lived. One day the rocks fell covering the entrance. Ippikin, his robber band and a vast treasure of gold were sealed in forever. Be careful, they say he lives on as a ghost and anybody who stands here and says “Ippikin! Ippikin! Keep away with your long chin” will be dashed to death on the rocks by his evil spirit.

When you pass Blakeway Farm look up at the Edge. Here Major Smallman, a Royalist soldier, was cornered by Roundheads. His only escape was to ride his horse over the cliff. He survived by landing in a tree but the horse was not so lucky. To this day the spot is called Major’s Leap.

You will also cross a Roman road by Lower Springs. Imagine the legions that walked this route from the Roman city at Wroxeter to fight the Celts on the western borders of their empire.

Old Railway

The old Much Wenlock to Craven Arms Railway opened in 1864. The engines used on the line were affectionately known by the locals as the ‘Wenlock Bell’ and the ‘Old Faithful’. Closed in 1951, the  old line now provides a valuable amenity route with excellent views through the trees over the Shropshire countryside.