Quiet Lanes and Ancient Places

Ride Shropshire Route 7: The Habberley Valley Ride image

Distance

9.0 miles

Terrain

Hilly, grass and stone tracks

Start from

Church Pulverbatch Village Hall

Nearest to

Pontesbury

Parking

At start/finish

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.6426160134, -2.8790590659

OS: SJ40653

The route

Follow some of the quietest lanes in Shropshire, to see medieval villages, the remains of Norman and Bronze Age forts, along with beautiful views.

The first place to look at is where you start from, Church Pulverbatch. Here there was a church recorded in the Doomsday Book. See how the present church sits in the centre of a ring of trees – a certain sign that this was a pre-Christian religious site. The tower may only be 18th century but the site is ancient.

You pass another gem as you leave Pulverbatch. Look at the remains of the Norman motte and bailey castle. These are some of the best preserved earthworks in the county. Imagine what it would be like in the 12th century with the banks higher and topped with wooden walls and a great tower.

Over the hill and down into Habberley Valley you will find quiet high-hedged country lanes and an air of travelling back in time. As you ride through the village of Habberley you could almost imagine you were in the Middle Ages.

Look to the north and you will see the massive hog’s back of Earls Hill with the earth ramparts of its Bronze Age fort in full view. Earls Hill, Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s first nature reserve is home to dormice, yellow meadow ants and many rare flowers. As you ride around it take in the views out west to the Breiddens and beyond to the Welsh mountains.

 

Earl's Hill Nature Reserve

The distinctive, humped back of Earls Hill has volcanic origins, created by layers of lava that burst out of fissures in the rocks some 650 million years ago.An Iron Age hill fort was built on its lofty summit around 600 BC and in 1964 it became the Shropshire Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve. Earl's Hill is renowned for its rich variety of wildlife habitats and there is a great deal more to be explored and discovered on its lower slopes.

The Mytton Connection

Habberley has several interesting black and white half-timbered houses; the most notable is Habberley Hall which dates back to the 16th century and was owned by the Mytton family.

The Regency rake, mad Jack Mytton, is reputed to have driven a coach and four horses from Habberley over the Stiperstones ridge and down the very steep Mytton’s Dingle to Stiperstones Inn. It is doubtful whether he actually lived at the Hall but the name lives on in the local pub,the Mytton Arms.