A 7 mile walk over Brown Clee. This walk take you to the highest hill in Shropshire on paths used since before the Iron Age. There are no hills higher to the east until you reach the Urals in Russia.

Shropshire Way Circular Walk 6: Brown Clee image

Distance

7.0 miles

Terrain

Across fields and uphill across open hillside. Can be wet underfoot.

Start from

Abdon Village Hall

Nearest to

Craven Arms

Parking

Parking is available at the start at Abdon Village Hall

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.4553225015, -2.5989093713

OS: SO594843

The route

This circular route off the Shropshire Way long distance footpath, takes you to some of the places that make Shropshire such a special county. Iron Age forts, sunken lanes, hidden hamlets, vanished villages and abandoned industry. The hill is quiet now but imagine how noisy and busy it must have been in the past. This is Shropshire’s “twin peaks” of Abdon and Clee Burfs. This is no country lane stroll, it takes you to high bleak moorland so be prepared and properly equipped.

Abdon

This fascinating little hamlet is ancient and once the centre of a thriving farming community. Now little of age remains, only the Church. The rest of the village was abandoned in a mini ice-age in medieval times. Now the wooden buildings have gone. All you can see are the impressions of house platforms and trackways. St Margaret’s Church was stone and survived. It's in a tree ringed circular churchyard showing that it was probably built on a pre-Christian site, either an old defensive or pagan site.

Abdon Clee

When were the first men here?  Certainly there was once a great Iron Age fort, Bronze Age cairns and a Neolithic axe was found here. Coal was mined since the Middle Ages. Its iron ore fed smelters and forges in Corvedale and some of this almost certainly was fired as cannonballs by Nelson’s ships at Trafalgar. The last workings were for the hard black stone, Dhustone, that covers our Country’s roads with little pieces of Shropshire. Walk up the road to the radio site and you are on a once so busy tramway that carried stone down from the quarries and crushers atop the hill. It was over 2 kms long and must be one of the longest inclined planes in England. Now it’s all quiet, the quarries are flooded and make homes for the highest ducks in Shropshire. As you walk to Clee Burf look for the memorial stone near 5 springs. Brown Clee has claimed lives other than miners and quarrymen.

Clee Burf

There was also an Iron Age hill fort but the quarry seems to have taken it all. The remains of medieval bell pits abound and make the land seem unreal, as if some giant had taken great scoops of earth. Look at the 2 masts, how strange to use wood in this day and age. It’s for a reason though, their reflections are lessened for the radars on nearby Titterstone Clee.

Nordy Bank

This little gem of an Iron Age fort has escaped the ravages of quarrying. Its ramparts are still steep and formidable. When you have passed it turn back and try to imagine how hard it would be to run back up in a hail of rocks, arrows and spears.