A 10 mile walk along The Shropshire Way from Wilderhope Manor on Wenlock Edge, along one of the seven wonders of the West Midlands to Craven Arms.
Mainly flat, good paths
Craven Arms, Much Wenlock
Parking is available at Craven Arms
Lat/Long: 52.482832461, -2.7683885935
Walking from Wilderhope Manor to Craven Arms takes you for a walk along one of the best and most famous escarpments in the country; the Wenlock Edge.
Once a hive of stone workings but gone are the days of thundering quarries, kilns and crushing plants. Now it is green, peaceful and a truly memorable walk. This edge with its wonderful views and breathtaking scenery has been the inspiration for many artists, composers and poets.
As Housman said:
“On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves”
Perched high on Wenlock edge is the imposing Elizabethan Manor house of Wilderhope. Thomas Smallman, a Major in the Royalist Army once lived here until caught by the Roundheads. By some miracle he escaped on horse and galloped the length of Wenlock Edge only to be surrounded. In desperation he leapt from the cliff. The horse died but he fell into a crab apple tree and lived. If you stay into this Youth Hostel beware, his ghost is said to haunt the spiral staircases of the Manor!
Walk on the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge and you are on a place so important in science that it has its own geological period named after it, the Wenlockian. A walk of such changing character, open views one minute and deep dark forest the next. A Nature reserve, a folly and ancient tracks branching away, overgrown and long forgotten.
One lovely little detour from the walk is to visit Flounders’ Folly. Built in 1838 by Benjamin Flounders reputedly to let him see his ships in the River Mersey and the Bristol Channel. If the flag is flying it is open and you can find out if you really can see these distant horizons.
The rural idyll was briefly threatened by railway mania. Craven Arms was to become another Crewe. At Park House bridge you pass under the quaintest of the surviving lines. With its request stops, one carriage trains decorated with quotations from Dylan Thomas, the Heart of Wales line is more Thomas the Tank engine than Railtrack.