A walk along The Shropshire Way from Isombridge to Wem will take you through ancient villages and the rich farmland which has made Shropshire so agricultural a County.


Over farmland. Undulating

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Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.7203710044, -2.5774404688

OS: SJ611138

The route

Walking the Shropshire Way from Isombridge to Wem the home of sweet peas, will take you through ancient villages and the rich farmland which has made Shropshire so agricultural a County.

High Ercall

Look out for the stone and Brick Ercall Hall which was built in 1608 for Sir Francis Newport. There used to be a moat and drawbridge but these have disappeared long ago. The black and white farmhouse next to the hall is probably the oldest building in the area having been built before 1600. In the civil war the garrison here were, with Ludlow, the last to hold out for the royalists.

Stanton upon Hine Heath

The Author Mary Webb (1881–1927) lived with her parents in Stanton from 1896 to 1902, at house then called The Woodlands, later called Harcourt Manor.

The local grade I listed church of Stanton upon Hine Heath, St Andrew's, is set in a quiet location in the south-western corner of the village was built in the 12th century. Inside the church are two framed Rolls of Honour to parishioners who served in the respective World Wars. The First's, which lists 68 men and indicates those who died or became prisoners of war, bears charcoal drawings of a soldier, and a man and a girl either side of the list of names; the Second's has small paintings of tanks and bomber planes in action, ruined houses, a camp of tents, and crosses with wreaths placed beside them.

Wem – so good they named it thrice and the home of sweet peas

This small market town with Norman origins and the hub of seven roads is the ‘home of the modern sweet pea’. It is famous for being successfully defended by its women against the Royalists in the Civil War.

No one quite knows whence its name derives. There are three options, so take your pick. From the old English: Wamm – a stain (marshy ground); Wenn – swelling or wart (a small hill); Hwemm – corner. Perhaps the first settlement was in a corner of a marsh on slight rise.

Leaving Wem heading north you will need to be quite observant to spot the delightful walkway/alley that runs parallel and to the west of the B5476. It has proved difficult to sign effectively so you will just have to discover it for yourself.

It is here that Henry Eckford, the “Prince of Specialists” perfected his glandiforma sweet peas after he moved to Wem in 1888 and opened his famous Eckford’s Nursery. The annual sweet pea show is named after him.