A 12 mile walk from the outskirts of Shrewsbury at Haughmond Abbey via Grinshill and Corbet Wood Countryside site to Wem.
One steep section. Paths across farmland
Parking is available at Haughmond Abbey, Haughmond Hill, or Wem
Lat/Long: 52.7304496509, -2.6805672482
A quarried hill, a country estate and a ruined abbey
This walk is much more attractive than it looks from the lowland promise of the map. Between the market town of Wem and the extensive remains of Haughmond Abbey lie a range of views to every point of the compass.
Our route takes you around the Abbey, which is looked after by English Heritage (entrance fee payable). There are plenty of post-dissolution remains, including some ornate windows installed when the buildings were used as a private residence. There are several fish ponds scattered around the abbey and a delightful Gothic ice house entrance in the woods, just off the track to the east of the abbey towards a parking area.
Astley – an unexpected gem
Despite being within earshot and a stone’s throw of Shawbury’s RAF helicopter training airbase, Astley has a serene quality. Astley House, easily glimpsed though the trees, is a stuccoed three bay Georgian Villa with classical overtones, nowhere more obvious than in the stable built just to one side. Further exploration will reveal an early Norman doorway in the church, a set of model (i.e. well-intentioned) farm cottages and, by way of complete contrast, a semi-preserved World War II Dodge lorry, in a field just off the path to the north of the village.
Grinshill – a highspot with hidden depths
Locals drop the ‘h’ in Grinshill but there is no way of reaching the top without a climb, albeit up easily negotiated paths. Quarried stone from here comes in many hues from cream, to light brown to deep red and was used to build Haughmond Abbey and Shrewsbury Station. You will see plenty of it in local buildings along the way... but watch out for the holes where it came from. The path will take you steeply past a stone seat cut into the hillside. It is difficult to decide whether the inscribed writing is quarry workers’ graffiti or reflects the concerns of gentrified perambulating romantics.
On leaving/approaching the southern side of Wem
The ‘path’ such as it is passes through a large multi-cropped field that is hard to sign. You may find it takes a little persistence to negotiate the route but it can be done!