A four and a half mile walk with steady climb up to Wenlock Edge then along the woodland ridge.

Walking with Offa 18: Wenlock Edge & the farmland of Ape Dale image

Distance

4.5 miles

Terrain

Steady climb

Start from

The Plough, Wall Under Heywood

Nearest to

Church Stretton, Much Wenlock

Parking

Wall Under Heywood

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.5291043043, -2.7257254749

OS: SO509926

The route

A four and a half mile walk with steady climb up to Wenlock Edge then along the woodland ridge.

This walk takes you up onto a quiet section of Wenlock Edge away from the crowds. You also cross the Craven Arms to Much Wenlock railway line that was one of the lines closed by Lord Beeching in the 1960’s. There are great views from the top of Wenlock Edge and an opportunity to experience the tranquillity of Ape Dale, one of Shropshire’s quietest valleys.

Wenlock Edge

Wenlock Edge is a limestone escarpment near Much Wenlock and a site of special scientific interest because of its geology. It is over 19 miles long, running southwest to northeast, between Craven Arms and Much Wenlock. It is roughly 1,080 feet above sea level. The deciduous woodland which runs along it covers much of the steep slopes of the escarpment and in parts it is very well preserved.

It is the setting for A. E. Housman’s poem “On Wenlock Edge the Wood’s in Trouble”, published in his 1896 collection A Shropshire Lad. In 1909, Ralph Vaughan Williams composed a song cycle called On Wenlock Edge, which comprises settings of that and five other Housman poems. It is also the subject of several works by the famous artist L. S. Lowry with the best known piece “A Bit of Wenlock Edge” which is a fine pencil drawing of the escarpment detailing the woodland.

Food, drink and accommodation

Imagine patrolling the border without a decent pub. How would Offa’s Dyke have been built without them? Over a thousand years later, keep up the tradition and stop for a drink and a bite to eat at The Plough at Wall under Heywood. The Plough specialises in live music, real ales and country dining. Call for information on 01694 771833 or visit www.theploughinnwallunderheywood.co.uk/

Not far from Wall under Heywood is Church Stretton, the walker’s favourite haunt. You will find a wide range of accommodation, specialist shops and places to eat and drink. Contact the Church Stretton Visitor Information Centre on 01694 723133.

Accommodation listings can be found on www.visitshropshirehills.co.uk