We’ve traveled through Shropshire a few times now but our weekend trip to Ludlow was the first time we stayed. So after food and drink on Saturday we opted for a walk on Sunday.
But first my postponed run. Got up at 6:30am and with a small protein shake for breakfast along with a tea and half a KitKat I set off just after 7am. The roads were wet after last night’s rain but it was dead quiet so early on a Sunday.
Over Dinham Bridge then up a small tarmac road and up, up, up a slightly muddy path, across another road and then onto a bridleway with more mud. It was never to bad tho and I made some good progress enjoying being out.
More often than not I had to revert to a brisk walk as it was just too steep. Entered into Mortimer Forest and onto a wide gravel path before finally heading down and making some mileage. Saw two groups of the local long haired fallow deer bouncing across the path right in front of me.
At first I thought they were reindeer for their more grey colour, smaller size and shaggy coat. I found out later that they can only be found in Mortimer Forest. Nowhere else. Didn’t realise how special my sighting was!
Mary Knoll Valley was a lush green combe with a small stream and a wild feel to it. Had another encounter with wildlife when a large brown hare sped across my path. Then the next climb had me mostly walking again.
Skirting the actual Mary Knoll I re-entered the forest and finally had only downhill in front of me. Finish my 10k loop after 90mins and around 350m of elevation gain. And it felt good! Nice to see I can still easily do a 10k without doing any running really.
Back in Ludlow quick shower, then out for breakfast with Rich just around the corner. Packed afterwards and drove half an hour North to Church Stretton.
Up and up a steep single track road led out of the town into the hills of the Shropshire AONB. The idea was to do a 10k up here, but as soon as we left the car we were hit by a strong icy wind. The scenery was stunning, but we decided to cut the walk short by half as going up any of the low hills was not going to be pleasant by any means. My guestimate was up to 40mph winds so staying lower was preferable.
So we only had a taster of this area, but it was stunning nevertheless. Distinct hills and although being fairly low at 400+ metres they still offered plenty of drama and character. Wow. Skirted one of the rounded tops and then went back through the sheltered Townbrook Valley.
Quick coffee back down in town at 1pm and then it was time to drive the 2.5hrs home.
Really loved our short trip. Enjoyed Ludlow a lot just as much as Mortimer Forest and the hills at Church Stretton. We always liked the area of the English – Welsh border the very few times we’ve been here. It doesn’t look like much at first. But get out of the car and start exploring in slower time and a beautiful part of the country unfolds, full of pretty villages, cosy pubs, fantastic food, gorgeous woodlands and low hills punching well above their weight in drama and views.
I’ve really grown fond of Shropshire and we vowed to come back for a longer stay next year having more time to explore its wonderful variety.