11 Wem – Malpas

Wem to Malpas 17.75 miles (28.4Km.)

Wem has all the essential services but for me sadly lacks the attractive pull of a thriving small Market Town. We head off northwards along paths shared by the Marches and Shropshire Way but still sadly neglected by the highway authority, landowner and rambler. I find this rather a shame the countryside is pleasant and the major farming activity is milk production so there are plenty of grass fields.

Edstaston - former canal wharf

Edstaston - former canal wharf

At Edstaston I note the old line of the Shropshire Union Prees Branch canal on the map so look out for it on the ground. Passing the base of NCB Motors and their large fleet of coaches a building on the left displays a board proclaiming ‘The Wharf Edstaston’ this must it! but no canal bed in sight.

The Waggoners Inn at Whixall had a fire in 2008. Work on repairs are evident (September 2010) as I use a path to cut the corner, but will it reopen as an Inn? Quote on web say owners “want to renovate and re-open in 2009”.

Moving onto the easy walking of the Llangollen canal towpath, I’m pleased to find the nettles have been mown. How long this will be maintained with threatened cut backs to British Waterways funding, who knows. For three quarters of a mile the other side of the towpath hedge on your our left is Wales. A touch too close for the Great English Walk I reckon. A link to the footpath crossing the canal at bridge 36 so we can now rejoin the Shropshire Way, assuming the detour into Whitchurch is to be missed.

Llangollen canal - Grindley Brook

Llangollen canal - Grindley Brook

The highlight of this section has to be the flight of locks at Grindley Brook so just before meeting the A411 I take a track right and emerge on the towpath by the top lock. I’d also timed it just right to pause for lunch while watching the narrow boats negotiate the staircase of locks.

Cheshire - Dairy of England

Cheshire - Dairy of England

Moving on the route soon passes into Cheshire which I now discover no longer exists as an authority. My embarrassingly old 1:50,000 OS map doesn’t have Definitive Map information for this area so is of little use but the paths are well marked and maintained so it’s not a problem. Looks like the authority were late to sort out their rights of way network but have now overtaken other areas in their enthusiasm to welcome walkers.

Malpas

Malpas

At Grindley Brook we met for the first time The Sandstone Trail which runs south to north through Cheshire, the GEW shares this route taking in the delights of the old county. But before we become joined at the hip we make our own way to the pleasant town of Malpas and our final encounter of the Marches Way.

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Great English Walk map of section 11

Great English Walk map of section 11

Great English Walk section 11 - the work

Great English Walk section 11 - the work


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