9 Ch. Stretton – Shrewsbury

Church Stretton to Shrewsbury 18 miles (28.8Km.)

These next two sections can be completed as a day walk using the train to return to the start point. Unlike many stations on the rail network the original station building at Church Stretton survives on the north side of Sandford Avenue because a new station with longer platforms was built south of the road bridge.

The Lawley & Wrekin from Caer Caradoc

The Lawley & Wrekin from Caer Caradoc

The walk begins by retracing our steps up the valley from Cwms Lane before starting the climb first on a Definitive, then permissive path to the ridge of Caer Carodoc at Three Fingers Rock. I had made an early start so by 9.30am sat on the summit having a sandwich looking east into the mist filled valleys where the hills appeared like islands from the sea, magical.

The Lawley

The Lawley

The vast majority of the GEW was new territory for me but the Malverns and Caer Carodoc were return visits. While weather conditions can make each visit different my anticipation today was a first walk along The Lawley and here I was not disappointed. At the summit (377M) the base of the trig point can still be seen alongside the bird topped pole. From the top the onward journey to Shrewsbury looks flat and uninteresting but heights can harm perspective as I would find out later. For a good mile my path along the narrow ridge offers glorious views to left and right  as I gently descend to the road and a small car park.

Paper Mill ford - Longnor

Paper Mill ford - Longnor

Dorrington's Owl

Dorrington's Owl

Just south of Dorrington the farmer should have charged me to walk through their fields. It was a ‘Maze of maize’, a crop which in limited quantity can be fun to walk through. I entered the village around noon and was pleased to find a well stocked shop. Lunch was then taken on the handy picnic bench in the park with its owl sculpture adjacent the splendid new village hall.

Footbridge at Stapleton

Footbridge at Stapleton

After Chatford another surprise, caused by my disregard of contour line and a climb to Lyth Hill Country Park, a popular spot where the GEW meets another section of the Shropshire Way. Suddenly there are lots of folk but why does every walker have one or more dogs either in tow or more usually chasing uncontrolled in every direction. The view back to The Lawley and Caer Carodoc warrants a short break but I’m short of water so I press on in search of a tap.

Railway crossing at Meole Brace

Railway crossing at Meole Brace

Entering Bayston Hill I anticipate an end to the countryside and foresee a long urban approach to Shrewsbury but I’m pleasantly surprised by the route as it keeps to narrow green spaces before entering the town by the imposing river crossing of Kingsland Bridge.

Kingsland Bridge

Kingsland Bridge

With time to spare before the train back to Church Stretton I had a wander around the town, avoiding the shopping streets. Shrewsbury is enclosed by a meander of the river Severn over half a mile wide and about the same in length, with the Welsh and English bridges providing the main access. The castle, gaol and station are pressed into the narrow pinch point and would all disappear if the river were able to create an oxbow. The perimeter road on the river side stands high and offers good views over the tree lined riverside path this green space provides an excellent recreational ground. The streets are narrow and lined with interesting buildings including the Coach & Horses on Swan Hill where a good range of beer from micro breweries is on offer.

Swan Hill Shrewsbury

Swan Hill Shrewsbury

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Great English Walk map of section 9

Great English Walk map of section 9

Great English Walk section 9 - the work

Great English Walk section 9 - the work

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