The Shropshire Way
[ISBN 978 1 908748 317]
Our Price: £12.95
297 miles/132 pages
The Shropshire Way long distance walk explores the beautiful historic border county of Shropshire. It offers a comprehensive network of route sections that can be tailored to individual requirements, providing opportunities for multi-day walks of varying length, as well as linear day walks linked to public transport. At its heart is Shrewsbury, whose mainline station on the National Rail Network, facilitates easy access from and to anywhere in Britain.
The trail conveniently falls into two separate areas of the county. The northern part of the Shropshire Way is generally pastoral and peaceful in nature. Whilst predominantly mixed farmland, it is full of interest. It features old market towns, attractive ancient villages with red sandstone churches and traditional country pubs, scenic canals, meres and mosses, nature reserves, country park sites, and the fascinating Lime Works Heritage site at Llanymynech. Its western upland border section offers delightful woodland, old Oswestry racecourse and impressive sections of the 8thC Offa’s Dyke earthwork.
The southern part of the Shropshire Way takes you through Shropshire Hills AONB and adjoining attractive countryside, visiting various historic market towns and places of interest. It is more undulating and demanding in nature, but the effort required to cross the county’s highest hills is rewarded by stunning scenery and breathtaking views.
At its heart is Shrewsbury, lying within a loop of the beautiful river Severn, one of the most stunning medieval towns in England, with a rich heritage. It is said that the area may have first attracted people from the former Roman fort of Viroconium (Wroxeter), Britains fourth largest Roman settlement, a few miles to the south east. Its name originates from the Anglo-Saxon settlement of ‘Scrobbesbyrig’ (fortified place in scrubland) established near fords across the loop of the river. It was first recorded in 901 as an important fortified border settlement within the kingdom of Mercia. After the Norman Conquest, Roger de Montgomery was created Earl of Shrewsbury and he founded a substantial castle here in1074, to complement the river defence, and an abbey as a Benedictine Monastery in 1083 on the site of a Saxon church. By the mid 13thC a fortified walled market town linked to the castle had been built and a thriving trade in leather and wool established. It was then one of the largest towns in England. Nowadays Shrewsbury, pronounced in two different ways: ‘Shrows-bury’ or ‘Shroos-bury’, with a population of about 100,000, is a thriving unspoilt market town, with many attractions for visitors. It offers a wide range of independent shops, cafes, restaurants, and traditional pubs.
The border with Wales has for centuries posed a particular challenge for England’s rulers and played a significant role in Shropshire’s history. As the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia extended further westwards into the Welsh kingdom of Powys, the border was defined during the 8thC by the building of Wat’s Dyke then the more substantial Offa’s Dyke earthwork. Later, after William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066, he granted large areas of land along the border to his loyal Norman barons, as a strategic defence against the Welsh. They became Marcher Lords overseeing the border territories, with the right to administer laws and run their estates, virtually independent of the monarchy. The county was the central part of the Welsh Marches.
A detailed guide to spectacular route.