28th April 2018
Weather: Cloudy until 11. Sunshine until 14:00, clouded over & short shower 15:30. Cloud diminished, late evening sunshine. Cold.
Set out 06:05, finished 19:55. So I saw the day change from morning mist to sunny afternoon and clear air. A lot of walking in the woods, two ups & downs this morning. Very muddy in places where many people had passed on foot & bike. After Craven Arms to Strefford a muddy upward slope onto Wenlock Edge, then 10 miles of fairly level walking through coppiced woodland along Wenlock Edge to Wilderhope. Muddy in places the only thing slowing a fast pace. The trees now coming into leaf in a bright green.
I was pleased to reach Craven Arms at the earlier end of my 2-3pm estimate. I stopped for a meal and bought food & water, on way again at 3pm.
If I had reached Roman Bank at 8pm or later I was going to camp. I got there 7pm so carried on to Wilderhope. A huge, spacious dorm, just 3 occupants.
The forecast had improved overnight and the rest of the day looked the same
After Knighton museum, more oddities were no surprise. The notice on the door of this “shop” announced the proprietor was unlikely to be in
Every town should have one:
real men wanted
The lone commuter from Knighton left on the 06:15 to Shrewsbury, and I headed to the woods in the grey morning
Then open fields
a haul uphill to Holloway Rocks (I thought of Andy, Kate & co “but that would be Holloways Rock”), where I looked back to Knighton
On the other side the next hills lined up
Maps are funny things. “Vron” you might have assumed was a village. It was a small farm, isolated by a long 4WD track (very deep rocky ruts). You would have to drive under this
Reiki for horses anyone?
Here were some customers anyway
Hopton Castle is clearly rather upmarket (don’t think I would choose yellow)
The castle was built as a house in imitation of the Landlord’s own, probably on the site of a Norman Motte & Bailey
It featured in the Civil War
Looking back over Hopton and the hill I had descended
St Cuthbert’s at Clungunford
Above the gable you can see a cheerful Cuthbert, I presume
After quite a walk along a road, an overgrown entrance to a path led to a series of challenges from running water to many fallen trees.
but also this
Craven Arms, nestling under Wenlock Edge
Before that, Stokesay Castle
Much to my relief it had all visitor conveniences
It was still 10 miles from Craven Arms to Wilderhope. First a short stretch by the river to Stretford, looking up a Wenlock Edge. The sky had darkened again, and there was a brief rain shower.
Finally the Edge beckoning me up into the trees
Steep and very muddy at first, then a wide path
Finally levelling out and narrowing
Coppiced woods with bluebells and anemones
At 17:15, the question “could I make it before dark?”
Out of the woods, a view to the East, and exposed to the rather cold Easterly wind.
and a common spotted, I believe
The evening sky cast some interesting colours on hills and cloud
Finally Wilderhope Manor gifted to the National Trust by the Cadburys on condition it be used as a Youth Hostel