In honour of 30 Days Wild month, I’m going to try and do my T5F posts about wild things and places.
First up, my TOP 5 PLACES TO GO WALKING IN SHROPSHIRE & STAFFORDSHIRE (I warn you in advance – there be hills ahead. And possibly dragons, who knows?)
5. The Wrekin
Local legend has it that the Wrekin was made by a giant in the long and distant past, and it actually took me a lot of years living very close by to it before I ever made it to the top. I have since been back lots of times in all sorts of weather – burning sunshine, blizzard, rain and the day from the photo. Where it was bitterly cold, there was snow on the ground and we got there super early to watch the sun rise. It was beautiful.
4. Wenlock Edge
I got utterly lost exploring this limestone escarpment and it was wonderful. So many paths through the woods with sudden fabulous views when you get a gap in the trees – just beautiful. But yeah, if your sense of direction is as terrible as mine, maybe take a friend.
3. Downs Banks
The kids weren’t quite so practiced at hills when we took them up here the first time as you can probably tell by their faces. They’re a bit more used to it now (see photo below!) A good mix of open hillside and woodland and riverside, Downs Banks is a lovely area to play in and explore as a family.
A UNESCO World Heritage site known for being the heart of the Industrial Revolution and home to the first full-span Iron Bridge (I wonder where they got the name for the place from…), this is just down the road from us and it never fails to stun me with how beautiful it is. I have now worked out my favourite walking route starting on one side of the river (at a pub) and walking up the riverside to the famous bridge, crossing over there and walking back up the other side to the bridge by the pub where you start. It’s about 7 miles in total I think and is just right if you start early stop for an ice cream for elevenses by the bridge and finish with lunch at the pub when you get back!
The highest point in Shropshire and a challenging but gorgeous 10k walk (that can be VERY muddy. As in, if I had been wearing normal ankle-high walking boots one time I went, I would have got mud over the top of them…) Amazing views and the feeling that you are on top of the world at the top (apart from when I took my Mum – on the muddy day – when it decided to be super foggy so there was absolutely zero view at all. You could barley see your hands at the end of your arm at some points!) There are also more ruins left from the Industrial era to explore along the way, unexpected lakes (that are frequented by wild swimmers apparently), moorland and woodland. It’s crazy steep in places and you definitely need to go prepared with rations and drinks but it’s well worth it once you get to the top and are surrounded by skylarks and wild horses!