Herriot Way

Way back in October 2015 I walked the 52 miles of the Herriot Way taking 4 days to complete. Stuart Greig, the author of the guide-book has recently introduced a “completion” certificate. He has kindly sent me my personalised copy which is shown below. It is a great walk which you should try for yourself.

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Hallaton & Medbourne

Sunday 12 November 2017. There were 7 of us on today’s 8.75 mile walk with a total ascent of 800ft. Linda S led the walk with Linda W, Francis, Moira, Betty, me and Tommy from Kettering ramblers trying to hang on to her coat-tails. The walk bore more than a passing resemblance to a “Steeplechase“, starting from the church in Hallaton and visiting 3 more churches along the way.

Cross-fields paths and a short section of road walking took us to Blaston where we stopped for coffee and for the ladies to use a portaloo which was conveniently sited nearby. Soon after, we came to a marker post with a carving of the face of a Viking upon it. Tommy had seen it before and had us guessing as to what was unusual about it. It took some time before we spotted the carved face.

Our next stop was Nevill Holt with a fascinating history which you can read for yourself here. We walked around the perimeter of the grounds so as to get a better view of the buildings. We had been fairly sheltered until now but the walk away from Nevill Holt exposed us to a bitingly cold wind. Our lunch stop was taken at Medbourne church from where we had a further 4 miles to walk back to Hallaton. A welcome post-walk cup of tea was had in the Hare Pie cafe in Hallaton.

Aerial View

Hallaton & Medbourne – walk route

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Long Mynd

Thursday 9 November 2017. The final walk of this holiday was a 9 mile jaunt up onto the Long Mynd with a total ascent of 1,700ft. Starting from the house we dropped down to the bottom of Townbrook Valley to start the 800ft climb up to the trig point at Pole Bank (1,692ft). We stopped for coffee here with views out towards Wales in the west and the Malvern Hills to the south-east.

We headed south from Pole Bank towards and over Minton Hill. We stopped in the lee of the hill for lunch where we were pestered by wild ponies looking for a free meal. A downhill section took us into Minto village and then on to Little Stretton. One final hill saw us on the path back to the house arriving at 23:0pm.

I did 6 walks on this holiday totalling 43 miles and 7,900ft of ascent.

Aerial View

Long Mynd – walk route

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Ludlow

Wednesday 8 November 2017. It rained for most of yesterday so I decided to take a day off from walking and catch-up on TV on my laptop. Jacqui and others on the holiday weren’t deterred by the weather and reported that the rain wasn’t too bad.

The weather today was totally different with an overnight frost and clear blue sky’s – ideal for walking. We were all supposed to take the bus at 9:30 but the coach company sent a smaller bus which couldn’t accommodate all of the walkers. Half an hour later a 53 seater coach pitched up and we were on our way. We were dropped off at Bromfield and walked through Oakley Park. We stopped after about an hour for coffee and then walked a mile or so further before making the one major climb of the day to Mary Knoll cottage where we stopped for lunch.

It was all downhill from here at a breakneck pace through Mary Knoll Valley. We approached Ludlow from the south walking beside the River Teme from where we had a good view of Ludlow Castle. Despite making a delayed start to this walk we arrived in Ludlow just after 3pm with time to kill until we were picked up at 5pm. Jacqui and I went for a cup of tea and I then left her to look around the town on her own. I’d been to Ludlow before and 30 minutes is more than enough to see what it has to offer. The walk was 9.5 miles with a total ascent of 1,400ft.

Aerial View

Ludlow – walk route

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The Wrekin

Monday 6 November 2017. Today was a “free day” on my HF holiday so I could do as I pleased. Jacqui went off to look around Shrewsbury while I took myself off for a walk up The Wrekin. This is a prominent hill and whilst it is only 1,335ft high it can be seen from miles around and when driving along the M54.

It was uphill straight out of the car on a well made and wide path approaching from the north-east. I started at 9:30 and was surprised to find so many people out and about at this time on a Monday morning. It must be a popular spot for exercise of humans and canines alike. It was only 1.3 miles to the trig point at the summit but it took me about an hour to get there as it involved a climb of 800ft. I had the top to myself for quite a while so I took a few selfies using the remote control on both my camera and smartphone. I used the topograph as a stand for the camera but this meant that it was looking into the sun so the results aren’t that good.

Having got to the top, the only way was down. The path on the south-west side was very steep through woodland with slippery tree roots everywhere to catch out unsuspecting walkers. I managed to stay upright but it was slow progress. A very brief section of road walking brought me to the start of the path which contours around the side of the hill and back to the car. I say “contours” but there was a steady rise of at least 500ft before descending back to my starting point.

Although the walk was only just over 5 miles there was a total ascent of 1,600ft. Thankfully the weather had improved considerably since yesterday with bright sunshine but a temperature of only 8c at the top.

Aerial View

The Wrekin – walk route

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Much Wenlock to Ironbridge

Sunday 5 November 2017. There were 12 of us and our leader, Andy, on today’s 10 mile walk with 1,200ft of ascent and 1,800ft of descent. It was a truly underwhelming walk not helped by the steady rain which only relented in the last hour or so. HF had revised today’s walk programme which had previously ended in Much Wenlock but which now walked through this small town to end in Ironbridge as it has a little more to offer.

The bus dropped us off at Presthope so that we could walk 3 miles of the Wenlock Edge before stopping for coffee in Much Wenlock itself. 3 miles was more than enough of Wenlock Edge and I wouldn’t want to walk its whole length or to walk today’s section again. The second part of the walk followed the route of the Jack Myton Way rather than the Shropshire Way which would have been a little shorter but still ended in the same place. The detour to walk past Benthall Hall was fairly pointless as we only had a distant view and meant that we had to descend down 470 steps to get to banks of the River Severn. Much of the second part of the walk was around muddy field edges which might be okay in summer but was far from pleasant today.

The weather was so grim and the scenery so uninspiring that I didn’t take a single picture today. A walk best forgotten.

Aerial View

Much Wenlock – walk route