Much Wenlock and the Edge

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September, 2020

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The wood was not in trouble nor, until almost the end of our walk, were we. Housman may have brought us to Wenlock Edge but the hills and the small town provided plenty to enjoy.

Of course, Covid-19 had restricted indoor opportunities: no local information centre or town museum. The coffee shop we went to for a mid-morning break was operating a strict one-way system with compulsory masks. Fortunately, early morning rain had cleared and we chose to sit outside. The furniture was quickly wiped down, for disinfectant and drying purposes. We found both toasted teacake and scones with fresh cream on the menu, so with an order of one each plus cappuccino, we sat in warming sunshine in what had once been a way to the church. The impression was that a neighbouring house had suffered the re-alignment of its gable end to accommodate the path, rather as our own house stands at an angle to its neighbour to align with the church opposite.

The coffee and cakes were very good, and we enjoyed the nearby adventures of a toddler who was determined to steer her buggy around the table her parents shared. Very well she did it, too, until her drink arrived and she consented to sit at the table.

To pay meant going back into the shop before coming out again, observing the one-way system, but we managed it and set off for Wenlock Edge. A map would have helped but at least there were signposts along the way. We reached the National Trust car park but only to walk through and begin the climb, as our car was in the very reasonably-priced town centre car park.

All went well for a while but then a choice presented itself: Major’s Leap or the valley walk. As long as the leap did not involve launching on air we thought it would be for us, especially as it provided lovely views of hills. It was somewhat muddy but not difficult. We continued until a sign for the leap pointed through trees. It offered a leap that nobody would choose; nonetheless a good view.

Eventually we met a man with an OS map who told us we were actually on Wenlock Edge so we could continue for a long way further or think about returning to the town. A short way back gave us a choice of continuing to the car park or crossing fields towards another signpost in the wood. That was the way we choice, and again well worth while. A clear path directed us downwards, at times beside fields and at times through woods. We stopped at a fallen rock that many others had used before and ate our lunch. There was a delightful view down through branches that lifted from time to time in a gathering wind – still not troublesome though.

Onward we found a man gathering poles, perhaps for bean stakes, and he said we should turn right to find the NT car park, but the signpost also pointed left, which was a variation that seemed worth following. So it was, until we reached a notice that we were about to enter a busy road. For about ten minutes it was stop-start on the edge until we reached a grassed area. Lorry drivers were generous in passing at distance but some car drivers seemed to enjoy scraping by as close as possible. Fortunately the town was just ahead and a very welcome ice cream was proffered by a shop near the car park.

Of interest to many silver travellers is that the public toilets fully justify the 20p charged, for which a stay of fifteen minutes is permitted, after which the door opens and the whole is sprayed and sanitised.


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