Saturday, 13 October 2012

Lodge Hill, The Lawley and Caer Caradoc - Shropshire 4.10.12

A circular walk - 13.5 miles.

I was back in Shropshire for a week, I had done one walk already across the rugged side of the Shropshire Hills - The Stiperstones. I wanted to do another walk in the Shropshire Hills before I left, but this time I wanted to return to the truly stunning hills that surround Church Stretton. This part of the county was regular walking country for me when I lived in the area, and one hill that I had in mind in particular to visit again was Caer Caradoc, probably the most distinctive hill as you approach Church Stretton from Shrewsbury.
 Lying next to Caer Caradoc is another stunning hill called The Lawley, which I had never been up before. So I drew up a circular route that would incorporate both of them - also bagging the Trig Point on neighbouring Lodge Hill.

 It's a 15 minute train journey from Shrewsbury to Church Stretton, and I arrived into the pretty little town at 10 am. The weather was certainly looking good, with Caer Caradoc and The Lawley looking good from the train in the morning sunshine.
 Both hills lay on the not so popular side in terms of tourism of Church Stretton, the vast majority of people visiting the town usually head for the truly stunning Carding Mill Valley. However the eastern side of the town is pretty quiet on the tourist and even hikers front, despite the equally as stunning scenery.

I walked out of the station and headed east towards the incredibly busy A49 road. Risking my life, I crossed thankfully without incident to follow the road north for 300 yards before turning right up the B4371. I followed this road for a good mile before turning left up this track...
The last time I walked along this lane was just over a year ago after scaling near by Hazler Hill and then taking on Hope Bowdler Hill. This time ignoring the inviting path cutting right from this track towards Hope Bowdler Hill, I continued along the lane...
 A gap in the hedgerow reveals Caer Caradoc looking stunning on this morning...
 Taking the track right here by-passing Cwms Farm...
 Onto the flanks of Hope Bowdler Hill here, this path follows the base of this hill for about half a mile, and then neighbouring Willstone Hill...
 Heading right here on another lane/track...
 Looking back at Willstone Hill...
 Taking a path left from the lane/track bringing me out onto this  view. Little Caradoc is the hill on the left, and The Lawley is on the right...
The route now continues along a footpath over an area on the map called 'The Wilderness'. This eventually brings you out onto a lane...
 The lane continues towards a crossroads at Broadstone, before a climb towards the tiny village of Enchmarsh. Once in the village, I cut left along this muddy track...
 This lane climbs then cuts right along Hoar Edge before entering out onto another country lane...
 Been a while since this was last on the tracks no doubt...
 Into the trees of Birch Coppice now, on the edge of Lodge Hill...
 After loosing the path in the thick bramble and bracken filled undergrowth, I followed this dry stone wall to the summit. Probably not the best idea...
 The summit of Lodge Hill at 304 metres, looking towards The Wrekin on the horizon...
 Some good views from the recently deforested summit...
 Following a muddy path now, back towards Birch Coppice and the country lane...
I followed the lane for about a mile to the base of The Lawley. There is a car park where the ridge begins, but I found a small path that cut up the side of the ridge and onto the main track to the hill...
 The trees soon disappear as you climb higher...
 Easily one of the most beautiful hills that I've climbed...
 And an unusual summit marker, great though! You can make out in this picture the old Trig Point base too...
 There was some great views from the top of The Lawley on this day towards the hills surrounding Llangollen to the north west, the Berwyn Range, the Arans, and into the rest of Snowdonia. Looking north east you could make out the buildings of Wolverhampton, back towards Buildwas Power Station, The Wrekin, into Shrewsbury, and the very southern tip of the Pennines in the far north. To the south you could see towards Radnor Forest, Black Mountain, and towards the distant Brecon Beacons. A truly stunning panorama from the summit of this beautiful hill...
 And south towards the next climb, Caer Caradoc...
 It's a steep descent from The Lawley, which brings you out onto a lane. Following the lane left, I followed it towards the village of Comley, then took this foot path left which follows the western edge of Little Caradoc...
 Then after following the wooded path for about half a mile, I cut left and followed this path steeply uphill cutting between Little Caradoc and Caer Caradoc...
 Cutting right onto the sheep filled lower slopes of Caer Caradoc...
 A classic shot of the Shropshire Hills...
 A fairly tough hike up the side of the hill...
 And eventually to the very windy summit of Caer Caradoc at 459 metres...
Looking south east towards the Clee Hills...
Church Stretton...
Three Fingers Rock on the right, with Hazler Hill centre, and wooded Helmeth Hill on the left...
Hope Bowdler Hill from Three Fingers Rock...
Three Fingers Rock on the descent of Caer Caradoc...
The southern end of the Caer Caradoc reveals the craggy nature of the hill...
A steep little descent...
Heading past New House Farm now looking back at Caer Caradoc...
And finally back to Church Stretton station for the train back to Shrewsbury...
This is a lovely walk around some of the finest Shropshire Hills. Caer Caradoc and The Lawley are two of the most beautiful hills in the country, and a must visit when in Shropshire!
 Thanks for reading.