Rediscover the Great British outdoors along the Shropshire border
As spring turns to summer, walkers across the UK will be busy planning their next few months of outdoor adventuring. To help ramblers make their decision, Shropshire Council (www.shropshirewalking.co.uk) are kindly offering visitors to their website dozens of free downloadable maps, walking advice and podcasts showcasing the delights of the glorious Shropshire border, giving budding explorers of all ages the chance to reconnect with the English countryside, in this an Olympic year.
Explore the heights of the Offa’s Dyke National trail
The jewel in the crown of the Shropshire border is undoubtedly the undulating hills traversed by the Offa’s Dyke National Trail. Opened in the summer of 1971, and linking Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow with the coastal town of Prestatyn on the Welsh shores of the Irish sea, this spectacular 177mile/285 kilometre trek winds through no less than eight different counties, zigzagging back and forth over the border between England and Wales over 20 times. Highlights of this most scenic of trails include the tranquil Marches and the renowned Brecon Beacons National Park, as well as three official ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Hills.
Shorter walks for the casual rambler
For those after a more leisurely, shorter spell spent in the company of the wilds of Shropshire, free downloadable maps are now available for several circular walks combining the spectacle of the resplendent Offa’s Dyke – commissioned in the 8th century by King Offa himself to divide the kingdom of Mercia from the untamed lands of the Welsh – with the historic Wats Dyke and Oswestry’s ancient hill fort. There are also a number of fascinating tours of the area’s local heritage sites, including visits to a Bronze Age cairn (a man-made pile of ceremonial rocks), a traditional witch queen and even a 19th century lime kiln – central to the region’s artisan prosperity.
The trails along the Shropshire border are among some of the finest, unspoilt walking track left not just in England, but in Britain as a whole. Combining breathtaking natural beauty with still-standing artefacts from the nation’s past, ramblers and amateur historians alike will find much to admire, and even more to love, in this picturesque past of the country.
For more information on the Shropshire border, and to download free maps, walks and podcasts, visit www.shropshirewalking.co.uk.