Central England – Much Wenlock, Shropshire
Distance: 10km/6 miles
Type: Town and country
Where: Circular walk through Much Wenlock and along Wenlock Edge.
Start/End: The Gaskell Arms, High Street, Much Wenlock (SO621997).
Terrain: Two hill climbs, some stiles and gates, and one 100m stretch of exposed roadside walking.
Maps: OS Explorer 246 and 233; Landranger 129 and 141.
Deepest Shropshire provides one of the more unexpected links to this year’s Olympic Games, for Much Wenlock was the home town of William Penny Brookes, one of the driving spirits behind the creation of the modern Olympics. The quintessential Victorian do-gooder, Brookes was a philanthropist and doctor who established the Olympian Class, an annual sporting event that sought to improve the moral and physical well-being of the town’s working folk. He subsequently founded the annual Olympian Games in 1850 and was hugely influential in setting the modern Olympic flame alight, even if history allows his acquaintance Baron Pierre de Coubertin to hog the credit. Much Wenlock’s medieval heart was protected from the advances of post-war planners and presents an architectural dash through the centuries, from a 12th-century priory to Tudor and Elizabethan flourishes and grander Georgian townhouses – all of which would be more or less recognisable to Brookes. Along with the main sights, this walk takes in the delectable Wenlock Edge above the town.
Click below to see a route profile and view the route on an Ordnance Survey map