At this time of year, it’s always a pleasure to relax in front of a crackling fire with a glass of something warming. Somehow, though, it always feels a little better if you’ve earned it – and how better than with a bracing winter ramble in the Shropshire countryside.
Walking groups of up to 30 people are allowed, provided that social distancing is observed. So, remember the two-metre rule! If you fancy joining a walking group, it is advisable to book your place early since walking has become an increasingly popular pastime as people have looked to improve their health and fitness during the pandemic. Also, make sure you keep up to date with government advice, as it changes regularly.
Visit the parkland, walled garden, shop, and deer park at Attingham Park. Set amongst woodland and beautifully maintained gardens, it makes wonderful day out or different dog walking location to enjoy. There is timed entry into the park and pre-booking your visit is essential. Dogs are welcome but must always be kept on leads. Tickets are released every Friday – call 03442 491895 or go to nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park.
Come and escape in Mortimer Forest, with a thousand hectares to explore. There are walks for all abilities, from two miles to 14, its a fantastic place to walk with the dog. All four carparks have picnic areas for you to use, so make a day of it and bring some lunch with you. More info at – forestryengland.uk/mortimer-forest.
Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd
Walk across Carding Mill this winter and take in the views across the Shropshire Hills. This time of year can be harsh on the Long Mynd but there is still a lot of wildlife to see, you just have to look a bit harder. You may be lucky to spot the wild ponies. Children can play in the stream in the valley. Details at nationaltrust.org.uk.
Explore this ancient woodland and look for signs of wildlife along the way. There is a thriving dormouse population and to encourage them to stay conservationists have placed nest boxes among the conifers. Why not see if you can spot one along the way? Visit – nationaltrust.org.uk.
Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses
With miles of footpaths to explore, there is a huge range for all abilities to choose from. The high sandstone ridge and hill fort overlooking the dramatic red sandstone rock houses makes for impressive sightseeing. There are plenty of natural play areas through the woodland trail. Dogs are welcome, however must be kept on leads around some restrictive wildlife areas. There is times entry to avoid crowds, pre-booking is essential. Tickets are released every Friday. Call 01384 872553 or visit nationaltrust.org.uk.
Dudmaston’s woodland has ancient trees and an expansive meadow to explore. It is also home to the UK’s northern most population of the White Admiral Butterfly, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Explorer trail in Comer Woods is a great spot for den building. Challenge your family and friends to create the best woodland shelter. The Shepherd’s Hut and the Orchard Tea-room is open for refreshments. Carpark on site. Dogs allowed in Parkland and Dingle but must be on leads. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk.
Offering fantastic views and a challenging but manageable climb. It is understandable that the Wrekin is one of the most popular walks in Shropshire. The main path up from the Forest Glen is well surfaced and easy to follow, turning a sharp right then back left near the Halfway House. This route is just over a mile long each way. The Wrekin can be climbed or walked around as part of longer walks from the surrounding area. Visit shropshiretourism.co.uk for further information.
Severn Valley Country Park
There are several different trails you can follow to explore the parkland. They range from 1-mile to 3.5-mile and include an Easy Access Trail suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Choose from woodland, riverbanks or a trail discovering the geological highlights of the Severn Valley. There are also guided walks exploring the wider area and range from six to thirteen miles in length. Guided walks must be pre-booked, 01746 781192. For more details about self-lead walks visit, shropshiresgreatoutdoors.co.uk.
Festival of Winter Walks
Choose from fun festive themed walks that the little ones will love, leisurely strolls for people new to walking and longer walks for those that want more of a challenge. Walks are free and a great way to get out and about and walk off some of that festive excess. The festival takes place from the 18 December to 3 Jan. To find a walk near you go to www.ramblers.org.uk for more info.
Local Walking Groups
We are lucky to have so many walking groups in our area. Here are a few of the local groups still meeting at time of going to press. However, with circumstances changing all the time, please check the relevant websites to confirm walks are still taking place.
Telford and East Shropshire Ramblers offer a variety of regular walks led by local volunteers. Walks usually take place on Thursdays and Sundays. There is a limit to between 5 and eleven walkers per group. Booking is essential, call 07909 583839, tesramblers.org.uk.
The South Shropshire Ramblers usually meet on Sundays and walks vary from seven to 12 miles in length. The walks are led by local volunteers. Visit ramblers.org.uk to find out more.
Walking For Health
Chelmarsh have restarted their regular walks every Monday at 10am. It is a one-hour circular walk, new walkers welcome. walkingforhealth.org.uk.
Bridgnorth Walking club
For information on upcoming walks visit bridgnorthwalkingclub.org.uk or call 01746 862652.
Much Wenlock Walkers
For current walks visit muchwenlockwalkers.org.uk.
The group usually meets on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. wellingtonwalkersarewelcome.org.uk.