Shropshire & Herefordshire Hills

8 and 9 January 2010

Meetings first near Monmouth and then near Telford allowed Stephen to use up a day of last year's holiday with a bit of walking. The excess of snow led to a bit of hesitation, but with the hotel booked and non-refundable, it would have been a shame to miss the chance. With some changes of plan to ensure all the walks started from B-roads rather than more isolated locations, it was a good day and a half, increasing the Marilyn tally by three.

High Vinnalls

The road into the car park, which proved too much for my car. But I put it at the entrance, and set off up the hill

First deciduous trees

Then conifers. The going was pretty easy

Jumping Jack Common, where in places the snow was rather deeper - perhaps 40 cm, but mostly less than that.

And rather suddenly and to my surprise, I was at the summit of High Vinnalls. The path I had followed was not shown on the OS map - I had expected to follow the bridleway to the south-west and then south, reaching to the summit along the forestry track running northwards. But the forest shown on the map simply wasn't there, and the easy going across grassland under snow brought me to the top.

Descending a slightly different way, the view to the east.

The snow was very dry - lots of big ice crystals.

Following animal tracks in the snow, but no humans have been this way.

On the right is Titterstone Clee Hill, already visited in 2006, and centre-left disappearing into the haze is Brown Clee Hill, this afternoon's target.

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Total 5.3 km and 237 metres ascent in 1 hour 37 mins.


Brown Clee Hill

With the snow making a main road start wise, my planned route up Brown Clee Hill was changed for one starting on the B4364 between Burwarton and The Gore. A track enabled me to gain some height easily. At this point the gate enables me to leave that track and get onto the higher ground.

No-one has been this way

Looking back over Shropshire

The trees don't look very English

First view of the masts on top of Brown Clee Hill, still a little way off

It's not actually that deep - but there were regular patches where the snow was up to my knees, and the odd drift that I accidentally found where I was up to my waist.

Onto Brown Clee Hill itself

The frozen wastes of Shropshire and Herefordshire

Ice on the fence

Always a sign that it's been a bit chilly

The toposcope which replaced the trig point. Despite the inscription saying that it is the highest point in Shropshire, it isn't.

The knoll on the other side of the mast is a little higher, so it was a drift-filled and somewhat difficult trip around there to ensure the highest point had been visited.

Looking back across Brown Clee HIll to Titterstone Clee Hill on the left skyline.

Returning down the hill to the car. Walking, I caught up a 4x4 which was driving very cautiously down the hill, but perhaps I inspired the driver who put on a burst of speed as I approached and pulled away from me.

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Total 8.7 km and 305 metres ascent in 2 hours 45 mins.



Saturday morning, and it will soon be time to head back to Suffolk, but first a climb up Burrow, from the village hall car park at Aston on Clun.

Sheep running away from me.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the first part of the path, which was really a stream bed. Fair enough, I suppose, if that's where the right-of-way happens to be, but did the gate really have to be put precisely there?

Reaching the col at the neck of the forest, there are some forestry operations underway.

On the right is the forestry track marked on the map going north-south, while on the left are the tracks made by the forestry machinery - not actually using the track.

It seemed to power up the steep slope without difficulty, albeit pretty slowly.

A little path then took me away from the forestry track and up towards the summit

At the top is the Iron Age hill fort of Burrow Camp, favoured with two natural springs. The banks are quite impressive constructions.

Looking back into the valley.

Following a fox's footsteps to the east and a different way down off the summit.

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Total 6.0 km and 249 metres ascent in 1 hour 50 mins.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson