The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Clee Hills

Monday 12 January

Brown Clee Hill (SO593867; 540m)


(Post blog note: we returned to Brown Clee Hill later the same week to put right the accidental omission of the summit from this walk!)

As soon as we got back from our New Year jaunt in Wales I turned my attention to the Marilyns in the South East and came up with a plan. It's a plan we would have put into effect last week, if it hadn't been for the weather forecast. Instead, I did some fun things (spa visit; being a lady wot lunches) and some necessary-but-dull things (MoT, for example), and generally sat around for the vast majority of the week. With cabin fever setting in, the decision was made to take a trip this week, whether the weather was kind to us or not, but rather closer to home, with Shropshire being our destination.

The weather wasn't too bad as we set out this morning, albeit a bit breezy (is there any part of the UK that hasn't been a bit breezy over the last few days?), and having positioned Colin nicely at the side of a very small road, off we strode for our first objective of the day: Brown Clee Hill. (I would happily have dawdled rather than strode, up the steeper bits, but having followed a couple of girls for a while, walking at pretty well the same pace as us, they decided we should pass, which put pressure on us not to hold them up, so stride we did.)

The top of Brown Clee Hill was windy indeed, and perhaps it was the distraction of trying to stay upright which caused me to fail to notice that the topograph isn't at the highest point on the hill, meaning that (I think) I missed the true top by about 60 paces. Very careless of me!

An out and back from our parking area would have given a walk of well under an hour, but my plans were a little more ambitious than that (albeit the wind and daylight hours had caused the original plan of a 14-mile ridge-walk, taking in two Marilyns, to be discounted as an option). So, instead of heading back down, south along the ridge we went, heading to the next summit before dropping down and looping back to our starting point.

Somewhere in between the topograph and the next summit the rain started to come down in earnest, so it wasn't until we were ensconced back inside Colin that the sandwiches and flasks that we had carried were broken out (which was when I discovered that my brand new mug lacked the essential feature of a water-tight base).

Titterstone Clee Hill (SO591779; 533m)


With lunch despatched, onwards we went to our next objective: Titterstone Clee Hill, where, in view of the weather, I shunned all thoughts of taking a decent length of walk and instead opted to drive almost to the top (which made sense, as it was where we intended to overnight).

Having sat around reading and drinking tea until daylight was showing signs of dimming, I had to conclude that the rain wasn't going to stop and, whilst I could have deferred the walk until the morning, I pulled on my still-damp outer layers and braved the elements.

Compared to this morning, the wind had dropped and the rain was light, and it really wasn't far to the top, where I pondered how nice the views would be on a blue-skied day (today's two hills were visually very different, but both shared views of great flatness to the east and lumpety-bumpetyness to the west).

Back past the huge golf-ball antenna thing, and past the old quarry holes I went, arriving back at Colin having covered a whopping 0.9 of a mile, bringing the total mileage for the day up to 6.2.

Of course, the rain did finally stop after I got back!


  1. Just had a look at the list and the OS map but I haven't done any of those. There seems to be a bewildering array of footpaths in the vicinity of Titterstone Clee Hill. I'm envious stuck in here doing a bit of Katie minding, but I'm off at the weekend with BowlandClimber (John) to start where I left off on the Cheshire Ring canal walk and complete the circle back through Manchester to Marple - three days walking.

  2. As we were parked just before the road end, near the top of Titterstone Clee Hill, I didn't have to do battle with that array of footpaths, although I confess that I was curious, from the depiction on the map, to see how well set-out they are on the ground.

    I look forward to hearing how the rest of the Cheshire Ring pans out.

  3. They're a nice viewpoint, the Clees; from memory I think Brown Clee is the high point of Shropshire. They're terribly over-grazed though (down to the bedrock in places) and in a long, dry spell of summer weather it can become a bit of a dustbowl up there.

    I know open-grazing rights can be a contentious issue, bout they could probably do with adopting a system like on The Malverns and moving the livestock around and creating some restricted areas to aid recovery.

    1. The routes we took didn't make an over-grazing problem obvious to us as the bulk of our route on Brown Clee Hill being through the forest to the east, whereas our progress across the ridge was head-down against the wind and rain, whilst occastionally simultaneously plunging my foot to deep into bogs!

      It's a pity the weather wasn't conducive to walking more of the Shropshire Way over these hills, which would have no doubt given a more complete view of the area.

  4. I recall from early economics classes that that is the age-old problem of 'The Tragedy of the Commons' - and basic history too, I guess!

    1. Your econommics classes were more comprehensive than mine!