Saturday, 22 June 2013

So close, a bloody shame I didn't give it more thought!

Well 'ere we are now, so flippin' close to beautiful Wales, and I am kicking myself I can tell you isn't it. Why I planned this route to go down the West side of England without going into Wales I will never know, but there it is. When I get down to the serious planning of my route back up to John O'Groats - including Dunnet Head - I will  walk/climb to the top of Wales, that's if they'll let me in!

We left Ternhill, just West of Market Drayton, just after ten this morning for the 16 mile plod to Shrewbury. Liz's husband Mark very kindly shifting our bags, cheers Mark, and then he joined us for the last few miles into town. Shrewsbury is quite a pretty town - if towns can be now they are filled with motor cars!? - but for me it is still a town. This walk has reminded me how much I love the countryside and the hills, a tiny hamlet in the middle of a few hills with a few houses and a pub or two is where I feel most at home. But there it is, towns are neccessary to house so many people I guess.

Shrewbury is in the middle of Shropshire, which is one of our less inhabited counties, and has quite a rich history. Several battles were fought around these parts over the years, and of course The River Severn flows right through the middle of town. There is also an Abbey in Shrewsbury, that in itself is testimony to the age of the town.

As we approached Shrewsbury from 6 or 7 miles out I could see the outlines of several hills a long way away in the distance, which left me longing to carry on a long way further West into Wales, but never mind - next time! Going through the pretty little village of Shawbury I spotted a picturesque little river flowing under the road. I'm not sure whether it was a tributary of The Severn, but it was very nice all the same.
That was along the main road into Shrewsbury, the A53, which seems to go on forever, with much road walking, few verges to hop on to, and many raised hands waving to drivers who slowed down for us. Eventually the wide open spaces and green fields either side of the road give way to factories and masses of houses and shops, as the town gets nearer. The last few miles into town depressing me somewhat, as I long for the hills of Cymru and some mountain streams to look at.
Here we are though, in what is a nice little hotel
The Abbots Mead, with The Abbey not far away,
just the other side of the river actually.

The bridge over The River Severn, right in the middle of Shrewsbury, is actually called The English Bridge, and was first built between 1768 and 1774. It was rebuilt in 1927, when the steep gradient of the banks was greatly reduced and it was considerably widened as well.
We will have to walk the road again to Bridgenorth tomorrow, but from then on we can follow the path alongside The Severn all the way to Chepstow. Marvellous. I very much hope to get some decent pictures over the next few days!
631, ish, miles now on the clock.
Alec Hawkes, milko plod. 22.06.13

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