February Ramblings 2023
We returned to the town of Montgomery, in the Welsh Marches, on the border with Shropshire, for our 2023 walking weekend.
The Dragon Hotel again proved a very popular base for us and we met there for our evening meals, with most participants also booking accommodation in the hotel.
On Saturday, we followed a circular route of approximately 8.5 miles, in the hills behind the small town, beginning by climbing up steeply, past the castle, along the Town Ditch to the Town Hill. We were fortunate that good weather gave us some great views across the Vale of Montgomery and east towards Corndon Hill, Roundton Fort and Todleth Hill (where we walked in 2020). Our route this time included grassy paths, muddy paths, stony tracks, lanes and small country roads. We walked through fields, woodland areas, quarries and more. It wasn't possible to avoid country roads but they were relatively traffic free at this time. Total ascent/descent was 1,619 ft.
A smaller group did some gentler walking closer to the town and the main walking group enjoyed the town as well, including tea shops, after completing the route, with several people also visiting Montgomery Castle ruins.
Our Sunday walk, of some 5.5 miles, was again circular, starting from the car park near The Bog Visitor Centre, behind the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve.
We followed an adaptation of one of the Walking with Offa routes: The ‘Land of Derelicton’ in the shadow of the Devil’s Chair, which is described as a ‘walk along the edge of the spectacular Stiperstones then easy walking across a valley scattered with mining remains, taking 2 to 3 hours’. We started by taking a path parallel to and below the Stiperstones ridge, on the north-western side, along the edge of the Nature Reserve.
The walking was much easier than on the underlying loose stones and rocks of the Stiperstones ridge itself and, once we had descended to the valley near Tankerville, we walked across farming and pasture land towards Shelve and them back via Flenny Bank and Shelve Pool. We had some great views looking back at the Devil’s Chair, Manstone Rock and more .
The weekend ended with Sunday lunch at the Stiperstones Inn.