We did the Shropshire Way as part of a trip that included Glyndwr’s Way in Wales. The route began in Shrewsbury, England near the Welsh border, traveling 136 miles through some of the most picturesque, yet overlooked, counties in England. This was sheep country with green bosomy hills, small farms and tidy villages boasting ancient castles built by English Kings to keep out the barbarians (the Welsh).
It was apparent early that if we were looking for mindless walking where we could set ourselves in a direction and be lost in our thoughts, this wasn’t it.
The route required a lot of “to-ing and fro-ing” said the guidebook which sent us along the hedgerow, through the hedgeway, over the bridge, past the cottage, half-left, half-right, over the stile, down a dingle, through the kissing gate, pass an oak and down the lane.
The April weather was perfect and after a while we settled in. Layers of fat and stress dissolved with every step. For those who have discovered the joy and freedom of walking with only a pack on their back, where their only concerns are whether they need a raincoat, what will be for lunch and where the path goes…it’s an addicting experience.
The English, especially those in the country, enjoy American guests in spite of “all that luggage.” On several occasions we were asked where Colorado was and whether we had any sheep. Farmers love to talk about farming and the poor state of the economy and found the willing walker/talker, David Novic, an engaging conversationalist. As I pulled away one day thinking we were never going to get anywhere if David and the farmer didn’t stop talking, the man gave one final blurt. “The Minister of Agriculture, she’s a bloody vegetarian!”
The walk made it’s way east in a large circle where hills covered with sheep gave way to arable farmland. The pattern here was “around the field, up the stile, down the stile, round the field, up the stile, down the stile, round the field…..”
The circle eventually returned us to Shrewsbury and two gigantic celebratory sundaes. We then boarded the train for Wales.
How It Stacks Up
I loved this walk especially the western portion. The scenery was varied and the lodging was consistently good. There weren’t any other walkers on the trail- a plus. I wouldn’t recommend it to people who are new to long-distance walking since it does require route-finding skills. The eastern part was less appealing mainly due to the flat terrain and mud.