Over the bor­der – hills, cas­tles, borders, twisty tar­mac... it’s a day ride round Shrop­shire

Motorcycle Monthly - - Day Ride - WORDS & PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: Eddy Smyth

The first tar­get on this clock­wise cir­cuit is the quirk­ily named vil­lage of Clun. Take the A442 south to Kid­der­min­ster and fol­low signs for Bewdley, grab the by­pass and head for Ludlow. It’s been a pleas­ant enough ride al­ready but the treats now come thick and fast. Turn right at Cal­lowhill on to the A4117 and the real fun be­gins, twist­ing the throt­tle and dab­bing the brakes through heav­ily wooded stretches, steep de­clines, sweep­ing in­clines and the jewel in this tiara, the sec­tion from Clee­hill to An­gel­bank. If the road here is clear of traf­fic and sheep, it never fails to please.

There’s plenty of dis­trac­tion in Ludlow, in­clud­ing a cas­tle if you’re that way in­clined, be­fore rid­ing a short way up the A49 and head­ing left at Brom­field on the A4113 to­wards Leint­war­dine: an­other pho­to­genic vil­lage. Just be­fore Leint­war­dine you could cut a few miles off the ride by turn­ing right on to the B4385 to Purslow and then the B4368 (left) to Clun. Or take the longer route loop­ing right af­ter Leint­war­dine on the B4367 which does much the same thing.

Ride down the hill and turn right (still on the B4368) and be­fore re­ally get­ting back into the ride there’s a snap­shot op­por­tu­nity in the gravel lay-by on the right – the re­mains of Clun Cas­tle.

You might need to take a mo­ment to choose which route you pre­fer from here, be­cause we’re head­ing into Wales. Ei­ther stay on the B4368 to floun­der into Powys at the bot­tom of the hill or take the un­marked road at a cross­roads by the pub and head over the hill in­stead of round it.

Go­ing up that un­marked road is fab­u­lous. I’ve never met any traf­fic on it and the views are spec­tac­u­lar, though it’s nar­row. Head­ing down is an­other mat­ter. The hedgerows and sharp bends hide what might lurk beyond and the gravel, mud and de­tri­tus in­sist you fo­cus on keep­ing the rub­ber side down. But since it all ended well by the time I re­joined the B4368 it was bril­liant fun.

The House on Crutches mu­seum might at­tract your at­ten­tion in town but so might the A489 to Church Stret­ton. Take a sharp left just be­fore Horder­ley on the B4370 to cross very dif­fer­ent ter­rain all the way to Marsh­brook and the A49.

You will find tun­nels of trees, sil­very streams be­low and steep dirt slopes down to wa­ter­side houses in this nat­u­ral for­est. There aren’t many over­tak­ing stretches but if you get to use one you may not need a sec­ond – it’s an­other de­serted road.

At the Cross­ways traf­fic lights, take the right turn on to the B4371 and your fi­nal B-road blast through some de­light­fully named vil­lages all the way to Much Wen­lock. The A458 from here to Bridg­north awaits to take you bliss­fully full cir­cle.

Both towns have some­thing to of­fer by way of coun­try de­lights but if you pre­fer in­dus­trial his­tory take in Iron­bridge in­stead.

And if you didn’t start your day with a fry-up at the Food Stop in Qu­at­ford, you might be in time for a cuppa be­fore they close.

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