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