Bitterley - Titterstone Clee Hill

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Honoured as one of the few hills depicted on the famous medieval Mappa Mundi that is in Hereford Cathedral, Titterstone Clee Hill is the third highest in Shropshire and within the designated area of outstanding natural beauty. It has a dual character: on the north side, its natural beauty is preserved; on the south, it bears the fascinating marks of centuries of human activity. A Bronze Age cairn on the summit suggests a ceremonial site dating back 4,000 years and there is also an Iron Age hill-fort, partly displaced by later quarrying.

The summit has much to interest the industrial archaeologist. In medieval times, coal and ironstone were mined and probably transported to nearby Cleobury Mortimer that was, at that time, an iron-working town. In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, dhu stone was quarried and transported downhill on a railway, the remains of which may still be seen. The mining activities that once employed 2,000 people are represented by the abandoned buildings: eerie, sculptural shapes that loom in the quarry. This offers the keen photographer a wonderful opportunity for taking unusual pictures. Technology has replaced the hill's industrial history, represented by the aerial masts and 'golf ball' radar spheres that are guidance for civil aviation.

From the summit of the Shropshire Hills, the views are breathtaking: on a clear day, it is possible to see as far as Snowdonia, Cader Idris and the Brecon Beacons. The Malverns and the Cotswolds and also the lovely town of Ludlow, lie closer. These exhilarating views come into sight on the ascent and are visible for much of the return route.

The walk starts from the village of Bitterley and leads past the 12th Century Church of St Mary. It then takes a gently ascending route in wildflower-strewn woodland alongside the delightful chuckling Benson Brook, past Titterstone Cottages – once the abode of the quarrymen and their families – and then more steeply up to the summit of Titterstone Clee Hill. A feature on the summit, Giant's Chair, is a pile of boulders from the Devensian Ice Age and represents the complex geology of the region. From here, the route descends with continuing superb views of Brown Clee Hill, the hills of west Shropshire and down through lovely pastureland back to the starting point. Although much of the outward route is a climb, it is a steady one and not strenuous. The final few hundred metres are steeper but well worth the effort. Much of the return route is mainly downhill.

Please note: the route to the summit from the quarry should be negotiated with great care, as there are sheer drops that are sometimes within a few metres of the path. Children and dogs should be kept under strict control. If you keep to the waymarked path however, the route is quite safe and not hazardous. The ascent from the summit on the common is on unmarked paths and although you are most unlikely to lose your way, you are advised to use an OS map and compass to help with guidance.

England - Central England - Shropshire - Shropshire Hills

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