Cleobury Mortimer - Bayton - Cleobury Mortimer

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Known as the 'Gateway to the Shropshire Hills', the charming and bustling little market town of Cleobury Mortimer probably takes its name from the Old English 'clifu' meaning steep place and 'bury', a fortified settlement. Descended from Roger de Mortimer, who was granted the land after the Norman Conquest, the Mortimer dynasty of Marcher Lords held power in the Marches throughout the Middle Ages.

When Elizabeth I granted the town to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, his familiarity with ironworking technology led to the establishment of an important iron industry in the town. For a while, Cleobury's iron industry was an important part of the general industrialisation in Shropshire and iron from Cleobury's forges was valued as a high-quality material until its decline led to the town reverting to an agricultural centre. A large, water-powered paper-mill survived on the River Rea until a catastrophic fire at the end of the 19th Century. By 1900, the town was an important civic centre, with a railway station, union workhouse, magistrates' court, police station and agricultural college.

The walk starts from the Church of St Mary, with its twisted spire, up into the rolling hills to the south of the town. A descent with lovely views down the Teme Valley takes you past Reaside Manor, a 16th Century gentleman's residence. The path crosses the disused Bewdley to Tenbury Wells railway line to take you up again to arrive at Shakenhurst Estate park. Seat of the Meysey family since the 14th Century, the house dates from the late 18th Century. It is now owned by a business corporation.

From the park, the trail heads out along a quiet, narrow lane to rise to the 12th Century Church of St Bartholomew. From here, there are lovely views across the Rea Valley to Clee Hill and the Welsh hills beyond. Another quiet lane from the village takes you to a footpath that descends to the wooded Rea Valley. From here, you climb on a track flanked by small, pretty trees to arrive at another lovely view: this time, it is of Cleobury Mortimer. The path descends past a walled garden to meet the delightful River Rea, chuckling over its rocky bed.

A final short climb takes you up to the ridge above the river, then to a lane and another rise. As you proceed, the little town, with its distinct church spire, again comes into view below. From here, you descend to the start.

Although there are a few steady climbs, they are quite short and not strenuous.

England - Central England - Shropshire - Shropshire Hills


Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, Public Transport, River, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
4/21/2018 - Stuart Farrell

Lovely walk in the sun this morning, but a bit muddy in places. We were amazed at how peaceful it was with the only sounds being birdsong and running water for a large part of it, also some scenic views. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

5/3/2015 - Ian Mapp

Perfect little walk from a very nice town. Good paths and plenty of places for refreshment at the end. Thanks for the walk. Some photos at my blog -

5/5/2013 - David James

Your instruction revisions are helpful, Michael; thank you. I will revisit the walk and probably incorporate them in revised directions. Glad you enjoyed the walk – and I am in accord with you about the lunch stop location: lovely views and a very agreeable spot for coffee.

5/5/2013 - David James

Thanks for the caution, David, and glad you liked the walk. I have never known the walk to be that muddy – in fact, it's never been a problem – so I assume it was owing to saturated groundwater from the exceptionally heavy rainfall this winter!

3/18/2013 - David Hand

Just for general information we found this walk very, very muddy in many places -- over the top of wellies sort of muddy. Overall it's a good walk but best after a long spell of dry weather or maybe frozen ground with care.

8/13/2012 - Michael Corfield

A delightful walk and very easy to follow, which we did in August 2012. Lots of lovely views and so peaceful - hardly saw another person ! Although my OS map suggests Bayton has a pub, it doesn't ! Still, the bench by the church looking back from where you've come from makes for a lovely lunch spot (amongst many). On the whole, the navigation instructions are excellent. I would suggest two aspects to help future walkers. 1) We found the very first instructions "Follow the fence twenty metres below on your right to arrive at another kissing-gate. Go diagonally uphill to the opposite corner of the field.", quite tricky and confusing. A better instruction might be "Follow the fence twenty metres below on your right to arrive at another kissing-gate. Do not go through the kissing gate but backtrack 10 paces and go uphill to the corner of the field." 2) Waypoint 6 "Cross the stile and go half-left in the park of the Shakehurst Estate", should be half-right.

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