The May 2021 issue of Country Walking magazine has my six-and-a-bit stroll around Ludlow and Bromfield. Ironically, here we are just coming out of Lockdown 3, and I tackled this last year, just as we were coming out of Lockdown 1 and were allowed to venture out a little further afield.
The route starts in the centre of Ludlow (plenty of parking, and the perfect place to get some refreshments for along the way – although there’s the perfect cafe about half way round, so don’t overindulge in the shops here).
The route heads out along the old road out of town, which offers some fine views (looking back towards the tower of St Laurence’s Church, which dominates the skyline.
It then follows some field edges as it leaves the outskirts of town – be careful though – don’t frighten the red kites that might nest nearby, like I did! One flew out of the trees, just a metre or so above my head, and another flew up from the tree line further up.
It then becomes necessary to cross the A49 – take care. This is a major road. Thankfully, although it will be necessary to cross back, the route uses a tunnel. Once over the other side, the route crosses the railway line and then drops off to the left, to run the length of the Ludlow Racecourse. (I don’t know how busy this path will be on race days! might be worth a flutter while you’re here, though!)
Once past the racecourse (I hope you won something), the route takes a minor road back towards the A49, although this isn’t too busy (but still take care – the locals use it well!). When you reach this thatched cottage, there’s a fantastic diversion worth taking.
Taking the path on the left, immediately prior to this cottage will take you to the Ludlow Farmshop, with its amazing produce and cafe. (You’ll pass the cafe first on your right, with the Farm shop ahead.) I can vouch for the gluten-free carrot cake here – and if you’re up for a lunch, the Bromfield Burger is one of their signature dishes, and they do a gluten-free version of it too. (Much of the produce is sourced locally.)
If you can tear yourself away, return to this spot and rejoin the road to continue towards the A49.
I mentioned that the route crosses it, but uses a tunnel. Turn right along the A49 briefly, passing the bus stop and then double-back on yourself to drop to the River Onny, and then under the A49. (Much safer than trying to cross it at this junction.)
The path brings up on the other side, where my route then bears left towards the parish church. Before you reach that, you’ll pass Bromfield Priory Gatehouse.
This is let by the Landmark Trust as holiday accommodation.
Soon the path enters the private grounds of Oakly Park, the private home of the Earl of Plymouth. We’re okay, as the lanes through the grounds are public rights of way.
This is gentle walking, along undulating lanes with rural views of west Shropshire.
The route is now well on its way back to Ludlow, and to make the most of the circuit, it continues along the banks of the River Teme, underneath the dominating Ludlow Castle, on what is locally called the Bread Walk. (The people who built it were paid in bread to ensure they had food to feed their families. Some worried that if they were paid in money they would spend it all in the pubs!)
But this end to the walk offers some glimpses of the weirs along here. Look out for the new fish/salmon leaps built into them to help the salmon head back upstream to their spawning grounds.
And, if you’re staying in the Ludlow area for a few days, you might find my other walk around Ludlow (from the February 2020 issue of Country Walking) of interest. Go and walk along the Elan Valley water pipeline, without realising it’s under your feet!