Ludlow to High Vinnalls Round
Ludlow is an attractive and busy market town in Shropshire and lies within a bend on the eastern bank of the River Teme. This medieval walled town is close to the Welsh border and in the Welsh Marches and has nearly 500 listed buildings. There are many medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings and medieval streets adding to the attractiveness of this town, which is sheltered by the visible Clee Hills. Ludow is the largest town in South Shropshire and the Norman castle and market place are situated at the top of the hill in the oldest part of the town.
Ludlow Castle is a fine interesting castle built around 1085 and over the last two centuries has had many later additions featuring architecture from Norman, Medieval and Tudor periods. It is open to the public throughout the year, except on Christmas Day and January week days. The inner and outer baileys host several festivals and events each year one being the Ludlow Festival for the open-air production of a Shakespeare play held in June and July for three weeks. There is also Ludlow Marches Food and Drink Festival in September, Ludlow Craft Festival in late May, the Marches Festival of Transport in early May, a May Fair over the bank holiday weekend and a Medieval Christmas Fayre.
Since the 12th century Ludlow held street markets but these days there is a traditional open air market which takes place in the town square every Monday, Friday and Saturday with Wednesday markets from April to September. Flea markets or theme stalls such as crafts, gardening or books take place on Sundays. There are a number of pubs and plenty of shops with many of them being traditional family businesses.
The Feathers Hotel, including the world famous timber facade, was built in 1619 and was converted to an inn around 1670. The Feathers remained an inn for the next 200 years providing accommodation, food and beer and was occasionally used as a venue for cock fighting and prize fighting. In 1863 the Feathers became a hotel and gradually over the years expanded into the properties on either side making it into Ludlow’s leading hotel with a good reputation. St Laurence’s Parish Church is one of the largest in the country mostly re-built in the mid 15th century but some earlier features can still be seen. The views of the surrounding Shropshire hills and the streets of Ludlow are stunning from the church tower and the castle both are well worth the climb. Dinham Bridge over the River Teme at the start of our walk is an arched stone bridge possibly built on medieval stone piers in 1823 which replaced a much older bridge. Ludford Bridge at the end of our walk was where the Battle of Ludford Bridge took place on 12th October 1459. It was a bloodless battle fought in the early years of the War of the Roses and resulted in a disastrous defeat for the Yorkists.
Ludlow is ideal for walking with walks from the town that lead out to forests, farmland and into the Shropshire Hills.
We park in the car park and walk into Ludlow town centre then on to Ludlow castle. With the castle behind us and the market place in front we turn left and walk round the outside of the castle until we reach the road here we turn right and follow the road to Dinham Bridge. We go over the bridge stopping to admire the weir then follow the road round to the right going uphill, take a look behind to savour the view of the castle, the road then bends to the left. After a short way the road bends sharply to the left and we take the no through road straight in front of us sign posted Lower Wood Road. We follow this road for about a mile. We pass a house called the Stables and then a track on the right and if you look to the right across the fields there is a Tudor style building, here we take the path through a gate on the left. We go uphill through a field to a gate in the corner next to a telegraph pole. We go through the gate over the track and head straight forward uphill until we reach a bench and a track we walk to the right of the bench still going uphill. On reaching a road we turn right and follow the road past a car parking area on the right, we are now in Mortimer Forest, until we arrive at Mortimer Forest Vinnalls car park. There are some tables and benches for a picnic. We head forward on the right track with a barrier going slightly uphill. We come to a cross roads of paths with Easy Access Trails, for wheelchair users, to the right and left but we head straight on for a short way. As the track starts to rise we take a path on the left with a post saying Vinnalls Loop. We head uphill then cross over a track still going uphill into the woods. Near the top of the hill we take the path going off to the right with a sign post with a blue arrow and Mortimer Way. We are now making our way up to High Vinnals. At the summit of High Vinnalls there is a game keepers look out and a bench. The 360 degree views are outstanding. We then take the visible path opposite the look out with Climbing Jack on a marked post we head downhill. We come to a track which we cross over still following the way markers we keep going downhill. When we reach a bench and then a forest track here we go straight forward over the track following the marked posts with Mortimer Trail and Black Pool Loop. We head forward until we arrive at a cross roads of paths and we turn sharp left and keep following the Mortimer Trail and permissive path until we come to another forestry track here we turn left following the permissive path and after a short way take a path on the right into the trees and over a beck. We follow this path uphill until we see a rock face to the left and a building on the right. We walk in front of the rock face and head forward uphill when the road bends to the left we take the track straight ahead now leaving the Mortimer Trail. We then go through some fields, passing a building on our left, before we come to a track just before a place called Hucksbarn. We turn left onto the track which takes us to Overton Road. Here we turn left and follow the road back to Ludlow. We cross Ludford Bridge then make our way back to the car park.
This is an easy to hard walk with some steep inclines.
Approx 7.5 miles using OS map Ludlow 203.
Ludlow in Shropshire. There is a car park just outside the town centre and a park and ride just on the other side of the A49.
From Shrewsbury take the A49 then take the B4361 on the left into Ludlow or at the next roundabout take the right exit.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets and for refreshments there are many shops, cafes and pubs in Ludlow.