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The Boyne Arms and Brown Clee Hill

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The Boyne Arms and Brown Clee Hill
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 07 Jun 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Shropshire, Burwarton
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
The Boyne Arms and Brown Clee Hill
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 6.5 mile circular pub walk from the Boyne Arms in Burwarton, Shropshire. The Boyne Arms is a classic country pub and restaurant, the perfect place for refreshments after your walk. The walking route heads up though Burwarton Park and continues up to Abdon Burf, the summit of Brown Clee Hill and the highest point in the Shropshire Hills. The route loops up through the hillside sheep pastures and open moorland with pretty lakes and streams to enjoy and magnificent views across the surrounding area. The return leg follows the permissive tracks through the Burwarton Estate with pretty sections of woodland awash with bluebells in the spring.

The walk follows paths across hillside pastures and moorland which can be fairly rough and muddy so good boots are a must. The first half of the walk climbs first steadily and then more steeply up into the hills (a rise of about 280m) with the return leg following the equivalent descent. The summit of Brown Clee Hill is very exposed and weather conditions can change quickly so ensure you are well prepared with appropriate warm clothing. There are several gates along the way plus a few stiles (two of these have wire mesh surrounds so dogs may need a lift over). Most of the way round you will be sharing the paths with sheep and two fields (at the start and then at the end) are likely to be holding cattle, so take care with dogs. Approximate time 3 to 4 hours.

Burwarton is located about half way between Ludlow and Bridgnorth in Shropshire, on the edge of the Shropshire Hills. The walk starts and finishes from the Boyne Arms pub, on the main B4364 through the village. The pub has its own car park. Approximate post code WV16 6QH.

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Walk Sections

Start to Burwarton Park
Start to Burwarton Park

Start point: 52.4625 lat, -2.5641 long
End point: 52.4593 lat, -2.5661 long

Standing with your back to the pub, cross over the main road with care and turn left along the pavement. Where the road bends left, turn right down the small access lane. Follow this concrete track down between cottages and farm buildings and you will come to a ford ahead. Cross this (using the bridge to the left if the water is running too deep).

Keep ahead along the track and ignore the first gate into the field on the right. Continue past a wood store and farm machinery to reach the second gate on the right, marked as a public footpath. Pass through this gate into the field (which may be holding cattle) and turn left along the bottom boundary of the field. At the far side, pass through the metal gate ahead to reach a grass track alongside a crop field. Turn right and follow the track up to a T-junction with the road. Cross over with care and take the stone track opposite, which enters Burwarton Park.

Burwarton Park to Tarmac Lane
Burwarton Park to Tarmac Lane

Start point: 52.4593 lat, -2.5661 long
End point: 52.459 lat, -2.5781 long

Follow the track steadily uphill. A little way up the track swings right into the adjacent field, do NOT follow this, instead keep straight ahead on the grass path with the fence on the right and an open crop field on the left. Across to the right you will have a great view of Burwarton Park including Burwarton Hall.

Burwarton Hall, built in the 1830s is the seat of Viscount Boyne, whose family gives its name to the pub. The estate has extensive formal gardens and a landscaped park all carefully sited to take advantage of the rugged upland scenery of the locality. In the 1920s the grounds were extended to include a rose garden and yew hedge by Brenda Colvin, one of Britain’s most distinguished landscape architects.

Continue past a fenced copse of trees on the right and, just a few yards later (just before you reach the old oak tree ahead), fork left onto the path which cuts diagonally through the corner of the crop field. The path leads you to the middle of a line of fir trees where you will find a stile. Cross this and then keep straight ahead uphill through the rough area of scrub to reach the next stile ahead. Cross this (note: there will be sheep grazing after this stile) and a few paces later you will come to a T-junction with a tarmac lane, with a post marking the crossroads paths.

Tarmac Lane to Boyne Water
Tarmac Lane to Boyne Water

Start point: 52.459 lat, -2.5781 long
End point: 52.4595 lat, -2.5909 long

Turn right along the lane for just three or four paces and then turn left onto a subtle grass sunken track heading up through the sheep pasture. Follow the track climbing and soon you will be following the edge of a fenced section of woodland on the left. Stay with this fence line as it climbs steeply. Soon the parkland on the right opens up and you will pass a small copse of trees across to the right. You will see an obvious fork in the track here.

Take the right-hand branch (before you do, it is worth taking a moment to look back and enjoy the views down to Burwarton House and the valley below). Just a short distance later you will come to a grass track across the top of the field. Cross this and keep ahead through the wooden gate where you will see a yellow arrow confirming this route as a public footpath.

Follow the path as it bears right and then swings left to run alongside the right-hand fence. A little further up the path swings left, crossing the pasture to reach the trees on the left-hand side. Keep ahead onto the grass track which passes between two fenced sections of trees. Just beyond this fenced section you will come to Boyne Water on the left.

Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the views across the lake. You’re likely to see a whole array of wildlife including dragonflies, swallows and tufted ducks. The deep man-made pool is also popular with wild swimmers. The nearby summit of Brown Clee Hill was a great hazard to aircraft in World War II and claimed many German and Allied lives. The remains of one of the planes, a Wellington Bomber, are said to rest at the bottom of Boyne Water.

Boyne Water to Shropshire Way
Boyne Water to Shropshire Way

Start point: 52.4595 lat, -2.5909 long
End point: 52.465 lat, -2.5958 long

Continue along the track and after just a few yards it will lead you to a T-junction with a stone vehicle track. Turn right along this. Enjoy this more level section of walking and take time to enjoy the glorious views across the valley to the right. Ignore the first path off to the left; simply stay on the stone track which descends steadily.

Continue through an open gateway and, just beyond this, you will see the ruins of a stone property in the trees on the left. This was Burwarton Pole, one of several stone properties scattered across the estate. They probably originated as squatters cottages but were later rebuilt in stone by the estate.

Just beyond these ruins, do NOT take the narrower grass path ahead, instead follow the main grass track which swings to the left. At the far end of the pasture you will reach a metal vehicle gate. Pass through the wooden footpath gate alongside this and you will emerge out to a T-junction with a rough stone track. Turn left along this, passing through the belt of beautiful ancient beech trees.

Pass through the old metal gate ahead into the open moorland and you will see a waymark post marking a number of paths ahead. Take the path at between 1 and 2 o’clock and this will lead you to a gate within the fence on the right. If you look alongside this gate you will see a black disc marker with a white flying buzzard, the sign for the Shropshire Way.

Shropshire Way to Abdon Burf
Shropshire Way to Abdon Burf

Start point: 52.465 lat, -2.5958 long
End point: 52.4754 lat, -2.5997 long

Pass through this gate and you will see a bench in front of you. Do NOT follow the wide grass track alongside the fence on the left, instead walk ahead past the bench on the right and then keep in the same direction to join the path through the centre of the open moorland.

Follow this path steadily climbing. Soon beautiful views will open up to the left across the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ahead and to the right, you will be able to see the radio masts at the summit of Brown Clee Hill, which you will be passing by shortly. Further along the path runs alongside a fence which begins on the left.

Continue almost until you draw level with the radio masts, where you will see a waymark post showing a T-junction in the path. Turn right (marked with the buzzard symbol for the Shropshire Way) and follow the subtle track which heads for the short squat stone post, just to the right of the radio masts.

Once you reach this post you will find it is the circular toposcope marking the summit, Abdon Burf. At 540m, this is the highest summit in Shropshire and also the highest point in England south of the Pennines. The air traffic control radar masts record the positions of all aircraft within a 100 mile radius. Take some time here to catch your breath and enjoy the views (a key to which is cast on the toposcope). On clear days you will be able to see for many miles to the Malvern Hills, Peak District and the Cotswolds.

Abdon Burf to Stanbroughs Wood Gate
Abdon Burf to Stanbroughs Wood Gate

Start point: 52.4754 lat, -2.5997 long
End point: 52.4782 lat, -2.5822 long

When you are ready to continue, take the stone steps down from the toposcope and follow these as they turn left. Keep ahead for a few more yards and you will reach the T-junction with the tarmac access lane for the Radio Station. Turn right along this lane (still signed as the Shropshire Way) and follow it as it swings left.

Each side you will see sunken pools within the moorland, the scars of old industry. Brown Clee Hill has a long history of mining and quarrying. Commercial extraction of coal and ironstone began in the 1600s. Quarrying for dolerite (used for aggregate in road building) was for long the main income of the area and the Abdon quarries closed in 1936.

Stay on the tarmac lane crossing a cattle grid (there is a stile and gate alongside this to make your passage easier) and then passing the remains of an old stone building on the right. Further along the lane bends first left and then right where it begins to descend more steeply. You will reach the next cattle grid ahead with a signpost alongside marking the Shropshire Way off to the left. Do NOT follow this, instead go straight ahead past the cattle grid (using the stile or gate alongside) and follow the tarmac lane heading even more steeply downhill. Enjoy the lovely views ahead.

Ignore the minor paths into the trees (one each side) and continue just until you reach the first crossroads of tracks. Turn right along the stone vehicle track which leads you through the pine plantation. Further along the trees on the left give way and you will pass more sheep pastures. The track then begins to swing right and heads back into trees both sides. You will reach a pair of wooden vehicle gates ahead, within Stanbroughs Wood.

Stanbroughs Wood Gate to End
Stanbroughs Wood Gate to End

Start point: 52.4782 lat, -2.5822 long
End point: 52.4626 lat, -2.564 long

Pass through these gates and keep ahead on the main lane which swings right. Ignore the path off to the right through the gate, instead keep ahead a little further to reach a fork in the lane. Take the left branch which leads you steadily downhill.

The lane passes between sections of the working forest within the Burwarton Estate so you may come across forestry operations. Continue over the pretty stream and at the bottom of the slope you will reach a T-junction with another lane. Turn right along this and pass by the cattle grid using the gate alongside.

Keep left at the next fork and follow this lane downhill between pastures and horse paddocks. You will pass the back of the buildings of the Burwarton Estate. Keep ahead across the cattle grid (you can skirt round to the left of this using the gate if you would prefer or if you have a dog with you). Note: you may come across cattle from this point.

Follow the drive ahead and you will pass first a set of white wooden gates on the right and then a set of white metal gates also on the right. At this point, the footpath leaves the drive (which swings left) and continues straight ahead along the right-hand edge of the pasture. At the far side, a gate leads you out to the village road. (Note: if the corner of the field is too muddy there is an alternative: take the last wide wooden gate on the right and you'll emerge to the lane behind the pub, keep ahead and down the small alleyway to reach the pub car park). Cross over with extreme care (the visibility of the traffic is a bit difficult here) and then turn right along the pavement. Follow the road round to the right and cross over again to reach the Boyne Arms for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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