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Granville Country Park Trail

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Granville Country Park Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 12 Jun 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guidestar1 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guidestar1 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guidestar1 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guidestar1 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide
Shropshire, Telford
Walk Type: Woodland
Granville Country Park Trail
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide boot Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide boot Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide
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A 4 mile circular and fairly strenuous walk discovering the delightful nature and fascinating industrial heritage of Granville Country Park near Telford in Shropshire. This nature reserve is a sprawling network of copses, heaths, grasslands, pools, scrub, wet woodlands and oak capped mounds. Relics of former industrial activity, including furnaces and an old winding house, are now surrounded by woodland full of birds, while pit mounds of waste have been transformed into flower-rich grassland and heath. You will have chance to enjoy plenty of flora and fauna, expansive views and glimpses of old mines and furnaces that helped shape the country’s industrial revolution.

The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout and you will need to negotiate some kissing gates plus several long steep flights of woodland steps. Many of the woodland paths can get very muddy so good boots are required and wellingtons are recommended after periods of rain and in the wet winter months. A few of the paths are narrow and can get a little overgrown. Dogs are welcome in the country park and the area is a popular dog walking spot. One small section of the park is grazed by horses for conservation at some times of year. There are no toilets or other facilities in the park. Approximate time 2 hours.

Granville Country Park is located just 2 miles north of Telford in Shropshire. It is accessed via the Granville Roundabout on the A4640, within Donnington Wood industrial estate. The brown tourist sign on this roundabout guides you onto the access road for the country park and a golf course, Granville Road. You will find the entrance for the country park car park on the left, through a black arch, before you reach the golf course at the end of the road. The car park is open from 8am to 4.30pm (correct Jun 2015). Approximate post code TF2 7QG.

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Walk Sections

Start to Waxhill Meadow
Start to Waxhill Meadow

Start point: 52.7095 lat, -2.4171 long
End point: 52.7126 lat, -2.4171 long

To begin the walk, make your way to the far end of the car park where you will find some information boards and a wooden carving of a fox (if this hasn’t weathered away by the time you visit). Take the long flight of steps (starting to the left of the information boards) which lead you up to a gate. (NOTE: Horses are used for conservation grazing in this area so take care with dogs). Go through the gate and keep directly ahead on the grass path through the open flower meadow.

The path leads you to the Top of the World Bench, the perfect place to pause, enjoy the expansive views over the north Shropshire Plain and learn a little more about the site you are about to explore. Mining in this area is thought to date back to monastic times and reached its heyday in the mid 1800s when iron was also made here. The Lilleshall Company was a large local engineering company that operated a number of coal mines, ironworks and brickworks in Shropshire. The hill on which you are sitting is an old pit mound (the heap of waste material from deep mining) from Barnyard Colliery which operated from around 1837 to 1880. As you continue your journey around this nature reserve you will see many more relics of the Lilleshall Company operations including old canal and rail lines, pit mounds and ruins of industrial buildings.

Continue through the wild flower meadow to reach a gate at the far side, on the left. Pass through this and descend via the long flight of steep steps. At the bottom you will come to a T-junction with a stone path. Turn right and almost immediately on the left you will come to Waxhill Meadow containing some stone remains.

Waxhill Meadow to Pump House
Waxhill Meadow to Pump House

Start point: 52.7126 lat, -2.4171 long
End point: 52.7167 lat, -2.4116 long

The remains here are thought to be that of a Methodist Chapel associated with the Waxhill Barracks which housed the local colliery workers. The other buildings were demolished long ago and no visible trace remains. The meadow areas like this one in the reserve are home to many wild flowers, with more than 240 species being recorded including orchids and ox-eye daisies. These rich flower meadows provide a valuable resource for butterflies and bees.

Keep ahead for a few more paces and you will see two gates ahead marking a junction of paths. This was once the junction on the railway network which served the collieries. Go through the two gates ahead (crossing the fenced bridleway) and then take the main track at about 1 o’clock (with the fenced bridleway running on your right).

Further along you will pass an old circular brick vent on the right, once used to allow air to circulate within the deep mines. Go ahead at the crossroads of paths and, further still, you will find the remains of a tall brick building with beautiful arched windows on the left. This was the winding house serving the Muxton Bridge Colliery. Opened in 1840 it was one of the early deep mines sunk by the Lilleshall Company. This winding house was constructed in 1884 and once contained two high-pressure steam engines for winding the mine shafts. Immediately after the ruins you will see a veteran oak tree with sprawling thick branches. The tree would have been a sapling when the winding house was built and has sat as a witness through the industrial period and now enjoys the peace of the nature reserve.

Continue along the main track which soon swings right and then left to reach the remains of the pump house on the left. The beam engine once situated here was used to pump the water that had been drained from the collieries and discharge it into the adjacent Donnington Wood Canal (more about that canal later).

Pump House to Muxton Marsh
Pump House to Muxton Marsh

Start point: 52.7167 lat, -2.4116 long
End point: 52.7179 lat, -2.4162 long

When you have finished looking at the pump house, turn round and retrace your steps back along the main path, swinging right then left towards the winding house. Before you reach the winding house, turn right up the flight of steps. Follow the narrow path as it winds through the woodland and, at a small junction with an oak tree at its centre, turn right (this is the first right-hand path available).

The path soon leads you down a flight of shallow steps to reach a T-junction. Turn left and keep ahead to join a steep flight of steps leading you down to the bottom of the hill. At the bottom, turn left and you will emerge out to the pavement alongside Marshbrook Way. Turn right and cross over the side road, Ryder Drive.

Keep ahead for just a few more paces to reach the crossing point over the main road. Cross here and walk directly ahead through the blue arch to enter Muxton Marsh, the site of the former Freehold Colliery.

Muxton Marsh to Granville Park
Muxton Marsh to Granville Park

Start point: 52.7179 lat, -2.4162 long
End point: 52.7156 lat, -2.4217 long

Turn right (down the paved slope), right again onto a tarmac path and then almost immediately turn left to join a (half-hidden) flight of steps that lead you up the woodland bank. At the top, keep ahead on the narrow woodland path which winds to reach a T-junction. Turn right then keep ahead on the main meandering path (you may need to negotiate a fallen tree on this stretch).

Some way along you will come to a fork, bear left and continue until you reach the next T-junction. Turn left, heading downhill. At the bottom of the slope, continue straight ahead. The path soon runs along an embankment and each side you will see the marshy areas and streams which give the area its name. The brook that feeds the marsh teems with aquatic life, freshwater shrimp, great diving beetles, minnows, frogs and caddis fly larvae.

Towards the end of the path you will reach a staggered crossroads. Take the path at about 11 o’clock, heading towards the vehicle barrier. Go through the barrier swing gate and you will emerge out to Marshbrook Way. Cross over with care and pass through the ornate gateway ahead to re-enter Granville Park. The metal gateway includes a range of characters depicting the park’s past and present: miners, barracks, canal tubs, tram carriages, winding houses, birds, trees, fish, lizards and dog walkers.

Granville Park to Canal Basin
Granville Park to Canal Basin

Start point: 52.7156 lat, -2.4217 long
End point: 52.7087 lat, -2.4193 long

Keep straight ahead on the surfaced path which leads you into trees, then keep left (passing through the bridle gate) to join the park’s main path. Take the left-hand of the two paths ahead (the right-hand one being reserved for horse riders).

Follow this main path ahead, ignoring any smaller paths to the side. Eventually the path swings left, leading you up a hill (an old railway incline) and you will emerge to the junction of paths alongside Waxhill Meadow that you should recognise from your outward leg. Turn right (passing through two gates to cross the fenced bridleway) and follow the path past Waxhill Meadow (with its stone remains) on your right.

Ignore the steps on the left, simply keep ahead along the main stone track. At the end, pass through the swing gate and you will emerge back to the car park (where you can choose to finish the walk early should you wish). To continue, walk through the full length of the car park and out through the vehicle entrance arch. Cross over the access road but do NOT go through the gate ahead. Instead, turn right along the grass bank path with the access road on the right and the metal fence on the left.

Further along on the left you will come to an information board, marking a viewing point across the canal basin. The canal basin was once connected to the Donnington Wood Canal. Built in 1768, the canal was one of the earliest in Britain and ran for 5.5 miles from the mines here to a coal wharf at Pave Lane where surplus coal was sold. Horse-drawn tub boats were used to transport raw materials in and smelted iron out of the Lodge Furnaces that you will see shortly. Today the old canal basin is teeming with wildlife including coots, sticklebacks, frogs and newts. Keep your eyes peeled for water voles which also make this area their home.

Canal Basin to Woodside Track
Canal Basin to Woodside Track

Start point: 52.7087 lat, -2.4193 long
End point: 52.7049 lat, -2.4181 long

A short distance beyond the viewing point, fork left through the kissing gate. Follow the surfaced path down to reach a beautiful wood carving of a barn owl; be sure to glance behind the owl where you will find his hedgehog companion. The path swings left and, at the first junction, turn left on the path alongside black railings. You will emerge to the canal basin where you can enjoy the wildlife up close.

Turn right along the canal basin quay and then turn right again up some steps to reach a T-junction. Turn right and then immediately left to follow a narrow woodland path uphill and swinging steadily left. You will emerge to the sandstone remains of the Lodge Furnaces. In 1822 the Lilleshall Company built two furnaces here to supplement those it had in nearby Donnington Wood. These were some of the most productive blast furnaces in Europe and had an international reputation for the quality of iron produced. The large remaining structures faced with sandstone blocks are the ramps used for tipping the materials into the top of the furnaces. In the hollow chamber of one loading ramp pipistrelle bats roost, clinging high up away from interference.

Standing with your back to the sandstone remains, walk down the grass slope then follow the stone path at about 2 o’clock. The path swings left to reach a T-junction with the main footpath. Turn right to join this and you will pass a large pond on the right and come to a T-junction. Turn right along the path with a fenced bridleway running on the left. Some distance along (having passed through a kissing gate along the way) you will reach a T-junction with a dense section of woodland ahead.

Woodside Track to Horseshoe Viewpoint
Woodside Track to Horseshoe Viewpoint

Start point: 52.7049 lat, -2.4181 long
End point: 52.7016 lat, -2.4247 long

Turn right along the woodside track (if the track is very muddy you can use the paths running parallel on the right). You will reach a fork with an old metal gate ahead. Take the path to the right of the old gate and follow this long straight track through the tunnel of trees for some distance. Some way along you will pass a pair of gateposts with fenced surrounds on the left. Keep ahead for a few more paces, following the post and rail fence on the left. At the junction, turn left, following the line of the fence on the left.

Follow the path winding uphill and at the fork keep right to join the narrow ridge path still climbing through a tunnel of trees. The path eventually levels off and winds around the edge of the ridge to reach a T-junction. It is worth taking a small detour here to reach another viewpoint. To do this, turn right and then turn right again at the first junction, climbing through a tunnel of hedgerows. You will emerge out to a grassy plain at the top of the Horseshoe. Keep straight ahead along this and soon you will have amazing views ahead, across to the west. On a clear day you will have good view of The Wrekin hill topped with a radio tower just to your left.

Horseshoe Viewpoint to End
Horseshoe Viewpoint to End

Start point: 52.7016 lat, -2.4247 long
End point: 52.7095 lat, -2.417 long

When you have finished admiring the views, retrace your steps back along the top of the grassy plain and down through the hedgerow tunnel. Turn left at the T-junction and then keep ahead (ignoring the path on the left from which you emerged earlier). Continue down the hill and at the fork take the left-hand branch with a fenced open field on the left.

At the end of the field on the left, you will come to a junction of paths. Turn right and follow the wide track which leads you gently downhill. You will emerge to the junction that you passed through earlier (with the old metal gate now on the left). Turn right along the woodside track for about 200 yards, then turn left (the way you came) to join the path alongside the fenced bridleway.

Stay along the path alongside the bridleway as it swings right (ignoring the path to the furnaces that you emerged from on the outward leg). On the left you will see the brick remains of a small outhouse. This site was once home to the ironworks office and was also used for stables for the workers’ horses. Later the office was converted to a house and the remains you see are of the outside toilet or privy. You will also see a very old pear tree in front of the privy, the last reminder of the gardens that surrounded the office and house.

Continue along the footpath which climbs steadily and swings left. The path leads you down to a kissing gate. Pass through this, cross over the road and you will see the Granville Country Park car park directly ahead, where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 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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5 gallery images for "Granville Country Park Trail"

4596_0Richard1434135018 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 12 Jun 2015
The pump house with some of the pipework (Cast iron pipe with lead joints) still visible.
4596_1Richard1434135018 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 12 Jun 2015
The entrance to Granville Park.
4596_2Richard1434135018 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 12 Jun 2015
Look out for the hedgehog!
4596_3Richard1434135018 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 12 Jun 2015
The ramps to the blast furnaces.
4596_4Richard1434135018 Granville Country Park Trail Walking Guide Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 12 Jun 2015
The privy.


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