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Oswestry and River Morda

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Oswestry and River Morda
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 17 Aug 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Oswestry and River Morda Walkstar0 Oswestry and River Morda Walkstar0 Oswestry and River Morda Walkstar0 Oswestry and River Morda Walkstar0 Oswestry and River Morda Walk
Shropshire, Oswestry
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Oswestry and River Morda
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Oswestry and River Morda Walk boot Oswestry and River Morda Walk
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A 3.5 mile circular walk from the market town of Oswestry in Shropshire. The walking route heads out from the centre of town, through fields and pastures to reach the pretty River Morda, following it for a short stretch before returning to the town via quiet lanes and more pastures. There are lovely views along the way and an assortment of wildlife to enjoy.

The walk has several steady gradients throughout, plus one short steeper climb. The path surfaces through fields and pastures can be very muddy after periods of rain and in winter, and a couple of sections can be overgrown in the height of summer. There are a few kissing gates to negotiate plus 3 stiles (one of which is enclosed with narrow wooden fencing so larger dogs would need a lift over). You may be sharing several of the pastures with cattle so take particular care with dogs. There are public toilets within the car park at the start of the walk. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

Oswestry is located in the north-west corner of Shropshire, close to the border with Wales and alongside the junction between the A5 and A483. The walk starts and finishes at the central pay and display car park within the town, the entrance for which is on B4579 Salop Road, just north of its junction with Roft Street. The car park fee is £1 for 2 hours (correct August 2015). Approximate post code SY11 2NR.

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Walk Sections

Start to Queens Road
Start to Queens Road

Start point: 52.8584 lat, -3.0544 long
End point: 52.855 lat, -3.0537 long

To begin the walk, make your way to the public toilets which are housed in a square brick building in the corner of the car park. Standing with your back to the toilets, facing the road, turn left along the pavement. Swap to the right-hand pavement using the crossing just before the old chapel, which has been converted into a pharmacy. Immediately after the pub on the right, turn right along the paved area of Festival Square. At the top of the square, you will find a sculpture of a borderland farmer with a sheep (by Ivor Roberts-Jones) which was installed to mark the site of the animal market that was held in the town until the 1960s.

At this junction, turn left and follow the road past the church on the right (which we will be exploring in more detail later) and down to the crossroads with traffic lights. Turn left into Lower Brook Street for just a few paces, and then use the pedestrian crossing to swap to the right-hand pavement (in front of the restored 1625 black and white timbered cottage).

Ignore the first turning on the right and a little further along (at the corner with Roft Street on the left) you will see the Old Victoria Room dating from 1864. Notice the two doorways with bust sculptures above, one male and one female, denoting the separate entrances for men and women. Ignore the second turning on the right, Victoria Street, and take the next right, Queens Road (the road name sign is high on the wall behind you).

Queens Road to Weston Lane
Queens Road to Weston Lane

Start point: 52.855 lat, -3.0537 long
End point: 52.8469 lat, -3.0496 long

After just 20 paces along Queens Road (and immediately before Queens Court) turn left through the old metal kissing gate to join the signed footpath, part of Wat’s Dyke Way. Follow this narrow path between hedgerows and out through the kissing gate at the end. Turn right at this junction, following the stone path with a large cemetery on the left.

At the first corner, turn left to follow the bottom boundary of the cemetery and in the next corner turn right through the kissing gate to enter a pasture (which may be holding cattle). Walk straight ahead along the left-hand hedgeline. At the far side, take the kissing gate ahead and follow the fenced path downhill between sheep pastures.

At the bottom of the pastures, the path swings left, leading you through a gate and on through a tunnel of trees. A little way along, ignore the kissing gate on the left, simply stay on the tree-lined path which swings right. The path continues between hedgerows (which can get overgrown in the summer), on through more trees and out via a kissing gate to reach a T-junction with Weston Lane.

Weston Lane to Love Lane
Weston Lane to Love Lane

Start point: 52.8469 lat, -3.0496 long
End point: 52.8471 lat, -3.0616 long

If you look on the fingerpost here you will see the symbol for Oswald’s Trail, part of which you are now following. The trail was created in 2013 to commemorate 40 years of the local Ramblers group and celebrates the town’s history. The Battle of Maserfield is thought to have been fought near Oswestry in 642, between the two Anglo-Saxon kings; Penda of Mercia and Oswald of Northumbria. Oswald was killed in this battle and was dismembered; according to legend, one of his arms was carried to an ash tree by a raven, and miracles were subsequently attributed to the tree (as Oswald was considered a saint). Thus it is believed that the name of the town is derived from a reference to Oswald’s Tree.

Turn right along Weston Lane and after just a few yards, turn left over the stile to enter the next pasture (again likely to be holding cattle). Walk ahead for a few paces (with a fence on the right) to reach the first fence corner, then head diagonally right to reach the furthest corner. As you approach this field corner you will find yourself alongside the River Morda on the left, a pretty gravel-bottom clear-running river which is a tributary of the River Severn.

As you reach the hedgeline ahead, simply keep straight ahead following the left-hand fence line of the next section of pasture. Follow this left-hand boundary, which swings steadily right passing a couple of houses and then leading out to an access lane via a wooden kissing gate. Turn right along the access lane and follow it out to a junction with the main road.

Cross over with care and take the kissing gate ahead (just to the left of the cattle grid). Follow the stone track ahead which leads you between some impressive specimens of giant redwood (the largest species of tree in the world) and then past a white house on your right. Keep directly ahead to reach the next kissing gate which leads you to a T-junction with an old tree-lined path, Love Lane.

Love Lane to School Grounds Exit
Love Lane to School Grounds Exit

Start point: 52.8471 lat, -3.0616 long
End point: 52.8527 lat, -3.0634 long

Turn left along Love Lane and follow it, through pretty arches of hedgerows and trees. Eventually you will emerge to a junction with a quiet lane, Croeswylan Lane. Turn left and continue just to the point where the lane swings left. Turn right here, over a stile to enter a hillside pasture. Walk up the field at about 1 o’clock, keeping the large sycamore tree on your right and the adjacent telegraph pole on your left.

As you draw level with the telegraph pole, turn round to enjoy the views that have opened up behind you which stretch across the valley to the distant hills. In the valley bottom, just to your right, you will see the buildings of Penylan Mill with its tall brick chimney which sits alongside the River Morda.

Turn back and continue uphill through the remainder of the field (now heading at about 11 o’clock) to reach the stile in the top boundary. Cross the stile and turn right along the lane, Penylan Lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. Through breaks in the hedge to the left you will be able to see the remnants of the parkland of the nearby Pen-y-Llan Hall.

Immediately after the road bends left, dog-leg right (through a gap in the hedge) and then left to join the public footpath which runs along the left-hand edge of the Marches School playing fields. Follow this path, staying close to the hedge on the left, until a point about 100m before the school buildings. Turn left here, through the wooden gate to exit the school grounds and then turn right to continue along Penylan Lane.

School Grounds Exit to End
School Grounds Exit to End

Start point: 52.8527 lat, -3.0634 long
End point: 52.8585 lat, -3.0543 long

Continue past the school buildings on the right and a scout hut on the left. Immediately afterwards, turn left onto a tarmac footpath with a wall running on the right. At the end of this path (Penylan Walk) turn right for a few paces and then use the zebra crossing to swap to the left-hand pavement.

Cross over the two side roads (Oswald Place and Welsh Walls) and, before you reach the crossroads ahead, turn left onto the paved path signed for the Tourist Information Centre. Continue through the church lych gate (known as Griddle Gate and dating from 1631) and you will emerge to a path junction with the church on the right and the visitor centre on the left.

The visitor centre was originally the grammar school, founded in 1407. Today, the timber-framed building houses a tea room and the Tourist Information Centre. The parish church dates back to around 1200 and takes its name from King Oswald, who was canonised after being killed in the battle with King Penda.

Take the path at about 1 o’clock which leads you to the left of the church. Bear left to leave the churchyard via a staggered barrier. Turn right through the ornate iron gates to join Broad Walk, with the churchyard to the right. Towards the end of this walk you will find a commemorative plaque to the war poet, Wilfred Owen, who was born in Oswestry and killed in action during World War I. The plaque cites some of his poetry.

Pass through the gate at the end and turn left, heading back into the centre of town. You should recognise this street from the outward leg and from this point you will be retracing your steps back to the car park. To do so, turn right along Festival Place and then turn left at the end to reach the car park 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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