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Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle

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Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle
Author: Claire, Published: 24 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide star1 Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide star1 Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide star1 Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide star0 Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide
Shropshire, Ludlow
Walk Type: Woodland
Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide boot Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide boot Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide
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0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide Today's weather
6 °C, Light rain, Wind: 13 mph NNE
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0017_cloudy_with_light_rain Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide 0006_mist Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide 0006_mist Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide 0006_mist Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide 0007_fog Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle Walking Guide

A 4 mile fairly strenuous circular walk near Ludlow in Shropshire. The route starts in nearby Mortimer Forest, taking in peaceful woodland tracks and paths with some lovely far-reaching views. The walk continues by descending into the valley, crossing the River Teme to visit the beautiful remains of Ludlow Castle. There is chance to explore the historic market town, before an exhilarating climb back into the forest.

The walk has several long and moderate gradients throughout, including a fairly challenging climb for the last mile. The woodland paths and tracks can be muddy, slippery and churned by horses in part, so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate several flights of steps plus one gate, but there are no stiles or livestock on route. One section of the woodland path runs along a narrow ridge, with a steep slope down to one side so take care with children and dogs on this stretch. There are a couple of very short sections along quiet roads. Approximate time 2 hours (plus longer to explore Ludlow).

The walk starts in the Whitcliffe parking lay-by, at the entrance for the Forest Office of Mortimer Forest, about 2 miles south-west of Ludlow on Wigmore Road. When the Forest Office is open (Mon-Fri until 3pm) there is a large visitor car park within the buildings complex. At other times, there is parking for about 10 cars available in the lay-bys on each side of the road. Approximate post code SY8 2HD, which takes you to Wigmore Road, but too far east (the exact location can be found by heading further west, following signs for the Mortimer Forest Office). If you are coming by train, Ludlow rail station is less than a mile from Ludlow Castle so you can adjust the walk to start there.

Walk Sections

Start to Viewpoint
Start to Viewpoint

Start point: 52.3633 lat, -2.7443 long
End point: 52.3556 lat, -2.7509 long

From the parking lay-by, take the driveway towards the Forest Office, passing the staff car park, office and visitor car park on your left. Continue straight ahead at the junction, passing the Mortimer Forest wooden information board on your right. Stay with this vehicle track, swinging right, climbing steadily and passing alongside a vehicle barrier. Soon after the barrier you will come to a staggered crossroads, stay ahead on the main track which continues to climb and swing right.

Further along, towards the top of the rise and at a left-hand bend, you will pass a bench on your right. Continue on the vehicle track, now climbing more gently, for about 200 metres where you will see a waymarker post on your right. Turn right here to join a wide grass track leading you into the trees.

Simply follow the wide grass track and as you emerge from the trees, keep forward passing a wire fence and small brick building on your right. You will reach the viewpoint with a bench directly ahead. Take time to enjoy this tranquil spot, with views down Mary Knoll Valley and beyond.

Viewpoint to Town View
Viewpoint to Town View

Start point: 52.3556 lat, -2.7509 long
End point: 52.3592 lat, -2.7427 long

When you are ready to continue, stand with your back to the bench and view and walk forward for 10 paces (to draw level with the small brick building on your left). Turn right to continue your journey along the grass track. This track leads you down the slope to reach a junction with a surfaced forest road. Turn sharp left to join this road (heading uphill).

At the brow of the rise, turn right to join a stone and grass vehicle track which leads you downhill. After just 80 metres, by a bench on your left, turn left to join a grass track leading you through the trees. Follow this unmade path, meandering ahead and narrowing (following the waymarker posts marked with red and green signs).

As you approach the edge of the forest, join the compacted stone path which bends left. Where the stone path ends, continue straight ahead to reach the next waymarker post alongside a simple bench with your first views of Ludlow town ahead.

Town View to North Farm Entrance
Town View to North Farm Entrance

Start point: 52.3592 lat, -2.7427 long
End point: 52.3654 lat, -2.7343 long

Walk straight ahead on the forest-edge path (leaving the waymarker posts behind and following the line of the wire fence on your right). Stay with this pretty path for some distance, with a lovely section of mixed woodland on your left, predominantly beech. There are lots of wild flowers in the spring, including bluebells and wood anemones. Mortimer Forest was an ancient hunting forest, named after the Mortimer family, Earls of March.

You will come to a crossroads of tracks, with another section of wire fence ahead. Turn right, staying along the right-hand forest edge. The track swings left and then you may take either of the two paths ahead (running downhill, parallel to the wire fence on your right), whichever looks most passable. These lead to a tall fence and gate ahead. Pass through the gate and continue on the unmade bridleway track, heading downhill.

Part way down you will pass a farm gate on your right, an excellent spot to pause and enjoy the views across Ludlow (including the castle which is the destination of this walk). Continue on the sunken bridleway path leading you downhill through the woodland edge (taking care as this rocky section can be slippery). At the bottom, bear right to join an access track and follow this down to the junction with the road (at the entrance for North Farm).

North Farm Entrance to Dinham Bridge
North Farm Entrance to Dinham Bridge

Start point: 52.3654 lat, -2.7343 long
End point: 52.3659 lat, -2.726 long

NOTE: This next short stretch follows the edge of the road, so take care of traffic. Cross over to the far grass verge and turn left along this for about 40 metres. Here you will reach a fingerpost on your right (opposite the boundary sign for Mortimer Forest). Turn right here and follow the path leading you steeply down through the trees. Ignore the footpath branch to your left, just keep ahead on the narrow path. Take care with children and dogs as the path is narrow and the woodland slope down to your left is very steep.

At the bottom of the slope, you will come to a junction with a quiet lane. Turn right to reach the T-junction (at a hairpin bend). Take the right-hand branch of the road (climbing) and, as you reach the lay-by, turn left to pass a sign marking Whitcliffe Common. Take the left-hand path at the fork, leading you steadily downhill through the woodland common.

As Ludlow Castle comes into view, keep left at the fork heading down a flight of stone steps. You will be able to hear the sound of the weir within the River Teme rushing below. Your path continues ahead and then descends via a second set of stone steps. These are known locally as the Donkey Steps, as it is believed they formed part of a packhorse route that was used to carry ore from the Clee Hills to Burrington.

You will emerge to a junction with the road, alongside Dinham Bridge.

Dinham Bridge to Ludlow Castle Entrance
Dinham Bridge to Ludlow Castle Entrance

Start point: 52.3659 lat, -2.726 long
End point: 52.3673 lat, -2.7218 long

Cross Dinham Bridge (via the left-hand pavement), taking time to enjoy the views of the River Teme. It is easy to see how this river formed a natural defence for the castle and town and it also powered many mills. Keep your eyes peeled for grey wagtails and heron.

Immediately after the bridge, turn left into the side road and, just after the Miller’s House on your right, fork right to join the tarmac path up through the trees (via a staggered barrier). At the top of the slope, you will come to a T-junction with the circular path that runs around Ludlow Castle. Turn left along this, with the tall castle walls towering up to your right. Ludlow is thought to be one of the first stone castles built in England, shortly after the Norman Conquest. It played an important role as a Yorkist retreat during the Wars of the Roses in the 1400s and played its part in the English Civil War in the 1600s.

At the fork, keep right on the path alongside the castle and this path leads you directly to the castle entrance, in Castle Square. The small square is home to a cannon, a drinking fountain and formal gardens. From here, there is easy access to explore the rest of Ludlow town should you wish. It is certainly worth getting some refreshments, to fortify yourself ready for the climb back into the forest!

Ludlow Castle Entrance to Lower Wood Road
Ludlow Castle Entrance to Lower Wood Road

Start point: 52.3673 lat, -2.7218 long
End point: 52.3663 lat, -2.7311 long

When you are ready to continue, stand facing the castle entrance and turn left onto the tarmac path through the castle gardens. Follow the path as it swings right around the side of the castle. With the red brick frontage of Dinham House ahead, swing right again passing through the arch in the outer ramparts. Stay with the stone path soon leading you through a second arch, back out of the castle grounds. You will have lovely views of the hills of Whitcliffe Common ahead.

Once through the arch, bear left at the fork and follow this path leading you downhill and swinging sharp right. The path levels off, with the castle wall towering up to your right. Just before the path swings right again, turn sharp left onto the tarmac path leading you back down towards Dinham Bridge. At the bottom of the slope, bear left to reach the T-junction and then turn right back over Dinham Bridge.

At the far side of the bridge, dog-leg left then right to join the Donkey Steps back up into Whitcliffe Common. Your climb back to the car park has now begun in earnest. At the top of the second flight of steps, keep straight ahead (passing two benches on your left). At the end of the common, you will reach a junction with a road. Turn right (heading downhill) just to reach the hairpin bend and then cross over to go ahead into the no-through road, Lower Wood Road.

Lower Wood Road to End
Lower Wood Road to End

Start point: 52.3663 lat, -2.7311 long
End point: 52.3634 lat, -2.7446 long

Keep ahead along Lower Wood Road for just 40 metres and then fork left to join the public footpath (signed as part of the Mortimer Trail long distance path). About 30 paces up the slope you will come to a fork (the left-hand branch being the one you came down on the outward leg). This time, take the right-hand branch, signed as a permissive route for the Mortimer Trail.

Follow this pretty woodland trail, undulating and meandering along the woodland bank. After about 800 metres, the path swings left to reach a T-junction (with a waymarker post on your right). Turn left here (up the short slope) to reach the lay-by where the walk began.

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1 Comments for: "Mortimer Forest and Ludlow Castle"

Lovely walk and superb views of Ludlow

By distantstoke on 24 Jun 2017

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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