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Shropshire Hills Walks

Brown Clee Hill

Date: 28th Aug 2014
Distance: 5.5 miles
Ascent: 985 feet
Time: 2 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SO608871

Walk Summary:
An enjoyable walk up through Stanbroughs Wood on to Abdon Burf, the highest point of Brown Clee Hill, before heading for neighbouring Clee Burf.

Route Summary: Hillside - Stanbroughs Wood - Brown Clee Hill (Abdon Burf) - Shropshire Way - Clee Burf - Big Wood - Stanbroughs Wood - Hillside

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

The pleasant woodland path near the start of the walk
Stanbroughs Wood
One of a number of pools near the top of Brown Clee Hill
One of the beautiful wild horses on Brown Clee Hill
The wireless station on Brown Clee Hill
The topograph that has replaced the trig point on the summit of Brown Clee Hill
The view north-west over Wenlock Edge towards the Stretton Hills and the Long Mynd
Heading along the Shropshire Way towards Clee Burf
Looking back at Brown Clee Hill
A distant view of the Malvern Hills from Clee Burf
The top of Clee Burf looking towards Titterstone Clee Hill
The navigational relay station on Clee Burf
The quarry remains near the summit of Clee Burf
Remains of former quarry buildings
Looking back at Clee Burf from near the cairn
The prominent cairn to the north-west of the summit beyond the relay station's access road
The iron gate leading in to Big Wood
The path descending through Big Wood
The sweeping view east from Stanbroughs Wood

Walk Detail: It is fair to say that we didn't enjoy the best of the summer's weather during our one week holiday in Church Stretton. By the time we'd got to Thursday the only sunny spells we'd enjoyed were on Sunday morning and Wednesday morning. The rest of the week had been cloudy at best and included, at worst, a thirty hour spell of almost incessant rain.

Therefore I was very excited when the forecast for Thursday was sunny spells all day. Lisa and Rhiannon were planning a shopping trip to Shrewsbury so I had the whole day to myself. Wanting to maximise the combination of good weather and with over ten hours free time I planned a moderately ambitious itinerary of four short walks. Starting with Titterstone Clee Hill my plan was to gradually drive back to Church Stretton stopping off at various points so I could take in walks on Brown Clee Hill, Wenlock Edge and finally The Lawley.

It would have been a wonderful day had my car not broken down a couple of hundred metres short of the car park near the summit of Titterstone Clee Hill. The rest of the day proved to be one of the most frustrating I can remember. Whilst the recovery truck was with me within the hour they were unable to repair the fault (my fan belt) on the side of the road and had to tow me back to Church Stretton. Initially the car was supposed to then be fixed by midday but then when a supplier didn't deliver the necessary parts there was a further delay and so it was not until 4pm that I finally got the car back.

So that the day was not a complete write off I immediately set off in the car to do this walk. Starting from a small parking area on a minor road between Cleobury North and Ditton Priors the first part of the walk was a climb up through Stanbroughs Wood. It was pleasant stuff but having been kicking my heels all day what I really wanted was open spaces and big views. This I got in abundance when I climbed out of the trees and up past some mine workings to an access road just below the summit of Brown Clee Hill. Immediately I could make out the distinctive shape of The Wrekin to the north-east while to the south-east the view was seemingly endless.

Passing one of the wild horses that live on Brown Clee Hill it was then a short walk up to the summit. Instead of the trig point that I was expecting to mark the summit (and as indicated on the map) there was instead a topograph. It was all a bit perplexing and although I was positive I was stood where the trig point should be I had a nagging doubt that I had somehow missed it. It was not until I got home that I found out on the internet that the local council had some years before removed the trig point and erected the topograph in its place.

Brown Clee Hill is the highest point in Shropshire and according to some guide books it is possible to see over 14 counties. I'm not sure about that but I did enjoy excellent visibility and in addition to all the main Shropshire Hills I could see the Clent Hills, Malvern Hills and, over the border in to Wales, the Brecon Beacons as well as the distinctive shape of the Sugar Loaf near Abergavenny. All in all it was a magnificent view only slightly spoiled by the nearby mast.

From Brown Clee Hill I dropped down to join the Shropshire Way which I followed on to the neighbouring top of Clee Burf. The summit of the latter proved to be unmarked but a few rocks gave it some character and again the views were superb especially towards Titterstone Clee Hill which looked particularly fine from this angle. From the top of Clee Burf I followed the rim of some nearby quarries to cross an access road to visit a prominent cairn that had an excellent view across this part of Shropshire towards Wenlock Edge and beyond to the Long Mynd.

Eventually I returned to the col with Brown Clee Hill and went through an iron gate back into the forest for a descent through Big Wood and then back into Stanbroughs Wood. Occasional breaks in the trees afforded more sweeping views to the east. This was a really good walk, just such a shame it was the only one I got to do that day!!

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