wenlock guildhall and church
A medium length circular walk which visits the ancient site of the Arlescott medieval village.
Length: 5.6 miles (9km)
Muddy in places, one section on a minor rural road.
At a moderate pace this walk should take approximately 2 hours.
Parking is difficult in Wenlock, particularly on Saturdays and Bank Holidays. There is limited free parking on Station Road (TF13 6JE), alternatively there is paid for parking at the Much Wenlock Public Car Park (TF13 6TA), or at the Abbey (TF13 6EN).
Public toilets – none after Much Wenlock
Pubs and eateries - none on the walk, but see my recommendations for Much Wenlock
This is a circular walk and could therefore begin at any point. These directions start at the bottom of Wenlock High Street, outside the local information centre.
Cross over Barrow Road to the Guildhall, then turn left towards the church. Walk past the church, turning right again down the Bullring towards Wenlock Priory. Walk past the Priory ruins and car park, then out of Wenlock on a quiet country lane.
Follow this lane for a few hundred metres, then to the right and down a slight hill past a Severn Trent pumping station. You will find yourself approaching cottages, this is Downs Mill. Walk onto the gravel drive and then to the right of the houses, down a clear path alongside a stream. Cross the bridge and the stile on the other side. Enter the field and walk towards a second stile, and then into the next field. Follow a clear and occasionally muddy track alongside the field boundary across two more fields, until you meet a single track lane.
Turn right and go up the hill, passing farm cottages to your right. Keep on this road and after approx. 20 mins. the small hamlet of Wyke will come in sight at the top of a hill. The road descends into a dip; at this stage look for a bridleway to the right. There is an entry through trees and a small plank bridge over a stream. Cross this and enter the field beyond, keeping to the path by the LH field boundary. You cross two more fields and then, after passing through a metal field gate, turn left through wide gaps in an old hedge line, to ascend towards the ancient settlement of Arlescott. Walk up the field to the top boundary.
The farm is across a small valley to your right and the medieval field terraces can clearly be seen.
Go through the gate at the top of the field and turn right, walking past the cottage and down to another gate. Go through this and then diagonally across the next field to a further gate. You will now have a farmhouse to your right and an open field ahead. The right of way goes straight across the field, and in some conditions may be suitable to use. On most days my preference is to follow the farm track to the left, and then around the field boundary.
Walk alongside the LH field boundary, and over a stile onto a clear track past an underground reservoir. Enjoy the view from this high point, then descend along another field boundary, this time with the field edge on your right.
Enter a hollow between planted trees, before crossing a stile into a field. Take a route across the next field that leaves an old hedge line to your right, and which descends gently towards a wire fence and stream. To your left you should be able to see the aptly named Marsh Cottage. Cross the fence by the stile; do not go up the cottage track; instead follow the LH field boundary for a few hundred metres. This section is muddy in wet weather.
Follow the field edge until you come to a clear gate, then go through into the next field, which is grass pasture. A series of posts mark your route across this field, whilst, to your left, are the remains of the pond systems used by the monks as a fishery.
At the far end you cross a bridge over a stream and then up to a field gate leading onto a lane. Turn left and make your way back towards Wenlock. After passing the Abbey and a building which was once the school, you next pass a square medieval tower.
After this tower, turn left into a courtyard, walk to the far end and up a few steps which lead into the churchyard. Follow the path across the churchyard, past the graves of the Penny Brookes* family, along the rear of the Guildhall, and then, through a narrow passage, back onto Wenlock High Street.
*William Penny Brookes is credited with being one of the founders of the Modern Olympic movement.