Clun Weekend 2011

Friday 17th June – Sunday 19th June 2011

Clun Youth Hostel, Shropshire
(Ordnance Survey Map Number: 137 Grid Reference: SO304 813)

Shropshire Revisited - 
The Ladies Weekend 2011.

Clun is a small town on the Shropshire Herefordshire border.  Its lanes are prettily lined  with honeysuckle and roses in June, and the views from the long climbs are of rolling hills, before fantastic descents through woodland and forests.  Last year the ladies stayed at Bridges, 15 miles to the north, with favourites as the Long Mynd and The Bog near Stiperstones!

The White Horse

12 of us met at the White Horse in Clun on Fiday night for tea.  I miscounted, and thought there would be 10 so a couple of us sat on a smaller table while we ate and joined the gang for a couple of drinks afterwards.  There was a good band playing (Plastic Pantomime) who were loud indeed - but we had a door between us and them so conversation could be resumed each time the door closed.

Saturday - Follow the rain to Ludlow

after the rain, outside the hostel.
Clun Hostel is a small mill on the outskirts of the town (I am told that Clun is a town, as it has a town hall.)  Many of the workings of the mill are on display, and the rooms are small, reflecting the fact that some rooms were not maybe intended for 7 people in bunk beds!  But we got in and out again, and self catered an assortment of breakfasts in the tiny kitchen before assembling bikes outside the hostel.

The Hopwood Ladies (from Hopwood, near junction 2 of the M42, I'm told) drove over Saturday morning to join us for the day.  However, jut as they were about to bring the bikes down from the cars, the black cloud directly overhead decided that Clun Mill was the very best place to empty itself, and the heavens duly opened.  We waited a few minutes!

Once the rain had stopped,and all had sorted their bikes and visited the loo, we had the mandatory group photo before setting off up the hill next to the Hostel. dropping through the back street of Clun , we followed the B road and Maxine's directions into the hills.  The black cloud that had held us up could be seen in the distance, heading approximately South East and, more importantly, away from us.

We cut up through Clungunford, and along a small lane before heading past Rocke Cottage cafe.  It was too early for a stop, so we carried on the the planned stop at the soup dragon kitchens at Walford.  We were welcomed into this medieval establishment (the owner told us that there is a plaster freize on their lounge wall depicting icons of King Charles and other items demonstrating the age of the property.  Not to mention the Motte & Bailey castle in the back garden!)


...and cakes!

Buns, tea and other refreshments were shared and enjoyed (mostly).  Note to self - if a proprieter brings out a couple of plates of fresh buns, next time discourage the ladies from asking to see the menu and requsting a wide variety of goodies as it saves time and energy!).

We continued through the history rich Shropshire and Herefordshire countryside to climb up through Mortimer Forest, which afforded wonderful views off to the North - to Stiperstones and the long mynd.  Some views soon to be lost as new forest has been planted.  For us it was a sea of foxgloves!  Then we had a marvellous panorama over Ludlow with its church and castle.

We stopped at a viewpoint for photos - and coerced a gentleman to take our pics, which he did with a memorable 'one......two......three' (large pause between each number).  we managed not to kill him on the blind corner with much shouting and waving each time a car appeared.

Then we had a wonderful scoot down into Ludlow, and the bridge over the river Teme.

As there were 16 or so of us, we split up to explore the market and cafes of Ludlow, re-grouping after we had fed and watered ourselves.  Then it was back down to the bridge, and retrace briefly before heading on a cycle route through a private estate.

After a few more hills and associated views, we ended back on the B road to Clun.  We bade a fond farewell to the Hopwood Ladies as they headed back the 50 miles or so to South Birmingham, and readied ourselves for a night on the town.  Oh, OK, a meal at the Sun!

Sunday Route to the South and the Shropshire Challenge

Wendy the Warden bids us farewell!

Sunday morning saw us leave Maxine at the Hostel as she had plans to head home and other stuff! 

We dropped down to the river via Clun castle, then climbed up the other side, before contouring along with some smashing views back to Clun castle.  This lane contined to climb up and over, before dropping into what I can only describe as a wonderfully isolated and secret valley.  It really was the prettiest route to Knighton, which appeared very quickly. 


Tea stop in Knighton by the clock tower, and then return down the hill to follow the valley along to Bucknell, and small detour through the pretty village.

Hopton Castle

We were soon to be swamped by fast Shropshire Challenge lads (mostly fellas, not many girls - although Janet was wistful and wanted to join them as she had planned to ride it this year).  Anyway, we took a diversion which brought us to Hopton Castle.  Only a tower remains of this medieval castle, and a scant history.  Naturally, we posed for a group photo again, before heading along the valley to Rocke Cottage - where we stopped this time for afternoonsies. 

On the way back I deviated from Maxine's route, and we went straight ahead at the junction to climb again, but then descend through really old woodland - fantastic descent and beautiful woods.  Then it was back along the B road to Clun, the hostel, and our various cars to head home!

Till next year!

(The rest of the ladies photos can be seen here )