Ludlow to Wenlock Edge loop by Isla Rowntree
Isla Rowntree the eponymous children’s bike designer and longstanding Cycling UK member lives and works in Shropshire, here's one of her favourite routes in the Ludlow area.
The focal point of the ride is the paths along the top of the Wenlock Edge – a huge escarpment that runs for about 15 miles between Craven Arms and Much Wenlock. When up there make sure to peep through the trees on your right and see just how steep the drop is. A mixture of lanes, tracks, open fields and singletrack keep the ride interesting.
You’ll quickly leave the town behind and be on quiet lanes before the first 'leg test' – a stiff climb up to the first off-road section across the top of the hill above Titterhill. From here there are super views of the Clee Hills to the east and south west Shropshire to your left, including your first view of the Wenlock Edge where you are heading. After descending back into Corve Dale you’ll cross fields towards the escarpment. Another long but graded climb leads you through some woodland and some lanes before going up onto the ridge proper. Once up here you’ll be going very slightly downhill on fun tracks – grin inducing but watch out for those roots!
The ride leaves the ridge just before Craven Arms where, if you wish, you can detour to take a look at Flounders Folly, a tower built by a 19th century philanthropic industrialist – who wasn’t past a bit of self-aggrandisement!
From here its all quiet lanes back to Bromfield (note this is where I work at Islabikes!) where you’ll skip the A49 and head back to Ludlow on Sustrans NCN route 44 through the Earl of Plymouth Estate – a beautiful oak lined private lane.
Ride type - Traditional 'rough stuff', a mixture of quiet lanes, double and single tracks. Expect some mud in winter and some prickles in summer! Some modest off-road bike handling skills will make the ride more enjoyable.
Bike - Cyclocross or mountain bike, any light off-road capable touring bike (close fitting mudguards may clog in winter)
Parking - The route is plotted from the Smithfield car park in Ludlow but if you are arriving by rail the station is just around the corner
Cafes - None en-route so take your flask and cake, traditional rough stuff style. Lots of great cafes to choose from in Ludlow when you finish the ride. My particular favourite is The Green Café by the river, on your left as you cross the bridge back into Ludlow
Bike shops - Pearce Cycles (on the route just after you have left the town)