There can be few better places to walk in lowland England than in the Marches, the borderland country of England and Wales. This is where gentle pastures give way to steeply wooded slopes and open hill tops. Here you will find the Mortimer Trail, a 30 mile walking route from Ludlow to Kington which follows a succession of hills and ridges. It is so called because this was the heartland of the Mortimer family, holders of the most powerful of the Norman Earldoms. The trail passes through forests where tracts of broadleaved woodland give way to coniferous stands. The route descends from the high ridges to the water's edge of the Teme, Lugg and Arrow rivers where Kingfisher and Heron can be seen. Climbs are constantly rewarded by views of the Forest of Radnor, the Black Mountains, Clee Hills and the Malvern Hills.
For the most part the Mortimer Trail is a high level route away from settlements, which are to be found in the gaps and river valleys below. Whilst the hills are rarely over 1,000 feet, you will find climbs which are strenuous in places such as High Vinnals, Shobdon Hill Wood and Byton. Most of the upland areas are covered with woodlands, but the tree cover along several sections has been thinned to encourage a variety of wildlife and to offer improved views. Ash, Oak, Beech and Lime are common broadleaves. The coniferous blocks are mainly Larch, Douglas fir and Norway spruce.
From Ludlow there are several climbs up to Mortimer Forest and High Vinnals. The walking is mainly on forest tracks through to Hanway Common and then along a bridleway to The Goggin. From here to Orleton Common the walking is along quiet lanes.
From Orleton Common the route rises through farmland up to Bircher Common and then is relatively level through Croft Wood and Croft Ambrey. After a gradual descent the route then follows the river valley through Aymestrey to Shobdon Hill, where it climbs steadily to 1070 ft. and then descends with spectacular views to Byton village.
From Byton, after a short road section, there is a hard climb up to Wapley Hillfort at 1059 ft. and then gentle walking through farmland to Titley. From here follows a climb to Green Lane Farm then fairly level walking along a green lane and the wooded Little Brampton Scar to Knill Garraway Wood. There is another short ascent to Rushock Hill Common before descending through farmland to Kington.
The walk could be completed in 2 days with one overnight stop near Shobdon, but this sets a fairly strenuous pace with two 15 mile walks. A more relaxed option taking 3 days is our recommendation. Accommodation along the route is available at Richard's Castle; Orelton; Aymestrey; Wigmore; Shobdon; Lingen and Titley.
This text has been adapted from the official Trail guidebook.
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