Chris Bagley was the Parish Paths Partnership (P3) liaison officer with Shropshire County Council until his untimely death at the age of 53 in November 2009. Chris was a good friend to Pontesbury P3 group when it started in 2006.
The 10 1/2 mile route takes in the finest countryside in the area. It is a circuit of Pontesford Hill and Earls Hill, the ‘sleeping beast’that is such a prominent feature of the Shropshire landscape. It is marked with a special waymark disc – Chris Bagley Walk.
The walk heads south out of the village through Poles Coppice to Eastridge Wood before swinging northeasterly to Habberley. It continues into the valley south east of Earls Hill before climbing through Oaks Wood. A descent to Longden Manor is followed by a loop through parkland with views across Shropshire to the Wrekin and Ironbridge Gorge. The route back to the village is via the Radlith and the beautiful Lyd Hole waterfall.
Shortcut options have been built into the walk as well as an extension to increase the length to 12 miles.
1. From the top of School Green, Pontesbury, walk past the phone box into Pontesbury Hill road. At the brow of the hill bear left along Top Road. In 250 metres turn left at fingerpost and then right along narrow path between hedge and low wall. Follow path along edge of wood via wooden kissing gate, passing Nills Cottage to stony track. Bear right for 150 metres, turn sharp left on bridleway and bear right behind Nills Farm cottages along footpath via a stile and a gate to Poles Coppice.
2. Turn right along woodland path to junction with bridleway. Turn left and in 50 metres fork right along path that climbs steadily through wood to a wooden kissing gate into a field. Continue ahead to a gate onto a stony lane. (SHORTCUT A). Cross the road and follow path into Eastridge Wood. Turn left along track and in 50 metres turn right along track. Continue ahead along edge of wood to a car park. Join narrow road and turn right.
3. In 350 metres turn left through a kissing gate and bear left along path by a stream through 4 gates. Cross culvert to a 12 ft gate and bear left across field between 2 trees to a stile.Crossthe narrow field to a large gate and join a road. Continue ahead into Habberley and turn right by the church.
4. Follow road past Mytton Arms and round double bend to a footpath on your left. Continue ahead through 3 gates to a grassy track and bear left to a wooden kissing gate. Turn right along the farm track to a field at it’s end. Bear right down the field to a kissing gate and cross the Habberley Brook by the footbridge. Follow the path up the slope to a forestry track. Continue ahead along the track climbing steadily through Oaks Wood. (SHORTCUT B).
5. At the top of the wood turn right along the bridleway to The Oaks. Turn left on to the road and follow it for about 1 kilometre towards Plealey. (SHORTCUT C). At Oaks Hall Farm turn right (by the VR postbox) along the farm road, past the cottages and keeping left at the junctions, to a metal gate ahead. Continue ahead on the bridleway along the edge of the field to a stony track and the Manor drive by the Lodge. Turn left along the drive for 400 metres.
6. At the stone bridge turn sharp left along a grassy track to a field gate. Keep Hedge on your left across 2 fields to a small pool. Keep straight on with stream on your right to a sleeper bridge. Cross and follow path on opposite bank to a stile/gate. Continue ahead past pool and Lingcroft Pool via 3 gates to Plealey – Oaks road.
7. Turn left for 250 metres and turn right along a stony track. Turn right on a footpath between the cottages, through a stable yard, to a gate into the wood. Follow the path through Radlith Wood for about 400 metres to a junction. Turn sharp left down a steep track to the Pontesford Brook. Cross Bagger’s Bridge to a gate and turn left along the field to the Lyd Hole.
8.Take the path up through the wood to a gate into the field. (EXTENSION D). Continue ahead to wooden gate and follow track, past 2 pools, to the Pontesford Hill road. Turn left for 80 metres and turn right along a stony track.Turn right through gate and cross field to a kissing gate. Turn right along drive to Bogey Lane, turn left and keep ahead past Library and cemetery to Stalleon Lane and School Green.
A. Turn left along road to Habberley. Turn right at junction and rejoin route by the church.
B. At the top of the wood turn left down the track and follow bridleway signs into Happy Valley. Cross the footbridge and turn left up the stony track to Earls Hill Barn. Turn right along the track to rejoin the route at the Pontesford Hill road.
C. At Oaks Hall Farm continue down the road for 200 metres and turn left on to the stony track (Section 7)
D. To extend the walk through Happy Valley turn left at gate and follow waymarks along edge of field via 3 stiles to a gate. Cross field to a stile and descend steeply into the valley. Cross the bridge and in 50 metres turn right along bridleway. Cross stream and follow bridleway bearing right up steep track to Earls Hill Barn. Turn right along the track to rejoin the route at the Pontesford Hill road.
PUBS ON ROUTE
Mytton Arms, Habberley; Tankerville Arms, Longden (1/4 mile off route at stone bridge – section 6)
PUBS IN PONTESBURY
Horseshoes Inn, Minsterley Road; Nags Head, Shrewsbury Road; Plough Inn, Chapel Street.
Waymark disc designed by Malcolm Whitall.