The Romans and The Wrekin

Trails around Shropshire

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We covered miles - and centuries of history - between Atcham and The Wrekin. The past spoke volumes to us at every turn.

Leave Shrewsbury on the B4380.

Just out of Shrewsbury, we stopped at Atcham. Walking by the two bridges which cross the river, St Eata's church and its Saxon remains gave us our first taste of history that day.

We would travel back in time some more before it ended, but first we crossed the road and stepped into the 1700s at the National Trust mansion set in its magnificent park designed by Humphry Repton.

From English lords to Roman Britons, we drove on to Wroxeter Roman City (English Heritage) which has the tallest surviving piece of Roman masonry in Britian. How has that bath house wall survived for so long? It's strange to see how small the medieval village of Wroxeter is compared to its fore-runner, Viroconium, the forth largest Roman city in Britain.

Around a corner in the road we first saw The Wrekin. It rose 1400 feet from the Shropshire plain like a diamond in greens and browns with each face a different colour. Legend has it that it was formed by a giant emptying a sack of soil. He was on his way to bury Shrewsbury but changed his mind when he learned how far he still had to go.

We drove on round The Wrekin past the Dryton Oak where Cromwell's troops kept a watch for Royalists. At every turn the volcanic hill seemed to change its shape and size. A long walk up to the top rewarded us with panoramic views - you can see fifteen counties! No wonder early people chose this for thier fort.

Tired and content we let the meander of the River Severn lead us on to Buildwas and the peace of Cistercian Abbey.

On then to Much Wenlock, a charming little town of half-timbered houses and a romantic ruined Priory. One of its famous sons is Dr William Penny Brookes, the founder in 1850 of the Wenlock Olympian Games, fore-runner of the modern Olypics.