Tea Shop Walks - Ludlow 5 miles
07 August 2012
To walk through the doors of De Grey's teashop on Broad Street is to step back 50 years in time. There are no new-fangled teabags at De Grey's. Tea here can be a set meal, including fresh sandwiches, spongy scones and pastries bulging with cream, or more simply, a pot of tea, with a choice of cake from the display.
Ludlow Castle Tea Rooms and Afternoon Tea at de Grey's
Last week we stomped along the rugged coastline of Cornwall and finished up
at the picturesque Heligan Gardens for a refreshing brew. Now,
we're off on a five-mile woodland ramble starting from the center
of historic Ludlow in Shropshire.
Your walk is a mix of town and country, the best of both
some may say. You can stop half way through at Ludlow Castle, take in
this historic monument, may be have some lunch. Then finish your
walk back in the center of Ludlow with a well-deserved rest and an
at the charming De Grey's teashop.
We're not going to argue with Sir John Betjeman when
he said that Ludlow is 'probably the loveliest town in England'.
With that in mind, you can almost think of this walk as a bonus.
You climb high into Whitcliffe Woods then emerge on Whitcliffe
Common for the very best view of the town and its great Norman
castle, towering above the River Teme. From the common you could
soon be back in the centre of Ludlow, but it is also possible to
return along the riverside path, known as the 'Breadwalk' and take
in a little local geology on the way.
To walk through the doors of De Grey's teashop on
Broad Street is to step back 50 years in time. The building itself
is much older, with low sagging ceilings and heavy
But the red and white tablecloths create the
atmosphere, along with the waitresses in their black dresses and
white pinafores serving neatly cut sandwiches and trays of tea -
with strainers. There are no new-fangled teabags at De Grey's. Tea
here can be a set meal, including fresh sandwiches, spongy scones
and pastries bulging with cream, or more simply, a pot of tea, with
a choice of cake from the display.
Lunches range from Welsh Rarebit and triple-decked
sandwiches to hearty pies and fresh salads, with a selection of
wines to accompany your meal. De Grey's is open every day from 9am
to 5pm (5.30pm in summer). Telephone: 01584
5 miles. Returning via the riverside Breadwalk,
rather than directly, would add an extra ¾ mile to this. It's also
possible to walk the 'Whitcliffe Loop' alone (2 ½ miles) by parking
at the Forestry Commission Headquarters.
OS Explorer203 Ludlow, Tenbury Wells &
POINT: The entrance
to the castle, Ludlow (GR SO509746).
HOW TO GET
Ludlow from the A49, you will quickly pick up signs for
pay-and-display parking. The most convenient is just behind Ludlow
College, only a stone's throw from the castle
Ludlow can trace its origins back to the 11th
century with the building of its castle. But its greatest success
came in the Middle Ages when its markets gained renown for their
wool and cloth. Some of the town's finest buildings come from this
time, and you should not leave without seeking out the Feathers
Hotel from 1609, with its elaborate timber façade. Other
interesting buildings include St Laurence's church, the largest in
Shropshire (A.E. Housman's ashes were scattered near the west
door), and of course the castle itself. Add to that Broad Street
and Mill Street with their fine Georgian buildings, and the tangle
of narrow alleyways harbouring many specialist shops and you will
see that, combined with the walk, you can easily fill a whole day
when you visit Ludlow.
the castle gates, turn right and take the path around the castle to
descend to the road beside the river. Turn left, and then right, to
cross Dinham Bridge. On the far side the road swings right, but
instead go straight ahead, climbing the steps to come out through
the woodland of Whitcliffe Common. For this early part of the walk
you are following the 'green shield' signs of the Mortimer
Emerging on the road beside the common, turn
right and walk down to the bend where the Lower Wood Road goes off
on the left. Turn up this road for about 30 yards, and then follow
the Mortimer Trail signs up a path on the bank on the left. The
path weaves up and down (mostly up!) on this wooded bank for about
a mile, finally doubling back to come out on a road. Cross this
road directly to the buildings of the Forestry Commission on the
Beside the buildings, a board shows you the route
of the 'Whitcliffe Loop', which you are about to follow through the
forest - abundant red waymarks will guide you all the way. Walk
through the barrier and then keep ahead on the main track until,
after about 10 minutes, the signs direct you to branch off up a
grassy track on the right. This leads to an open area, and a bench
from which there is an impressive view into the depths of the Mary
Knoll Valley. When you turn away from the viewpoint, you can
continue along the grassy track, which is now running downhill.
Soon it joins the main forest road, and you carry on descending on
this until you reach a path junction with a bench
Turn left here (the first on the left - it is
waymarked) and walk gently uphill through the larches. At another
junction with a bench, turn left uphill, and then beside yet
another bench take the track on the right.
5. At a
major path junction, leave the Whitcliffe Loop (it goes left back
to the car park) and keep straight ahead along the edge of the wood
with a field on your right. Eventually you reach the buildings of
North Farm, and then the road.
right and walk down to the junction. Just a little to the right
here is the grassland of the Whitcliffe Common, from where you have
a fine prospect of Ludlow and its magnificent castle. From the
information panel, walk left across the plateau to where you can
rejoin the path that descends to the river bridge (the one you were
on at the beginning of this walk).
you have a choice - you can quickly return the way you came to the
castle entrance, or turn right on the riverside path known as the
Breadwalk. After a few minutes' walking, the Breadwalk climbs away
from the river and reaches a minor road, 100 yards or so farther
on. Now turn left to cross Ludford Bridge and continue under the
arch of the Broadgate to enter the town. Walk up Broad Street, with
De Grey's on the right, and turn left at the Buttercross to return
to the castle.
The walk is courtesy of Shropshire Teashop
Walks, a book by Judy Smith