Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Brown Clee Hill - Shropshire's Historic County Top

Walk summary
I may have mentioned during the last year that I had a bad back which kept me out of the hills for 6 months. I then spent 2 months with careful rehab visiting smaller hills, predominantly the Shropshire/Worcestershire Marilyns then progressing on to shorter Nuttall walks completing The Berwyns before finally being ready to tackle the larger hills of southern Snowdonia including Cadair Idris.
Spring is springing in tree near Hillside Farm
on road back to car
This is the first Historic County Top Gina and I have visited since June 2015 on Bardon Hill hence my back problem is part of the reason why Gina and I have not increased our joint Historic County Top count since June 2015, but until now neither of us has said "Hey what about adding to our Historic County Tops total?"
I have managed a couple in Wales during the Nuttall bagging routes but I deliberately left Brown Clee Hill and Worcestershire Beacon so that I could return with Gina at  a later date.
The idea was to go up Brown Clee Hill on the way to North Wales so we treated ourselves to a stay at The Bull's Head, Chelmarsh along with a smashing steak meal last night then took a slight detour this morning on our way to Oswestry.
The weather was springlike with blue skies and a light breeze. I had designed a circuitous route to avoid any steep descent to gently introduce Gina into hill-walking but she opted to go directly up to the summit through Stanbroughs Woods preferring a bit more of a challenge and an aerobic workout then the gentle Shropshire slopes provided. "Good on you" excellent preparation for the longer steeper slopes of Moel Sych and Cadair Berwyn later in the trip.
Approaching the summit area from the east we first saw the radio masts then a demolished building which turned out to be buildings associated with now redundant Cockshutford Quarries mining Dhustone (Dolerite). Approaching the summit area I was expecting a trig point but this turned out to have been demolished and replaced by a topograph. The furniture from the trig including the mounting bracket and face plate have been built in to the steps which I felt was a nice touch, however I guess purists from within the trig bagging community consider it closer to vandalism.
Gina bracing herself against wind on Brown Clee Hill.
My poles were straight up!
Hanging around and admiring the view was made difficult by the unexpectedly strong winds causing trouser legs to balloon and more importantly difficult to stand up. Moving on to the summit the other side of the masts I managed to persuade Gina to stand on the summit. Not an easy task as she hates the wind but the summit photo picked up a massive smile on her face, or was it her cursing me?
On the way down the winds were forgotten leaving us to enjoy the sunshine, wonderful views in clear, bright sunlight towards Ditton Priors along with dormant trees awakening from their winter hibernation, heralding renewal whilst bursting in to fresh succulent buds.
Anyway this now brings our joint total of English & Welsh Historic County Tops to 23 out of the total of 64.
Good progress.
Although our first was Whernside back in October 2008 we only really started with a commitment to climb every English & Welsh Historic County Top back in April 2004 on Haddenham Village since when we have now done 18. By the end of this trip 3 more will be added, soon be half way there.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 06 April 2016
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith

Accommodation - The Bull's Head, Chelmarsh
Start Point- Off road parking opposite footpath signposted as Forrest Track (SO 60776 87203)
Finish Point Off road parking opposite footpath signposted as Forrest Track (SO 60776 87203)
Total Duration - 2hrs 18mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.58mph
Total Distance Walked - 3.30 miles
Total Height Ascended - 239.71 metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (189W - 443E&W)
Hewitts (138W - 317E&W)
Marilyns (175E - 1556E,W&S)
Brown Clee Hill (102E - 231E,W&S)
Deweys (181E - 422E&W)
Brown Clee Hill (53E - 96E&W)
HuMPs (444E - 2975EW&S)
Brown Clee Hill (158E - 312E,W&S)
Historic County Tops (49E - 93E,W&S)
Brown Clee Hill (38E - 51E,W&S)
W: Wales. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Other walks on this trip
06th Brown Clee Hill - Shropshire's Historic County Top
08th Moel Sych & Cadair Berwyn - Montgomeryshire's & Denbighshire's Historic County Tops
12th Craig y Llyn - Glamorgan's Historic County Top + a couple of other Marilyns in the area
14th Mynydd Allt-y-grug & Mynydd Uchaf
GPX can be downloaded from
More Photographs
North East descent down wireless station access road looking towards Ditton Priors
Click on photograph to view slide-show