Ramblers' Sequel to Beloved Book of Shrewsbury Walks
29 Nov 2023

A fantastic new book of short walks is to be released this weekend with 20 interesting routes in the Shrewsbury area, researched and collated by Shrewsbury Ramblers. It’s the long anticipated sequel to the much-loved ‘20 Walks in and Around Shrewsbury’. Katy Rink samples Walk 21 around Ruyton-XI-Towns. 

If, like me, you’ve been using the Shrewsbury Ramblers book ‘20 Walks in and Around Shrewsbury’ as a bible of local walks for years, you’ll be delighted to hear they have a sequel out in time for Christmas!

I was able to accompany the group one sunny winter afternoon on walk 21 - the first of the new batch from the new book, inventively entitled ‘20 More Walks around Shrewsbury’ (it does what it says on the tin!). 

Shrewsbury Ramblers with the new book

Members of the Shrewsbury Ramblers group with the new book of 20 Shrewsbury walks

The magic of the book is that these walks are all rather short - between four and six and a half miles - so ideal for a family ramble or gentle weekend stroll. All of them have ‘something special’ about them, according to Shrewsbury Ramblers’ publicity officer Amanda Hartley-Newton, who had invited me along. 

We enjoyed  a scenic, 4.5-mile loop around Ruyton-XI-Towns, taking in magnificent views over the Welsh hills from the top of The Cliffe, part of the Nesscliffe Country Park. 

The top of the Clyffe

The top of the Cliffe with stunning views in all directions

Accompanying us were a sausage dog and two working cockers, who would (if they could) attest that there was plenty of off–lead fun for them too. We took in the ruins of a mediaeval castle and keep and the 12th century St John the Baptist Church along the way and enjoyed sights of the pretty River Perry and a wonderfully tranquil arboretum created as a memorial to the son of the former landowner. 

As we walked, I heard how the first book (now 11-years-old) had been inspired by the former Chairman of Shrewsbury Ramblers, John Newnham, who had a vision to assemble a guide to pleasant, interesting and accessible walks, within short range of Shrewsbury, in beautiful countryside, that could be easily achieved within an afternoon. All the walks are accompanied by very user-friendly, clear route directions and maps. 

Putting up new markers

Putting up new markers for 'Walk 21' 

John is sadly no longer with us to witness the publication of this second book, but all agreed that he would have been very proud of the current group members who have compiled the walks between them, sticking to his original formula. 

The 20 new walks are equally as appealing, with variable countryside, lovely views and little nuggets of information about local history and architecture or topographical features. All are within easy striking distance of Shrewsbury (approximately 24 miles) and rely on a network of local paths. 

I feel sure that John Newnham would be delighted to know that his work continues” - Kate Ashbrook, Ramblers’ vice–president

Nev Hubbard, Chairman of Shrewsbury Ramblers, writes in his introduction: “Our aim is to showcase the beauty of the local area which draws visitors in from all over the country and the world.”

The final routes were selected from a ‘pool’ of walks put forward by members on the basis of being ‘most enjoyable, interesting and picturesque’. Each walk has been ‘road-tested’ several times, with additional information gathering and photographs taken to aim for the best possible quality output. 

Ruyton XI Town churchyard

The 12th century church of St John the Baptist in Ruyton XI Towns

On Walk 21, there was still a fair amount of quality control still in progress - our group would stop to add a new marker, or cut back brambles. Amanda informed me that there are walker ‘champions’ keeping an eye on the paths to keep them in tip-top condition. 

All of my fellow ramblers were passionate about the benefits of walking for wellbeing and getting out in the stunning Shropshire countryside: “It’s great you can just leave everything behind,” Amanda said. “All the emails and stuff you have to do is still there when you get back, but somehow after a walk you feel more able to deal with it.”

Rambling for pleasure among beautiful autumn leaves

The book is the very definition of a group effort. The executive group who oversaw production of the book deserve a mention! They are: Mick Gadd, Clare Gathercole, Peter Greeve, Nev Hubbard, Sue Turner and Curt Williams. Local designer Mike Ashton also played a key role and Audrey Menhinick, a driving force behind book one, also provided expert advice. It was assisted by funding from Shrewsbury Town Council plus a loan from the Ramblers Association, with additional funding from local community funds. Any profits will be used to waymark the walks and improve access. 

Something tells me they’ll have trouble printing these new books fast enough. The first book has a special place in local people’s hearts, generating sales of over 10,000 copies over the past 11 years. It’s ideal obviously for visitors to Shrewsbury and Shropshire but also for those of us who live here who would like to add to our options for local walks. I immediately bought four copies of 20 More Walks around Shrewsbury as gifts, straight out of the car boot. Top tip - get your copies early! 

  • 20 More Walks around Shrewsbury - will be launched at The Trinity Centre, Meole Brace this Saturday, December 2nd at 11am. The book will be available for sale (£7.99) at outlets across Shrewsbury, including: Abbey Foregate Post Office, Write Here of Shrewsbury , the Visitor Information Centre, Shropshire Wildlife Trust shop, Pengwern Books  in the town, and further afield at Battlefield 1403 Farm Shop and the The Haughmond Store & Cafe in Upton Magna from 2nd December 2023