PLAN YOUR ROUTE There are four road bridges between Ludlow and Leintwardine, two are on minor roads around Burrington. Use OS. Explorer Maps 203 & 204 for more details.
EXPLORING THIS AREA
From Leintwardine the river turns south, the valley widens and the river meanders across the flat valley floor. Dramatically it then changes direction, flows northwards and through a gap in the ring of hills that surround the valley. On through Downton Gorge until the valley widens near Bromfield. Joined by the waters of the river Onny they make their way together to Ludlow. From Leintwardine the river turns south, the valley widens and meanders across the valley floor. Dramatically it then changes direction, lows northwards and through a gap in the ring of hills that surround the valley. On through Downton Gorge until the valley widens near Bromfield. Joined now by the ruver Ony they make their way together to Ludlow.
Those travelling off the A49 and onto the A4113 towards Leintwardine could be forgiven for missing the hidden drama of the river. Its not far to Leintwardine and the scenery is beautiful. Do stop off and take a look at Bromfield. Only the Gatehouse of the medieval priory remains but the setting is glorious and inside the church there are many surprises. Walk down the track and over the footbridge for a fine view.
There are also spectacular views over Ludlow from Whitcliffe Common. Take the minor road west from Ludford. Here on the other side of the Teme it is not difficult to see why Roger de Lacy built a new castle in the south west corner of the manor of Stanton, it was given to his father by William the Conqueror. Detour to Stanton de Lacy to see the Saxon church. The hunting grounds of Bringewood Chase and Mocktree Chase were considerably more extensive then than they are today. The abundant woodland provided fuel, provisions and entertainment for what was to become a mighty castle with a substantial settlement around it.
Drive on through Mortimer Forest, visit the Forest Centre. Carry on to the hamlet of Pipe Aston. Take a look at the little church. The tympanum above the door was carved by 12th century craftsmen who decorated many churches in this border area. Their work is immediately recognisable and known internationally as The Herefordshire School of Sculpture.
The road terminates in the village of Wigmore, the heart of Mortimer country. The Mortimers, who came over with the Conqueror, were ambitious. Successful military campaigns, judicious alliances and strategic marriages saw them rise to the throne of England. Until a Mortimer married a de Lacy, Wigmore, not Ludlow, was their seat of power. Take a walk up the steep track past the church to see the ruins of their castle. First, park the car at the Village Hall, its conveniently situated on the road from Ludlow. From the track, just beyond the kissing gate turn, and look across the Wigmore Basin to see the gap where the waters escaped from the lake formed when the river's course was blocked at the end of the last ice age. Then, follow the narrow roads into Downton Gorge. Try to imagine the sound of the water cutting its way through the rocks to form its new course. Drive to the 19th century church built outside the gates of Downton Castle. The family that lived here had grown rich as iron masters. Follow the only footpath through the gorge to discover a remarkable story. Look at the industrial archaeology, imagine the social history. Castle and Estate were sold comparatively recently and with them a whole way of life. The footpath goes north from Burrington, it crosses the river by the Castle footbridge and can be followed all the way to Bromfield. Unfortunately it does not allow access to the Estate land or to the Richard Payne's Downton Walks so rich with flora and fauna.
CHURCHES TO VISIT.
St. Giles, Aston.
St. Mary, Bromfield.
St. George, Burrington.
St. St. Giles, Downton-on-the-Rock.
St. Mary, Elton.
St. Andrew, Leinthall Earls.
St. Mary Magdalene, Leinthall Starkes.
St. Mary Magdalene, Leintwardine.
St Lawrence, Ludlow.
St. James, Wigmore.
AROUND & ABOUT
1. Ludlow Castle.
2. Stanton Lacy Church.
3. Secret Hills Discovery Centre. Craven Arms.
4. Rare Poultry Centre. O.S. 203:437787.
5. Mortimer Forest Centre. O.S.203 496742.
6. Wigmore Castle. O.S.203 408698.
7. Guided Walking and Wildlife Discovery. 01547 540441
8. Cycle Hire from Wheely Wonderful www.wheelywonderfulcycling.co.uk
Walk the Mortimer Trail.
Local walking: O.S.Explorer Maps 201 & 203
Ludow Tourist Information Centre. www.ludlow.org.uk/
Mortimer Consortium. www.mortimercountry.co.uk/
Petrol: Ludlow, Leintwardine.