Shropshire Hills - Bridgnorth Loop via Bewdley, Cleobury Mortimer, Ludlow & Church Stretton
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Many thanks to Gary Pallant (Gaz) for sending this detailed review of one of his favourite routes to RIDE in his local area. Gaz has an Instagram page where he posts loads of great riding photos, some of which we have featured on theRIDEuk social media. Click HERE to check Gaz's Instagram page out!!!
You may also know Gary from his moment of fame when he did the burnout into his mate's tent which was shared and went viral with LADbible etc all getting hold of it. Here is the original.......... Enjoy
This RIDE will take you on a 90-mile (approx.) journey around the picturesque Shropshire hills passing over the summits of Clee Hill and the Long Mynd via the popular historical towns of Bridgnorth, Bewdley, Ludlow and Church Stretton.
Start Point - The Food Stop Cafe, Bridgnorth, WV15 6QJ
The starting location begins at the popular biker’s cafe “The Food Stop”. Here you will always find a variety of different motorbikes on display in the car park ranging from vintage British Classics to Dirt Bikes, Sports Bikes and Harley Davidsons etc. This is always a good starting place to grab a coffee or breakfast before you set off. The food is probably best described as your typical “greasy spoon” affair with traditional full English breakfasts and sandwiches on offer alongside several homemade classics such as chilli con carne with rice or pie and chips etc. However, don’t fill your boots too much as there are plenty of other eating opportunities along the way.
From the Food Stop Cafe car park, turn right onto the A442 towards Bridgnorth.
When you reach the first island continue straight over (2nd exit) and continue to follow the A442 until you reach a left hand turning signposted for “Low Town and Highley” (Don’t worry if you miss this turning as you will shortly reach a second island that will easily allow you to turn back on yourself if you have gone too far).
Take the Left hand turn onto John street, keeping left and continue to follow the road over the bridge and along the B4363 until you eventually reach a tight right-hand bend. As you come around this bend immediately take the first left hand turn signposted “Highley / Chelmarsh (B4555) and follow for a few hundred yards until you reach another left hand turn signposted “Highley / Chelmarsh / Eardington / B4555”.
Take this left hand turn and continue along the B4555 for approximately 10 miles until you reach the end. This road loosely follows the River Severn taking you towards Bewdley passing through the villages of Eardinton, Chelmarsh and Higley. Keep an eye out for the Astbury Hall golf course on your right which is owned and created by Rock legend and guitarist K. K. Downing from Judas Priest. You may also be lucky enough to spot the Severn Valley steam train passing overhead whilst riding along this route.
When you reach the end of the B4555, turn left and follow the B4636 for about 1 mile until you reach the “Eagle and Serpent” pub. Turn immediately left after the pub onto the B4194 (Signposted Bewdley) and continue for just under a mile until you reach the end.
Turn left again following the signpost to Bewdley (B4194) and follow the road for about 5 miles until you reach the small riverside town of Bewdley
Things to do in Bewdley - Take this opportunity to park alongside the river and sample some of the award-winning fish and chips from Merchants Fish & Chips shop. Alternatively, if it’s a nice hot then why not cool down with an ice cream from the famous teddy grey’s sweet shop. If beer is more your thing, there are many pubs scattered around this quaint Georgian town where you can wet the whistle by the side of the river. Just a word of warning though, be aware of the traffic wardens in the area when parking alongside the river as they are quick to give out tickets without warning.
When leaving Bewdley, head back towards the church with your back towards the river and follow the road signposted toward tenbury (A456). This will take you uphill along the B4190 for approximately 1 mile until you reach an island.
Take the 3rd exit (Signposted Leominster, A456) and follow along the A456 for 2 miles keeping an eye out for a right hand turn signposted for Cleobury (A4117). Turn right and continue along the A4117 for about 11 miles passing through Cleobury Mortimer and Clee Hill.
This is a fun section of the ride with fast sweeping bends, flat out overtaking opportunities and breath-taking scenic views from the hillside roads as you ascend towards Clee Hill. However, beware of the sheep that roam free along the side of the road as they can sometimes scatter in all directions when they hear the rumble of the exhausts approaching. There are also a few cattle grids along this stretch that may catch you out during the wetter months.
As you pass through the village of Clee Hill and start to make your descent towards Ludlow remember to take it steady and keep an eye out for the signpost (on your left-hand side) that leads you to the summit (Signposted “Titerstone Clee Summit”). In order to reach the summit, turn right and continue along this tight lane until you can't go any further keeping an eye out for free roaming sheep and cattle grids
Titerstone Clee Summit - The summit is a place certainly worth a visit providing ample photo opportunities of your bike with stunning landscapes in the background. Other points of interest worth seeing if you have the time and energy include the ruins of an old mine and the RAF radar station. Also, if you're lucky you can sometimes catch RAF jets circling around the hills during training.
Make your way back to the A4117, turn right and continuing for further 4 miles until you reach an island signposted for Ludlow and the town centre. If you wish to visit Ludlow castle and the market go straight over at the island (2nd Exit) and follow signs for the castle / town centre. Just outside the castle entrance is a market square and a small section where many bikers choose to park their bikes. I am not 100% sure if this is an official motorcycle parking area, however I believe many people including myself have parked here many times without issues. Be sure to check local restrictions before parking though.
Things to do in Ludlow - There are a wide variety of eating establishments located around Ludlow town centre ranging from independent coffee shops to Michelin starred restaurants (Mr Underhill’s). However, if you’re just looking for a quick and easy pit stop then the market in the town centre is a fine place to start. There are many stalls offering homemade goods including savoury delights such as gourmet sausage rolls, scotch eggs, hog roast sandwiches and various sweet treats such as cakes, fudge and pastries. If you've been lucky enough to plan your visit during the second week of September, then be sure to check out the infamous Ludlow food festival located within the castle grounds.
If you find the town centre is to hectic or are unsure of where to stop and park; then the next best thing in Ludlow is to visit the Ludlow Food Centre. Previously known as the Ludlow Farm Shop this establishment can be found just outside Ludlow on the A49 heading towards Craven Arms / Shrewsbury. Here they stock a fine selection of locally sourced goods including meats, cheeses, baked goods and locally grown fruit and vegetables. They also offer a large range of interesting wines, beers, spirits, chocolates, sauces etc (you get the picture, basically if you name it, they’ve probably got a locally sourced version of it). There is also a small cafe situated on site where you can grab a tea / coffee or sample many of the goods offered in store in the form of breakfasts and lunch. Although the food served in the cafe is not cheap it is of a high standard with many specials of the day on offer.
To Leave Ludlow follow signs to take you to the A49 (there are several routes you can take here depending where you parked so be sure to choose a route that heads towards Craven Arms / Church Stretton / Shrewsbury). Once you have reached the A49, again join the road to lead you in the direction as above.
Continue along the A49 for around 16 miles (this may vary a couple of miles depending where about you re-joined) until you reach an Applegreen Petrol station on your left followed by a large set of crossroads. Turn left at the crossroads following the sign for Church Stretton “town centre” and the “Carding Mill valley” tourist attraction and continue to the end until you reach the junction (there will be a TSB bank on your left-hand side).
From here you have two main options. You can either follow the signs towards (A) “The Burway” or (B) “Carding Mill Valley”
Option A - The Burway
Following “The Burway” will lead you up a steep, tight and winding road that will take you to the top of the surrounding hills allowing for ample opportunity to take photographs and soak in some of the breath-taking views on offer.
There really isn’t all that much at the top in the way of things to do, however it is highly recommended to just take a ride around and explore some of the narrow lanes available. I also recommend following your sat nav to the Midland Gliding Club (Postcode SY6 6TA) as it will guide you over the long mynd and allow you to watch some of the gliders circle around the hills.
Please note that this route contains some very steep gradient roads with sheer drops down the side. During popular times there can also be a fair amount of traffic that use these roads meaning you will have to squeeze closely past cars at times. Therefore, this route is not recommended for the faint hearted or novice rider as this may be quite daunting for some. Some of the surrounding lanes also have sections of loose gravel and deep potholes; so be careful not to get too crazy unless your bike is built for it.
Option B - Carding Mill Valley
Following “Carding Mill Valley” will lead you to a popular tourist spot situated in a valley nestled between the Shropshire hills. The road will lead you along a slight uphill stretch following a stream that eventually opens up into a natural waterfall. Carding mill offers more in the way of things to with a small National trust shop and cafe on site serving tea, coffee, cakes and various snacks throughout the day. There are also various walks of differing difficulties around the area to explore.
Please be aware that although there is ample parking at the top of the valley and to the side of the roads leading up to it parking charges may apply.
When leaving the Church Stretton area, head back to the crossroads that you came from on
the A49. This part of the route will now start taking you back towards Bridgnorth, where the ride began. Alternatively, you could always continue towards Shrewsbury along the A49 where you could join the A5 or M54 for an easier ride home depending on where you live.
At the crossroads, follow the road straight over along the B4371 towards Much Wenlock for approximately 12 miles until you reach the end and come to a ‘T’ Junction. Turn right at the junction and join the A458 towards Bridgnorth. Keep an eye out for the old derelict garage on your right-hand side which is a nice spot to get some old school vintage style photos of your bike.
Continue to follow the A458 for about 8 miles which will eventually lead you back to the island on the A442 where you started. Here you can either turn right to head back towards the Food stop Cafe or left into Bridgnorth for final cuppa before you set off for home.