Clive and the Grinshill cliff




5.25 miles (8.4kms)

540ft (165m)

About the walk

The north Shropshire plain is broken at intervals by battered ridges of red sandstone rising dramatically above the sea of green lapping at their feet. Highest and finest of them all is Grinshill Hill, a craggy lump of rock held in the grip of gnarled Scots pines and graceful silver birches existing on the thinnest of soils. It’s an exciting, almost Tolkienesque sort of place, with spectacular abandoned quarries and deeply sunken hollow ways.

On its slopes stand Clive and Grinshill, both built of Grinshill stone, which has been quarried since Roman times. The stone was used for some of the grandest Victorian building projects, including several railway stations, of which Shrewsbury is a superb example. It is still quarried today, but the modern workings don’t impinge on this walk. Clive is a particularly attractive village, with pretty cottages clustered below All Saints’ Church. This is a Victorian rebuild but is more than redeemed by the power of its setting in a steeply sloping churchyard, overflowing with daffodils in March and offering fine views. The tall spire is a landmark for miles around.

William Wycherley, the Restoration dramatist and satirist, entertained the court of Charles II with his plays. His most famous work is The Country Wife (1675). Wycherley was born at Clive Hall (it’s on the main street) in 1640. By all accounts, he was a dissolute rogue who chased young girls and shared one of Charles II’s mistresses, Barbara Villiers, the Duchess of Cleveland. He also married the Countess of Drogheda for her money and must have been gratified when she died a year later, leaving everything to him. But it didn’t do him much good because the will was contested, and the ensuing lawsuit bankrupted him. He was thrown into a debtors’ prison which he endured for seven years until rescued by James II, who paid off his debts and gave him a pension. Wycherley married a young girl in 1716 when he was 75 but died 11 days later. His bones lie somewhere in the churchyard at Clive.

Walk directions

On the east side of the car park a bridleway starts near a stone building. Join this and shortly fork right to pass below the car park. Go straight on at a junction, passing an old sycamore tree with an amazing, exposed root system, then past a massive cliff-like slab of exposed rock.

When you reach a junction by another slab, keep to the bridleway, which descends left-ward. Watch out for an old wall which rises on the right, at right angles to the bridleway. Climb steeply just left of this wall and continue in the same direction, crossing the Shropshire Way, and up to a viewpoint.

Turn your back on the view and go uphill to join a wide path. Follow this to the left and keep left at a fork. Continue along the rising ridge to the summit. After enjoying the view, turn your back on it again and take the leftmost path. Keep left at a fork. The path joins a walled track (The Glat), which leads to All Saints’ Church at Clive. You could just turn left here, but to see more of Clive, and perhaps patronise the village shop, turn right instead, then soon left on the main street and left again on Back Lane.

Turn right on a track (signed ‘Uplands’), which begins as gravel, then becomes a green lane. Continue along field-edges and cross a small pasture to a road. Turn right past Yorton Station, then left under the railway and left again. Soon after passing a house called Fox Fields, join a footpath on the left and cross a field and then the railway.

Meet a track. Turn right for a few paces, then left between two pools to enter parkland. Follow the left-hand boundary, passing Sansaw and going through an iron kissing gate next to a wooden field gate. Sansaw’s garden wall now turns left – don’t follow it but keep straight on to another wooden field gate. Cross a driveway and continue across more parkland to a road.

Turn left, then immediately right, towards Clive. Turn right opposite Back Lane on a walled bridleway, which passes below the churchyard and contours round Grinshill Hill to the Jubilee Oak and village hall at Grinshill.

Turn right along a track, passing the church to meet the main street. Turn left, then left again on Gooseberry Lane. Pass the village hall again (the other side this time) and rejoin the sunken bridleway. Ignore branching paths, staying on the bridleway, which rises to meet a walled grassy track. Follow this past houses.

As the track forks, go left and at once up steps to cross a stone step stile. Walk up through trees, soon bearing right and climbing steeply until you come to a fence and ‘Keep Out’ sign. Turn right along the fence, then turn left on a track, and left again at the road, past Grinshill Quarry to the car park.

Additional information

Rocky, woodland and field paths, mostly well used, 2 stiles

Sandstone outcrop, old quarries and gentle farmland

Corbet Wood is the best place for dogs to run free

OS Explorer 241 Shrewsbury

Car park in Corbet Wood, next to Grinshill Quarry

None on route

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