Panoramic views from Lyth Hill


Lyth Hill


7.75 miles (12.5kms)

500ft (152m)

About the walk

Lyth Hill, which is included within a small country park, is of modest height, attaining only 557ft (169m). It’s mainly grassland, with areas of scrub and woodland which support a variety of birds such as great spotted woodpecker, wood warbler and tree pipit. The country park is popular with local people, especially dog walkers, as it’s within walking distance of Shrewsbury suburbs such as Bayston Hill and Meole Brace, and it’s a good place for picnics or kite-flying. Most of all though, it’s ideal for simply sitting back and enjoying the superb view, which is extraordinary, all the more so for coming as something of a surprise. It includes the Clee Hills, Wenlock Edge, The Wrekin, the Stretton Hills, Long Mynd and Stiperstones.

This view inspired Mary Webb, or Mary Gladys Meredith as she was born in 1881 at Leighton, a small village south of Shrewsbury. In 1902 she moved with her family to Meole Brace, where she lived until her marriage to Henry Webb in 1912. Mary was a great walker and during the years spent at Meole Brace it was Lyth Hill that was her favourite destination. She was enchanted not only by the view, but also by the small wood called Spring Coppice. In 1917, after the publication of her first novel, the Webbs bought a plot of land on the hill and Spring Cottage was built for them. This was Mary’s home, apart from a short spell in London, until her untimely death in 1927. The cottage is still there today, but much altered and extended.

Mary wrote several novels at Spring Cottage, but she achieved very little fame in her lifetime. It was only after her death that posthumous praise from the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, sparked off public interest and acclaim. Her best novels are considered to be Precious Bane and The Golden Arrow, while Gone to Earth was made into a film, shot in Shropshire in 1950.

The interest in Mary’s work waned and her novels are not fashionable today. Indeed, they’re all too easy to make fun of and Stella Gibbons’s classic Cold Comfort Farm was actually a parody of one of Mary’s books (The House in Dormer Forest). But they are worth reading if you love Shropshire. Each is richly imbued with a strong sense of the local landscape.

Few writers have been so much in tune with their surroundings, or so able to convey its atmosphere. Mary adored Shropshire and it shows in her books. It’s easy to see why she felt so passionate about it as you gaze out at the view from Lyth Hill, which she knew so well.

Walk directions

Head southwest on the Shropshire Way. Ignore a path branching right into Spring Coppice. The Way descends to a track. Follow this to a road, where you turn left, then first right, on a track to Exfords Green.

Fork right then follow a hedged path past a house and former chapel. Leave the Shropshire Way, going diagonally across a field to a stile near the far corner. Descend slightly and go through a copse to reach a lane.

Cross to a path almost opposite, following the left-hand edge of a field until a stile gives access to another. Head diagonally across to a stile and footbridge close to the far right corner. Continue across another field, past two oak trees. A worn path goes obliquely right across the next two fields to meet a lane.

Turn right, then right again at the main road. Pass through Longden. Go right again on School Lane; this descends slightly. Cross a brook, then cross a stile on the left and diagonally right across a field corner to a stile.

A yellow arrow directs you diagonally across the next field to a stile under an oak tree. Cross another field to reach a road. The path continues opposite, crossing two further fields until it meets a lane at Great Lyth. Turn right, keeping straight on at a junction, then turn left at the next.

Turn right on the access track to Lower Lythwood Hall and Holly Ash. At the end, turn left on a lush green lane. At its end turn right over a stile and cross a field. Pass left of three oak trees and keep to the right of a pond to reach a gate at the far side. Follow the edge of the next field past a gate and continue to another in the corner. Continue along a track for a few paces to a small gate on the right.

Walk up the right edge of the field and turn left along the top. Follow a worn path across a field to a hedge corner with a blocked gate. Continue along the hedge to a kissing gate, then along field-edges to enter a path behind houses.

Meeting a street, turn immediately right on a fenced path, then straight ahead on a street. Keep straight on at a crossroads and at the end turn right then first left (Bredden Way). At the top turn right then left by a postbox through trees to a lane. Turn right to Lythwood Farm. Go straight through then fork left and follow the track across fields. Cross the last field aiming left of a small reservoir. Emerge to a lane and turn right, back to Lyth Hill.

Additional information

Cross-field paths, mostly well-maintained, about 25 stiles

Rolling farmland and views from Lyth Hill's grassy top

Must be on lead near livestock, also at Exfords Green

OS Explorer 241 Shrewsbury

Car park in country park at top of Lyth Hill (signposted)

None on route

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About the area

Discover Shropshire

Perhaps nowhere else in England will you find a county so deeply rural and with so much variety as Shropshire. Choose a clear day, climb to the top of The Wrekin, and look down on that ‘land of lost content’ so wistfully evoked by A E Housman. Peer through your binoculars and trace the course of Britain’s longest river as the Severn sweeps through the county, from the Breidden Hills to Wyre Forest, slicing Shropshire in two. To the north is a patchwork of dairy fields, hedgerows, copses and crops, broken at intervals by rugged sandstone ridges such as Grinshill or Nesscliffe, and dissected by a complex network of canals.

Spilling over the border into neighbouring Cheshire and North Wales is the unique meres and mosses country, with serenely smooth lakes glinting silver, interspersed with russet-tinged expanses of alder-fringed peat bog, where only the cry of the curlew disturbs the silence. South of the Severn lies the Shropshire Hills AONB. It’s only when you walk Wenlock Edge that you fully discover what a magical place it is – glorious woods and unexpectedly steep slopes plunge to innumerable secret valleys, meadows, streams and farmhouses, all tucked away, invisible from the outside world. 

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