Shropshire Hills

The Wrekin

14. 11. 2021

Peter Schrammel




***: Varied circuit over and around a prominent boulder north of the Ironbridge Gorge


Wellington, 95m - The Ercall, 265m - Wrekin reservoir, 160m - The Wrekin, 407m - Little Hill, 225m - Maddocks Hill, 255m - Wellington

Elevation gain





3 1/2h (3/4 + 1/4 + 1/2 + 1/4+ 1/2 + 3/4)







Visitor frequency

c: Very lonely over the Ercall and Maddocks Hill, but very busy on the Wrekin itself.


Before paths would become even more muddy and slippery, I wanted to go for another hike. The Wrekin in Shropshire is easy to reach by train. However, not so on that day. Due to railway works the first train only left Oxford at 9.30am. Then I got stuck in Birmingham. There was a derailment in Wolverhampton. At 11.30 I got on a local train to Wolverhampton. There would be replacement buses from there. I bought some lunch because I was geting hungry and waited at the bus stop, which was not at the bus station, but further up in town. A bus arrived, but it went to Stafford. I was told that the bus to Shrewsbury would arrive soon. The last time to reasonably arrive in Wellington would be 2pm - after that it would be just too late for a reasonable hike. At 12.40 another bus arrived, yes, this time to Shrewsbury, but would it stop in Wellington? it wouldn't stop in all stations, but in Wellington, so fine. It bus journey for 30km took more than an hour. Finally, I arrived in Wellington towards 2pm. The skies were grey. I'd have expected some sunny spells, but ok. I made fast progress out of the town and up the Ercall, a hill between the town and the main hill of the Wrekin. I walked through oak woods. The ground was covered with a thick layer of leaves. From the Ercall I grasped a look over to the Wrekin whose summit was almost in the clouds. After a steep slippery descent to the Wrekin reservoir I reached the main path to the summit. It was quite busy. Many groups of walkers were walking up and down. I deviated from the main path a bit to take some pictures from the automnal forest. The main path continues on the broad ridge up towards the trig point. A huge antenna mast is north of it. I was sweating quite a lot after the fast ascent. I put on all my clothes. A slight breeze has lifted the clouds a bit and the view was free down into the plains that surround the isolated hill. In the distance i saw some silhouettes of the Welsh mountains in the west. The sun did not break through the clouds, though. I did not stop for long and after leaving the boundaries of the hill fort, I made a detour down to the rock in the shape of a needle south of the rocky escarpment on the southeastern ridge. The rock was slighly wet, so I didn't attempt to climb the needle, which wouldn't have been too difficult, but continued the descent. It was towards 4pm and I wanted to be back at the station at 6pm at latest. There was still enough time to walk over the little hill, which is really little, unfortunately not very interesting either. The forest road along the southern side of the hill first leads a bit uphill again before it follows the contour line. The path was rather quite a part from some runners. I didn't want to return to the reservoir, but instead take the path via Maddocks Hill. The moon has already risen when I traversed the shallow valley. In the wood before the road suddenly a couple of pheasants started flying away in fear of more. If they kept quiet I wouldn't even have noticed them. After a short section on the road I turned onto the path over Maddocks Hill. It was 4.40pm and starting to get dusky, even more so in the wood. Suddenly, I heard a large animal crossing the path 30m in front of me. It stopped a few meters away from the path so that I could see that it must be a female red deer. As I advanced I noticed further movements in the dim light. There were at least two more females. The observed me but didn't run away any further. At one point I could see over the fields - it was still much brighter outside the forest. I took some pictures. Suddenly I noticed some movement 50m down the forest line. There was a big male now with huge antlers. He didn't notice me. I tried to take pictures, but it the light was very low already. I continued. The moon was hidden behind the clouds and of course, I had forgotten my torch at home. Again, I heard the three females crossing my path further down. The path was not easy to walk, but I could roughly see where it was rocky or muddy. The sound of the motorway that separated me from the town centre was approaching slowly. At 5.30pm I reached the train station. A few minutes later I got on a train back to Birmingham. Of course, there were further delays to Oxford.

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