Visiting and enjoying Shropshire’s iconic hill
The wooded ridge of the Wrekin rises south of Wellington as a well-known landmark. Offering fantastic views, a challenging but manageable climb and beautiful natural surroundings close to town, it is understandably popular.
Accessing the Wrekin
Car parking is available at the Forest Glen to the north of the hill (Shropshire Wildlife Trust car park and some roadside parking). This gets very busy at peak times – please park considerately and take care crossing the road.
The Wrekin can also be reached by a longer walk from Wellington through the Ercall woods, or from Little Wenlock or Ironbridge. The lanes on the south side of the Wrekin are small and parking is extremely limited. This does however mean that these roads are quiet and good to walk or cycle – the Shropshire Way approaches the south of the Wrekin from Little Wenlock along Spout Lane. To the north of the Wrekin is the smaller wooded hill of the Ercall and the extensive Limekiln Woods.
Walking (or running if you must..)
The main path up from the Forest Glen is well surfaced and easy to follow. It turns sharp right at one point and then back left near the Halfway House, before rising to the open ground near the top of the hill. The route is just over a mile each way.
There are quieter public footpaths leading around the hill and a couple of permissive paths which join them. The Wrekin can be climbed or walked around as part of longer walks from the surrounding area – for a map and more information see here and the links below.
Be a considerate visitor
The Wrekin is a special place, and everyone who enjoys it can help to keep it that way by following some common sense behaviour about visiting the countryside.
- • Please take your litter home and don’t drop it.
- • Please clear up after your dog – either take bagged dog mess home or just remove it from the path with a stick. Throwing a plastic bag of dog mess into a bush is worse than doing nothing!
- • Cycling – the quiet small roads around the Wrekin make for nice cycling, but off-road biking on the hill itself is not allowed.
Permission should be obtained from the landowners for organised events on the hill. The AONB Partnership can put you in touch with them.
A rich and fascinating landscape
The Wrekin is made of very ancient ‘Uriconian’ volcanic rocks (though its shape does not in fact come from having been ‘a volcano’). The Ercall Quarry also has fascinating geology, with a great example of a transition to some of the earliest rocks bearing shelly fossils (aka ‘when life got hard’). The north side of the Wrekin has lovely oak woodlands with associated wildlife, and there is rough grassland and fragments of heathland on the open hilltop. The Wrekin hillfort, stronghold of the Cornovii, is a major prehistoric earthwork which cannot fail to impress, while the woods conceal relics of charcoal burning platforms associated with early industry in the Ironbridge Gorge. Legend has it that the Wrekin was created by a giant who dropped a sack of earth, or was it two Giants quarrelling? Passing through the Needle’s Eye, a rock cleft near the summit, is supposed to be an initiation to being a true Salopian, or else a good omen for marriage.
Links and further information for enjoying the Wrekin area
- • Explore the Wrekin – A series of cycling and walking trails exploring the natural and historic heritage in and around the Wrekin, from Wellington LA21.
- • A Little Mountain with Many Secrets – Discovering Britain leaflet on walks from Wellington up and around the Wrekin.
- • Ironbridge to Wellington walk over the Wrekin, as part of the Shropshire Way.
- • Introductory visitor guide to the Wrekin and Wenlock Edge area on visitshropshirehills.
- • The Ercall Nature reserve, Shropshire Wildlife Trust
- • Wellington Walkers Are Welcome.
- • TripAdvisor reviews of the Wrekin.
Looking after the Wrekin
Though well loved by many, the Wrekin is privately owned. Access is via public rights of way or specific permission, like in most areas of working countryside. Problems on public rights of way should be reported to the Rights of Way department of Telford & Wrekin Council for the north side of the hill, and to Shropshire Council for the south side of the hill.
A group of organisations and individuals called the Wrekin Forest Partnership work together with landowners in the area to try to conserve the qualities of the landscape and encourage responsible public enjoyment. No single organisation has responsibility for the hill. Some of the woods are actively managed for timber production alongside landscape and wildlife benefits.
The Wrekin is part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), recognising the national importance of its landscape. Parts of it are also protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and other such designations. Shropshire Wildlife Trust are developing a new project for the Wrekin and have opportunities for volunteering.
- • Wrekin Forest Partnership and the Wrekin Forest Plan.
- • Shropshire Wildlife Trust activity in the Wrekin area.
- • Restoration work with volunteers on the Wrekin hillfort in 2011.