Guide Book PDF - Shropshire Walking

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Guide Book PDF - Shropshire Walking

Route 23

Ellesmere to Welsh

End & Hollinwood

Geese on a frozen mere

Cole Mere

Whixall Moss

A watery wander

touching Wales

This flattish section takes you through

a variety of watery environments

including two meres, two canals, two

mosses (with access to a third), several

weirs and over innumerable ditches

and bridges. Oddly, with all this water

around, the only mills you might see

are former windmills now converted

into private houses.

Whixall Moss and Bettisfield Moss

form part of a National Nature Reserve

and have been subject to substantial

environmental conservation initiatives,

designed to redress the damage

caused by extensive peat digging and

agricultural reclamation.

You will find yourself in Wales for a mile

or so in the Bettisfield area. Just south

of Welsh End (now well into England)

the east-west route of the Shropshire

Way crosses the north-south route.

However Route 23 extends north a

little to Hollinwood which is a more

substantial junction point.

Floating canals

The Shropshire Union Ellesmere Canal

Llangollen Branch was constructed

to be higher in many places than the

surrounding countryside. Bog drainage,

reclamation and peat removal have

further lowered the surrounding ground.

Canal breaches or even minor leakages

can have a devastating effect and are not

easy to repair, even with the deep steel

pilings you will notice in the canal banks.

Along the way you will come across a

number of gracefully counterbalanced lift

bridges as well as some steep humpedbacked

brick bridges.

Mere facts

18,000 years ago melting ice left behind

hummocky hills and hollows around

Ellesmere, creating dozens of lakes and

meres. Cole Mere is a classic kettle-hole

mere made by a particularly vast chunk

of glacier. Its shores are surrounded

by beautiful woodland, two managed

hay meadows and, at the eastern end,

a sailing club with nearby car park

and picnic area. Why not take in the

attractive walk around the perimeter as

an optional half hour detour from the

main route

Moss country

The whole area around Whixall is a

tangle of lanes with houses strung along

them. Peat was extracted from extensive

swathes of Whixall Moss, mainly for

horticultural use. A few rusting buildings

and bits of machinery are all that is left

of this fascinating but damaging local

industry, which released so much ‘locked

up’ carbon into the atmosphere. By

blocking the drains and clearing invasive

birchwood scrub, nature reserve staff

and volunteers have been able to restore

a natural wetland habitat for nearextinct

whitefaced darter dragonflies,

bog bush crickets and raft spiders as

well as eighteen species of sphagnum

bogmoss.

During the war Whixall Moss was used

as a ‘Starfish’ site where fires, designed

to look like pathfinder incendiary

flares, were lit to fool enemy planes

into dropping their bombs in the belief

that they were destroying populated

industrial areas.

Marl Allotment

This is Whixall’s only common land

where marl clay was dug for use as an

agricultural fertiliser. It is now a popular

picnic area where butterflies thrive in

deep grassland, surrounded by glades

of alder, sallow, birch and oakwood.

Allman’s Bridge

The European Agricultural Fund

for Rural Development: Europe

investing in rural areas


Blake Mere

Red Brook

Discover Shropshire

Route 23

Bettisfield

Park

A495

DIFFICULTY: level, mostly canal towpath.

A528

ELLESMERE

A495

Marina

Ellesmere

Circular

DISMANTLED RAILWAY

The Mere

Visitor Centre

Boathouse Café

Newton

Spunhill

White

Mere

Blake

Mere

Newton

Mere

A495

Wood Lane

Nature Reserve

A528

Welshampton

Yell Bridge

Colemere

Country Park

Colemere

Wales / England Border

Balmer Heath

Breaden Heath

Lyneal

Bettisfield

Old Corn Mill

Cadney Bank

Northwood

Circular

Northwood

B5063

SHROPSHIRE UNION CANAL

Bettisfield

Moss

Converted

Windmill

Wem

Moss

DISMANTLED RAILWAY

Fenn’s Moss

Wales / England Border

Roving Bridge

Whixall

Moss

Prees Branch Canal

Nature Reserve

The Roving Bridge

Allman’s Bridge

Marl

Allotment

Morris’ Bridge

Dobson’s Bridge

Marina

11 miles / 17.5 kilometres

Moat

Abbey Green

COURSE OF CANAL

Welsh End

Hollinwood

Whixall

0 KILOMETRES 1 2

Edstaston

0MILES

½

1

You are not permitted to copy, sub-licence,

distribute or sell any of this data to third

parties in any form.

© Crown copyright and database rights

2012 Ordnance Survey 100049049

Route Profile

The route is generally level

For more details and information visit: www.shropshirewalking.co.uk

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