A round dozen of the AOG membership set off from the popular day trippers’ venue of the Forestry Commission parkland at Haughmond Hill, within sight of the eastern outskirts of Shrewsbury. A brief early panic about one turn which had become engulfed by bracken was happily overcome by the fact that the trusty back marker, Ray Jones, had found a slight detour on his own recce of the walk a week or so beforehand.
The group was able to negotiate the 8 mile route at a relaxed pace with plenty of chance to make new acquaintances. Occasional concerns about dark clouds and the odd rain spot were soon dispelled and the rain gear was on for all of five minutes before we could disrobe again. In fact the weather held good long enough for some excellent clear and distant views of the rather more strenuous South Shropshire hills that some of the other AOG participants were tackling that day.
We had an unexpected bonus when we reached the English Heritage maintained site of Haughmond Abbey in the early afternoon. The walk route circuits the well preserved Abbey ruins, but on reaching the gate into the site we discovered that the grounds were open to the public without the usual entrance fee and we could not even find anyone in charge to make a voluntary donation. The group was able to take an interesting break from the walk to view the buildings in detail.
Our luck with the weather held right to the end of the walk as the heavens only opened at the moment we returned to the car park. Most of our contingent then sampled the delights of the excellent cafe at the site and we able to have our tea and cakes al fresco beneath the awning which the cafe proprietors had set up to protect their customers from the recent baking sun.