Autumn on Wenlock Edge

Dormouse in nesting box

Autumn is the perfect time to visit Wenlock Edge. As the trees lose their leaves the expansive views of Shropshire and beyond open up. It's also a great time to appreciate some of the smallest residents in the woods.

Wenlock Edge is home to the largest population of hazel dormice in Shropshire. In autumn, they'll be nibbling hazel nuts to reach a safe weight to see them through the winter. Much of what we do is aimed at improving woodland on the Edge to offer better habitats for these adorable creatures.

We've been monitoring dormice at Wenlock Edge for several years and we'll resume checks on the nesting boxes in October. This year, we'll be repairing or replacing boxes as necessary and renumbering them to make them easier to monitor. We'll also be installing 23 new boxes to fill gaps and increase coverage of the site. This will provide better nest sites in summer and encourage our resident population to grow. Unfortunately, we may have to be patient because dormice sometimes don’t like to use new boxes.

Views of the Wrekin from Wenlock Edge
Wenlock edge view of Wrekin
Views of the Wrekin from Wenlock Edge

Ranger views

Every now and then, as you walk through the woods in places where the trees have been cut away, you are treated to some stunning views of the Shropshire countryside. Our rangers have put together a list of their favourite views and must-sees if you are visiting the Edge.

Ippikin’s viewpoint

The panoramic view from the top of Ippikin’s rock is truly spectacular, looking out across the Shropshire countryside. This rocky outcrop gets its name from the legend of Ippikin; a cruel and merciless highwayman who is said to have met his demise at this very spot.

Granham’s mount

If you follow the Jenny Wind walk, you will pass this beautiful viewpoint - one of the few that look back at Wenlock Edge itself. From here, you can see about four miles of the Edge and can really take in the magnitude of this looming landscape feature.

Granham's mount viewpoint on Wenlock Edge
Granham's mount viewpoint on Wenlock Edge
Granham's mount viewpoint on Wenlock Edge

The Wrekin viewpoint

Possibly the most well-known hill in all of Shropshire, the Wrekin is a landmark that people flock to climb. If you follow the Major’s leap walk, you will come across a viewpoint from which you can see this iconic landscape feature.

Wilderhope Manor viewpoint

Wilderhope Manor is a hidden gem: a restored Elizabethan manor house nestled in rolling farmland, towering hedgerows and flower-rich meadows. Follow the Wilderhope Coppice walk and, as you emerge from the woods on View Edge, you'll be greeted by a glorious view looking back towards the manor house.

This is a lovely place to walk as it is so secluded
Wilderhope Manor and the surrounding farmland
This is a lovely place to walk as it is so secluded

From Smokey Hole looking out at Harley village

Smokey Hole marks the most Northerly extent of the Trust's ownership, closest to Much Wenlock, and contains evidence of a busy industrial past. It is littered with lime kilns, charcoal hearths and boundary banks. If you begin to follow the Jenny Wind walk but then take a path on the left rather than continuing straight on, you will see a large Beech tree with a seating area underneath. From here, you can see the picturesque village of Harley.

Major’s leap

This viewpoint is the site of the well-known Major Smallman legend. Smallman was a royalist major who resided at Wilderhope Manor and bravely leapt off the Edge on his horse to escape the pursuing Roundheads during the Civil War. From here, you can see in the foreground the floodplain of the River Severn heading for Shrewsbury, to the left Pontesford hill, to the right Haughmond hill and, in the distance, the Welsh hills.