The Lancastrian line, Folly Wood and Mucklestone
4.5 miles - allow 2/2.5 hours
Ordnance Survey map of the walk
How to get to Blore Heath
This walk is a circuit of the main battlefield, and involves minor road walking, field paths,
woodland and some gentle climbs. The walk will start at the
Loggerheads pub, where food
and drink are available throughout the day. The route will take you down the eastern flank of the
battlefield, along what would have been the Lancastrian line, and then down through the valley which
saw the most fighting. There is then a walk through woodland, and up towards the quiet village of
Mucklestone, where it is said that Queen Margaret watched the battle unfold. Finally the walk turns
back towards Loggerheads along a track which allows magnificent views on clear days. Be warned that
the ground can get quite boggy after heavy rain, so take some decent waterproof boots. A map and a compass will be very useful as well.
Start on the car park of the Loggerheads pub
The village of Loggerheads (rapidly becoming a small town) has what many regard as an unusual name,
the origins of which are unclear. Some have claimed that it derives from the logging activities
which used to take place in the nearby woods, whilst a less likely explanation argues that it
derives from the battle (ie two sides at Loggerheads). However the most likely explanation comes
from the pub itself. Until recent years the pub had an old sign on its NE wall depicted three fools
or "log 'eds", from which the pub took its name, and which then eventually gave
rise to the village name. The pub is referred to as "The Three Loggerheads" by a
19th century writer in a discussion of the battle, which is now hanging in Mucklestone church. Parts of the pub itself date back
to the 13th century.
Begin by walking west towards Market Drayton - there is a pavement on the opposite side of the road
to the pub. As you near the end of the houses on your right, you will see a stile on the opposite
side of the road. You need to cross the road and cross this stile, and then follow a path heading SW.
From now until the village of Blore, the path is denoted by the red dotted line on the map.
You will be skirting the northwest edge of Burnt Wood. Until the 1980s, Burnt Wood had a Sanatorium for tuberculosis
sufferers. It was believed that the clean air of the wood would be beneficial to the patients. At
the time of the battle, Burnt Wood would have been much larger, and was called "Rounhay
wood". It was from this wood that the Yorkist forces emerged to see the Lancastrian troops
blocking their way on the road ahead. As you walk you will be re-tracing their steps.
On a clear day, this part of the walk will afford fantastic views across Shropshire to the mountains
of North Wales, some forty miles away. The landmark of the Wrekin is clearly visible to the SW
and is about 20 miles away. A pair of binoculars and some patience will enable you to pick out the
castle at Llangollen on top of the
Welsh hills, around 40 miles away.
The path proceeds through a field, passing a 6 foot path marking post, and then descends down a
bank. At the fence turn left, crossing a brook and a stile. Continue roughly SW to the opposite
corner of this field. Cross the stile by the gate and proceed down a tree-lined path following the
brook on your right. After about a quarter of a mile cross another stile through the hedge on your
left (across another brook). Follow the path (keeping right) through a new pine tree plantation.
Cross a stile into an open field and head SW (head directly away from a large white house visible in
Loggerheads). At the edge of the field, pass through a gate, and cross the next field, heading
towards a stile to the right of a coppice in front of you. Cross the stile and keep the hedge on
your left, crossing another stile at the opposite fence. The farm at Blore will be visible upbank
directly in front of you, so head towards it. Before you get to the farm, there is a stile in the
hedge on your left, which exits onto a narrow tarmac road. Turn right on the road, heading up bank,
following the road round to the right past Blore farm.
You will now be in the village of Blore. Blore was a larger village in medieval times than the
present farm/hamlet is today. In the fields to your right it is easy to make out the 'ridge and
furrow' pattern of the medieval ploughing that once surrounded the village. You will now be heading
along what would have been the Lancastrian forces forward line, who would have been positioned
behind the 'great hedge' to your left. You will walk along the entire length of the line for the
next half mile or so. Naturalists who have examined the hedge believe that it is probably around a
thousand years old.
You are now walking the width of the battlefield along the southern side, on what is an ancient
bridle way. The battlefield to your right is more or less the same as it would have been on the day
of the battle. As you look to the north you will see the valley through which flows Hempmill or
Wemberton brook, a point where many lost their lives, and beyond that, just out of an archer's
range, what would have been the Yorkist lines - roughly where the A53 road now runs. You will also
be able to see Audley's cross just beyond the brook, surrounded by railings. The cross marks the
spot on which the Lancastrian commander was killed, and a cross has stood there since the day of the
battle. Beneath the horse-chestnut tree towards the end of this lane is a good place from which to
see the cross to the NNE.
The 'Great Hedge'
Proceed westwards along the road until you come to a junction. To your left the road continues into
the village of Hales. Directly in front of you will be a gate and a stile. Cross this, and continue
along the edge of the field heading west. At end of the field is another stile, cross this and turn
90 degrees right and cross the stile in front of you. Turn 90 degrees left and follow the line of
the hedge through the field, passing a house on your left. You will now be approaching what was the
western end of the Lancastrian lines, Blore Heath farm and the "Crumbledale", a
gentle valley, in which the Lancastrians camped is to your half left.
Continue along a small lane, to a junction point in front of a white house, and follow the path
round to the N, heading down a gentle bank towards the main road. Upon reaching the road, turn E
and head about 30 metres along the A53 towards the crossroads. The A53 is a notoriously dangerous
road, and this section where the road dips (the centre of the battlefield) has seen many accidents
over the years. Be extra vigilant when walking alongside. At the crossroads, turn N
following the sign to Mucklestone. The road banks round up a slight hill, and then continues
straight to the north for about half a mile. As you approach the end of this road, there will be a
gate into the field on your right, heading into Folly Wood, marked as a public footpath. Walk
through the field to the far hedge and enter the wood via a gate on your left. Follow the path into
the wood which emerges onto a track next to a clearing. Continue along the track which heads up a
gentle bank to the NE, and follow the track in a straight line heading for a five bar gate which
comes into view after about half a mile.
Before you reach the gate, there are some large lock-up garages on your left, and just beyond those
there is a path to the left which heads off to the NNE. This path continues through the wood turning
to the E before turning back to the NNE. You will soon reach a small crossroads, where there is a
post indicating the path to Mucklestone ahead of you. Follow this narrower path down a bank, still
to the NNE, where after a short distance you will emerge at a gate. Pass through the gate, out of
the wood, and follow the path that you now find yourself on. This will cross a small stream, before
heading uphill. Cross two stiles on this track and head out onto the B5026 heading for Mucklestone.
Mucklestone church has a strong connection with the
Battle of Blore Heath. It was from the church tower that Queen Margaret of Anjou watched the defeat
of the Lancastrian forces. The fact that the battlefield is not directly visible from the tower
presented a paradox until church records indicated that the tower once had a steeple, which would
have afforded a view of Blore Heath. The church also contains a Blore Heath memorial stained glass
window, designed by Charles Kempe in the last century. The tower is now inaccessible for safety
Pictures of Mucklestone church
Walk into Mucklestone, and visit the church if you wish. Before you get to the church, there is a
small lane leading off the main road to the east (Rock Lane). Follow Rock lane (past a telephone
box) as it slopes up and round to the south.
Continue along rock lane until you join a main road. Turn right then immediately left back onto the B5026. The road continues to the SE up into Loggerheads, and back to the Loggerheads pub.
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