Shropshire's Great Days Out - The Wrekin
Ben Bentley continues his month-long campaign to highlight the area's top visitor attractions. Today it's the turn of The Wrekin.
Click here for an overview of the great days out campaign and check back each day for the latest idea.
Where is it? The Wrekin is located 4.3 miles west of Telford. Car parking is available at the foot of the hill, on the minor road leading from Junction 7 of the M54 to the village of Little Wenlock.
What is it? The Wrekin is arguably Shropshire's best known landmark, a curious legendary hill that rises from the flatness of the surrounding countryside and can be seen from miles around.
It dominates the view of Telford and Ironbridge being 1,335 ft high; and who would have guessed that Shropshire folk-lore tells us it was built by a giant who took a dislike to Shrewsbury?
What's great about it? The climb is part of the challenge, but you can take your time – there's no rush! Enjoy spotting the wildlife on the way up and see if you can tell which leaves match which trees.
Getting to the top, you will enjoy one of the best views of Shropshire. And by the time you get there you will have gulped an endless free supply of fresh air and feel like a million dollars. Set aside half a day's walk. On a clear day, from the summit enjoy a grandstand view out over 15 counties on a clear day. See if you can pick out where you live.
You will be inspired as you bask in your sense of achievement. The other great thing about The Wrekin, of course, is that it is absolutely free. Have a picnic and pat yourself on the back. Go back down singing The Grand Old Duke of York – other people WILL join in.
How much is it? Daft question. Put your money away
Interesting fact: There are many of these. It is said that on a clear day you can see 15 counties from the top of The Wrekin. It was also the inspiration for Tolkien's Middle Earth in the acclaimed series of books - The Lord of The Rings. Tolkien used to live nearby and drew inspiration from the magnificent Shropshire landscape.
Furthermore, The Wrekin was immortalised in song through the band Half Man Half Biscuit's seminal classic from 1987, Rod Hull Is Alive, Why?, with the line: "Halfway up The Wrekin with an empty flask of tea, a fog descends and takes away my visibility."
Verdict: A healthy and inspiring free day out for all the family, or for those who wish to go it alone.
More information: Wear suitable shoes and clothes, and take a mobile phone and a bit of common sense.