Star sleuths find the Myddle way

A little boy climbs some footholds cut into a sandstone face somewhere in Shropshire almost 40 years ago – but where?

This sandstone feature has been identified by readers as being in Myddle
This sandstone feature has been identified by readers as being in Myddle

That was the question expatriate Salopian John Wheeldon, who now lives in Canada, put to our readers recently.

He took the picture during a visit to Britain in the early 1980s, and was almost certain it was in Shropshire.

And after we published the photograph, he received an immediate response identifying the feature as being in Myddle, north Shropshire.

Len Roberts, 86, of Myddle recognised it at once.

This image from Google Street View shows the sandstone face has become somewhat moss-covered and overgrown

"You turn left off the main road, come down the bank looking over the village and half way down the bank on the right hand side, there it is," he told us.

"Years ago the kids used to play on it. Myddle Hill, which it is on, got rather more traffic so the kids didn't go on there a lot, but now the parish council makes sure it's prominent. In the summer they go and sit on it."

Overgrown

Mr Roberts has lived in the village since 1966.

As for the reason the rock has steps cut into it, he says: "That's what I would like you to tell me. I have always wondered. They are well worn."

And has he climbed on it himself?

"Yes – and my children."

John has been impressed by our readers' sleuthing powers, although he cannot specifically recall stopping in Myddle during his 1980s visit.

"Looking now, I see the face is actually facing the road so it would have drawn my immediate attention and screaming for a stop," he said.

"Today I gather it is somewhat overgrown and moss-covered so it may not be as obvious to the passerby as it was. This may be a good thing in some respects, although I do not think the fabric is too fragile.

"There are records of children climbing and sliding on it in the early 20th century and being chided by parents for polishing their 'pants and knickers'.

"The boy in the photo is my middle son, Matthew, who would have been five or six at the time.

"With regards to why we were there, just another magical mystery tour I'm afraid.

"Thinking further, it may have been allied to a visit to my father who ran an antique shop in Ellesmere, which of course is not too far away from Myddle.

"You have published a few photos over the years submitted by my late brother, Jeff Wheeldon, also from an old friend of his, Paul France. I remember Paul from my early days when I was learning to drink in the White Swan in Jackfield."

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