The Abbesses’ Way

2 day, English Heritage, West & East Midlands

The Abbesses’ Way – Wenlock Priory to Shrewsbury Abbey – 20 miles, 2 days. You begin at magnificent Wenlock Priory, once a great pilgrimage site of 8th-century abbess St Milburga’s relics. Visit Much Wenlock’s holy wells of St Milburga and St Owen before ascending the poetry-inspiring ridge of Wenlock Edge. Revel in the rolling Shropshire landscape, especially at the well-positioned Kenley Church, before descending to Langley Chapel and Acton Burnell, with its Church right next to a castle built by a bishop. Then by field and road to St Eata’s Church, Atcham, and its adjacent rest stop, the Mytton and Mermaid, before the final approach via the River Severn and Rea Brook to Shrewsbury Abbey, where a small part of the shrine to the 7th-century abbess St Winefride still survives.

The Morville Addendum to the Abbesses Way
Morville Priory to Wenlock Priory – 8.5 miles.
You begin at St Gregory’s Church, Morville, built on the former site of Morville Priory by the monks of Shrewsbury Abbey. Look out for an astonishing Norman font with square faces looking out at you. Then past Morville Hall, and the famous Dower House gardens of Dr Katherine Swift (author of The Morville Hours) to the Acton Arms pub where you turn left up a single track road along the Jack Mytton Way towards Haughton, passing by the Aldenham Park Estate that used to belong to Lord Acton, the 19th century historian. Continue to St Giles’, Barrow, a chapel of Wenlock Abbey, and one of the oldest churches in Shropshire, with the only Saxon chancel. Join the Shropshire Way to continue to Wenlock Priory, where you then join the main Abbesses’ Way route.

Morville Priory via Buildwas Abbey to Wenlock Priory – 14.5 miles. Same as above, but to visit Buildwas, after Barrow Church continue along the Jack Mytton Way to join the Shropshire Way to Ironbridge, and its magnificent iron bridge, which has come to be a symbol of the Industrial Revolution. Then along the Severn Way to Buildwas Abbey, a 12th-century Cistercian monastery, now in impressive ruins, and maintained by English Heritage. From Buildwas, walk the Buildwas Abbey nature trail which connects with the A-road, which you walk along for a kilometre, and then join the Shropshire Way to Wenlock Priory.

Scroll down to bottom of page for advice on logistics.

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Wenlock Priory

Teacher and Student

Saxon Cross, Wenlock Parish Church

St Milburga’s Well, Much Wenlock

Shropshire Hills seen from the top of Wenlock Edge

Wenlock Edge

Kenley Yews

Langley Chapel

Wenlock Edge viewed from inside Langley Chapel

Langley Chapel from the musicians’ bench

St Mary’s Church, Acton Burnell, and its adjacent Castle (English Heritage)

Squint into Acton Burnell Church Altar, for the diseased to look through as mass was celebrated

Berrington Font

Atcham Bridge and St Eata Church

Shrewsbury Abbey Nave

Shrewsbury Abbey

Morville Addendum

Travel:
Start –
 Train to Telford, then taxi or bus to Wenlock Priory.
End – Train from Shrewsbury. Bus or taxi back to Wenlock for parked cars.
Accommodation:
Optional extra night at start – Much Wenlock (for an easier 14-mile leg from Wenlock to Atcham, arrive the afternoon before, see Wenlock Priory then make an early start the morning after).
First or Second night (see above): B&Bs in Acton Burnell, Eaton Mascott – Atcham – Mytton and Mermaid Hotel.
Terrain: footpaths, fields and roads, some uphill. Click for guidance by Ramblers and UK Government on how to walk on roads.

This route was created by BPT’s Guy Hayward.

Featured Great Routes

Old Way

St Hilda’s Way

Two Saints Way