St Winefride Pilgrim Trail
People have walked the St Winefride’s pilgrim trail from Shrewsbury to Holywell since the 12th century. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and kings as you walk the trail…
St Winefride — Seventh-Century Welsh Martyr
Winefride, (Welsh: ‘Blessed Stream’) was the daughter of a seventh-century Welsh prince. She had taken a vow of celibacy. However, according to legend, Caradoc, a young nobleman, fell in love with her. One day, passions aroused, he made demands upon her which as a virgin and under her vow, she could not accept. She fled and he chased after her. He was so enraged at being rejected that when he caught her, he cut off her head, which rolled to where her uncle, St. Beuno, was at prayer nearby. At this spot, now called Holywell, a well of pure water sprang from the earth. Meanwhile, Caradoc fell to the ground, dead, and the earth opened up to swallow his body. St. Beuno replaced Winefride’s head on her body, and she lived. She became abbess of a nunnery at Gwytherin, North Wales, dying there fifteen years later. Her remains were brought to the Abbey in 1137.
STAGE 1 Shrewsbury to Montford Bridge
Leave the Abbey from the west door and go towards the town centre, over the English Bridge which crosses the River Severn. Immediately bear sharp left and descend to the riverside walk. Follow this for 850 yards, passing under Greyfriars Bridge then turn up Crescent Lane on your right. At the top you pass a Georgian house which was used as the home of Ebenezer Scrooge when the filming of A Christmas Carol took place in Shrewsbury in 1984. His supposed gravestone can be seen in the graveyard of St Chad’s.
Turn right and in less than 150 yards you come to the Catholic Cathedral on the left. A relic of St. Winefride is now held here.
Now retrace your steps, passing Belmont, a street to the right, up which is St. Winefride’s Primary School and also St. Winefride’s Convent of Mercy and turn back down Crescent Lane towards the river, then turn right and follow the river.
On the left you will see Shrewsbury School which Charles Darwin attended and on your right the round nave of St. Chad’s. Behind the hedge you can see on your right are the beautiful gardens known as The Dingle created by Percy Thrower when he was Park Superintendent of the Borough of Shrewsbury. There is a statue of him in these gardens which are a centrepiece for the famous Flower Show held every year in August.
Turn left over the green suspension bridge across the river, and then right and continue for about a hundred yards until you see a sign for the Severn Way on your right between houses. Turn down here along Water Lane back to the riverside.
Continue along the riverside under the Welsh Bridge and pass the Theatre Severn on your left. Opposite the theatre on the right hand side is the sculpture called the Quantum Leap built in 2009 to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury.
The route continues on The Severn Way round the loop of the river. This section is also called Darwin’s Walk. Follow the river’s edge through the area called Poplar Island to a kissing gate and an enclosed path.
Soon turn left up a flight of 27 steps, and go right down 7 steps back onto the enclosed path and continue along to another set of 27 fairly steep steps right, down back to the river’s edge where you turn left again on an enclosed path passing the garden of Darwin’s childhood house.
Soon you enter Doctors Field, then leave it by a kissing gate following an enclosed path to another gate onto open meadows along the river edge, through 2 more kissing gates and then a small gated bridge.
STAGE 2 Montford Bridge to Kinnerley
Turn right opposite the Wingfield Arms and cross the bridge over the River Severn.
Shortly take the left turn signposted to Montford. Follow the road across the bridge over the A5 and continue for about three quarters of a mile until Montford Church is reached. The church is not open to visitors.
Follow the road around the church past a road on the right and then turn right onto a bridleway opposite the church wall and a seat.
Continue along the bridleway for a little over a mile. The track becomes tarmac at Lower Park Farm and leads into Shrawardine.
At the village turn right with the road and then shortly left past the church downhill towards the river, leaving the Millennium Green and castle mound behind you on the right. The road bends sharply to the right before the river is reached and you then continue on this minor road for nearly 2 miles to a crossroads.
Turn left here and after half a mile bear left on a busier road where on your right is the last part of Nesscliffe Training Camp. Follow the road round bends for over half a mile to the hamlet of Pentre, continue forwards, passing 2 minor roads on your left, to a kissing gate.
Cross the field diagonally to a stile and then a wicket gate immediately on your left. Bear slightly right to a stile, and carry on following the path to another stile currently broken and on out to another stile onto a minor road.
Cross road to another stile and head for a gap slightly to the left ahead, and after this bear slightly right to a stile and plank bridge into the edge of a caravan park. Leave the Severn Way and follow the track to the left out through the caravan park to a road with the River Severn in front of you. Turn right and arrive at the Royal Hill Inn.
From the Royal Hill follow the road to the right past the first minor road on the right (rejoining the Severn Way) and continue for over half a mile, round a right-hand bend, and then forward on the road towards Crosslanes and Maesbrook, (leaving a road on your the left to Melverley), for another half a mile to a left-hand bend.
Here turn right onto a rough track and follow it northwards for just over a mile to a road near Edgerley, then turn left along the road for 1 mile to Kinnerley village.
STAGE 3 Kinnerley to Oswestry
Follow the ‘main’ road round to the right past the village hall for 150 yards to an access track on the left. Go down this for 450 yards, then in front of Heathwaen Cottage take a footpath on the right which winds out to cross a streamlet and after 150 yards turns left below the house now known as Paddock Lodge. (N. B. These footpaths are only shown on up-todate O.S. maps).
A kissing gate soon leads onto a narrow path which passes Ivy Cottage to the left, then becomes an access track which quickly turns right out to a road after 35yards. Turn left along the road for about 150 yards, then cross a stile on your right, and go up the length of 3 fields to come out after 550 yards beside the Bradford Arms in Knockin.
Turn left and follow the main village road for 400 yards to the top of a rise, where another road goes off left. Here turn right on a track which winds between hedges for 3/4 mile to join a minor road at a corner.
Follow this road to the right for 500 yards to a crossroads, then turn left and continue for another 900 yards to the hamlet of Woolston.
Where the road turns sharp left continue ahead for 100 yards on an access track, then take the footpath on the right for 150 yards to St. Winifred’s Well. The Landmark Trust has restored the small building over the well and the property is let out to visitors and often occupied.
After studying the Well continue down over the stream by a bridge and out into a field by a gate and follow the hedge on your left to a gateway and then through it cross the field towards some hawthorn trees. The land rises between these trees and would take you over the Montgomery Canal. Just before this (Bridge 78) there are steps down to the left onto the towpath and a seat.
Turn left and walk along the towpath to pass the Navigation Inn at Bridge 79. Go under the bridge and continue on the canal path past bridge 80 where you come to Canal Central (a shop and cafe that sells nice cakes etc. when it is open).
Continue on the towpath and at the next road at Croft’s Mill, cross the lifting bridge to the right over the canal and walk up the road past the canal boat wharfage and marina on your left, called Pete’s Mill, to a T junction, ignoring a footpath off to the right.
Alternative Route to the Offa’s Dyke Path around Oswestry
After the Lifting Bridge at Croft’s Mill continue along the Towpath. Go under the next road bridge and the next footbridge. You now pass the modern Corn Mill on the other side of the Canal. At the next bridge leave the Canal and go over the bridge to take the footpath opposite to go to the right of the farm buildings. This is Tramway Farm.
At the lane turn left and then take the footpath on your right. Follow this to the right hand corner of the field. Go directly ahead across the next field. In the next field bare right to go to the left of the houses and to the road. Turn left and walk to the Cross Roads at Llynclys.
Cross over the potentially busy road and walk past the pub. As you approach the last house on your left, take footpath on right. This goes through the buildings at Llynclys Farm to join the Shropshire Way.
Walk with the hedge on your right. In the next field, head for the right hand edge of the wood (Dolgoch Quarry Nature Reserve). In the next field turn right and continue with the hedge again on your right towards Little Nuttree Farm. Turn left along the lane. Shortly take the footpath on your left. The footpath joins a lane where you turn right.
Enter the Sweeney Fen Nature Reserve. Continue along the Shropshire Way through this reserve. Pass between the two small woodlands. Go through the next field to the road. Turn left along it and then right towards Gronwen Farm. Walk past the farm and across the field to the lane.
Cross over the lane and head towards the woods opposite to join a bridleway. Turn left along it and follow to another lane. Turn left to the staggered cross roads at Trefonen. Go directly across and shortly take the footpath on right on to the Offa’s Dyke Path. The main route joins the National Trail at the Old Racecourse.
Turn right at the junction into Morton Lane, cross the Morda brook, and then go left over a stile after about 100 yards by a telegraph post and then on alongside the grounds of a small cottage, over 2 stiles and out into a field.
Go ahead for nearly 200 yards to a stile out onto Ball Lane which you follow left and at a T Junction continue straight on along Ball Lane.
After Bridge Cottage turn left past a FP sign and go over a footbridge and the stile at the back of Bridge Cottage.
Aim for the telegraph pole in front of you in the middle of the field, then the single telegraph pole at the far side of the field and finally aim to the right of the cream house in the corner of the field and cross 2 stiles close together.
Keep the hedge and fence on your left and turn left and cross the stile at the end of the field into a lane, turn right and continue up the road.
After passing Gwernhafod on your left you will see a public footpath sign and stile on your left. Cross this and then continue diagonally right over the field and cross the stile to left of an oak tree.
Keep the fence on your right and cross through the gate at the end of the field.
Keep the hedge on your right, go through a gap in a hedge at the far right hand corner of the field and walk diagonally left across the field, aiming for a building on the horizon, and then cross another stile.
Aim for a point a little to the right of the far left hand corner of the next field where you will see the stile into the next field which you cross.
Continue straight ahead until you see and cross a stile on your left hand side which takes you over the railway line to another stile into a small copse and then out to the A483.
Cross and follow this busy main road to the right for 150 yards, over the River Morda, then drop down the bank to a stile into a field. Cross 3 stiles in close succession, (2 cross a currently disused section of railway), and then a 4th up onto a road.
Go left for 100 yards, then turn right onto Weston Lane and go past Weston Pools Village on your left continuing on the road for some 750 yards until you can turn right through a kissing gate after Weston Farm. Go along the enclosed path for nearly 500 yards, then turn left passing a kissing gate on your right.
In another 70 yards go through the kissing gate ahead of you, ahead on the path between two fences and up to the metal kissing gate at the top.
Keep straight ahead with the hedge on your right through the next kissing gate facing the cemetery.
Turn left along the boundary of the cemetery, then turn right following the boundary, and at the end take the left kissing gate in the left hand corner of the patch of grass.
Go along the track between hedges and take the kissing gate onto Queen’s Road, turn right and at the T junction turn left into Victoria Road.
Victoria Road becomes Lower Brook Street, at the traffic lights turn right and cross over to visit St Oswald’s Church if it is open.