West Midlands detailing the route between Chester and Cirencester, passing through Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.
The 482-mile (776km) National Byway West Midlands route section whose map is currently entitled Midlands, is one of the longest sections, passing through 5 counties and travelling all the way between Chester and Cirencester. It is a massive challenge if taken on all at one go, with some dramatic contours along the way, intermingled with some of the finest countryside and most fascinating heritage sites in Britain. Split into digestible bits, it can become a summer’s challenge.
The route from Chester starts easily before undulating through the peaceful Peckforton Hills where the Malpas Loop wanders, and crossing into Shropshire near Whitchurch. On to Shrewsbury which has a Byway Loop to the south as well as a large, circular route to the east, visiting Much Wenlock and the World Heritage site of Ironbridge, cradle of the industrial revolution.
South of Shrewsbury lies the steep challenge of the Long Mynd before descending to picturesque and historic Ludlow now as famous for its Michelin stars as for its Feathers! Then the Byway meanders on into Herefordshire, where a route ready in 2003 can be taken westwards into mid-Wales. Straight on lies Leominster, Ledbury with its tranquil Loop, and Tewkesbury. Then it’s on to Gloucestershire, with a challenging Loop available at Winchcombe before the route drops down towards its end in the ancient Roman town of Cirencester.
The main route and Loops of the West Midlands Byway section, some of which is still to be signposted due to delays caused by Foot and Mouth, is a fine example of the variety and fascination that The National Byway® provides around its entire route round Britain.