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South Shropshire Hills may be short as audaxes go but it packs a punch. If you don’t fancy the normal 200km event but seek a challenging shorter ride, this is the event for your. You have a large time window on the day to complete the event. As the title suggests it is a hilly ride but it also comes with stunning views. Highlights include views from Brown Clee, Wenlock Edge twice, Caer Caradoc and Clee Hill, but don’t worry as the audax does not ascend The Burway!
This event takes place at the end of Bewdley Bike Week alongside other cycling activities.
In audax lingo, South Shropshire Hills is an x-rated event. In other words, no gold plated facilities. Just turn up at the start, collect your brevet card, ride the route, collect your proofs of passage at the controls and send them to the organiser afterwards. We start from Dog Lane Car Park in Bewdley. Church Stretton and Ludlow make for two superb cafe stops on route. It may be basic but the event provides a great day out with fantastic views, great cafe stop potential and great audax camaraderie. Details on the route are shown further down the page.
As a ‘Brevet Populaire’, riders will have a greater time window to complete the event, meaning that you can finish in Bewdley at any time between 12:18 and 20:18. This will particularly benefit riders seeking a slower ride.
Stage 1, Bewdley to Church Stretton: It is a sudden climb out of Bewdley into the Wyre Forest and Shropshire. This is the most roller coaster stage of the day with ups and downs. The ups include a traverse along the side of Brown Clee, then quickly descending into Coverdale before ascending Wenlock Edge for the first time. From Apedale, it is a climb towards Cardington where fantastic views of Caer Caradoc are to be had. It is a squeeze through the “Cwm de Comley” between Caer Caradoc and The Lawley, to reach the deep cleft of the Stretton fault, a geological nicety between Caer Caradoc and the Long Mynd. Church Stretton is a great place to stop after this gruelling section. There are plenty of cafes available. A cyclists’ favourite is the Holly Bush Cafe at the very bottom of The Burway in the town centre, or the nearby Mr Bun The Bakers.
Stage 2, Church Stretton to Ludlow: This is the easiest stage of the day and provides a quick haul to Ludlow. It is a bit of a grind climbing out of Church Stretton but you soon reach Apedale again and pass over Wenlock Edge via its lowest point using some glorious lanes. After veering south, it is then a passage along the bottom reaches of Coverdale to reach Ludlow via the backway. Ludlow is not short of places to stop but it can be very very busy with tourists.
Stage 3 and homeward bound: Now comes the final and biggest test, the ascent to Clee Hill from Ludlow. We avoid Angel Bank which can be unpleasant if busy by taking a slightly longer but quieter route via Knowbury Bank. Clee Hill is the highest point on the route but you are provided with some stunning views. Minus a couple of sharp short pulls, it is now downhill to Bewdley via the Catherton Common. There is no HQ at the finish but riders are directed to the Droitwich CC favourite of Bewdley Brewery. Obtain your last brevet card receipt or click you e-brevet for the final time.
Start and Finish: Bewdley
Controls: Church Stretton and Ludlow
Start time: 09:00
Finish time: 12:46 – 20:18
Average speeds: 10 – 30kph
Overall climb: 1,805m
Audax Altitude Award Points: 1.75
The event is run under Audax UK regulations. You should familiarise yourself with Audax UK regulations, guidance, and advice (available in AUK publications, at www.aukweb.net or on request from the organiser). The event is not a race or trial of speed. You are expected to follow the rules of the road and show consideration toother road users.