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The Drovers' Roads of the Middle Marches

The Drovers' Roads of the Middle Marches

by: Wayne Smith
In this fascinating and attractive book which contains 16 circular walks, the author tells the story of the men who until as recently as the 1930s used to walk with their sheep and cattle out of Wales along the ancient trackways to the markets and fairs of England. The journeys were carefully judged; too slow and the expenses of feeding and accommodating men and beasts would mount, too fast and the animals would lose condition.

Taking the easier routes meant the expense of turnpikes and tollgates, but going the long way around cost time. Droving was a steady trade, and it is no wonder that the drovers were often entrusted with commissions and even money to be taken to London, a practice from which the first banks developed. Along the way they would stop at drovers' inns, some of which still exist, and smithies where the cattle would be shod for the harder English roads.

It was the coming of the railways and other means of transport that ended the centuries-old practice of droving, but as the author explains, tell-tale signs of droving routes can still be discerned in the landscape today in the pine trees and ponds that marked the routes, and the names of farms, houses and inns. Drawing on his deep knowledge and love of the Welsh Marches, Wayne Smith describes the routes the drovers took over the hills and through the valleys, gives detailed guidance to the 16 circular walks, all in places of beauty, and provides information about castles, hill forts and other places of interest to be seen on the way, all illuminated with plenty of his own colour photographs. There are coloured sketch maps of the routes to compliment the navigational text and relevant OS Explorer map sheet numbers are given.

The walk locations are:
The Kerry Ridgeway - 12 miles
Old Church Stoke to Bromlow Callow - 10 miles
The Long Mynd - 6.5 or 9 miles
Wenlock Edge - 6.5 or 10 miles
Felindre - 7.5 or 11 miles
Abbeycwmhir - 10 miles
Llanbister - 5 miles
Llanfair Hill - 8 miles
Chapel Lawn - 7 miles
Leintwardine - 9 miles
Burrington - 6 miles
Cascob - 5 miles
Knill and Mortimer Trail - 14 miles
Hergest Ridge - 5.5 miles
Merbach Hill, Bredwardine - 5 miles
Bromyard Downs - 4 miles

ISBN 9781906663742 Pages 168 (2013 reprinted 2018) 210mm x 148mm

Price: 10.00