Monday, 30 August 2010

Wenlock Edge Info

Wenlock Edge is a limestone ridge that runs for 18 miles between Ironbridge and Craven Arms in Shropshire, it was formed by dead sea creatures that lived on a coral reef under a shallow tropical sea. Along the crest of the ridge the limestone is very close to the surface and this provides ideal conditions for lime loving plants such as orchids to flourish. It has in the past also provided rock for quarrying, to be used in construction and agriculture, many small scale quarries can be found along the edge being re-claimed by nature. Where the rock is exposed geologists can spend hours searching for fossils that that are 450 million years old!
On the North-West facing slope trees dominate, probably because the gradient doesn't lend itself to being farmed. The woodland provides habitat for a wide range of bird and mammal species whilst the gentler South-East facing slopes tend to be used more for agriculture.
Wood Anenome
The National Trust owns about eight and a half miles of the Edge, running from Much Wenlock to Roman Bank near Rushbury. Most of this land is on the North West facing slope, the woodland consists mainly of Ash trees with a Hazel understorey. The Hazel has been coppiced historically to provide hedgelaying materials and other useful products whilst the mature Ash trees would have been felled and used for making charcoal and for firewood, To a certain extent this still takes place today. Ash woodland offers ideal conditions for woodland plants to grow because it only casts light shade, species include Primroses, Wood Anenome and Wild Garlic .More recently exotic conifers have been planted to provide quick growing timber, these add diversity to the woodland.
There are various small areas of species rich limestone grassland dotted along the crest of the ridge, these are grazed by the National Trusts flock of Hebridean Sheep to prevent scrub from encroaching.
Wilderhope Manor
Wilderhope Manor is an Elizabethan House that was home to Thomas Smallman a Royalist Major during the Civil War. Persued by Cromwell's soldiers he is said to have escaped by jumping his horse off Wenlock Edge at 'Majors Leap'. The manor is owned by the National Trust but is run by the Youth Hostel Association and is situated near Longville in the Dale.
There are miles of footpaths and bridleways to be enjoyed by visitors to the edge and there are a number or waymarked routes that start from the three car parks at Wilderhope Manor, Presthope and on the outskirts of Much Wenlock.

Monday, 23 August 2010

From a coral reef to the internet in just 420 million years!

Hi, this is the first of many posts from the National Trust on Wenlock Edge. Hopefully giving interesting information about the area and how visitors and locals can get the most out of a visit. There will be updates on projects being carried out and information about upcoming events.
The page is very much under construction so please bear with me!