The 10 best driving roads in Shropshire.

Author: Roy Williams

So the guy from JT Hughes Honda says: “Hello. Roy, we want you to check out the top 10 driving roads in Shropshire and write a piece for us.” I say: “OK,” because I’m relatively cool and it’s only polite, after all. “And we’ll give you the new Honda Civic diesel 1.6 i-DTEC to do it in.

…” By now that bit of a tic I get when I’m excited has started up again. “For the whole weekend,” he says. Luckily he’s on the phone, so he can’t see me jigging around the office. Ostensibly, however, I’m still the epitome of control. “What colour is it?” I ask, disguising the slightly high-pitched voice… “Sporty Blue,” he says. “You had me at ‘hello’,” I say, wincing, because coming from someone other than Renee Zellweger that sounds just a tiny bit weird… It’s OK. We did this man-hug/arm-punch thing when I picked up the car and nothing more was said. So here it is… The definitive list of the 10 best driving roads in Shropshire, as chosen by me, over a particular weekend with reasonable weather, when I was king of the open road for a few hours at least. Your top 10 may well be different. Not as much fun, obviously, because you’re probably not driving a nippy Civic in Sporty Blue, but hey…

1. A488 Bishops Castle to Shrewsbury.

A488 Hope Valley , Shropshire

This road is like twins. The one that goes from Shrewsbury to Bishops Castle is boring. The one that goes the other way is cheeky, daring and a little bit naughty. How the same piece of Tarmac can have such a completely different character is remarkable. So if you’re travelling from Shrewsbury, admire the villages along the way (who knew that Minsterley was home of British corned beef, by the way), and put up with the obstacles and interruptions because when you turn round you’re going to have so much more fun. Squeal with delight as you bob and slalom downhill through the wooded tunnel of the Hope Valley, and if you have nothing better to do, go back and do it again.

2. A528 Ellesmere to Harmer Hill.

A528 Shrosphire

This is the naughty side of the A488’s much naughtier cousin. You can tell how much fun the authorities are trying to stifle by the number of ‘SLOW’ signs there are on the unkempt carriageway. This road has hundreds, each more pleading than the last. This is a too-narrow-for-an-A-road, toe-in, toe-out, pedal-hopping barn dance of a highway, built for something agile and playful and which is likely to keep your attention by throwing an oncoming vehicle into your personal space just for the fun of it. Bad road. Naughty road.

3. A4169 Jiggers Roundabout to Buildwas.

A4169 BuildwasBank Shropshire

Smooth and racy, this James Bond of highways glides uphill from the Jiggers Roundabout, gives you a Roger Moore wink, then slips you over the crown of the hill and slides down and right to the bottom of a bank where, depending on how much control you have over your impetuous right foot, you either squeal into a turn to Much Wenlock or escape to the foot-bumps of the Wrekin. Going up the other way quickly is fun too.

4. B4378 Much Wenlock to the junction with the B4368 from Bridgnorth.

B4378 Bourton Shropshire

The B4378 is probably too narrow for comfort but full of tantalising dips and rises and stop-and-go through hamlets and villages. It has the added bonus of the Dirty Harry ‘are you feeling lucky punk?’ junction at the end, which has you scampering across as fast as you can, wriggling like a piglet in case anything’s coming either way.

5. M54 Junction 6 to Preston Brook Island.

A5 - M54

Two rises - one from Junction 6 to the bottom of the Ercall then another from the start of the A5 to Charlton before a sweep round the hill and a long descent towards Preston Brook Island, with the hills of Mid-Wales straight ahead and Haughmond Hill on the right. It works to an extent the other way round with the Wrekin on the right. When the top’s covered by cloud it resembles the foothills of the Rockies near Revelstoke in British Columbia. No really, it does…

6. A458 Cross Houses to Much Wenlock.

A458 Harley Hill Shropshire

Includes the thrilling dive down Harley Bank and the struggle up Harley Hill, but that’s not as much fun as doing it the other way around and there’s less chance of being stuck behind a tractor and trailer wheezing its way to the top of the hill. I’ve found.

7. B4380 Wroxeter to Buildwas.

B4380 Wroxter to buildwas

Ancient Rome at one end and the gateway to the Industrial Revolution at the other and worth it on its own for views of the twists and turns of the oxbowing River Severn below on the way.

8. A41 Tern Hill to Sandford.

A41 Bletchley Shropshire

The sweeps and curves of the dual carriageway past the Castle at Bletchley scream ‘take me, take me I’m yours’ even if there’s a flashing ‘mind your speed’ sign half way. At either end of the dual carriageway, the road returns swiftly to single lanes, on right hand bends, with the added thrill heading south, of a sphincter-tightening blind rise.

9. B5062 Newport to Crudgington.

This tinker of a road begins with an invitation to hill-climb Cheyney Bank, forces you to respectfully tiptoe through Edgmond, then opens up through a series of rise and fall lefts and rights all the way to Crudgington, including the wrong-way camber of a combination of bends near the auto-grass track between the Waters Upton turn-off at Catsbritch Lane and Crudgington Village itself.

10. A4117 Clee Hill to Ludlow.

A4117 CleeHill Shropshire

Even in mid-summer, Clee Hill has a kind of bleak, muggy glory and coming down the hill into the lush greenery of Ludlow and surrounds is one of those special descents - and like the A488, much more fun one way than the other.

Bonus:

Un-named road, off the Haughton to Upton Magna road, heading towards Rodington Heath - It was either built by the Romans, the military or aliens because, apart from a daft kink, it’s perfectly straight, for nearly a mile. Woo-hoo… I know Bernie says ‘Think before you drive’, but I say again, ‘woo-hoo’… So what do you think? Can you better that Top 10? I know there’s one or two I’ve missed and a couple that came pretty close. Shropshire’s got some great driving roads and your favourites will always bring you a buzz that’s special to you. Let’s hear about them. Leave your comments below…

13 Comments
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Blank James Blank
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11/26/2015 9:22:41 PM
More than 2 years ago
nice to see a report about actually driving instead of everyone worrying about mpg and emissions! I'm sure we used to talk about 0-60 and BHP figures a few years back...?
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Sterling Moss
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11/20/2015 12:28:08 AM
More than 2 years ago
There are plenty more decent roads around Shropshire, some real hidden gems, not overly busy, or congested with agricultural machinery and caravans, so go out and explore, not just the one's listed here in a certain area.
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Carl Thomas
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11/19/2015 9:56:31 PM
More than 2 years ago
Ady not sure what you are doing to consume that amount of fuel. I have the identical motor and it's just under 24 months old. It's the most economical vehicle I've had. I'm 56, so owned a fair few cars.
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Ady williams
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11/19/2015 6:45:15 PM
More than 2 years ago
Just a shame the 1.6 Civic Sports Diesel never gave you the fuel returns it states in all documentation, the one I drive only does 52.3 to the gallon meaning it now costs me money to drive it as a company vehicle. Lovely car real poor fuel returns !!
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J Brodie
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11/17/2015 6:05:13 PM
More than 2 years ago
They all sound great. If only they weren't all full of tractors and trucks. Which is what I come across every time I go anywhere near Shrewsbury :-(
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edski675
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11/12/2015 9:56:06 AM
More than 2 years ago
Try the road from Much Wenlock to Church Stretton. Lovely road that climbs steadily out of MW, undulating but fairly straight across the top of the Edge - the challenge is forward visibility with the rises and falls obscured by overhanging trees. You need to be very careful because there are wild deer up there. Coming off the edge into Rushbury and on into Church Stretton are some fabulous bends. Especially on a motorbike :)
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Richard
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11/12/2015 6:16:17 AM
More than 2 years ago
I really enjoyed the article and Rob is right James why would you even suggest JT Hughes are encouraging drivers to speed. Seriously, what a silly statement to make!
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Rob
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11/12/2015 12:33:29 AM
More than 2 years ago
@James. Hey, at no point did JT Hughes suggest that you drive them over the speed limit, only that you could enjoy them for what they are, roads with interesting vistas or fantastic sweeping curves. I'd rather that drivers were away from schools and towns.
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James
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11/12/2015 12:16:45 AM
More than 2 years ago
Are JT Hughes going to take some responsibility when someone is killed trying out these roads at the speeds suggested?
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J Morris
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11/10/2015 6:50:50 PM
More than 2 years ago
You mentioned A488 Bishops Castle to Shrewsbury, although pretty good, try the Longden Road out of Shrewsbury, through Hook a Gate, Longden, Pulverbatch, Bridges to Bishops Castle, now that's a really exhilarating trip. (in either direction!)
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W Faulkner
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11/10/2015 6:31:08 PM
More than 2 years ago
Actually Ludlow to Cleobury Mortimer at 110 mph Max is pretty good, if you get above 85 mph up Angel Bank be prepared for all four wheels to leave the ground at the change in road angle near the top, and power sliding through the left and right past Doddington Lodge before letting it rip down the other side of Titterstone Clee is fun too. I found both directions to Bishops Castle just as fun, particularly in a Land Rover Defender V8 doing about 85 mph. Also 135 mph around the Ludlow Bypass, followed by an average of 105 mph through the bends to Onibury Crossing is fun, and you can max out the car at around 135 again before you get to Craven Arms. I always found the M54 and new A5 boring, mind you in didn't have anything fast enough to make it interesting.
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Joe Bloggs
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11/9/2015 10:47:29 PM
More than 2 years ago
I know it's not all in Shropshire but a good portion is (also closed for resurfacing atm). The road between market Drayton (gingerbread man) and Audlem. From the off at Drayton it immediately becomes twisty with positively cambered corners, nice down hill straights into uphill chicanes, sharp 90° bends, dips, crests and open corners where you can really use the whole road. When you eventually arrive in Audlem (feeling very buzzy) turn left and head back into shropshire, along a very similar road, only a bit more open, ending up at whitchurch. Head down the wem road through tilstock, for a very twisty, involving drive. Beware of the rough, undulating road surface on the second half of the blast, where you end up at the cross roads in wem. Turn right onto wem high street, then left by the church, out under the railway bridge and right, back for shrewsbury. If you find the road from Myddle through to nescliffe you will be in for a surprise, also see, bomere heath to montford bridge, shrewsbury to ellsmere via Cockshutt, Hodnet to prees heath via Marchamley. To go onto country lanes would be a whole different thing and I could type for hours, but there's just a few top stretches of road that have thrilled me over the years, most rewardingly in my former Honda Integra DC5. Have fun!
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Steve Patterson
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11/8/2015 12:35:25 PM
More than 2 years ago
B4370 from A489 to A49 at Marshbrook. Only a short road, but coming from Bishop's Castle, you enter the road with a tight, off camber left hand hairpin that tightens, yet offers a lot of grip. Perfect for the likes of an Evo. For maximum fright, drive this road at night, when to the left, a steep drop becomes nothing more than blackness, and the rock face to your right keeps things feeling a touch claustrophobic. The road dips, rises, and twists sharply along most of it's short length, with the overhanging trees keeping the tarmac slightly damp all year round. If you push any car down here, you will be feeling alive by the time you reach the level crossing at Marshbrook - If you make it that far.
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