Flounders Folly

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Walk 3 - "Flounders Folly"

 

 

Round trip (excluding tour of Folly and other stops) A liesurely 2 hours
Overall distance (out & back)  5 miles  /  8 kilometres
O.S. Maps Landranger 137, or  Explorer 217
Car park grid reference Either  SO 478883 or 482839
Start from Map Ref. SO 482837 - Junction of Clay Lane and B4368

 

This is a walk up to the folly built on the top of Callow Hill to the west of Culmington. The folly can be seen from many of the village properties because it clearly interrupts the skyline view of the hilltop. The tower was latterly under the ownership of the actress Julie Christie and most villagers will know it was originally the idea of a Benjamin Flounders. For those who wish to read more about it, the current owners of the folly (The Flounders Folly Trust), have published a very interesting booklet about the folly, its builder and his life. You can buy it from the folly on the days it is open. It is a short, interesting and enjoyable read.

 

A few observations before you set out.

  • A fair proportion of the route is amongst woodland. Thus, in the late spring, summer and early autumn the views through the trees are minimal (unless you like looking at trees and leaves). For this walk  winter is the best time to enjoy some of the best en route views right across south Shropshire and into Wales. This winter walk will then give you plenty of such views and more besides. However, regardless of the season the views from the top of the folly will always be excellent.

  • To enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the folly you need to visit it when access to its turret is available. The folly is always open on the last Sunday of the month. See its web site for other open days. You may wish to take a few coins should you wish to donate something for the folly's upkeep.

  • Remember your camera!

  • It gets windy up on the hill so dress accordingly. Having said that, the climb is about 200 metres (600 feet) so you may find it sweaty getting up there! Carrying your windproof in a rucksack is a good option. An even better option is to then get someone else to carry the rucksack! 

  • The route can get a tad muddy after rain. This mud takes a while to dry out and so good walking boots are recommended.

  • Read the brief safety note on our  Walks/General  menu option.

 

 

Section
(Yards)
Section Narrative

Click photo to enlarge.

Section
(Metres)
10 Immediately opposite the point where Clay Lane meets the B4368 (the Craven Arms to Bridgnorth road) there is a gated lane. Set off through the gate and up a gentle slope. Note the rock formations on your right. They are sedimentary, proving that Culmington was at one time under water.  But you knew that didn't you !!! Click to enlarge any of these pictures
Click to enlarge any of these pictures
10
1100 Continue along this bridle path through a second gate just visible in the second photograph above if enlarged.
Eventually, as you see in this next photograph, significant earthworks have taken place. These eventually prevented continuation along the bridle path and forced taking a deviation left onto an access road. This was not a problem, for the bridle path eventually pops out onto this road anyway, just before a sweeping left bend. Just as this bend straightens, bear right off the track and briefly follow the line of a new boundary fence taking you to a small access gate. Pass through it for we are now back on the bridle path.

1,000
550 The next gate sees you emerge into an attractive pasture. Keeping the boundary on your right follow the path which gently drops into a  wide but shallow dry gulley to finally meet the next gate. Here, on passing through the gate, you are finally in the woodlands proper!
500
550 On this next stretch you need to take care. As the building in this top picture comes into view you must keep your eyes open for the small track leading uphill on the left. If you pass the building you have missed the track you are seeking! It is shown in our second picture.  Now we are commencing our first real attack upon the climb up to the folly! However, it does not last for too long at this point, and is somewhat ameliorated by the start of the beautiful winter views towards Caer Caradoc and Ragleth hill. Dig out your camera!
500
850 At the second gate the path emerges onto a T junction. Take the path heading off rightwards downhill. Admire the winter views. 800
Eventually, from this path and through the trees on your left, you will glimpse the folly. At this point it probably looks as though it is the Culmington version of Bavaria's  Schloss Neuschwanstein !
1,600 By now you are probably quite warm and sweaty. Take a break, admire all the views! Then continue up to the junction where you should select the track that is effectively a U turn climbing away from the tower. The straight up option will give you a very severe climb! Our selected route makes the climb easier, the distance is longer but the time taken will probably be quicker!  Another U turn to the right is the final, and very gentle, ascent to the folly. 1,500
  Ah,  we have forgotten to mention  that there is still one more climb to make . . .
The stairs up to the tower top !!!
 
  The Return Journey    
550 Facing the entrance to the tower head off towards your left through the obvious stile. Continue in this direction (roughly south west) shortly to pass a trig point on the other side of the fence. This pleasant, but short, "ridge" walk then traverses a small footbridge before passing a wind vane generating electricity for a cottage at the foot of the ridge.
Click to enlarge any of these pictures

500
210 Shortly after the wind vane you come across a gate on your left. Go through it heading off down the hill with the hedge on your right.    200
550 Keep on heading down the hill. You should pass a small disused quarry on your immediate left. This quite possibly could have supplied some of the stone to build the folly.     500
450 Eventually you will emerge onto a wider "lane" where you should continue straight down for just a few yards until you see a gap in the hedge on your left. Through this gap is a footpath across the field. Head for the tree, and on reaching the stile on the other side of the field climb over it and veer left to go around and down the field edge.Click to enlarge
click to enlarge
 
400
2,200 Keeping the hedge to your left shoulder walk down the hill and pass through three conventional farm gates and then a "kissing" gate. From this gate take a sharp left turn to climb over the luxury fencing panels taking you onto a tarmac road.

Follow the road down to where it joins the B4368. Turn left and walk the short distance back to your starting point (or to wherever you left the car!).


2,000
8,620 7,910