Thursday, 1 January 2009

The Wrekin, Telford, UK

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: The Wrekin, Telford, UK (map)
Website: Wikipedia entry
Workouts: from workout diary

Photo taken from our plane when we flew to the Ben Nevis race.

The Wrekin runs South West to North East like the spine of a vast, slumbering beast. It's a great location for hill training and other workouts. It's only 400m high, but there are many routes up, around and over it, making for as great a variety of inclines and challenges you could wish for.

A view from the top, past the trig point

There is also an abundance of trees, logs, rocks and other props that can be used to mix up your workout into a more circuit-based affair if, like me, you prefer to avoid the uniformity of run-only workouts.

Here are the two routes we most commonly use.


The Light Side
The spinal ascent from the North East is the easier one, followed by most people out for a walk. There is less tree cover, wider paths and more views on the ascent. We call this the 'Light Side'. There is still a nice variety of gradients and one or two off-road short cuts via which it is possible to punish ones legs to a greater or lesser extent.

Wide, open path, towards the top of the Light Side ascent

The Dark Side
The South Eastern end of the spine is less easy to find. Narrow roads approach the forested area where it starts, and parking is limited. Farm dogs and cats spring suddenly into the road so it's best to drive slowly. A 5-10 minute gentle incline takes you to the base of Little Hill, The Wrekin's tailbone. It has a brief, but savagely steep ascent, after which there is a gentler, steady drop on the other side, which we use for sprint training.

Little Hill's savage ascent...

...and looking back after the savage ascent

The gentler drop on the other side of
Little Hill, ideal for sprint training

Then the Dark Side proper begins, with a long, steep, forested section that punishes anyone determined to run rather than walk. After this you finally break out into the light, but there continues to be tough terrain, if at least punctuated by brief, flatter stretches. Finally, a hundred metres of flat takes you to the trig point.

Recovering at the trig point from a Dark Side ascent, with the final
flat section visible in the background

The Ercall

Across the road and to the North East of the Wrekin is The Ercall, another, lesser hill of 265 metres, but one well served by undulating, wooded trails and an area which can add some variety to a run in the area.


Anonymous said...

Having driven past the old beast daily when I worked in Shrewsbury, I have never climbed the Wrekin, and the closest I have been to it is the Sunday point-to-point in Eyton. Your post def needs further investigation Al - John

Methuselah said...

It's a great place to walk or run and really nice when it's snowed, so hope you make it up there this winter...