WOMEN’S TOUR REPORT – 2022 Round the Wrekin

This is a Trip report on the 2022 Womens Tour to the Shropshire area which ran between the 22nd and 24th July 2022. . The authors are – Pip Milton, Terry Moles, and Sheila Coad, with photos from Marina Friend
Eleven of us met at Stafford Station at 11am. We were a disparate group with ages spanning more then 50 years and with very varied touring experience. Some had never toured, some had done single centre tours and others were used to camping while touring for weeks on end. There was also a range of equipment – some were on road bikes while others opted for hybrids, some had bikepacking “sausages” suspended from seatposts while others used traditional Ortlieb rear panniers.
Marina led us off from Stafford and by the time we arrived in Newport, our legs were tingling partly from the exhilarating ride along a leafy disused railway and partly because, in places,  the nettles hadn’t been cut back . After a brunch at Gunero’s Bistro we continued onto Wellington for another stop before attacking the climb up towards the Wrekin. Thankfully, the ascent was shaded by woodland and we were rewarded with spectacular views over the Shropshire countryside.
There was a fine descent into the River Tern valley, before making our way into Shrewsbury alongside the picturesque River Severn.
It had been a fabulous 38 mile ride in perfect weather conditions.
Our 12th member had been working that day and so joined us in the evening. The rest is her account.
Friday evening was spent in a nice Thai restaurant literally across the road from the hotel (the very short walk was appreciated…. thanks, Brid for booking it). I joined the group there and was immediately made to feel welcome.
On Saturday we were ready to roll at 9am and set off through the local park to view the Percy Thrower Garden, which was well worth a visit. Jill led us out and up the long “gentle ” incline to Little Mynd before we dropped down into Ironbridge for lunch. Museums were noted but not visited as the priority was to fuel up enough to climb out of the gorge. What a climb it was! The mountain goats among us conquered it with ease while the rest of us took it at a more leisurely pace. We all safely made the 45 miles to Cannock. Odd memories of the day included clothing hanging off a bike, the importance of labelling containers correctly and a kind helper with a puncture.
Sunday was drizzly so we started with a discussion about the need for waterproofs…most decided against and we were away by 9am.
I would describe today as a magical mystery tour as Vicky led us to Lichfield for brunch in the shadow of the Cathedral. Traditional breakfast, beans on toast or Granola helped to refuel us. A lap around the Cathedral enabled us to admire it along with adjacent historic houses and alleyways.
The Roman village at Wall provided a break on our way to Middleton Hall,  for tea and cake, where we met Suzanne. She took lots of photographs this time but hopefully, she will be back riding with us again soon.  
Now it was the last leg, and as is typical of the latter stages of rides, some slowed down, conversations were less frequent and groups began splitting off depending on their final destination.  Most split at Meriden (after 45miles) but some still had to cycle to Leamington and even Southam. The predominant memory of today was of everyone pulling together when needed.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who made me feel so welcome. Thanks also to the experienced tourers for their tips to us first timers. Finally, a big hand to us first timers for completing our first tour. Anyone doing more? I certainly am as I loved it.
Thanks to the initial planners, ride leaders, back markers, contributors to this report​ and each participant for their company during the action packed 3 days.​
Tour Particpants – Jill, Marina, Vicky, Penny, Pip, Libby, Brid, Mags, Shona, Sheila, Terry and Annie