One of our favorite Shopshire towns is Much Wenlock and on a recent visit to the town I was startled to read a claim that the town hosted the first Olympic Games. Dr William Penny Brookes, a local surgeon, established the first Wenlock Olympian Games in 1850. Looking into this further I found his games were, in a typically Victorian way, “to promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the Town and neighbourhood of Wenlock” but went on to have a direct, huge and lasting impact. Much Wenlock spawned the International Games and gained Dr Penny Brookes a place in history. The town stages its own games every July, spectators are welcome and no lottery for tickets…..
Hill-walking or rambling may not be medal-worthy, but this is my chosen activity in the Shropshire Hills. I recommend a circular walk from Much Wenlock to Ironbridge. Along the way you pass close to the cooling towers of Ironbridge Power Station which are rather amazing, nestling into the heavily wooded Severn Gorge, crossing the beautiful Iron Bridge. Return to Much Wenlock for tea – about 11 miles of amazing countryside.