Work is progressing on the Humphrey Kynaston Way, a new long distance route for horse riders, walkers and cyclists that will run the length of Shropshire connecting places linked to local legend and highwayman ‘Wild Humphrey Kynaston’, otherwise known as the Robin Hood of Shropshire.
After years of planning for the route, including getting routes shown correctly on the Definitive Map, bridges built and tracks cleared, the opportunity to take the project forward was made possible thanks to a grant from Natural England’s Paths for Communities Scheme.
The bid was put forward, with the support of Shropshire Council, by Zia Robins, Chairman of the Nesscliffe Hills and District Bridleways Parish Paths Partnership Group, who work with Shropshire Council. Zia is also the Access Representative for BHS affiliated Shrewsbury and District Riding Club.
The linear route uses some of the oldest tracks in Shropshire and links the Jack Mytton Way at Church Stretton via Church Pulverbatch, Pontesbury, Ford, Montford, Shrawardine, Nesscliffe, Adcote, Baschurch and Harmer Hill, to the proposed Bishop Bennet Way at Grinshill. There are also new linking circular routes from Lyth Hill, Montford, Nesscliffe and Baschurch, and two smaller loops at Ford and Grinshall which give variety to the linear route.
Route instructions have already been completed, with leaflets and maps currently being put together, along with work happening on the route itself. This work includes waymarkers being erected, vegetation clearance and improvements made to gates.
The project, which includes a completely new section of bridleway from Preston Montfort passing under the A5 to Montford Bridge, will be completed by the end of February.
Who was Humphrey Kynaston?
Humphrey Kynaston was born c1468, the first son of Sir Roger Kynaston, Sheriff of Shropshire, and his second wife Elizabeth Grey. After his father died he inherited the title of Constable of Myddle Castle near Baschurch, which he allowed to fall into ruin. Named ‘Wild Humphrey’ for his dissolute and riotous manner of life, in 1491 Humphrey, along with his half brother Thomas of Shrawardine and Robert of Hopton, killed John Hughes at Stretton. After his trial in December 1491 and before he could be imprisoned, Kynaston fled, and was declared an outlaw by King Henry VII. He then lived in a cave in the Nesscliffe Hills and is reported to have become a Robin Hood figure, stealing from the rich to give to the poor, which in return meant local people protected him and gave him and his horse Beelzebub food. Humphrey was pardoned in 1517 by King Henry VIII and lived quietly until his death in 1534.
Pictured: top - Zia Robins putting up waymakers; bottom - riding the route