Simon Evans, the postman writer of Cleobury Mortimer, was born in 1895 at Tynyfedu, Wales and came to this area to relieve respiratory injuries sustained when gassed during the First World War. He returned to his Post Office work on Merseyside but by 1926 he sought country air to repair his damaged lungs. He arranged a swap with a local Cleobury Mortimer lad who fancied the attractions of 'the big city'.
His daily postal round of about 16 miles followed the Rea Valley to Stottesdon. In 10 years it is estimated that he walked over 75,000 miles. He rested in a postal hut before his return journey and it was probably here that he put pen to paper to write a total of five books about this South Shropshire area. The books were amalgamations of articles and radio broadcasts which were very popular in the 30’s. His writing represents a realistic and rare depiction of farming life between the wars. He met his wife whilst broadcasting in Birmingham.
In the late 30's Simon Evans' health started to deteriorate and he finally succumbed to his wartime injuries, dying in hospital in 1940 during the first of many air raids on Birmingham. His ashes were, at his request, spread on Abdon Burf - a distant beacon of his early walks. 75 years after his death he is fondly remembered by people who still live along the route.
Interest in his writings never completely disappeared. His biography by Mark Baldwin in 1993 (click on this link)helped to rekindle interest both in the man and the beautiful countryside which he loved so passionately throughout his years here.
A well supported weekend festival in 2015 led to a renewed commitment to walk this route. The southern circular route will be included as: ‘In the footpaths of a survivor’ in
The Shropshire War Walks to be published in 2019.
The full route of about 16 miles runs between Cleobury Mortimer and north of Stottesdon around a figure of eight pattern intersecting at Detton Hall. It was planned to reflect the way that Simon Evans, postman of Cleobury from 1926-1939, followed the valley of the river Rea on his daily round.
The Simon Evans Way has not been specifically planned to accurately follow the footsteps of our famous postman but rather to capture the beauty of South Shropshire along the Rea Valley looking towards the Clee Hills- walkers who follow this route will come away with a new appreciation of a countryside reminiscent of that which Simon Evans saw and fell in love with over 75 years ago.
The updated (2016) version of the walk guide is available for purchase at £2 plus £1 p&p - the printed guide is on glossy A3 paper and folds down to a useful A5 size for the rucksack or map pocket. A downloadable version is available by clicking on this text.
The Original Simon Evans Way Guide is a booklet with detailed instructions, (now a little out of date), maps and colour drawings by local artist John Tuck, examples are shown on this page. Just a few copies remain for sale. It is available for £2 the Discovery Centre in Craven Arms.
You can also purchase either version of the guide for £2 plus postage from CMFA by clicking Contact us below or you can purchase the 2 versions for £5 including postage whilst stocks of the old booklet last.
Additionally a Geological Guide to the Simon Evans Way has been produced and is downloadable from here.
|Simon Evans Life|