The surrounding hills of the range are largely subsidiary to either of these two hills, but altogether the Clee Hills produce an imposing clump of wind-scoured hill country in the heart of Shropshire.
The Clee Hills form a ridge running north – south and for a stretch of over 15 miles on this ridge the lowest point is just under 984 feet. It is a landscape forged by glacial activity in the last Ice Age.
Titterstone Clee Hill is around five and a half miles south of the peak of Brown Clee Hill. The B4364 road from Ludlow to Bridgnorth runs between the two hills, offering good views of both. Across Corvedale another ridge runs east-west; Wenlock Edge.
Much Quarrying has taken place on the hills over the years, and there are large air traffic control domes and radar towers on the summits of both hills which can be seen for many miles around.
Views from the west of the hills spread as far as Snowdonia and Cadair Idris, the Brecon Beacons, the Black Mountains, the Long Mynd, Stiperstones (Shropshire's third-highest hill), Corndon Hill and Radnor Forest. To the south are the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds, and to the east are the Clent Hills, Turner's Hill, Barr Beacon and the spread of the Black Country conurbation. To the north is Cannock Chase.
It is possible to see the urban centres of Dudley and Wolverhampton, with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC's Molineux stadium visible. The hills mark a clear eastern boundary to the Shropshire Hills, and are just west of the Severn Valley between Bridgnorth and Bewdley.
The hills stand out over the surrounding countryside and can be seen from well into Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the Black Country. They can also be seen, on a clear day, from the M5 Motorway on the northbound approach to Bromsgrove.
In the summer the hills are green and are easy walking, attracting many visitors from the Black Country and Birmingham and those from further afield, but the unwary may discover the hills are not always friendly, in particular during the wintertime as the snow when it comes it can be sudden and severe with very strong gales and blizzards often closing roads on the hill.
The area is important for wildlife, with peregrine falcons, kestrels, wheatears, stonechats, skylarks, curlews and barn owls often seen, as well as adders, rabbits and other birds. Even ravens are making a comeback on Clee Hill. In late July and early August 2007, Catherton Common near Titterstone Clee was home to a very rare woodchat shrike, and attracted twitchers from far and wide.
The Clee Hills in popular culture
- There is a long-standing rumour in the local area that the Clee Hills are the highest land eastwards until the Ural Mountains in Russia, hence the name of the pub in Clee Hill village - The Kremlin Inn. It has even been known for radios in the area to pick up signals from the air traffic control masts from Radio Moscow.
- The Clee hills are mentioned in A E Housman's poem "From Clee to heaven the beacon burns", which is a section of A Shropshire Lad.
- Titterstone Clee and Brown Clee also figure in Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mystery, The Virgin in the Ice.
- Some people believe that 'The Shire' in J R R Tolkien's famed novel The Lord of the Rings was based on this area, which he was known to visit frequently, having grown up in Birmingham.
- The name "Clee" or derivatives from it or an original name are commonplace hereabouts. Aside from the Clee Hills themselves, and from Brown Clee Hill and Titterstone Clee Hill amongst them, there are the villages of Cleehill, Cleeton St Mary, Cleestanton and Cleedownton.
The origin of the name is not known, though it is suggested that "Cleobury" is from the Old English clifu; steep ground, giving us the word "Cliff", and the hills are likeliest the place giving that name.