Six go mad in Shropshire   4 comments

It’s been a plan for a while now to have meet up for a day walk in Shropshire as its kind of in the middle of where of few of my old University chums live. After much debate we settled on what I consider to be the classic round of the Shropshire Hills that surround the town of Church Stretton. There are several other routes and at least 3-4 days worth of walks in the area so further visits are required but this one serves as a fine introduction.

 

We met in the splendid if grossly overcrowded Cardingmill Valley (before the crowds had really gathered) and set off.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

The valley has several offshoots and options. We plumped for the one containing Lightspout Waterfall, and very fine it was too.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

The top of the Long Mynd is a rather bland and featureless affair I find so after a brief walk along the Shropshire Way (and some inadvertant off-piste through the heather) we plunged down into Ashes Hollow, the finest of the valleys that rend the eastern side of the Long Mynd. Unlike Cardingmill, it’s quiet and unspoilt by tourism until you reach the small campsite at the entrance. Narrow with it’s little babbling stream (and middle aged babbling walkers!) and small waterfalls, it’s a priceless gem.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Bouyed by this fine stretch of walking we decided to celebrate in Little Stretton with a pint in the beer garden to fortify us for the steep climb up Ragleth Hill.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

It’s another fine hill with a brutally short and steep climb to the top. The grassy walk along it’s summit ridge was a delight.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

What the Shropshire Hills lack in altitude they more than make up for in numbers and the regular ups and downs. After Ragleth Hill its down and then along the slopes of Hope Bowdler Hill (saved for another day) to the area’s crowning peak (although not the highest – that belongs to Pole Bank on the Long Mynd), Caer Caradoc. This traversing path was especially fine with Caer Caradoc looming in front and looking very much higher than it’s modest 459 metres.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Another steep climb and a wander around the summit earthworks and we crested the top. The views to the north across the Cheshire Plain and west towards Snowdonia were especially fine. It really is a mountain in everything but height. It looks like one and it certainly feels like one when you’re on the summit with it’s broad ridge and rocky outcrops. Another for my upcoming book “Small Hills with Disproportionately Great Views” (working title) 🙂

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

The view south was a little more worrying. We’d dodged the showers pretty well all day but now it looked the end of the world was heading our way. Dark clouds billowed and boomed towards us and we donned waterproofs expecting a real soaking to finish the day.

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

Shropshire, Church Stretton, Cardingmill Valley, Long Mynd, Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Ragleth Hill, Hazler Hill, Hope Bowdler Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill

It never came. Almost without noticing it seemed to pass by. By the time we’d traversed the fields and reached the car it was pretty much wall to wall blue skies. A pretty long walk in the end at over 12 miles

Church Stretton

We bid our farewells and ended a great day on these small but perfectly formed hills

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4 responses to “Six go mad in Shropshire

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  1. There’s an unfortunate black-hole in my hill knowledge there – I’m pretty sure that I’ve never walked on any of the Shropshire Hills. I’ve wanted to visit for a while, and keep muting a short break for walking and castles etc. There are so may places to go, of course. One day!

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    beatingthebounds
    • Well worth a trip with the family. Some great easy walks, valleys with streams and interesting attractions in the area. As you can see you can also strong together some pretty decent long walks

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  2. A fine area is Shropshire, maybe not for backpacking as too popular to tuck your self away, but for great day walks it is spot on.

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    backpackingbongos
    • Far too rural and farmed for Wild camp but the walking is superb. Another post coming for a Stiperstones walk when I get it written up. Only an hour from home so more exploration to do. Give me shout if you fancy popping over for a stroll. Got my eye on Corndon Hill and it’s neighbors next

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