More Shropshire – Stiperstones   18 comments

You don’t get a day’s walk in Shropshire for ages and two come along at once.

 

Me and TBF were minus our kids, TJS was in Iceland and TJF was, well, I honestly can’t remember. Enthused by the excellent day we had around Church Stretton a few weeks before I decided to go back to the walk I’d proposed in the first place.

Being a long ridge surrounded by rural farmland, Stiperstones doesn’t lend itself to a circular walk very easily. After a lengthy period browsing the web and poring over maps I settled on a route from Bridges

Stiperstones

9.2 Miles

We parked up at the pub with a faithful promise to fulfill the free car park bargain in return for spending some money with them

The first couple of miles was over uncut fields and wet grass. I’m not a huge fan of walking through these sorts of areas. Paths are often poorly signed, overgrown and hard to find. Walking can become a chore. We had a few such moments as we passed by Kinnerton Farm and Birchope on our way to Linley Hill. The views across to the tors of the ridge were great but the walking was pleasant without being anything special.

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Linley Hill itself was a rather thistle clad mess of old dead trees and sheep sh1t. It looks good on the map and the views were fine but it’s not really worth the walk to be honest.

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Once we started to descend the steep slopes towards the main part of the walk things picked up. The grassy slopes on the way down were charming and as we climbed onto the ridge we entered the heathland and its broad grassy paths. The views across towards Heath Mynd and Corndon Hill were excellent.

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We’d been walking for a while so lunch was called for. We scrambled through deep heather and rocks to the top of the Rock House hoping for a flat grassy spot. Alas the all we found was more deep heather and rocks. We found a decent perch on the rocks with an expansive view and settled in for a lengthy pause. My mind was tracing routes on Corndon Hill and looks a real cracker. Another one for my book.

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Moving on we found the ridge to be as wild as the Rhinogs. I wanted to stick to the high ridge assuming there would be a path but it was just deep heather, very deep heather and yes, more rocks. A few hundred yards of that was enough and we were back on the lower path.

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The walk along to Nipstone and then through the charming Nipstone Wood was grand. The wood was dappled with sunlight and the meadow beyond a profusion of wild flowers in the wafting grass.

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Climbing up onto the main ridge we began the exploration of all the tors that litter and mark the ridge. It feels oddly out-of-place to see large outcrops of rock on a wild heather moorland and then look across arable fields to the chimneys of the power stations in the Severn Valley. Squint your eyes and it could be somewhere much higher and much more remote. I loved it.

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What I didn’t love was the path, or at least my knees didn’t. It’s like a cobbled street without the mortar. Really difficult to keep a steady pace with constant twisting of ankles and knees. The views of the surrounding countryside and the tors more than made up for that. Past Cranberry and Manstone Rocks, each very impressive in their own right we reached the Devils Chair, supposedly the hardest summit in England.

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I took it direct from the south and it’s a pretty impressive knife-edge of rock with some exposed positions and delicate moves. Probably a grade 2 Scramble and it was a delightful little route. Somewhat disappointingly you can pretty much walk up from the northern end to the highest point so in terms of a summit I think the “hardest” claim might be stretching it but thinking again I couldn’t come up with any English summits that are anything more than a walk to the top as it’s hardest route. I’m sure someone will tell me different. Still, it’s a marvellous little spot and we had it to ourselves.

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We turned off before the Shepherds Rock and headed down over the pleasant fields and past the Hollies Farm to pick up the long road back to Bridges.

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My knees don’t like road walking and after the cobbles on the ridge it was a tortuous walk. A shame as most of the lane was a lovely and deserted. More surgery on the horizon I fear

Back at the pub and it was gloriously sunny. We made good on our promise and enjoyed a beer and scampi meal outside the pub by the river.

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Had I not had other commitments I’d have been there now. It was stunning. Nothing finer than a pint and some pub grub after a long walk

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18 responses to “More Shropshire – Stiperstones

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  1. Helm Crag? The Eskdale Harter Fell requires hands out of pockets at least. Can I have pillar? Bill Birkett included it in his list.
    Looks like lovely stuff. Sorry to read that your knee is troubling you so much.
    Did the scampi come in a basket?

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  2. PS – you’ve posted the same picture twice. Shorly shome mishtake?

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    • Corrected the error – well spotted – 10 points.

      Can’t have Pillar you can walk to the top, Helm Crag, I can’t remember whether the scrambly bit is the highest point or how hard it was. Harter Fell I’ve never done.

      Scampi was indeed in a basket – not had that for ages. I can remember when Scampi (or chicken) in the basket was the height of fine dining. Why was it a basket anyway. And why were they rarely real baskets. My memory was of plastic imitation baskets,

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  3. Those Shropshire hills can be pretty rough at times, as you say quite Rhinog-like with the heather and broken rock. Rock House sounds typical, I recall the expectation that Heath Mynd summit would have a nice sitting spot but it was more of the same. I agree about the cobbly Stiperstones path too, not at all nice to walk on. Good views though.

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    • I was surprised at just how rough and wild they were. Rock House was especially wild and untamed. Very hard to walk around let alone sit down although we did find some flattish rocks. The rest of that knot of hills al ot more attention and its right close to home. Surprised I haven’t been there more often

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  4. Beautiful series.

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  5. There is a nice footpath that takes you from the Hollies road back to the Bridges without having to walk on the road. It contours around Gatten and brings you out by Ratlinghope Hill. You can then follow the Darnford brook back down to the Pub. Nice piece and thanks for sharing. Shane

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    • Thanks Shane, glad you enjoyed the write up. That route looks much more appealing with a couple of options although the road was a nice walk to be fair – just tough on my failing knees. I take it there is no access to the top of Ratlinghope Hill, no rights of way anyway

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      • There is a path that gets very close to the summit. The local landowner is a lovely chap, and as long as you’re not worrying his livestock, you should be fine. It’s worth a visit to Ratlinghope church to visit the grave of the last Sineater (search my site!) The route I suggested passes through a fabulous campsite – owned by the same landowner as the hill!

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  6. Reblogged this on The Biggest Little Hills and commented:
    A lovely piece with some great information and details about one of my favourite walks.

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