Archive for the ‘Shropshire’ Tag

Return to High Vinnalls   7 comments

Short post and a few photos from a return visit to High Vinnalls near Ludlow

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My dad hasn’t been well and I went over with TJS to visit him while he was in hospital. He’s back at home now but waiting for a return for an operation to sort out some long standing problems.

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On the way home we met with TBF and her sister for a short walk. In truth it was a cloudy, cold and grey late afternoon with the threat of showers everywhere. We stayed dry but the walk was a brisk one and I didn’t take many photos.

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It was still great to get out on this very fine hill that my recent obsession with Marilyns helped me discover.

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Likely this one will become a regular favourite in years to come.

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A longer post with a lot more photos from my walk last year is here

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Churchstoke Hills   8 comments

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Not sure if this collection of high ground has a name (doubtful as hardly anyone seems to have heard of them) so I’m calling them the Churchstoke Hills as that’s where we parked for the walk.

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They are fairly prominent on the skyline from the Stiperstones and Long Mynd and look good on the map so worth a trip out to try and fashion some kind of circular walk

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Heading out on some fairly vague paths, our first target was Todleth Hill. The path skirted across the slopes but we were on access land so we walked top to the top. A very fine top with expansive views across Shropshire and Welsh borders

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The paths were thin and little overgrown in places but easy enough to follow to our next target of Roundton Hill.  It’s small, perfectly formed and brutally steep

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For such a diminutive hill it packs a punch of crags and steep slopes and takes a bit of puff to reach its summit

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Excellent views from the top made it worth the effort

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A panorama shot looking at the rest of our route

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Our next target was the highest point in the “range” of Corndon Hill. Only 500m high it’s lower than both the Stiperstones and Long Mynd but as its steep all round it has higher feel both looking from a distance and when you’re on it

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We had a brief stop on the lower slopes as we could see a nasty looking shower heading in which duly hit us for our walk across the top.

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Lots of paths on the open access land and some sensational views across the surrounding hills and over to the Cheshire plain. A bit wet but a price worth paying for the clear air and sunny spells you get between showers on days like these

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It rained for longer than we’d either liked or thought, probably the best part of an hour so we didn’t linger on the summit

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We quickly dropped down to the lower paths and noted that the hill of Lan Fawr just off the right of way was also on access land and looked rather good so we went to the top

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Despite the very obvious storms still scudding across the borders we caught a lucky break and had a late lunch on the top in glorious bright sunshine

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We found a spot looking out to the west and could pick out most of the main summits in Snowdonia (that weren’t obscured by rain storms)

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There were dark clouds moving across the horizon and not wanting to push our luck decided to head down

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The views were still magnificent and a stretch of green grassy path studded with gnarled tress was especially stunning

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This section was just a pleasure, easy angled walking on soft grassy paths with expansive views and most of the route to ourselves

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We caught another couple of brief showers and I managed to fall a5rse over t1t off a stile into a field but otherwise an uneventful return the car

 

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A respectable 8 miles  and well over 2000 feet of ascent for such small hills

Churchstoke

I’ve had designs on a walk in these hills for a few years now and never quite made the effort to actually make it happen. It rewarded the effort

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Having made the route up as we went along it became a fine circuit that I’m sure will become a regular outing such was the quality

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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.

stiperstones, shropshire, bridges, kinnerton, birchope, linley hill, nipstone rock, manstone rock, cranberry rock, devils chair, hollies, shepherds rock, rock house

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

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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