Saturday 9 February 2013

The Long Mynd

Saturday 9th February 

A pleasant wander in the Shropshire Hills meeting some new faces 

Distance: 21.5km; Ascent: 890m; Overcast but mainly dry; with Carl, Nina, Fiona, Kate, Richard & Sarah

Last night whilst I was trying to decide between the Shropshire Hills and the South Pennines for my walk today, a couple of tweets from Nina and Carl invited along on their walk up the Long Mynd - therefore I decided to head to Shropshire!  And it had also been almost a year since my previous visit to the area, back in March last year, so I was very happy to return.

After the hour and fifteen minute train journey I arrived in Church Stretton just before 11am, which meant I had a couple of hours to kill before meeting up with everyone else.  I reckoned I would just about have enough time for a quick round of Hope Bowdler Hill and Caer Caradoc Hill, so I set off following the B4371 east out of town. 

Looking south from the Gaer Stone
After a little over a kilometre of road walking, I picked up a footpath that ascended steeply to the Gaer Stone on the south-westernmost edge of Hope Bowdler Hill.  There were good views from here southwards towards a bit of a cloud inversion around Wenlock Edge.  A further kilometre or so of pleasant ridge walking brought me to the summit cairn of Hope Bowdler Hill (HuMP), from where there were good views north towards Caer Caradoc and The Lawley.

Caer Caradoc & The Lawley from Hope Bowdler Hill
Conscious of the time, I didn't linger here and headed across to climb up the steep slopes of Caer Caradoc by way of a faint path.  After reaching the ridge I turned right and was soon on the summit rocks of Caer Caradoc Hill (Marilyn), where I briefly stopped for lunch.

Looking across to the Long Mynd from Caer Caradoc
Descending the south-west ridge back towards Church Stretton, I had good views over to this afternoon's objective: The Long Mynd, which currently was capped in cloud.  The descent down from Three Fingers Rock was unpleasantly steep, but I was soon back down at valley level.  Pleasant footpaths took me over the railway line and through the recreation ground to reach the end of Carding Mill Valley.

One of the many nice looking big houses in Church Stretton
As I was walking along the road up the valley, Carl, Fiona and Nina drove past and soon we were all at the car park where we met up with Kate, Richard and Sarah.  After some introductions we set off walking up Carding Mill Valley at around 1:15pm on a good track.

Heading up Carding Mill Valley
There were a reasonable number of other people out walking here today so I assume it must get pretty busy during the summer!  After crossing the stream in Light Spout Hollow we ascended up the final section of Mott's Road to reach the large summit plateau of The Long Mynd.

Looking down Mott's Road
A couple of kilometres of misty walking along a broad path brought us to the Pole Bank trigpoint, which marks the summit of The Long Mynd (Marilyn, Dewey).  Here we had a bit of a break, whilst enjoying the unrivalled views of the inside of a cloud ;)

Summit of the Long Mynd
On the summit of the Long Mynd (photo courtesy of Carl)
Heading south we passed the lonely Pole Cottage before forking left away from the road to pick up the broad ridge heading towards Round Hill.  Around here we started to drop out of the clouds and we got some excellent views of cloud inversions which my photos don't really do justice to.

Looking east from Round Hill
Looking down into Ashes Hollow
We continued on a broad grassy path, which brought us down to the small village of Little Stretton.  Sadly the pub was closed so instead we followed the road northwards back to Church Stretton.  In the town centre it was time for the parting of ways, as I headed off to the station whilst everyone else walked back to the Carding Mill Valley carpark.  It had been a good days hillwalking and it was very nice to meet everyone :)

Update 18/02/13 - Here's a link to my Social Hiking map from the walk, which I forgot to include in the original post.

N.B. 02/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 09/02/13 (from 17/02/13) 


  1. The Long Mynd is an area that doesn't seem to be particularly well known, that's a shame because it's cracking walking country.
    I've not been to Litle Stretton in a long while, there used to be two pubs: The Ragleth and The Green Dragon. I rather hope they're both still there.
    There used to be a lovely little campsite: Ashes Valley, just round the back (west side) of the village.
    Places change, I hope that's still there too.
    Gawd, I feel old!

    1. Indeed it is cracking walking country :-) I can't believe I didn't visit before last year! I shall have to go back again - I've still got the Stiperstones to visit as well.

      The pub we walked past was The Ragleth, which just seemed to be shut for the afternoon - I suspect if we had waited a couple of hours we'd have been able to get a beer. The campsite was certainly there last March, when I last wandered that way.

  2. There's a thriving adder population on The Long Mynd (and some of the adjacent hills); if you're lucky you can find them out basking on warm, sunny days. I doubt if much basking was done last year.

    Heading west from where we live (Stourbridge), the Mynd is the first proper hill country*, so it's held in a some affection.

    * The Malverns are closer, but rarely quiet; even on a midweek winter's day.

    1. I shall keep an eye out for them next time I'm walking in the area. Let's hope for some better weather this year!

      I've only walked in the Malverns myself a couple of times and I seem to remember that the northern hills were pretty busy - although it was a summer weekend when I was there.

  3. Nice report.

    We were out on the Long Mynd this Saturday, and it was pretty busy this week too. It's getting more popular - probably with good reason, as it is decent walking country and reasonable days for walking have been in short supply of late!

    1. Thanks :)

      Hope you had a good day on the Long Mynd on Saturday - I'm guessing you would have got better views from the summit that I managed! I shall have to go back there when it's not covered in cloud.