Market on High Street

Market on High Street

Carding Mill Valley

Carding Mill Valley


** – Church Stretton – **

Church Stretton is a small town in Shropshire, England, 13 miles (21 km) south of Shrewsbury and 15 miles (24 km) north of Ludlow. The town was nicknamed Little Switzerland in the late-Victorian and Edwardian period because of its landscape and became a health resort. The local geology includes some of the oldest rocks in England and a notable fault is named after the town. Today, Church Stretton is a busy market town in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

People have lived in the Stretton Gap (or Dale) for thousands of years; an Iron Age hillfort on Caer Caradoc overlooks the town. The name "Stretton" is derived from the Old English words stræt meaning "Roman road" and tun meaning "settlement"; a Roman road, Watling Street, runs through the Stretton Gap, though the town (and adjacent settlements) were not historically located on this road – during the "Dark Ages" the settlements grew a short distance away from the old thoroughfare, for defensive purposes. Today the modern A49 road, which was constructed on its current alignment through the Stretton Gap in the late 1930s, runs along a similar course to the Roman Road. The Roman road was historically known as Botte Street.

The settlements of Little Stretton, Church Stretton and All Stretton (until the late 19th century regarded as separate townships) formed the manor of Stretton or Stretton-en-le-Dale. The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded 35 households and a mill in the manor. Church Stretton became the largest of the settlements, with the manor's parish church and market located there, and being where Bristol Road had a junction with the road to Much Wenlock and the Burway - a route over the Long Mynd. At the time of the Domesday Book, the manor came under the hundred of Culvestan, a Saxon hundred that was amalgamated during the reign of Henry I — the Strettons then came within the upper division of the hundred of Munslow.

The town was first granted a market charter by King John in 1214, for a weekly market on Wednesdays, but by 1253 the market day had changed to Tuesdays. In 1337 a new charter was granted by Edward III and it authorised a weekly market to be held on Thursdays. The market is still held every Thursday, in the square on the High Street, which has been the town's market place since the 13th century. Much of the town was destroyed by fire in 1593 and many of the present half timbered buildings in the town centre date from the time of the rebuilding.

The High Street was for many centuries known instead as the Bristol Road, being the road from Shrewsbury to Bristol. It was once a much wider street within the town, with the churchyard of St Laurence bordering directly onto the street. Over time buildings were erected on the street, in a similar fashion to other English market towns, such as in Ludlow. The High Street, which is a narrow street, is effectively only the eastern side of the original Bristol Road thoroughfare through the town. It was made more open when the old market hall was demolished to form the present town square. During the 18th century, Church Stretton began to develop as a spa town, attracting those who sought to escape the new urbanisation and industrialism of Britain.

Church Stretton was nicknamed "Little Switzerland" in late-Victorian and Edwardian times, because of its surroundings and the way many houses hug the hillside. Church Stretton railway station opened on 20 April 1852 as part of the newly created Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway. It was originally situated to the north of (what is now known as) Sandford Avenue and the old station building still remains, but is no longer in railway use. Sandford Avenue had been for centuries called Lake Lane and became Station Road with the arrival of the railway in the town, before becoming Sandford Avenue in 1884.

In 1914 the railway station was moved just to the south of the Sandford Avenue road bridge, where it continues to the present day. New railway station buildings were erected, but these were demolished in 1970, the station having become unstaffed in 1967. Local property developer Ralph Beaumont Benson (1862–1911), who lived at Lutwyche Hall in nearby Easthope, is responsible for the naming of Easthope Road, Essex Road (after his wife), Beaumont Road and Lutwyche Road, all in the centre of the town and part of the town's expansion in the early 20th century.

The Long Mynd Hotel on Cunnery Road opened in 1901, originally as "The Hydropathic Hotel" (or "the Hydro"), at a time when the town was popular as a spa. Today it continues as a hotel and has a number of features and activities in its woodland grounds; it is also a wedding and conference venue. In 2012 it was sold by the local Chapman family (who ran it since 1977) to 'HF Holidays', a national company.

During and just after the Second World War, from 1940 to 1946, St Dunstan's, now Blind Veterans UK, was based in the town. The charitable service (for blinded armed forces personnel) was moved from Sussex as Church Stretton was thought to be a safe location. Some 700 people were trained during this period in Church Stretton in an industrial training centre set up at a malthouse in Sandford Avenue. The Long Mynd Hotel, the Denehurst Hotel, the Brockhurst Estate and Tiger Hall were the most notable buildings taken over by St Dunstan's in the town. The Long Mynd was considered to be a potential landing place for German parachutists, although Church Stretton avoided the aerial bombing of the war; the only death recorded in the district by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission of a civilian war casualty was of a Firewatcher from Manchester who died while being treated at the St Dunstan's Hospital.

A small market hall stood on the High Street but was demolished in July 1963 and the site has become a town square, and is still used to hold markets on. The first market hall – a timber-framed construction – was built in 1617; this was replaced by the second market hall (called the Town Hall) in 1839, which was a stone and red-brick construction.[22] Today the Silvester Horne Institute (extended and refurbished in 2011)[23] is the town's main meeting place for societies, polling, public meetings and exhibitions. In recent years volunteer members of the Community Group have transformed Church Stretton into the Town of Flags: thanks to local grants they have purchased over 120 flags - English, Union and foreign - and these are regularly flown in the town centre on special occasions throughout the year.


** – Carding Mill Valley – **

Historically the town was known for its textiles, using the abundant local wool, and a notable location for this industry was Carding Mill Valley. The carding mill there was built in the 18th century, and named after a stage in making cloth, the three stages being carding, spinning and weaving. Carding would have been done by children, and involved using a hand-card that removed and untangled short fibres from the mass of raw material. The cards were wooden blocks with handles and covered in metal spikes, which were angled (to make it easier to untangle) and set in leather. When untangled, the material would be spun, and then woven into the final product.

The carding mill closed and was demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, though the adjacent factory building remains in the valley today. The valley it is in took the name "Carding Mill Valley", and is now a tourist attraction and well-known starting location for walkers (being at the heart of the Long Mynd range). It is owned (along with the entire hill range) by the National Trust, who have a visitor centre there. The mill building itself has been converted into flats and a number of other private houses exist near it and the visitor centre, forming a small settlement in the valley.

Vehicles (and therefore most visitors) have to drive up from the town, from Shrewsbury Road, to access the valley. Cars may drive as far as the car park situated about a mile up the valley. This car park was at one time an open-air swimming pool. A sign indicating water depth still stands in its original position.

Take a walk across the wildlife-rich heathland and enjoy the views across the Shropshire Hills, or simply play in the stream in the valley. Covering as much as 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of heather-covered hills with stunning views of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Welsh hills, this is an important place for wildlife, geology and archaeology.

There are paths for walking, cycling and horse riding, you can even drive to the top of the hill to take in the views. In Carding Mill Valley there are excellent visitor facilities including a tea-room, shop and car parking. In Carding Mill Valley you can play in the stream, watch birds from the hide, pond dip and relax with a picnic; or you can simply use the Valley as your base for the day and head on up the hill for an adventure. You don't have to venture far out of the Valley to find your own piece of solitude on the Long Mynd.

From Ragleth Hill

From Ragleth Hill

St. Laurence's Church

St. Laurence's Church


** – Long Mynd – **

The Long Mynd is a heath and moorland plateau that forms part of the Shropshire Hills in Shropshire, England. The high ground, which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, lies between the Stiperstones range to the west and the Stretton Hills and Wenlock Edge to the east. Much of it is owned and managed by the National Trust.

The Long Mynd, which is approximately 7 miles (11 km) long by a maximum of 3 miles (5 km) wide, has steep valleys on its eastern flanks while its western side is marked by a slope that rises in a steep escarpment from the wide valley of the River East Onny. It is surrounded by the principal settlements of Church Stretton, Little Stretton and All Stretton, Pulverbatch, Smethcott, Woolstaston, Asterton, Myndtown, Wentnor and Ratlinghope.

The highest point on the Long Mynd is Pole Bank (1,693 ft, 516 m); this and the adjacent hill of Caer Caradoc (1,506 ft, 459 m) are classed as Marilyns. The name Long Mynd means "Long Mountain", the second element being Brittonic in origin. In modern Welsh it is named Mynydd Hir, which has the same meaning.

The geology dates back to Precambrian, and during the time would have been 60° south of the equator, the same latitude as the Falkland Islands. Shropshire would have been at the very edge of a large continent near the sea, which was being buckled by tectonic activity, causing volcanoes to form. The area had broad rivers; evidence of mudflats has been found. The rivers would have flowed out to sea, creating large estuaries; over time, the mudflats would have built up, and volcanic eruptions deposited ash in layers between the sand and mud.

The primary rock of the Long Mynd is sandstone, usually coloured purple or grey. The volcanoes created the nearby Stretton Hills and the Wrekin, and eruptions would have been frequent. There are layers in the rocks of the Long Mynd that were previously described as raindrop marks. Unpublished research, including electron micrographs, by the now deceased Professor Martin Brasier, showed that these are actually ichnofossils created by an unknown Ediacaran biota.

Field observations of the stratigraphy present, and its laminar nature, leave no doubt that they are in a marine environment; the absence of infilled or mineralised syncresis (shrinkage cracks) further add to this. Examples of these fossilised marks can be viewed today in the National Trust Tearoom Exhibition, in Carding Mill Valley. The layers of rock built up over the millennia to create an approximately 23,000 ft (7,000 m) thick layer composed of sand, mud, silt and very occasional thin ash bands. The stratrigraphy, mineral compositions and surrounding volcanology suggests an infilling island arc basin.

Towards the end of the Precambrian period, the volcanoes ceased their eruptions, and the rivers had dried up. Instead the forces that created the volcanoes caused the new rocks to lift and fold, creating mountains and valleys in the area. Much of the rock was melted during this period, underneath the Earth's crust, causing the mountains to continually change towards the latter part of the Precambrian. The Church Stretton Fault zone probably formed during this period. It is still active today. The hill Caer Caradoc adjacent to the Long Mynd and from the same time is volcanic in origin, and is thought to be the remnants of the great mountain chain.

During the Cambrian, Shropshire was flooded by the sea, after the Global Ice Age ended 545 million years ago. Thick layers of beach pebbles and white sand were built up against the sea cliffs that were once molten lava. During this time, the shallow sea played host to the huge explosion of new life which occurred during the Cambrian. Shropshire has some of the most historically important evidence in the explosion of life and in the naming and dividing of the Cambrian period. Trilobites that are found in the county are internationally important for deciding how the Cambrian is divided into smaller segments of time.

The Ordovician had Shropshire back to volcanic activity, and saw the county temporarily split in two, along the Pontesford – Linley fault line. Everything west of this line was ocean, while the east was dry land. The Iapetus Ocean was closing, bringing the two-halves of Britain towards each other, and volcanic eruptions created the Cumbrian Mountains and Snowdonia. Shropshire also saw volcanic activity. To the west of the Pontesford – Linley fault, volcanic rocks have been found. The other side of the fault line was quieter. The land was slowly eroded, and the sea gradually flooded it, so that only the tops of hills could be seen, such as the ancient Caer Caradoc. Towards the end of the Ordovician, the sea levels dropped, due to another ice age. An interesting observation of this erosion can be found in the stratigraphy as a sea stump (an eroded sea stack).

The Silurian period, occurring 439 million years ago, has been well preserved nearby, in Wenlock Edge. During this time, Shropshire would have been flooded again by shallow sea. Wenlock Edge would have formed during this time, and the fossils of ancient corals and shellfish can be found all along the edge, preserved in limestone. Towards the end of the Silurian the Iapetus would have fully closed, and England and Scotland were joined. The closing of this ocean was important to geology in Great Britain. It caused most of our hills and mountains to align along the fault, northeast to the southwest.

During the Devonian, the newly formed Scottish mountains had rivers flowing all over the land. Shropshire was no exception; these new rivers caused thick deposits in the area. Most of the rocks from this era are red sandstones, caused by iron in the rock. The area was known as the Old Red Sandstone Continent. These river sediments have traces of fossilised fish. Shropshire would have remained above water until the end of the Devonian, when the seas rose once again.

The Carboniferous was a time of great change for the area. Shropshire would have been near the equator, and the Old Red Sandstone continent had been eroded away; in the early part of the era, the county was under a shallow sea. However, tectonic activity pushed Britain out of the sea. South of Shropshire this effect was felt greatly, though Shropshire was relatively quiet. Mountains to the north were being worn down by rivers, creating enormous deltas that were colonised by plant life. A tropical forest took hold all over Shropshire, with ancient tree ferns and horsetails. Shropshire eventually crossed the equator during this era, and became a part of Pangaea during the Permian; the area would have been very similar to the Sahara Desert, and would have been in the vicinity, around 20° to 30° north of the equator.

The Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary were very quiet in Shropshire, and very little evidence can be found from these periods. The last Ice Age during the Quaternary has its effect on all of Shropshire, shaping the landscape as we see it today. The Long Mynd would have been under a thick ice sheet, several hundred metres thick. As the ice melted, it carved out the valleys and hills of the Long Mynd massif we see today. The small rivers, streams and brooks still very slowly carve out the valleys. The springs and bogs play a part in Church Stretton's economy, as the people bottle the mineral water that comes from the Long Mynd.

Today the steep and narrow valleys are covered in a thin layer of soil, with a low pH, able to support only strong grasses, rushes and heathers. Beneath the soil the evidence of the ancient and chequered past can be seen, and the rocky outcrops and scree slopes are excellent places to view the different layers of ancient rock. Since 2006, Cambridge University has monitored seismic activity in Long Mynd. The broadband seismometer is connected to the internet, and real-time traces can be viewed online.


** – Early History – **

  • Bronze Age.
  • The Bronze Age period is by far the most recorded period of time on the Long Mynd. There are dozens of tumuli on the moorland. Some are small, the remains of chamber tombs for example. Others are quite large, the sites on the Long Mynd, from the Bronze Age, include dykes and barrows.
  • Barristers Plain Cross-Ridge Dyke runs southwest to northeast, almost in a straight line for 170 m (560 ft). It runs across the narrowest area of a ridge between Grindle Hill and Round Hill. The remains of the dyke is now covered in heather, and is approximately 5.5 m (18 ft) wide, and is 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in) high. On its western side it is fronted by a 3 m (10 ft) wide ditch. At both ends of the Cross Ridge Dyke, it fades into the steep hillside. A gap in the dyke, 60 m (200 ft) from the south-east end, is thought to make room for a trackway along the ridge. Its purpose was to cut off Grindle Hill from the main plateau, and to create a barrier for access from the west.
  • Devil's Mouth Cross-Ridge Dyke lies between Cardingmill Valley and Townbrook Valley. The dyke is 140 m (460 ft) long, but is cut though by the Burway road and a small car park, 35 m (110 ft) of the dyke is now missing. Both ends of the dyke end on steep slopes! It was built with stone and earth, and is 6 m (20 ft) wide, and 1.5 m (5 ft) high, with shallow ditches either side. It is roughly 1,500 years old. It was probably built to control the access along the ancient east to west route, which still crosses the Long Mynd today by means of a modern road.
  • High Park Cross-Ridge Dyke, another dyke on the Long Mynd. At 380 m (1,250 ft) it is the longest on the Long Mynd. It is approximately 6 m (20 ft) wide, but in areas survives only as a crop mark. The highest point of the dyke, on the west side of the bank, stands at 1.2 m (4 ft) high, and reaches its widest point at 8 m (26 ft). A trackway, like that found on Barristers Plain Cross-Ridge Dyke, cuts through the dyke.
  • Of the Long Mynd Barrows, over twenty scatter the plateau. The best examples are in the northern area of the Long Mynd. Robin Hood's Butts barrow, near Duckley Nap, are two well known barrows, and the largest on the Long Mynd, being approximately 36 m (118 ft) in diameter and 4 m (13 ft) high.
  • The Shooting Box Barrow is named after a grouse-shooting hut that stood on the site until it was removed in 1992. It is the only known example of a disc barrow in Shropshire. 21 m (69 ft) in diameter and 2.3 m (8 ft) high, it is in the centre of a flat circular enclosure 54 m (177 ft) in diameter, the edge of which is defined by a 5 m (16 ft) wide bank, which has been partially destroyed by a modern path. It had been dated to c. 1950–1700 BC.
  • The Port Way is an ancient trackway, which runs the length of the Long Mynd massif, and is the largest historical feature on the Long Mynd, at just over 5 miles (8 km) long. It is still walked today, and is part of the Shropshire Way, and a road that goes to the Gliding Club. A common misconception is that it goes over Pole Bank, but instead it bypasses the hill, following its contours.
  • Iron Age.
  • Very little Iron Age human activity has been recorded on the Long Mynd. However, this later period has a specific ancient site. Bodbury Ring Hill Fort, a hill fort above Cardingmill Valley, and sits on the top of Bodbury Hill at 380 m (1,250 ft). This feature dates from the Iron Age, c. 500 BC, and is therefore much later than other ancient sites on the Long Mynd. Another hill fort nearby sits on the summit of Caer Caradoc. Bodbury Ring is now looked after by the National Trust.

    Long Mynd Pony

    Long Mynd Pony

    ** – Visiting – **


    Spring offers some special moments on the Long Mynd. With new life popping up all around and thousands of acres to explore there are lots of ways to enjoy yourself. Whether you want to go mountain biking, horse riding, walking or swimming they have got it all here. Here are 10 suggestions.

  • 1. Go pond dipping.
  • Why not go pond dipping with the children and see what creatures you can find. All you need are wellies, a net and a bucket. There are still creatures to be found even in the coldest times of the year. Play the Pond-Dipping video. You can check your catches with their water minibeast identification chart.
  • 2. Head to the top.
  • Go to the top of the hill where you can take in the beautiful views, on a clear day you can see over 50 miles in each direction. In the winter the cloud fills the valley to make it feel as if you are walking on the top of the world. You can get to the top by driving, walking, cycling or horse riding.
  • 3. Go bird watching.
  • Head to the roof terrace and watch the birds in the wildlife garden, or spend some time in the bird hide. There are lots of birds that make their home in Carding Mill Valley. See if you can spot a rare seasonal visitor like the hawfinch which likes to eat hawthorn berries. Click here to play the bird-watching video.
  • 4. Go grass sledging.
  • Bring along a cardboard box, find a safe place and have a go at grass sledging down a slope.
  • 5. Go wild swimming.
  • Why not go for a dip in the reservoir? We have some brave souls who swim all year round. Do be careful though and read the information at the reservoir before going in and do not swim solo in the winter. A warming drink by the tea-room fire is well earned afterwards.
  • 6. Go orienteering.
  • They have got a mix of trails available in Carding Mill Valley. You can download the trails here. Short orienteering course. Medium orienteering course. Long orienteering course.
  • 7. Bring a picnic.
  • You can relax by the stream with a picnic or you may want to try their delicious food in the tea-room. Find a sunny spot and a wintertime picnic feels like a total treat.
  • 8. Star gaze.
  • Come here at night and have a look at the wonderful night sky. They have four designated Dark Sky areas on Long Mynd, including Carding Mill Valley and Pole Cottage. They run events throughout the year on star gazing so you could always join in on one of these.
  • 9. Find a magic spot.
  • Find your own special place well away from the crowds, where you can just sit and chill out while taking in the beautiful scenery.
  • 10. Go on a trail.
  • Go on an Adventure Trail, you can collect these from the information boards in the valley. The idea is that you can come up with your own route to the reservoir, up rope pulls, across the stream and through bracken. See how imaginative you can get.


    The shuttle bus service is a great way to get out exploring across the Long Mynd and Stiperstones. Traveling this way gives you a much greater appreciation of this fantastic heathland landscape managed by the National Trust and Natural England. The Long Mynd and Stiperstones Shuttle Bus is open for business again from May Day Bank Holiday weekend and is running on the following dates: Weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays, starting early May to 30th September.

    This fantastic service picks up in Carding Mill Valley and Church Stretton, traveling across the Long Mynd to the Stiperstones, via Bridges on the way. Once at Stiperstones you can visit the Bog Centre or Snailbeach mine. Using the bus is a really good way of seeing more of the hills if you've got limited time or if you find you just need a lift back to Carding Mill Valley. It's even useful if you want to head to Bridges for a pub lunch and you don't want to walk back! This way you can sit back, relax and take in the views.

    Both Long Mynd and Stiperstones are SSSIs for their geology, ecology and archaeology. Both sites are upland heathland, this delicate habitat is managed by the National Trust and Natural England both organisations aiming to conserve and protect these special places. For full details on the route and prices head to the Shropshire Hills Shuttle Bus website.


    ** – Reservoir Walk – **

    This walk starts from Carding Mill Valley at the heart of the Long Mynd and takes you on a gentle walk past the mill ponds and up the reservoir bank. Classified as Easy, the walk is half a mile and should take about half an hour. It is dog friendly. There is a tea room, gift shop and toilets.

    Start: Carding Mill Valley.

  • 1. If you are starting from the Chalet Pavilion, follow the stream uphill to the top car park.
  • The top car park. Filled in in the 1960s, this car park was originally a millpond and popular swimming pool.
  • 2. Once in the top car park, cross the stream on the sturdy vehicle bridge opposite the green ticket machine. Ahead, the track curves around a spur of the hill, before opening out into a broad side valley. You are now walking along New Pool Hollow, named after two early mill pools.
  • New Pool Hollow. Wild thyme and sky-blue harebells edge the path in summer. The damper soil beside the stream holds soft rush, marsh thistle, forget-me-not and curious yellow monkey flower, originally from North America. Look out, too, for golden-ringed dragonflies patrolling their territories along the stream.
  • 3. Keep following the path along New Pool Hollow.
  • Bodbury Ring hill fort. Along this path you'll come across a small pallisaded area. Go inside and look back on the path you have just walked. As you look up you'll be looking directly at Bodbury Ring hill fort. This hill fort is over 2,500 years old and was in constant use throughout the Iron Age period by the Cornovii tribe. The Cornovii were a Celtic tribe of people found across Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Herefordshire. They used the hill fort to guard their herds of sheep and cattle. From the top of the hill you’d be able to see people coming from miles around. This made Bodbury Hill a very good strategic location.
  • 4. Within 400 metres, climb the reservoir's retaining bank and cross the stile into the enclosure.
  • The reservoir. Completed in 1902, this 12-million-gallon reservoir was built to support Church Stretton's aspirations of growth as a fashionable spa. Thickening scrub inside the fence shows how the Long Mynd would soon revert to trees if ungrazed; in contrast, the impoverished bilberry and heather outside the fence is the result of chronic overgrazing in the 1980s and 1990s. Finding the right balance is the only way to ensure the Long Mynd's value and beauty for future generations.
  • End: Reservoir.

  • ** – Waterfall Walk – **

    This walk starts at Carding Mill Valley at the heart of the Long Mynd and takes you on a gentle ascent along the stream to the four metre cascade at the picturesque Lightspout Waterfall. Classified as Moderate, the walk is one and a half miles long and will take up to one and a half hours. It is dog friendly and there is a tea room, gift shop and toilets with disabled and baby-changing facilities. Head up to the waterfall after a few days rain and this is a wonderful sight.

    Start: Carding Mill Valley

  • 1. If you are starting from the Chalet Pavilion follow the stream uphill to the top car park.
  • Early geology of the Long Mynd. Notice the almost upright strata of hard grey rock here in the streambed and protruding from the hillside turf. These, originally horizontal, sedimentary shales and mudstones were laid down in shallow sea around 590 million years ago, when simple marine algae were the only life on earth.
  • 2. Continue up the valley (following the red trail markers) on the stony track to the left side of the stream.
  • 3. When the valley divides 500 metres later, take the left-hand fork, up crude "pitched" stone steps into the narrow Lightspout Hollow.
  • Lightspout Hollow. The sound of tumbling water fills the deep V-shaped valley whose billberry, bracken and heather clad slopes are dotted with hawthorns and mountain ash. Watch out for brown trout in the pools and noisy stonechats, buzzards and red kites overhead.
  • 4. Rising above the stream, the rocky path snakes uphill around interlocking spurs before opening out, 500 metres on, below Lightspout Waterfall. Return downhill by the same route.
  • Reverend Carr. It was here that Reverend Carr nearly plunged to his death, lost in a snow blizzard in January 1865. To Victorian visitors the Lightspout was a "miniature Niagara"; and after prolonged rain the four metre cascade is spectacular.
  • End: Lightspout Waterfall. You made it.
  • New Pool Hollow

    New Pool Hollow


    ** – Pipe Walk – **

    This walk is a great way to see some beautiful views and also to really get to the heart of 'those blue remembered hills', as mentioned in the poem by A E Housman. See hints along the way to the area’s industrial past. This walk also has a strong focus on water, following the stream up to the dark-blue reservoir, along the Pipe Walk and finishing at Lightspout waterfall. Classified as Moderate, this walk is one mile long and will take about one hour. It is dog friendly. Tea-room, gift shop, toilets and car park (free for NT members) available at Carding Mill Valley.

    Start: Carding Mill Valley.

  • 1. If you are starting from the Chalet Pavilion, follow the stream uphill to the top car park.
  • 2. Cross the stream on the sturdy vehicle bridge opposite the green ticket machine. Ahead, the track curves around a spur of the hill, before opening out into a broad side valley. You are now walking along New Pool Hollow, named after two early mill pools.
  • New Pool Hollow. The mill pools along this stretch used to feed water down to the carding mill that was situated in the valley in the 19th century. The valley was ideally situated in the centre of one of the best wool producing areas of England and the stream could produce cheap water power to the mill. There was also cheap local labour and a good market for carded wool. The actual carding mill only lasted around 80 years, but the name stuck. It's worth taking a moment to look back at the views every now and again along this stretch.
  • 3. Keep following the path along New Pool Hollow until you come to a small palisaded area.
  • Bodbury Ring hill fort. Go inside the palisade and look back on the path you have just walked. As you look up, you'll be looking directly at Bodbury Ring hill fort which is more than 2,500 years old. It was in constant use throughout the Iron Age period by the Cornovii, a Celtic tribe of people found across Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Herefordshire. They used the hill fort to guard their herds of sheep and cattle. From the top of the hill, they’d have been able to see people coming from miles.
  • 4. Within 440yd (400m), climb the reservoir's retaining bank.
  • The reservoir. Completed in 1902, this 12-million-gallon reservoir was built to support Church Stretton's aspirations of growth as a fashionable spa. The dark blue of the reservoir reflects the surrounding trees.
  • 5. Walk along the length of the reservoir bank and pick up the path that goes around the edge of the hill.
  • The pipe walk. The pipe walk gets its name from the fact that every so often you can see the remains of the Victorian pipe that collected water from the top of the valley. You will also spot the hatches that could be used to turn off the water heading into the reservoir if there was a problem with the pipe itself.
  • 6. Continue around to the other side of the hill. Here you will be looking down on the top car park and Carding Mill Valley. Follow the path as it gently descends to join the path below.
  • The pipe. Here you will walk along a good length of the pipe. The reservoir used to supply the water to Church Stretton, so these pipes were vital to the collection of water for the reservoir.
  • 7. When the valley divides 550yd (500m) later, take the left-hand fork and climb the crude 'pitched' stone steps into Lightspout Hollow.
  • Lightspout Hollow. The sound of tumbling water fills the deep, narrow V-shaped valley. Its slopes, clad in bilberry, bracken and heather, are dotted with hawthorns and mountain ash. Watch out for brown trout in the pools and noisy stonechats, buzzards and red kites overhead.
  • 8. Rising above the stream, the rocky path snakes uphill around interlocking spurs. Continue for 550yd (500m) and you will arrive at Lightspout waterfall. Return downhill by the same route.
  • Reverend Carr nearly plunged to his death here, lost in a snow blizzard in January 1865. To Victorian visitors, the Lightspout was a 'miniature Niagara'. After prolonged rain, the 4-metre cascade is spectacular.
  • End: Lightspout Waterfall. You made it!

  • ** – To the top of Long Mynd – **

    A walk to the top of the Long Mynd. This walk takes you to the head of Carding Mill Valley and up to the highest point of the Long Mynd. From the top you can take in fantastic views across Shropshire and beyond. Classified as Challenging, this walk is five miles long and will take about two and a half hours. It is dog friendly. Tea-room, gift shop, toilets and car park (free for NT members) available at Carding Mill Valley.

    Start: Carding Mill Valley.

  • 1. If you are starting from the Chalet Pavilion, follow the stream up hill to the top car park. Continue straight ahead, on the stony track alongside the stream to the head of Carding Mill Valley.
  • 2. Where the valley forks, go right. Follow Mott's Road up hill.
  • Dr Mott. The path is named after a local doctor who improved it to visit outlying patients in the 1850s.
  • 3. As you make your way along the path Calf Ridge will be high up on your left. Soon you'll emerge on the top of the hill.
  • 4. The path runs on across the moor to join a broader stony track. Go left and, almost immediately, left again, onto the ancient Portway.
  • The Portway. This 5,000 year old Ridgway once carried Neolithic traders high and dry above the wet wooded valleys.
  • 5. When the main track bends left, 440yd (400m) later, turn off to the right, and go straight ahead on a narrower continuation of the Portway.
  • Shooting box. 440yd (400m) on, beside the road to Ratlinghope, a rare bell barrow survives at the Shooting Box. This Neolithic monument was converted to a shooting box during the Victorian period.
  • 6. Cross the road and take the path straight ahead, up hill, through the rolling heather. ½ mile (1km) on, beyond side paths to Priory Cottage and Medlicott is Pole Bank.
  • Pole Bank. 517 metres above sea level, this is the Long Mynd's highest point. On a clear day you can see as far as the Brecon Beacons and the Malverns.
  • 7. From Pole Bank, retrace the path for 275yd (250m) to its junction with the Medlicott track, and turn right, to join the tarmaced Burway Road below, beside the spring at Boiling Well.
  • 8. Go straight on along the path road. Within 110yd (100m), on the right, is a way-marked path to 'Townbrook'. Turn right here, on a grassy path, running roughly parallel with The Burway.
  • 9. Continue down hill around a low ridge, to the lip of the dramatic Townbrook Hollow.
  • 10. Follow the narrow path down the valley. Beyond the Victorian reservoir at the foot of the valley, bear left along the top of Old Rectory Wood to emerge on the Burway. Cross the road and descend the 'Burway Track' back into Carding Mill Valley.
  • End: Carding Mill Valley, you made it!


    ** – Ratlinghope, across Long Mynd – **

    A walk to Ratlinghope across the Long Mynd, This walk takes you round to the quieter, west side of the hill. You can even stop at The Bridges pub half way round if you like! This is a long walk, ten miles, and will take up to 6 hours so the break would, no doubt, be welcome. Classified as Challenging, the walk is dog friendly. Tea-room, gift shop, toilets and car park (free for NT members) available at Carding Mill Valley. The Bridges Pub is open from 11am – 11pm every day.

    Start: Carding Mill Valley.

  • 1. If you are starting from the Chalet Pavilion follow the stream uphill to the top car park. Continue up the valley on the stony track to the left side of the stream. When the valley divides 500 metres later, take the left-hand fork, up crude "pitched" stone steps into the narrow Lightspout Hollow.
  • Early geology of the Long Mynd. As you walk through the Top Car Park notice the almost upright strata of hard grey rock here in the streambed and protruding from the hillside turf. These, originally horizontal, sedimentary shales and mudstones were laid down in shallow sea around 590 million years ago, when simple marine algae were the only life on earth.
  • 2. On reaching the waterfall climb up the steps alongside it. Follow the path up the main valley keeping to the left as it climbs upwards. Continue to follow this path as it curves around the hill, ignoring the dip to the right until you meet a green track leading gently up to the right. This will take you to the Port Way where you bear left through some posts and follow the main track to Shooting Box.
  • 3. You will reach a car park and road, here turn right, cross the road and then immediately half left down the track. Follow the track past Priory Cottage and continue onto Coates Farm.
  • 4. At Coates Farm turn right at the sign for Bridges through the farmyard. Follow the house round to the right, go across the two cattle grids, then go straight down the hill, keep the hedge on your left hand side. You will soon come to The Bridges pub.
  • 5. The Bridges is a great place to stop for lunch, either for a picnic or at the pub. Turn right out of pub, then immediately right again up the road past the YHA.
  • 6. At the bridge, take the gate on the left hand side signposted “Shropshire Way”. Follow the well-marked track alongside the river via several gates and stiles; keep the river on your right hand side.
  • 7. Near Lower Darnford Farm take the left hand track signposted “Darnford Walk”. After 300m, cross the stile and follow the Shropshire Way signs.
  • 8. Keep heading uphill until you reach a gate leading to the northern section of the Port Way. Turn right and follow this track gently uphill. This section of the route provides fantastic views north to Shrewsbury and beyond.
  • 9. Stay on the main track for approximately 1500m until you meet the road, then turn right.
  • 10. Bear left on track, you are back on the Portway.
  • The Portway. This was originally a stone age pathway, keeping traders up high and out of the wet and wooded valleys below.
  • 11. Turn left down Mott’s Road and descend back into Carding Mill Valley. Cross the stream at the confluence and then head down stream towards the Top Car Park.
  • End: Carding Mill Valley, you made it.


    ** – Facilities – **

    General:-

  • • Tea-room - serves local food, including hot lunches. Excellent cakes, teas, coffees, local drinks and snacks. Second-hand bookshop in the tea-room.
  • • Shop - next to tea-room sells maps, guides and gifts.
  • • Parking 50 yards (pay and display). Open daily all year. Parking £4.50 Minibus/coach prebook only through learning.cardingmill@nationaltrust.org.uk National Trust members - free car parking. Top car park open 9am - 5pm (April to October), 9am - 4.00pm (January, February, November and December).
  • • Dogs under close control (grazing livestock).
  • • Take a picnic and sit, relax and enjoy Shropshire's food.
  • • Horse-riding and cycling routes across a variety of terrains.
  • • No drone flying without special permission. No barbeques or campfire allowed.
  • Family:-

  • • Baby-changing facilities.
  • • Pushchairs and baby back-carriers admitted.
  • • Children's quiz/trail.
  • • Family room with activities for children in Pavilion.
  • Access:-

  • • Mobility parking - separate parking. Drop-off point.
  • • Adapted toilets - open 24 hours.
  • • Grounds - partly accessible, 1:20 gradient in places.
  • • Building - level entrance. Ground floor accessible.
  • Please click here for the National Trust complete access statement (PDF).
  • Carding Mill Valley

    Carding Mill Valley


     

    Location : Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton SY6 6JG

    Transport: Church Stretton (National Rail) then 1 mile. Bus routes: Shrewsbury to Ludlow (435, 540), alight Church Stretton, ½ mile. Shuttle bus weekends and Bank Holidays (Easter to October).

    Opening Times : Daily, dawn to dusk.

    Opening Times Tea Room: Daily, 10:00 to 17:00.

    Tickets : Free. Summer Car Park £4.50; Winter Car Park £3.00.

    Tel: 01694 725000