The Church Stretton & Long Mynd walk takes you from the centre of the town which had its heyday in Edwardian times up onto the moorland of the Long Mynd. From here you pass through the rolling hills of the Shropshire countryside and back onto the Long Mynd and back to Church Stretton.
The walk covers 12.6 miles and took our party 6 hours to complete. In total there is almost 2,000 ft of ascent. As the ascent is spread over the route it didn’t seem as much a climb as that figure suggests.
The walk begins in the centre of the ancient town of Church Stretton, The name derives from Old English word for street and ‘tun’ meaning settlement. The street refers to the Roman Road Watling Street which runs through the town.
Follow the map to the Carding Mill Valley. On the way you’ll see various Edwardian properties built in Church Stretton’s heyday.
Carding Mill Valley
Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd are owned by the National Trust. As you enter the valley you’ll cross a cattle grid and pass a hut where the Trust collects the parking fees.
The valley is named after the factory built in 1812 to process the local fleeces. The carding mill supplied the carded wool to local woman for spinning. As the century progressed the factory expanded, but towards the end of the 19th Century the character of the town changed. Tourism became more popular and in 1912 the factory was demolished and replaced by a hotel and cafe.
Follow the road up the valley and pass the National Trust Cafe and toilets.
The road narrows to a track and continues to run beside a pretty stream.
After fording the stream several times the path splits. Turn right.
Up to the Long Mynd
The route rises quite quickly.
Eventually you arrive on the top and the views make you realise why you made the effort.
Here you’ll find wild horses wandering around as well as the sheep.
On arriving at the summit turn sharp right and join The Port Way. This ancient drovers route crosses the Long Mynd from south to north and had become an important way to Shrewsbury market for cattle from Bishops Castle and beyond.
The landscape changes
Use the map to identify the point where you need to turn left.
Just before you turn left you may catch a glimpse of Robin Hood’s Butts, a set of 3 barrows. The path drops down to a hollow and rises again. You have now left the open moorland and are walking on farmland.
At the top you’ll see what looks like a cell phone mast.
Take another left turn and join the Shropshire Way, a part of the 200 mile tour of the county.
The route wanders along the side of the valley to Ratlinghope.
The route follows the Darnford Brook and leads to St Margaret’s Church. The churchyard is an ideal place to have lunch on the Church Stretton & Long Mynd walk. This small church has medieval connections but was rebuilt in 1904/5.
Continue along the side of the brook and in the shade.
The parish of Ratlinghope continues all the way to the Bridges. Here you’ll find the Horseshoe Inn, a public house that has an excellent reputation. Our party leader insisted that we continue without stopping.
Up towards the Long Mynd
From the Horseshoe Inn the road rises steeply.
At the top of the first rise you arrive at Coates Farm. This is a very good spot to rest for a few minutes. Pass through the gate ahead of you and follow the map as you turn left and climb again.
As you rise towards the Long Mynd there are more and more great views of the countryside around.
Back on the Long Mynd
Just before you pass through a gate that brings you back onto the Long Mynd is Priory Cottage. I normally associate a priory cottage with a church. There is no sign of a place of worship anywhere nearby. The building is now a complete wreck and is only suitable as a land mark.
Even from here you can see that there is a further ascent.
On the left is a small cottage below.
The cottage is tucked in a valley and it looks as if they have a dog training area in the garden.
The return to the top of the Long Mynd brings you to Shooting Box the site of a Bronze Age burial mound and also a small non-chargeable car park.
Sometimes it is difficult to find the route down in amongst the ferns which can quickly overgrow the path.
Just follow the valley and small stream and after awhile the path becomes clearer especially when it joins another path.
The stream grows as you descend. There is a tricky point of descent just near the small waterfall. If you catch this point at a quiet moment it is an ideal place to stop and reflect on the world.
When we arrived there was a party of school children having a geography lecture,
and it was quite busy.
Continue the descent and you arrive at the junction you met on the way up.
If you enjoyed the Church Stretton & Long Mynd walk then you can find out more great walks at Find a walk – Britain.
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