Day 2 on a wonderful week walking the Shropshire Hills with HF Holidays. Time for some more variety, amazing landscapes, history and geology. I had heard a lot about this walk and was very much looking forward to it. The ultimate aim was up on the unique Stiperstones but throughout this 9 mile or so walk there much more to be seen amongst the valleys and on the hills.
And what a super place to start, Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle, with stunning surroundings on Stapeley Hill. As with many ancient stone circles the reasons and origins are shrouded in mystery. This one was built over 3000 years ago during the Bronze Age. Today you can see the stones are smaller than they once would have been plus less in number. Damage made to the stone is said to be ancient too.
Local folklore states a good witch provided a cow, during a famine, on the hill, with a never ending supply of milk. A bad witch came and milked and milked the cow into a sieve and thus wasting the milk. The cow realised the trick, kicked her and ran away. The bad witch was turned to stone and surrounded by other stones to prevent escape.
We wandered down over the hill and along a track that briefly led us into Wales. This walk is right on the border of England and Wales so you get great views of both countries included 🙂
We were in the village of White Grit which straddles the border, part English, part Welsh. There is a remarkable looking yet simple landmark in the village that caught my eye, The Iron Church (Tin Chapel at The Marsh). The area was once huge for mining and in the Victorian era there was a demand across the country for cheap prefab churches. It looks as temporary as it was when built over 100 years ago, corrugated iron but looking as much a church as intended.
From here it was a short and steady walk upward to the summit of Mucklewick Hill. This is the thing I found with the Shropshire Hills. Not ultra massive in height, perfectly accessible to many on foot and yet the views are massive and intense.
We had a lunch break on top of Mucklewick Hill and took in the views down the valleys in each direction. Corndon Hill looking mightily impressive opposite…
From here it was back down the other side and into the lush green valleys of the Shropshire Hills. The company of the group on this HF Holidays guided walk were in great social spirit. Everyone was enjoying every step.
Then, ahead you could see The Stiperstones on their ridge, The incentive to get to and to gain some more great views.
We were heading to that right hand side so that we could traverse all the way along them. It also didn’t seem to take that long to get there.
The landscape here, completely changed. The Stiperstones is very unique amongst the Shropshire Hills. So far in all these walks it had been green and lush. Now, this was very rocky, and full of heather. Famed for the quartzite rocky outcrops, these rocks stood above the glaciers of the Ice Age and continuously froze and thawed. They certainly are impressive whether up close or far away looking up.
The actual summit is a short scramble up one of these outcrops. A wonderful place to sit, relax, and take in the view. From here you can see a tremendous amount. The Shropshire Hills, Long Mynd in particular, the North Shropshire Plains and all the way over and into the hills of Mid Wales!
After traversing The Stiperstones it was time to head down the other side for a well deserved, nice and cold, pint! We headed off back onto the rocky, heather strewn paths.
Then a sudden turn left and down a green little valley that would take us to our refreshment. Down and down, taking care underfoot whilst looking up to keep soaking up the views.
A cold lager please! Once at the bottom, directly under The Stiperstones themselves we arrived at the perfect end place, The Stiperstones Inn. A traditional pub, built in the 1750’s as two cottages and concerted to a pub in the middle of the 1800s. Inside the place looked very traditional and cosy. You could see that time and care had been taken to restore gently and expose a lot of the original structure. The beer garden was our spot in the Shropshire sun.
A wonderful day yet again. I had walked some miles, seen some amazing views and learnt a lot from the guides en route too. As well as being joined by some lovely people also enjoying their holiday. This a key walk on a HF Holiday break in The Shropshire Hills…. and it is easy to see why.