The sun rose on a new walking day in the Shropshire Hills. A grand walk to end the week it was going to be. So far, as you have seen in this series we had been all around the Shropshire Hills, taking in some tremendous routes. Today we were going straight out the door of the accommodation and behind, to walk the valleys and summit of a famous hill in the area, Long Mynd with the summit of Pole Bank.
In fact there are so many walks to be had out the door of the HF Holidays accommodation at Longmynd House. It is the perfect stepping stone to the hills of Long Mynd and beyond. Before the valleys of Long Mynd however there are some wonderful calm woodland scenes to wander through. These woods and fields are very accessible from the local village of Church Stretton. They are so calming that readers of one UK newspaper voted it as ‘England’s least stressful place’, Rectory Wood.
Rectory Wood was originally part of the grounds around the Old Rectory and the famous landscape architect ‘Capability Brown‘ had a big hand in the original concept. Nice to see an historic peaceful place so well protected for all to enjoy today.
Out the other side of the woods we were straight into the first of our valleys for the ascent, Townbrook Valley. Beautiful, green all around and blue in the sky, it was a perfect day to be here. The pathway wound up and around the divergence of the valley. It was hard to not stop at every step to gather the scenes around. Looking up looked wonderful ahead, looking back looked immense as the horizon kept throwing up treats.
The path up Townbrook Valley is perfect for all manner of standards. A steady wander upwards, not a huge distance and a great way to get on the top of the Long Mynd area. At the top of the valley we found it the perfect spot to take a lunch break, looking back down and over where we came from.
From the top of the valley it was easy cross country pathway heading across to the summit of Long Mynd, named Pole Bank. The green gave way to heather moorland, I can imagine this is a wide open space that changes remarkably with the seasons.
Plenty of sheep around too, lazing around in the sunshine 🙂
The summit of Pole Bank is wide and open with truly expansive views! The whole of the top of Long Mynd holds remarkable views but it is always nice to be at the very top and to look out to see 360 views. The story of the summit name may have got lost but there is believed to have been a pole marker for shepherds up there in days gone by but has since long gone.
The guides on HF Holiday walks are a real font of knowledge and you never seem to miss anything interesting around you as you walk.
From here you can see many of the Shropshire Hills and beyond. Looking over across the wide valley I could see the summit of the previous day’s walk, The Stiperstones.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying ourselves at the summit, a curious lamb was trying to help itself to our snacks 🙂
In fact it wasn’t just sheep and us enjoying the time on the summit area. Long Mynd is looked after by the National Trust and this is one of the areas where they have wild ponies enjoying the freedom of space.
before long it was time to head back down, via another valley, the Carding Mill Valley. A valley just as dramatic as the one we went up and in fact could be argued that it is more so. The walk down again kept the dramatic views coming, and the river running beside us brought colour to the proceedings with flowers of all kinds blooming.
We were heading down a way that many come up the Long Mynd. That is because near the bottom is a National Trust hotspot. At the area of Carding Mill itself. Families and young geologists enjoying the unique surroundings and history that this valley provides.
Way back in the 13th century there was a corn grinding mill here by all accounts. However more recently, in 1812 a mill was built to process local fleeces. It was too far really from the spinning centre of Yorkshire so it expanded more into textiles and clothing during the mid 19th century. Tourism came later in the century so they turned to producing Ginger Beer and Soda! The old mill was demolished in the early 20th century but the National Trust now runs a visitor centre and car park for the many visitors here.
Around the corner we were back into the woods and to the accommodation. A sensational day, and now time for a pint and to reflect on some great miles walked.
Alas it was the last day of walking on this HF Walking Holiday… But I shall look forward to wandering more with them. I had always heard about the Shropshire Hills being known as ‘Little Switzerland’ and having now walked many miles of them, I can certainly see why.