This was a totally unplanned walk, I just grabbed my kit together, bought a sarnie enroute and off I went, driving to the historic market town of Church Stretton, where I would then head for Carding Mill Valley, where my walk would start.
This shows the benefit of keeping your kit together, along with the importance of keeping your kit organised. All I had to do was grab my kit and then go and buy some lunch.
I was due to work on the Saturday, with an intention of getting out on the Sunday. However, my services were not required, so with nothing else planned, I’d been thinking about a return visit to this lovely area for some time. The last time I was here was just short of four years ago, when I took my son up to Pole Bank.
We had a superb day, though it was sunny, cold and very windy. We got talking about outdoor kit and in particular, my storm shelter. So without further ado, I offered to get the shelter out of my pack and show him. With it being so windy, lunchtime was almost upon us, so what better, get inside and have lunch.
|The Storm Shelter set up.|
|Yours truly, in the Storm Shelter|
Later, from Pole Bank summit we saw Cadair Idris as clear as day. That was April 2010, and I keep saying, I must return.
|Snow capped Cadair Idris viewed from Pole Bank, April 2010|
Well I did, Saturday 22nd March 2014.
But first, I must give a clear warning when attempting this walk.
Just a quick precautionary warning, the Long Mynd is quite a popular place, but it is open hill side and topped with moorland, which does get quite exposed and open to the elements just as much as any open and high ground can be. So please, ensure you are kitted out properly before venturing on to probably some of Shropshires finest moorland.
In case you’re wondering, yes I did have my snow goggles with me, which I mention in my What’s in my pack? blog, even if there is no snow, but I’m confronted with appalling weather conditions, they will help give some visibility without the rain beating in to my eyes!
So I left home, around 10:00 and arrived at Carding Mill for around midday, to be greeted by a heavy hail stone shower!
Well, the forecast was for it to be windy with brief heavy showers and it wasn’t far wrong there.
Still, the hail stopped after about ten minutes or so, I didn’t time it, but it certainly wasn’t too long, so I could get suited and booted. Well, no surprise, the hail came again, by this time I had waterproofs on and was just putting my boots on.
|Looking down on to Carding Mill from the foot path ascending Burway Hill|
I was ready, to set off on the intended route, Carding Mill Valley, Burway Hill, Pole Bank then across the Long Mynd to come back down alongside the river that runs in to Carding Mill Valley.
In view of the time, this would be a shorter walk than normal, where I would normally walk out as far as Pole Cottage and out to Duckley Nap. That’ll keep for another time.
I initially head towards Carding Mill, where I pick up the path going up Burway Hill eventually joining the road that ascends Burway Hill. Burway Hill is quite a steep and fairly long ascent, following a narrow single track road, with passing places for passing vehicles which comes up from Church Stretton.
So it is important that you treat this part with care.
You can get clear of the road in many places and safely so. But remember there is a steep drop down to the valley on your right for the first half of the ascent.
As you ascend Burway Hill, the views down to Carding Mill Valley are quite stunning, along with the views all around, over to Haddon Hill, Caer Caradoc, Pole Bank and many more.
Whilst I was ascending Burway Hill, the weather was doing its best to get me wet and cold. With short heavy hail showers and some really chilling winds! But nothing on the scale of my last wander on Kinder where the wind was forecast to gust up to and beyond 40 mph.
Along with a couple of other guys, Shaun and Neil, we saw Kinder Downfall in its element, where the water was going UP the waterfall and not down!
You can read about that in Mill Hill, Kinder and Kinder Downfall and see a video I uploaded to YouTube.
The single track road was quite busy this particular day, with a lot of traffic going up and down, accompanied by the friendly wave from motorists as the carefully pass me by, to which I always return the friendly gesture. Not something you see a lot in the urban environment…..
|The path from Carding Mill up Burway Hill|
|Approaching the road from Church Stretton up Burway Hill|
|Where the footpath from Carding Mill Valley|
joins the road from Church Stretton up Burway Hill
|The road from Church Stretton going up Burway Hill|
Normally around this part of my walk, I see some wild ponies grazing, but not this time. While waiting for the traffic to disappear, so I could continue my walk, I chatted to a couple riding horses, who had seen the ponies back in Carding Mill Valley. I guess they had come down off the hill for refuge.
The traffic had disappeared, we bid each other a good day and safe passage, the horse riders continued their way down Burway Hill and I continued uphill, heading for Pole Bank.
reached the point near Boiling Spring Well, where I had demonstrated to my son,
what a storm shelter looks like and how useful they can by, not just for
emergencies, but also for respite from the weather for a lunch or rest stop.
|The ongoing steep ascent of Burway Hill!|
|Pole Bank viewed from the road ascending Burway Hill|
|The junction at Boiling Spring Well|
Here I pass the first junction, where the road takes a right fork to Rattlinghope, which isn’t my intended route, or straight on, heading for Pole Cottage, which is what I want.
It’s not long before I reached another small junction, about 350 mtrs, where a dirt track continues straight in front, or the single track roads veers off to the left for Pole Cottage. I want the dirt track straight ahead, heading for Pole Bank, the highest point of the Long Mynd area.
|The point where the road bends to the left|
and the path to Pole Bank goes straight on
|The path to Pole Bank|
Continuing up this dirt track, about another 200 mtrs, I reach a point where footpaths cross. Here I turn left to continue heading for Pole Bank. It’s not long before the trig point comes in to view and then, I reach the summit.
|The point where the footpaths cross.|
The one to the left is for Pole Bank
Oh and the sign, that is to warn walkers that work is undertaken
|.... " It’s not long before the trig point comes in to view|
and then, I reach the summit" ....
Along with the trig point, there is also a view point cairn, showing the many places that can be viewed and what direction they are.
This just goes to show, you don’t always need to climb high a high mountain to get a good view around you.
the weather isn’t too bad, this can be a nice place to stop for lunch. The
views around from Pole Bank are absolutely stunning. As I mentioned earlier,
mountains as far away as Cadair Idris can be seen on a clear day, but not
|The Trig Point and summit cairn on Pole Bank|
|The plaque on the cairn shows what can be viewed and where.|
|Caer Caradoc viewed from Pole Bank|
|On a clear day, you can see Cadair Idris,|
but not this time.....
Please, if you do stop for lunch, make sure you take your rubbish away with you.
It wasn’t long before a Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) training group arrived at Pole Bank. This is the time when they start the proper training ready for the various DoE expeditions that will take place during the year.
The DoE group, which to be very fair, were a well behaved group and didn’t make any noise, soon moved on and I peace was restored. So, braving the wind chill, which was -1.2ºC here and the wind speed was over 17mph (on the Beauforte Scale F4, a Moderate Breeze) I settled down for a quick lunch.
|The wind chill was -1.2ºC|
Lunch over, it was time to move on. But, before I moved on, a quick look around and also to see if by a very remote chance, the cloud would lift sufficiently to give me a glimpse of Cadair Idris!
So it was time to back track down Pole Bank in a North-Easterly direction, to head towards Shooting Box at SO 421 953, where I would soon pick up some marker posts, along a very clearly defined footpath.
|The point where the foot paths crossed on the ascent to Pole Hill,|
I went across heading in a north easterly direction
|This and the next few photos show the foot path at various stages|
while heading north east to pick up the descent to Carding Mill Valley.
As I mentioned earlier, I would normally continue to Duckley Nap, but this time, I was going to pick up the Shropshire Way, heading back down in to Carding Mill Valley.
This would be an easy point to find, for it is at a point where footpaths cross, and where a tarmacked path/track surface is.
Here I start my descent down in to Carding Mill Valley, heading in a South-Westerly direction. The path is quite clear from here, being a well mown grass track.
|.... "This would be an easy point to find, for it is at a point where footpaths cross,|
and where a tarmacked path/track surface is" ....
|.... "Here I start my descent down in to Carding Mill Valley" ....|
Following this grass track, starting with a nice gradual descent, eventually the path snakes to the left then to the right. You dip down to cross one of the many small tributaries that feed the water course down in to Carding Mill Valley, then a short ascent back up the other side, before starting your descent in earnest.
|.... " eventually the path snakes to the left then to the right" ....|
|The dip down before you cross one of many tributaries|
|One of the tributaries to cross|
|Looking down the start of Carding Mill Valley|
All the way from here, the path is clearly defined, narrow at times and quite rocky too. Remember, in wet conditions, wet rock can be very slippery!
Just a cautionary word here, the stream though narrow, can get deep in places, particularly after a period of heavy or excessive rain. So if you do decided to cross the stream, check the depth first. Sticks will be very few, but walking poles make an ideal depth gauge.
In fact walking poles have many uses, one of which could be part of a first aid kit. I had to use my poles once as part of a first aid kit when descending Moel Siabod. You can read about that incident in Moel Siabod and my old Navigation Training Ground where I had to use my poles to continue my descent.
As I continued my descent, following alongside the stream, I eventually reached a rather photogenic waterfall, called Lightspout Waterfall.
Here is quite a steep descent down a rocky surface, part of which is stepped to try and make it easier. Once I reached the bottom of the waterfall, I had to step in to the water and take some photos. For those who have shutter control, it worth taking the time to get a slow shutter speed photo.
|Approaching Lightspout Waterfall|
|Looking down Lightspout Waterfall|
|The descent down to Lightspout Waterfall|
|For those that are considering this route in reverse,|
here is a view of the path up from Lightspout Waterfall
Continuing down the path continues to be clearly defined, following the stream, where I stumbled on what is probably the first point where man’s intervention to control the water flow is seen.
|..... "man’s intervention to control the water flow" ....|
This stream flows right down in to the valley, where there was once a working textile mill powered by the water coming from this hill side.
Following the path down, the stream starts to get a lot wider and it isn’t too long before you reach civilisation. There are many points where you can cross the stream, either by paddling through the water or using one of the many bridges that take the footpath over the water, allowing you to keep your feet dry, that is if you haven’t already got them wet!
|The stream widens|
|Long Mynd Wild Ponies|
|For those t hat don't want to get their feet wet, or if the water is too deep,|
there are plenty of bridges
|More water control for the mill|
It’s also a good excuse to try and clean muddy boots, if like me you couldn’t avoid the mud, particularly around Pole Bank and the path to and from.
Very quickly Carding Mill itself comes in to view, of which at the south eastern end, is painted yellow!
One more crossing, either by bridge of the ford, and now you are walking through a residential part of the route.
|The ford marks the start of civilisation.|
|Carding Mill, the once textile mill on the right and residential houses on the left.|
Carding Mill was once a working textile mill, where the mill was powered by water from the stream that flows from the Long Mynd around by Calf Ridge and the Shropshire Way foot path.
The history of Carding Mill, Church Stretton and surrounding area goes back a long way, as far back as Roman times and before. Settlements have been found on Caer Caradoc, a hill just the other side of Church Strretton, across the A49.
In Victorian and Edwardian times, Church Stretton was nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland’ and the name Stretton meaning straet, an old Roman Road, Wattling Street, running through the Stretton Gap,
Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire hills is owned by the National Trust.
Then the welcome sight of the National Trust Gift Shop and Café, towards the end of the buildings in Carding Mill Valley, where they make walkers and general visitors feel most welcome.
There is a lot of information and history surrounding Church Stretton Carding Mill and the surrounding area. Too much to mention here, so I’ve included some links relating to Carding Mill and Church Stretton that you might want to have a look at.
|The map showing the route|
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Photo Album Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Album
YouTube Peak Rambler on YouTube
Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about here but not covered in the blogs mentioned;