Tuesday October 9th 2012
Map: OS Explorer OL217 – The Long Mynd & Wenlock Edge
Church Stretton – Carding Mill Valley – Long Mynd – Shooting Box – Boiling Well – Ashes Hollow – Little Stretton – The Owlets – Church Stretton.
Monday turned out to be a bit of a washout. We managed to complete a few more jobs in the morning, did a bit of shopping around Ludlow, and found ourselves in Knighton for lunch. Later, we went out for an unsatisfactory wallow from Llangunllo: a wet, muddy plod in rain and low cloud. Considering we were close to Glyndwr’s Way (and had meant to incorporate a stretch into our circuit) we were quite disappointed with the state of these connecting paths. Progress was generally awkward: slippery, poorly signed, and with gates difficult to open – and, given we were following a bridleway, some were tied irrevocably shut (get your horse through that). So we did something we very rarely do: turned back.
So, for today, we wanted to do something a bit more enjoyable – and reliable. In such circumstances the Long Mynd often comes to the rescue, with clear paths and straightforward route finding making for easy going.
We took the popular route into Carding Mill Valley, then on up to the broad ridge of the Long Mynd, dodging school parties as we went. We do this route quite often – after all it is one of the main routes to the top – but it always seems to have something to offer every time. Today the stream was in high water after copious recent rains, and it never ceases to amaze me just how Alpine the upper reaches of the valley feel at times.
On top it is a different world, with heathery moorland being the dominant landscape. We followed the main path towards Pole Bank, turning left shortly before the summit to meet the road at Boiling Well and the start of the route into Ashes Hollow.
I must confess, despite having walked the area quite a lot in recent years, we have never taken this major route before. And what a revelation! After a muddy start, the path plunges through scenery not unlike Grindsbrook Clough or one of the other streams tumbling off the Kinder plateau. We managed to pick a line that closely followed the stream, offering a few easy crossings and a bit of hands-on work too – nothing too taxing, but a bit of fun nonetheless.
From Little Stretton, we took a path atop a steep bank before descending towards the road, through The Owlets, and back into town. Three and a half lovely hours before the drive back home and work tomorrow.