Saturday 16th February 2013
Map: OS Explorer OL217 – The Long Mynd & Wenlock Edge
Church Stretton – Carding Mill Valley – The Port Way – Shooting Box – Pole Bank – Minton Batch – Minton – Little Stretton – Church Stretton
At last, a proper walk!
The triple constellations of climate, opportunity and inclination came into alignment, and, for the first time in a long time, a trip into the hills beckoned.
Carding Mill Valley was beginning to get busy as we made our way through and began to climb out of the valley beside the tumbling beck. Taking the main route it’s a steady pull to the top: nothing too strenuous, but one that works the legs and lungs a bit after weeks of relative inactivity.
We turned southwards, making our way along the summit ridge towards the trig point at Pole Bank. There are great views to either side: Corndon Hill and the Stiperstones to the west, the linear ranks of the Shropshire Hills to the east.
After a brief lunch stop, we dropped down into the steep-sided gully of Minton Batch. The top section was wet and muddy, but this soon gave way to firmer footing – and running water. Apart from the occasional MTB, it’s a pretty quiet route off the Mynd. Buzzards can often be seen soaring overhead in the thermals and, as if in anticipation, the sun came out.
These pleasantly bucolic scenes were somewhat spoilt by the farm at the bottom of the clough. Now I’m the first to accept that the lot of a modern-day farmer is not necessarily a happy one, but we’ve been walking this circuit for three or four years now, and in all that time there has been little or no change.
For the life of me, I can’t see the attraction in living in such squalor – especially since the surrounding countryside is so beautiful, and the Shropshire Hills an AONB. Never mind the accumulation of old tyres, plastic, feed buckets, rolls of barbed wire and so on, you’d think the scrap value of the rotting vehicles alone – two Land Rovers, a tractor, a Transit van, an Escort van and two animal boxes at the last count – might be worth something.
But I digress.
For the remainder of the walk we were accompanied by warm sunshine. Beyond Little Stretton we climbed a steep bank above Ashes Hollow before dropping down to Church Stretton to finish the walk.
So, a first decent outing for some time, and one we definitely needed – both to shake off the lethargy that had begun to settle in and to kick-start the training we need to do to get back into shape. It seems a long way off at the moment but, come spring, we will need to be at our best if we are to get full enjoyment out of our planned route.