Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Long Mynd: Carding Mill Valley & Minton Batch – 10.75 miles

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.


  1. Not an area that I know at all well, farm aside (and I have every sympathy with your view on this) it looks like a lovely walk!

  2. @Howellsey

    Thanks for your comment, and thanks for dropping by. Yes, the Shropshire Hills area is great for walking, with quite a bit of variety and a little more chance of peace and quiet than the Lakes or the Peak District can provide (much as I love both, they can be ridiculously busy at times).

    I've got your site now, so will make a point of having a look through later on.

  3. Looks like you had a good day and you even had views from the summit! I shall have to return when it's not covered in cloud.

  4. @Alistair

    The views can be pretty good on a clear day - as far as the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia if you're lucky! It's definitely worth a visit - but don't tell everyone, or they'll all want to go!

  5. This isn't too far from North Wales ^_^ Perhaps one to put on the ever growing list - do you know of any good camp sites nearby? preferably small and unpopulated, ha!
    great pics!

  6. @MrsB

    Thanks for your comment, and thanks for dropping by. I've followed the link to you blog and will have a look - seems to be full of interesting stuff.

    As for your question - I'm not sure on the full range of camping opportunities, but there is definitely one at the bottom of Ashes Hollow in Little Stretton (I know because this walk goes past it!). I'm sure there are plenty of others as well, but how good/quiet/cheap they are, I couldn't say.

  7. I spent may years playing on that farm as a kid. My parents knew the farmer from drinking in the local when we camped on a local site. When that closed down we were allowed to put our caravan on Minton Batch. That was over 30 years ago now. We had the place to ourselves and we had many experiences such as rounding the sheep up from the hills, dipping, shearing and watching lambs being born. We also milked cows and tasted ice cream made from the milk. For a city kid it was a fab experience that I will treasure forever. Everything was pretty traditional from what I remember and probably didn't change much when the farmer and his wife passed and the son was left to run it on his own. I don't think he ever married which is probably why you sadly saw it as a squalor. It will always have a special piece of my heart x

    1. An interesting reminiscence, besty60497 - I think we all have a place in our hearts for somewhere special from our childhoods'.

      I appreciate there may be extenuating circumstances, but I still feel I have the right to express my dismay - there is no need for it to be as messy as it is, whatever the circumstances.