- Annual Holiday: Church Stretton, Shropshire
- Date: October 2023, DAY 2
- Distance: 10.5 Miles
Day 2 began with a coach ride for all walkers, taking us through the countryside towards the Stiperstones. We were deposited near to Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle. It was constructed in the Bronze Age, over 3000 years ago. They think there was up to 30 stones originally, but today there are 15.
The longer distance walkers set off on their 10.5 mile walk across the land near to the circle and over the moorland. Initially the land was flat, so made for easy walking to wake the muscles up. At times it was wet and boggy, also the ground was tufted and difficult to walk across. Apart from those problems we gently made our way along, down and up the paths. Various stiles got in the way, but nothing noteworthy happened. After coffee we crossed a main road and started on an upward trajectory.
A wooden rickety bridge had to be tackled, leading us over a gushing stream and through someone’s garden. I say garden, but it was basically a small field next to the stream with various picnic tables in it. After passing a few holiday cottages we came to two large fields with cows grazing gently in them. Surprisingly the problem we encountered as not the cows but the stiles and mud around the gates. Not easy. The stiles were well past their best and the cows had churned up the land around them. Result = 14 muddy walkers.
Stopping for lunch in a field we were astounded to see a Rowan tree growing out of the split trunk of another, unidentified, tree. It looked very healthy and even had red berries growing! Then began the long ascent up to the Stiperstones. Lead mining took places in this area (though we didn’t see any evidence of this) and it is badged as an iconic upland landscape with quartzite outcrops.
What we did notice was the rugged nature of the path. No time to admire the view, all concentration was needed on the path as it was strewn with large stones and rocks- an easy place to trip and break an ankle. We picked our way carefully up and up, watching our feet assiduously until we reached the stones. There were several outcrops of them culminating with the Devil’s Armchair, a tall outcrop of rock with a gap in the middle.
Thankfully the path began to ease, we reached a large cairn and started our descent. This proved to be muddy and lumpy bumpy. Again great care was taken, holding in check our desire to rush down to the village of Stiper to avail ourselves of refreshment in the pub. Eventually we made it down in time to board the bus and enjoy being ferried back to the hotel.
An exhilarating, windy, challenging walk with fantastic panoramas.
Author & Photographer: Lynne Burge