The details: OS Explorer map 217; start at Church Stretton station. SO455936; six miles, following blue waymarks. Moderate (generally easy underfoot but with some scrambling over small rocky outcrops, so you’ll need a reasonable head for heights); allow two to three hours.
Shared by: Church Stretton Walkers are Welcome.
Just a few minutes’ walk out of Church Stretton and you’ll find yourself in a timeless landscape of secretive valleys and bracken-clad moors, seemingly untouched by human hands. Keep going for big views over Wales and then a pleasing diversion into Carding Mill Valley with its National Trust tea room.
Leave the station by the Platform 1 exit. At the main road, bear left along Sandford Avenue and take the first turning left into Easthope Road. Pass the public toilets and turn right into Lion Meadow in front of the Co-op store. The top of the road faces the Bucks Head. Take the narrow passage to the left of the pub and go through the iron gate into the churchyard. Bear right to the side of St Laurence’s Church and then bear left around to the main entrance before emerging through double iron gates on to Church Street.
Turn right and then shortly left between two tall gate pillars and enter Rectory Field through the wooden kissing-gate. Ignoring the steps at the edge of the wood on the right, climb up to the centre of the field, keeping the wood on your right. Where the wood swings to the right, keep close to it and make the steep climb towards a red-banded post and a kissing-gate at the top of the hill through which you should pass into Rectory Wood.
Follow the path in front of you as it leads down to another red-banded post. From this veer leftwards and keep to the left at the path’s next junction. This path borders a steep drop from which it is separated by a wooden guardrail fence. At the bottom of the descending path, cross the stream by way of the bridge (a recycled gravestone) and climb the path ahead to a kissing-gate.
Pass through a gate and at the Victorian reservoir, which once stored the water supply for Church Stretton, go straight ahead with the railings on your left. The reservoir is served by the aptly named Town Brook, a stream that will be your gurgling companion as you leave the railings behind and begin to follow the brook’s gentle upward course. Gradually, as you climb higher, the brook falls away to your left. Where the head of the valley comes clearly into view, and you can see a marker post on the top, take extra care as the path leads over small rocky outcrops.
For the final approach to the summit, the path follows a zigzag route, generally leftwards, to reach a pinkbanded post. Although you are now only a quarter of the way around the walk, the most physically demanding section has been completed. Turn right and follow the waymarked posts across the moorland for about a mile until you reach a tarmac road. Turn left along the road for about 100 yards until it swings sharply to the left, exposing a rough track leading ahead and upwards.
Climb the track to the junction with the Medlicott path (signed on a wooden post), turn sharp left and follow the path up to Pole Bank. At 1,700ft this is the highest point on the Long Mynd. From here, on a clear day, you can see Cader Idris, the Clee Hills and the Brecon Beacons. Retrace your steps to the junction with the Medlicott path. Ignore the path to the right, along which you came, and walk straight ahead, eventually crossing the road at Shooting Box.
A post marked Carding Mill indicates the path straight ahead which eventually joins a broader track coming in from the right. Continue forward for about 300 yards to a major path junction. Here, bear to the right following the waymarked posts and, 20 yards further on, bear right again on to a loose stone surfaced track. From here the route is clear. You are now on Motts Road which leads downhill eventually to a stream at a junction with a major path coming in from the right. Cross the stream and continue downwards into Carding Mill Valley with its National Trust shop and café.
Shortly after the café, take the track on the right that climbs diagonally up the hillside. At the top, turn left across the cattle grid and descend the Burway. Past the post box, bear left on to the grassy track. Then bear right just after a couple of large trees and pass a seat to reach a war memorial. Continue straight ahead down a grassy slope and a little narrow rocky path down to the road, bearing left to the crossroads. Cross straight ahead into Sandford Avenue and continue down to the train station entrance.