Walk 249 [7½ miles] - Myndtown & the Long Mynd

217 OS map OS 147 map download file

Ten of us gathered outside the newly restored church at Myndtown on a bright morning, with rain due by 3pm. We turned left along the track just below the church, which gave us a a good view of the steep but short path we would take up onto The Long Mynd.

Starting off at a brisk pace

It was then heads down for ten minutes as we battled up the rough track, stopping for a drink and to catch our breathe as we joined the Shropshire Way along the top. This was a good soft path which made for easy walking.

There's always an up in the Shropshire Hills

We then turned right along a bridleway which soon lead is into the forest where there was an amazing array of fungi along the track side. We began our first descent stopping for coffee as we exited the woods. The view was lovely with a marked contrast between the grandeur of the Long Mynd to the left and the gentleness of the farmland to the right.

A welcome coffee stop

The path then took us across the field and we dropped steeply down into Minton Batch, where we began our gentle ascent to the glider station. We stopped for lunch just before the summit, sitting amongst the heather and wimberries, admiring the view and enjoying the tranquillity

Lunch stop

As rejoined the Shropshire Way we stood briefly to watch the gliders take off/land. We were then on the homeward stretch and when we reached the bridleway we had taken earlier we turned right and this time followed it through the heather to join the final footpath back to the lane and across the field to the church.

Passing the Gliding Club

The finish is within sight

We finished our walk, which was just short of 7.5 miles, with a quick look around the church and a welcome (and well earned) cup of tea kindly left for us by the neighbouring farmer. We had stayed dry and hadn't had to climb a single stile so the walk was enjoyed by all!

[Blog entry: Catherine]

A refreshing cuppa and Catherine's delicious chocolate brownies

Fortunately it was only a short sermon
above photos courtesy Colin

Checking out the churchyard at Myndtown
photo courtesy Duncan


Walk 248 [6.44 miles] - Cleobury North & Ditton Priors

217 OS map OS 147 map download file

No Val today, but we must thank her again for her huge effort in leading the group on the last 3 occasions.

Our walk this week started in the village hall car park at Cleobury North.

This was one of Anne and Colin’s walks where we drove out into the wild blue yonder with no real clue as to what awaited us. The forecast was for it to stay dry, but it wan’t very long before the 7 of us realised that once again our forecasters had got it all very wrong.

We left the car park and turned right at the main road and after a short distance left by the church of St Peter & St Paul

St Peter & St Paul

After a short distance on the track of the former Cleobury Mortimer -Ditton Priors railway built to carry the stone quarried on the Brown Clee we crossed the main road and headed towards what promised too be a rather muddy bit. We weren’t expecting to be offered a broken bridge which turned out to be far to slippery to walk over, and so we opted for the hop-over-the brook method.
In no time at all we came across evidence of former military occupation a Royal Navy Armament Depot - an impressive metal fence appeared out of the misty drizzle. RNAD Ditton Priors, a depot, which had 25 magazines and four stores for naval mines, opened in 1941. The buildings were camouflaged and served by rail sidings. Trains and their dangerous cargo could then be loaded and unloaded inside. In 1960 the railway line was finally closed but the Royal Navy continued to use Ditton Priors until 1965. It is now a trading estate.

the impressive metal security fence

By now it was properly raining as we passed several fields heading towards Ditton Priors and the promised coffee break.

We eventually came into the village and paused to read the blurb on a convenient information board about the history of Ditton Priors.
It was definitely time for a break and we headed across the main road in the village and across the churchyard to take refuge in the porch of St John the Baptist church for what turned out to be our lunch break.

St John the Baptist church
Ditton Priors

Once we got going again the rain seems to ease off as we crossed another field of ready to harvest crops.
The promised coffee stop with the prospect of fabulous views was cancelled by mutual agreement as the low mist would have invalidated the effort. Instead we pressed on and eventually Ruth was rewarded by a chat with a 'friend'.
Across another field and we entered yet another field full of cows who were clearly in need of milking. We left the field and walked along a very muddy concrete path to be passed by the farmer heading in the opposite direction to bring the cattle in for milking. We stepped out smartly which was just as well and within a few minutes they came after us.

We made it in the nick of time

We paused to make those "aah" noises to the calves snuggled into a barn before we headed across another grassy field which helped remove the evidence of our recent brush with those cows and back to our start point.

Thanks very much to Anne and Colin who kindly treated us all to afternoon teas with scones, jam and cream - and thanks very much to them both for this walk which we really MUST walk on a fine day!


Walk 247 [6.0 miles] - Aston-on-Clun & Hopesay

OS201 OS137 garmin

And now it’s August so it must be another Val walk! 6 of us set off from Aston-on-Clun.

Walkers eager to start walk

This could get dicey chaps

Walkers admire view at coffee stop

Village of Hopesay nestling in valley

The Arbor Tree, Aston on Clun
above photos courtesy Colin

Above the Birches

Walk 246 [8.0 miles] - Clun, Guilden Down & Tadpole Bank

OS201 OS137 garmin

It’s July, so it must be another Val walk! Ten of us lined up on the start line at the Memorial Hall car park in Clun on a sunny morning.

We headed out of the car park and onto the lane for Guilden Down at a smart pace and very quickly Val introduced us to our first field of crops. Fortunately the well trodden path through the reopening oil seed rape made the going easy.

Through the oil seed rape crop

After passing Guilden Down we headed toward Colstey Cottage, where we had a bit of difficulty deciding on the way through a small copse. Eventually Ros found a sensible alternative and we dropped down through the wood on a muddy path and up to Colstey

The small almost impenitrible copse

passing an impressive line up of abandoned farm vehicles and where we were gently rounded up by an enthusiastic border collie.

Looks like there’s room for yet another wagon on the left!


the view east from Colstey to Bury Ditches and beyond

We joined the main A488 road at Colstey Bank and walked on the verge for a few hundred yards and then headed to Argoed - stopping on the way for a coffee break.

At Argoed, we turned left onto a quiet lane then almost immediately right at Burlow Farm and headed towards Bryn - turning off left and up a field full of inquisitive bullocks. Now Ros was not a happy bunny, being more of a sheep and pheasant person, but the group bravely formed a circle around her and we defied the bullocks to come no closer. They seem to get the message and stayed well clear of us as we climbed up the field and then then headed down to The Birches.

the view north from above The Birches to the Cefyns

We crossed a very tall stile, negotiation of which was quite tricky then briefly onto a small lane then across a field and through the garden of Brynsquilver Cottage pausing to remark on the fallen tree with the hollowed trunk and which seemed to have decided not to die, but start a new life.

Brynsquilver Cottage

We headed downhill to Llanhedric then along a lane before a steady climb took us to just above Worns Wood where we stopped for our lunch.

It was now (almost) downhill all the way as we joined the Shropshire Way and headed along mostly in the welcome shade and eventually alongside the River Unk heading towards the distant Club Castle

Clun Castle in the distance

We soon entered the outskirts of Clun with the gentlest of climbs we emerged alongside the Clun Bowling Cub’s green in the shadow of Clun Castle.

Clun Bowling Cub

Here we turned left and crossed the road heading back towards the car park, passing a cat who obligingly twizzled for us in the warm sun.
Another mostly new walk which we all enjoyed. Many thanks to Val for taking us round today.

Just arriving at Stanage

Walk 245 [9.95 miles] - Knighton, Stanage & Cwm Ivor

OS201 OS137 garmin

Nine of us assembled at the station car park in Knighton. It was drizzling and damp, but we set off with optimism for this 8 mile jaunt which was led by Val, who seems to have contrived to do multiple walks in a short space of time. For new readers it ought to be explained that this is known locally as the Clungunford Factor (Clungunford Factor def. a method of confusing anyone not living in Clungunford as to what’s going on).

We walked through the town to the main road via the community centre and sports fields, where we turned left and headed down to Llanshay Lane where after a short distance we entered the footpath and negotiated an excitable herd of cattle! (Ros would have so loved this!)

We continued to follow the pathway, occasionally having to refer to the gps when the bracken threatened to send us astray, and eventually stopped for a coffee break. It was still drizzling on and off, but we settled down for a quick break, after which we continued heading vaguely in the right direction.

Looking for a spot to sit down for coffee

The weather slowly improved as we continued on our merry way, avoiding the tall bracken, passing through Baynham Farm before we arrived at Stanage. The sun was now officially out and we diverted to admire the grounds at the front of the big house and an opportunity to remove unwanted waterproofs.

Baynham Farm

Just arriving at Stanage

use + or - key to zoom

It was now time to retrace our steps and start the steady climb which Val assured us wasn’t very long. In fact the place where it allegedly ended appeared to be more of a continuation of the same thing!

Looking back towards Stanage

After a somewhat fruitless search for a gate we opted for an easy fence and entered Waterloo Wood and climbed upwards to join the road near Black Venn. We turned right and followed the road alongside Long Wood towards the Spaceguard Centre, pausing briefly to debate whether or not to cross a field rather than stick to the road, but the thought of our iminent lunch break won the day, and after passing the observatory we peeled off into a convenient field to stop.

Heading towards Knighton on Farrington Lane

Our walk then turned northish to Farrington Lane, and near to Llanwen we turned left into a field, intending to cross five fields then join our track to Knighton. Our plans were put on hold when we came across a sickly ewe, lying on her side and barely alive. Catherine stepped forward and took charge attempting to get the ewe onto her chest, but the effort proved fruitless, and the view of the group was to try and trace the owner.

We retraced our steps and called at Llanwen. Fortunately we appear to have found the responsible party and left it up to them to sort things out whilst we climbed back up the hill and re-crossed the field passing the still barely alive ewe.

We hung a right at The Mount Farm and eventually and briefly joined the Presteigne to Knighton road before our final descent through Cwm Ifor.

Cam Ifor

Emerging from Cwm Ifor our leader nearly missed the footpath which led downhill and eventually back into Knighton. Just a tad over the advertised 8 miles, but much of it was on paths new to us all, so well done Val for finding this walk for us.

Bracket Fungus on an old beech tree

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