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The long walk is a hard tramp over the wonderful upland mass of the Long Mynd. Apart from one steep descent on grass, all tracks in this circuit are of excellent quality.
The lengths on road are all very quiet, perfectly acceptable for walking.
As would be expected, the views are marvellous, both of the various parts of the Long Mynd itself and of various distant hills such as the Brecon Beacons.
Although there is considerable ascent, none of the longer gradients are really steep. You will see from the OS map there are many opportunities to make this walk shorter.
Set off along the roadway rising beside the rushing stream in the popular Cardingmill Valley. Cross the stream on a bridge a little way after the visitor centre rising steadily. Pass through the upper car park.
1. At a junction, after about 20mins, cross the stream and fork right to continue the ascent. This is part of the designated Jack Mytton Way. The gradient steepens before the track emerges on the edge of the huge moorland plateau. About 30 mins after crossing the stream, join another track, turning left. At another waymarked junction in 30m bear left again, now the designated Shropshire Way, another broad track, grid ref 428958.
2. Continue along the Shropshire Way and Jack Mytton Way signposted Shooting Box.
3. Cross a small road, just by Shooting Box car park, and head upwards to the highest point – Pole Bank – (516m), with trig point and orientation table. The enormous views include such distant points as the Brecon Beacons, Ruabon Mountain and the Malvern Hills.
4. Continue straight on a stony path, along the Shropshire Way and Jack Mytton Way. It is quite a surprise to see a tree plantation on this bare, windswept, plateau. Re-join the road, bearing right, for a further 2 km.
5. Reach the entrance to the Midland Gliding Club. Turn left through a gate beside a cattle grid, then bear right immediately along the ‘Starboard Way’, a clear track by-passing the buildings of the Gliding Club. This soon becomes a grass track, with occasional marker posts.
6. At a major junction of paths, turn right onto a dirt track and in just a few metres further on turn left along a minor path, with a warning about a landing area. Reach another junction in less than 100m, GR 403 907. Go straight ahead along a narrower path, descending through gates to join a major track at the end of a coniferous woodland. Stay with this major forestry track, close to the left hand edge of a plantation. Ignore minor tracks going off to the right and left and keep straight ahead.
7. At a major track turn left GR 415 903. After 40m turn left again marked by a way marker post on the left. As the farm track bears right at a gate, go straight ahead through a small gate to commence a long steep descent across a meadow, heading east; for most of this descent the path is, at best, rudimentary. At the bottom is a waymarked gate. Do not go through; turn left, down to another waymarked gate. Pass a house and cross a stream on a bridge. Turn right to follow a delightful roadway by the side of the stream. Turn left at a junction with a lane, rising gently to reach Minton village in half a mile.
8. At a road junction in the village turn left, go straight on passing two junctions heading for Little Stretton. Walk along a lane to Little Stretton (2km), and on reaching the village go left at a road junction by a farm, then left again at another junction. There is a stream on the left.
9. Just before a bridge over the stream, turn right, go over a waymarked stile and ascend the steep hillside on a clear path. The gradient soon eases as the path passes along the top of a wooded scarp. Go over a waymarked stile by a farm shed and continue to the right across a meadow with a fence on the right. Go along the top edge of woodland, pass a waymark on a post and descend through woodland. Go over a waymarked stile. To the left is Hopes Wood S.S.S.I. Descend to the Little Stretton to Church Stretton road at Cross Banks.
10. Turn left immediately to take a signposted track which rises steadily for some distance above the ribbon development of the fringe of Church Stretton. Pass bungalows and at a junction of tracks go straight on. The track becomes a road. As the road bends to the right, turn left into a car park, go through a kissing gate and follow the path ahead up a short, sharp ascent. At the top pass a seat and a kissing gate before descending straight ahead through a bluebell wood. At a T junction turn left marked Pole Bank walk and continue with a fence on the right. Descend steps and cross Town Brook on a plank bridge. Turn right to walk beside the stream to a tiny reservoir.
11. Turn left here, up a long flight of steps. Go through a gate at the top, turning right along a broad track. Go straight across a minor road and follow the track as it terraces attractively along the side of the Cardingmill Valley, joining the road just short of the car park.
Nearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Church Stretton, Shrewsbury