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Walking Stiperstones, Shropshire Walks In England, UK

Walking Stiperstones - Shropshire Walks

Walking Stiperstones was about 7.25 miles in distance. The route terrain included a combination of field paths, some tracks which were very muddy in places, and lane sections. Walking on the Stiperstones ridge required some care due to its rocky nature, but otherwise the terrain of this route is not difficult. The route is well waymarked, there are just a few modest climbs, and there were 21 stiles to climb over.

The bleak looking ridge of the Stiperstones rises to 536 metres at its highest point and is unlike any of the other Shropshire hills. It has a succession of jagged quartzite rock pinnacles that disrupt the ridge, giving it an appearance more suggestive of wilder parts of Dartmoor or the Pennines. Here you will get a definite feeling of remoteness and isolation in this sparsely populated region.

In good weather the views from Stiperstones over Shropshire and the Welsh border country are excellent. Unfortunately, on our visit there was thick mist that restricted our view to the immediate vicinity of Stiperstones.

Starting from the car park, leg one headed west on lane sections, field paths and a track to a corner track junction. Leg two continued west on field paths via a short stony track section to the crest of a hill. Leg three turned north along a path and tracks to a lane.

Leg four headed east on a lane section, field paths and tracks to a “No Through Road” sign. Leg five continued east on tracks to Shepherd’s Rock outcrop. To complete the walk the sixth and final leg headed south on paths via the rocky Stiperstones ridge and returned to the car park.

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Walking Stiperstones Route

The Walking Stiperstones route was circular in a clockwise direction with six legs.

Leg 1

On this first leg we started from the car park, heading west along lane sections, field paths and a track to a corner track junction.

  1. We turned right out of the car park and walked along the lane for about 0.5 of a mile to a T-junction.
  2. Here we turned right along the lane and at a public footpath sign about 50 metres ahead, we turned left through a kissing-gate into a field.
  3. Here we headed diagonally right across the field to the corner of woodland to go through another kissing-gate into a second field.
  4. Here we walked away from the kissing-gate directly beneath overhead wires to cross a rough and uneven gorse-strewn field to go through a kissing-gate in a bushy corner.
  5. We then dropped down some steps and traced a winding path through scrub.
  6. We crossed a boardwalk and emerged above a car park amid the old mine workings at The Bog, where lead and zinc used to be mined since Roman times until the 1920s.
  7. We made our way through the car park to a lane and turned right towards a cross-ways and an old school which is now a seasonal visitor centre.
  8. Immediately before the building we turned left along a rough lane, signed as the “Flenny Bank Walk” (FBW).
  9. We descended gently down lane and kept right at the first fork to go around the right edge of a fir plantation to remain on the signed FBW.
  10. After about a further 250 metres we reached a corner junction of a woodside track to the left and the main track turning right towards Ritton Farm.

Leg 2

Having walked about 1.4 miles to this point, the second leg continued west along field paths via a short stony track section to the crest of a hill.

  1. Here on this corner we went straight ahead to climb over a stile into a pasture for the FBW.
  2. We then headed diagonally the pasture to cross stile at the far side, go across a plank bridge, and then cross another stile.
  3. Next we crossed a rough pasture aiming just right of a distinctive conical peak of Corndon.
  4. After climbing over another stile we crossed another field aiming slightly right to go over another stile into a field.
  5. Here we continued along the same line to cross a plank bridge and walked on to the tall waymarked post (FBW) amid gorse and reeds.
  6. Veering slightly left here, we aimed for a stretch of stony track which we joined by crossing two stiles close together next to two gates.
  7. After passing a tall post we looked ahead to see Shelve Pool amongst trees, which was our target.
  8. As the track began to descend a little towards a gate, we veering slightly left on a path to cross a double stile and culvert.
  9. From here we went ahead slightly left across a field and crossed a footbridge with a stile either side.
  10. Continuing along the same line we crossed a field to soon reach the edge of the woods that were sheltering a remote lake to our left.
  11. Walking beside the trees and a fence on our left, we ascended the field to climb a corner stile into another field.
  12. Here we went slightly right to ascend a steep bank to reach a cross-fence along the crest of a hill.

Leg 3

Having walked about 2.6 miles to this point, the third leg turned north on a path and tracks to a lane.

  1. Here we turned right in-front of the fence, walking beside it and descending slightly to soon cross a gate-side stile (FBW) into another field.
  2. To our left we viewed the skeletal remains of engine houses associated with the long-gone lead mines.
  3. We kept ahead here across the field to go along a track through three metal gates and arrive at the corner of a plantation of firs on our right.
  4. As the firs veered to the right, we kept ahead to the left on the field track, then descending a field to go through 2 metal gates onto an enclosed and very muddy farm track.
  5. We followed the track, passing through a number of open gates onto a lane at the edge of the hamlet of Shelve.

Leg 4

Having walked about 3.4 miles to this point, the fourth leg turned east along a lane section, field paths and tracks to a “No Through Road” sign.

  1. Turning right along the lane we went through the isolated hamlet of Shelve.
  2. We passed to the right of a plain and sturdy-looking 19th-century church.
  3. After about 800 metres, as the road went sharply to the right, we climbed over a stile, at a public footpath sign to enter a field.
  4. Here we headed uphill across a field, joining and keeping by a wire fence on the left.
  5. After the field levelled out we turned left over 2 stiles in the fence to enter another field.
  6. Bearing half-right we crossed the field to go over a way-marked stile by a gate into another field.
  7. We then went half-right again to reach a waymarked, offset fence corner.
  8. With the fence on our right we walked about 150 metres to cross another stile into a field.
  9. Here we aimed across the field up a rise to pass just left of a circle of pines.
  10. With a fence and hedge plus a mobile home on our right we continued ahead to cross a stile and go ahead onto an access track.
  11. Turning right down the track we crossed a stile at a T-junction; then turned left to reach a junction with a tarred lane.
  12. We went left here, ignoring a track immediately to our right and continued for about 50 metres to a “No Through Road” sign on the right.

Leg 5

Having walked about 4.8 miles to this point, the fifth leg continued east along tracks to the Shepherd’s Rock outcrop.

  1. Here we turned right along a track, going left in front of an old chapel.
  2. We walked steadily up this rough track, bearing left again at a T-junction.
  3. We ascended further to cross a stile next to a gate at the boundary of the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve.
  4. Here we had our first close views of this imposing, shattered ridge, dominated by the jagged outcrop of the Devil’s Chair.
  5. We followed a broad track ahead, between gorse and heather, across a lovely wild and open landscape.
  6. We had impressive views down a steep-sided valley to the left and of the serrated ridge in-front of us.
  7. We walked steadily uphill towards the ridge to a cross-ways just to the right of the outcrop of Shepherd’s Rock.

Leg 6

Having walked about 6 miles to this point, the sixth and final leg turned south on paths via the rocky Stiperstones ridge and back to the car park.

  1. We turned right here on the Shropshire Way along a very rocky ridge path up to the Devil’s Chair, the most prominent of the groups of rocks on the Stiperstones ridge.
  2. We followed the path through the massive shattered rocks, continuing past Manstone Rock.
  3. Here there was a triangulation pillar and other outcrops to where the path divides.
  4. Here we took a left fork to leave the Shropshire Way and follow a broad, pleasant, grassy path.
  5. We descended gently to pass through a gate back into the car park.

When Done & With Whom

I did this hike with my partner Anne whilst on a Shropshire hiking weekend during February 2011. We drove from our holiday accommodation in Lydbury North, just south east of Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire to a car park off a minor road between Shelve and Bridges, about 1.5 miles north of Bridges, at grid reference SO369977. The car park was also the start location of the hike.

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