Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire Hills
The National Trust's Carding Mill Valley and the surrounding area of the Shropshire Hills is the ideal recreation area for those who enjoy long solitary walks, wildlife spotting, mountain biking or guided walks in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Covering 2,000 hectares (4942 acres) of heather-covered hills around the Church Stretton area of Shropshire, this extensive area has some of the best walks in the Marches.
The Great Ridge, known as Long Mynd, runs like a backbone through these Shropshire Hills and provides panoramic views across Shropshire and the Cheshire Plain.
The Shropshire Hills has a long history with traces of habitation going back to the Bronze Age.
This area was a major trading route, linking the town ofShrewsbury with the ports in South Wales.
Round barrows and tumuli mark ancient burial sites, long since looted, and the ditches known as the Bodbury Ring mark the site of an old hill fort.
This is an area of historic grazing and its main agricultural use today is sheep farming, following this long tradition. Bracken, prickly gorse and heather are the hardy shrubs which cover this upland heath moorland.
The area was known as "Little Switzerland" in Victorian times, when tourists flocked to Church Stretton and the Marches to enjoy the healthy air and spring waters.
The main car park is in the Carding Mill Valley and it has plenty of facilities such as toilets and information boards.
This popular car park accommodates 23,000 cars each year, which bring in just some of the 250,000 visitors who enjoy this recreational space.
The Chalet Pavilion tea room is located on the main car park. It provides hot lunches, snacks and local food and sells maps and guides to this unspoilt area.
It is the best place to pick up a hot or cold drink before settingoff on a day's hike. This is also the place for families to pick up family activity packs provided by The National Trust.
Along with walkers and naturalists, the area caters to golfers, horse riders and even paragliders.
For cyclists, this area has more than 10 miles of off-road tracks and bridleways.
There are regular shuttle buses to take walkers up Long Mynd so that they can enjoy the pleasant downhill walk.
The superb walking on the 30 miles of maintained footpaths offers peaceful countryside, babbling brooks and miles of open moorland.
The Long Mynd dominates the area with its steep narrow valleys, understatedly called "hollows".
It covers 5 square miles and its high point, reached along the Carding Mill Valley Trail, is 517 metres (1595 feet) above sea level at Pole Bank.
Other popular trails lead up Caer Caradoc.
The National Trust is charged with conserving and enhancing this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, known as a Special Site of Scientific Interest due to its biological and geological assets.
The wardens organize more than 50 guided walks and talks during the summer season to maximize everyone's pleasure.
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Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire Hills Postcode for SatNav: SY6 6JG
Carding Mill Valley