Long Mynd – Pole Bank and a Huge Liar!

24 11 2016

Sun 23 Oct 2016
Our second day of our HF (Holiday Fellowship) weekend at Church Stretton and we decided that, despite the low cloud meaning we couldn’t see it, it was the day to visit The Long Mynd. The weather was the same all weekend – fine and dry but very low mist until late afternoon. Therefore, we set off pretty late on our walk – not leaving the hotel until at least 1030…

Photos my (accurate) film camera and Richard’s digi (marked)

It was very cold as we set out on the ‘shortcut’ from the hotel through their excellent woodland sculpture trail and straight down through the woods to the road. We then strolled through Church Stretton town as we’ve never been before and then set off up the steep Burway Hill road. As the road leaves the town and before it gets steep and scary (for cars), we turned right at a cattle grid to the track which contours the valleyside into Cardingmill Valley. This is a famous old valley which was devoted to the sheepswool cottage industry dating back to 1812 – it is now owned by the National Trust.

The valley is very pretty but extremely popular so we were glad to come in on the track which missed out quite a lot of the early parking and cars driving around (very important now for my lungs). After the last carpark, the valley gets very scenic but is extremely busy with walkers and tourists.

carding-mill-valley-tourists

Now, this is where we found that, actually, Richard’s digi-camera is a blatant liar – we were stunned at the colours it had invented when we got back and looked at the photos and he was changing the batteries every few shots it was being so energetically inventive! I’ll put some of his photos by mine for comparison – we both say that the ‘colours’ in the murky weather that day on my film shots are extremely accurate.

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There were superb little ridges going off up both sides of the valley but we couldn’t walk everything so we continued to where there is a major path split as we wanted to see the Lightspout Waterfall in a little side valley.

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Richard’s camera’s painting of a Japanese Garden I think!

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R Wood

We were soon at the junction where we set off up the very narrow V-shaped valley. There was little room for a path and said path was very rocky and, with it being misty and damp, the limestone rocks were lethally slippery. Luckily, it is only around half a mile up to the waterfall.

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Richard’s camera’s painting above – the real thing from my film camera below!
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As there had been little rain, the waterfall was a shadow of its normal self but we took photos anyway.

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Richard’s photos of the fall…

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We then went for a clamber up the side on a made set of steps – I’d been eyeing the superb looking scramble up the easy rock to the left of the fall but it was way too slippery in the damp.

exiting-lightspout-valley

There wasn’t much to see above the fall and so we came more or less straight back down – me finding the stone steps too slippery for comfort in descent and grabbing the sides all the way down like a little old lady!

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R Wood

On returning to the path junction, we then turned left to complete the track to the head of the valley on what is known as “Mott’s Road”. This yielded good views back down the valley to Church Stretton but we noted that they would have been far nicer views on a sunny and clear day.

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R Wood

On the moor top of The Long Mynd, the savage wind hit us again and we piled all our clothing on and zipped everything up to the max. I even had to put my winter gloves on as my summer ones weren’t warm enough up there. There were wild ponies with foals right on the moor top – I couldn’t imagine how they could cope with so much cold and was sure they’d be better off down one of the little side valleys.

long-mynd-wild-pony

We quickly visited ‘The Shooting Box’ – a tumulus near a carpark on the road summit which once had a shooting hut built on it. The hut was removed in 1992 – shame they couldn’t also remove the people who use it to shoot grouse!

We didn’t hang around for much up there as it was way too cold but pretty much dashed straight to the summit of the moor at Pole Bank where there was a trig point, a viewfinder and quite a few tourists.

We’d originally been going to take a high track down one of the ridges from there for the views and visit all the hill summits we felt like. However, after a brief discussion as we walked, we decided it was way too cold and instead picked a footpath which went off down a narrow and winding valley to the west of the hill of Long Synalds. We figured this would be a warmer route and were pleased to immediately drop out of the cruel wind.

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R Wood

As we descended into the valley, we became more and more pleased it was such a cold and windy day – the valley was full of interest and got more beautiful as we descended (this section of ‘paintings’ Richard’s digi-camera)

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Wonder if it ever looks like that!

The valley leads down to Long Stretton and the map says that the bottom of the valley is called Ashes Hollow – not sure if that refers to the whole valley or just the lower section.

looking-down-ashes-hollow

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Richard’s ‘impressionist shot’ of the same hill!

After the valley winds downwards with constantly changing vistas, the path eventually heads down into a narrow tree-lined small gorge.

ashes-hollow-gorge

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More of Richard’s camera’s paintings…

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This was both sheltered and pretty and we had quite a few short breaks to sit on rocks by the stream.

ashes-hollow-beck

We were pretty sorry to leave the valley and had a break under a large tree to delay our exit and to get a snack and a hot coffee. We then headed out via a campsite to the village.

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Richard’s camera’s last few paintings before we left the valley…

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Long Stretton is an extremely pretty little village with many lovely old houses. Even the new houses actually blend in with the old style – I find that quite rare nowadays – although developers say they are building to match the old style, they somehow never normally manage to do so.

long-stretton-old-cottage

An added attraction of the village for Richard is that it has two good real-ale pubs a short distance from each other – we naturally had to call in at both!

From Long Stretton it was a short mile-long walk back to the hotel. Of course, the sun now decided to finally come out.

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Ragleth Hill – R Wood

There is a lovely track rakes gently uphill from the start of Church Stretton back to our hotel.

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Long Mynd Hotel and some imaginatively painted trees – R Wood

We’re not sure whether we’d visit the Long Mynd again but, if we’re in the area, we’ll definitely visit Ashes Hollow again!

We found out the other day what Richard had pressed on his digi-camera to get such weird results – there’s a ‘magic button’ apparently – not sure why you’d want to use it with results like that!

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16 responses

10 12 2016
surfnslide

Some of my relatively local hills (I live in Hereford).You’ve pretty much covered the very best of the area in these two days. Ragleth, Caer Caradoc and Ashes Hollow are all superb. The actual summit of the Long Mynd is a little bland and bleak for me. You are also right that The Lawley is wonderful and well worth the extra effort to reach it

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11 12 2016
mountaincoward

If we hadn’t been with the guided group that day, we’d definitely have gone on to The Lawley. I wish we hadn’t missed the Stiper Stones but it really wasn’t worth it in a thick clag! And the stones would have been too slippery to clamber on…

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2 12 2016
Olly Parry-Jones

I did a similar walk in August and have been wondering what it might be like in autumn. One downside the summer walking (aside from the mass of people and cars in Cardingmill Valley) is that the trig on Pole Bank was swarming with hundreds of bees! They weren’t harmful but I found it was a slightly uncomfortable experience.

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2 12 2016
mountaincoward

There were still hordes of folk in the Cardingmill Valley and quite a few up at the ‘Pole’ even though it was bitterly cold. Many of them had driven up and just done the short walk to the trig. I wouldn’t fancy a bee swarm either – I had one in my house the other year!

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29 11 2016
M.Barrett

After seeing those photos, I’ve got it on my todo list for next autumn! Great report.

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2 12 2016
mountaincoward

I’d say autumn is the perfect time as there are very many trees around there (not like our balder areas up north) and you get beautiful colours. Heather time would be good for on the top of the Long Mynd ridge too…

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27 11 2016
McFadzean

Don’t know that area at all, but it looks like good walking. I looked at the pictures with my sun glasses on and that helped.
Alen

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27 11 2016
mountaincoward

LOL yeah I would! I’m glad we found out what he’d done on his camera as neither of us liked those results!

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26 11 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

Hi Carol,
I think most cameras ‘lie’ to some degree as, unless it’s a very good top of the range model, £££££££ with all kinds of tricks built in as standard automatically it will never capture the reality our eyes see over a range of different lighting conditions. Although I’ve always taken ‘pictures’ with a camera the results were always disappointing to me and I only became interested in ‘photography’ as such when cheap affordable cameras advanced enough to bring the reality I could see in nature all around me that bit closer. Everyone seems to have different ideas about what makes a good photograph though. One of my friends loves black and white and shoots mostly in that. I know you think many of mine are fake and too colourful but I wouldn’t be happy with your model although I know you love it as it doesn’t reflect how I see the world or the colour spectrum around me and I try to capture that as natural and lifelike as possible with the equipment I’m willing to afford.( I go through a lot of cameras so a really expensive one would be a waste as I like small .easy to reach models and would get fed up lugging a large one around)
Personally, for my tastes, the true colours of the natural environment out there in this particular month shown are a blend somewhere between the two extremes in your photos. Not too faded looking,like the one with the horse, but not over-saturated either. Neither look completely natural to me. I’m being totally honest here, hoping it will not offend.
At the end of the day it all boils down to what you are happy with and both of us are happy with our own vision of the world and what it should look like :o)
Best Wishes.

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26 11 2016
mountaincoward

I always find the film camera gets a pretty accurate result as I remember from the day in dull conditions like those. Apparently, automatic digi-point-and-shoot cameras play with the colour saturation in those conditions which they shouldn’t! But Richard had pressed a daft ‘magic’ button accidentally on his camera and it stayed on until we got home and he found out and deselected it. The only thing with some film nowadays is that it’s losing it’s quality as it isn’t selling fast enough.

I don’t remember ever saying that I thought your camera’s shots were too colourful? I know you go out in good conditions (which I don’t usually get) so I always assume it was really that good on the day. You certainly get better sunsets up there than we do.

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25 11 2016
tessapark1969

Been to that area but not for ages – some of your walk looks familiar so I suspect I’ve done some of it years ago with my parents. Not keen on the magic button, definitely looks artificial!

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25 11 2016
mountaincoward

Richard didn’t like the magic button either – I’m glad he found what it was and switched it back off!

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25 11 2016
chrissiedixie

Never walked in that area, although people keep telling us we should give it a visit. Looks rather pretty!

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25 11 2016
mountaincoward

you can definitely leave it till you’re older and less fit – that’s what I’ve done really…

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25 11 2016
underswansea

Wonderful report. Those are quite the colours! A trail with two good ale pubs – that’s a bonus. I like where you descended the slippery slope like an old lady. It’s funny, the things you would hop, skip and jump across in youth, now we are left shuffling, gingerly inching one foot ahead of the other. At least thats how I felt walking to work this morning in the freezing rain. I always enjoy your posts. Bob

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25 11 2016
mountaincoward

I’ve broken so many bones now it puts me off taking any risks whatsoever on slippery ground…

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