Nature Reserves in the Shropshire Hills

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Things To Do Category: Countryside and Landscapes and Nature Reserves

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  • Nature Reserves in the Shropshire Hills

    The Shropshire Hills are blessed with a rich variety of landscapes , often providing exceptional habitats for a wide variety of species.

    Many of these are protected in different ways, over and above the Hills’ designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    The Long Mynd is mostly owned by the National Trust, which has worked hard with commoners to reduce the impact of grazing on its heathland, and it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest on account of both its geology and its biology.

    The Stiperstones ridge is a wild and atmospheric landscape and a National Nature Reserve, thanks to its special geology. Its distinctive ridge of quartzite, which shattered during the last Ice Age, last created a dramatic landscape, strewn with jagged boulders.

    It is home to the common lizard and common frog and local birdlife includes red grouse, red kite, skylark, raven and stonechat.

    There’s well used public access and, besides the birds and reptiles, you can watch out for magnificent green hairstreak butterflies and emperor moths.

    The Shropshire Wildlife Trust is responsible for the management of a number of other nature reserves throughout the Shropshire Hills and each of these has special qualities that can be enjoyed by visitors.

    Reserves in the Stiperstones and Minsterley area

    Earl’s and Pontesford Hill – A steep hill with volcanic origins, boasting an Iron Age fort , great views and flower-studded grasslands higher up and traditional woodland on its lower slopes

    Hope Valley – A rejunvenated oak woodland, replacing conifer plantations. See bluebells, orchids and yellow archangels, and, if lucky, dormice.

    Brook Vessons and the Hollies – adjoining reserves. The former boasts giant trees: Shropshire’s biggest crab apple, birch and rowan! The latter is an ancient holly grove on the flanks of the Stiperstones.

    Nipstone Rock – Some years ago Shropshire Wildlife Trust teamed up with Natural England (now English Nature), the Forestry Commission and others to restore heathland across the rugged Stiperstones ridge (including Nipstone Rock),  through a project called Back to Purple. Now most of the conifers have gone and the purple flowers of heather along with juicy, dark whinberries have reappeared.

    Accommodation suggestions

    Castle Hotel, Bishop’s Castle

    Lower Farm, Shelve (self-catering)

    Grove Farm House, Condover

    Refreshment

    Castle Hotel

    The Bog Centre

    Attractions

    Shropshire Mines Trust – organised visits to Snailbeach and Tankerville mines with underground tours

    The Bog Centre – former Victorian school and now a Visitor Centre famous for homemade cakes

    Kerryvale Vineyard – with cafe and art gallery

    Reserves in the Church Stretton and Craven Arms area

    Comley Quarry – A very special place for geologists: it was here that the first trilobite fossils to be found in Britain were discovered.

    Harton Hollow – The limestone ridge that is Wenlock Edge (once a coral barrier reef!) has its own special flora, including herb paris, sanicle and sweet woodruff.

    Accommodation suggestions

    Eaton Manor (luxury self-catering)

    Grove Farm House, Condover

    Mocktree Barns (self-catering)

    Castle View guesthouse

    The Bridges Inn and Bunkhouse, Ratlinghope

    Crown Country Inn, Munslow

    Greenway – Quality glamping, adults only, plus touring caravans and motor homes. Near Craven Arms.

    Refreshment

    Van Doesburgs, gourmet food shop, Church Stretton

    Crown Country Inn, Munslow

    National Trust, Carding Mill

    Stokesay Castle tea room (no entry fee required)

    Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

    Reserves in the Clun Valley and the borders

    Rhos Fiddle – A hilltop heath and wetland, boasting waders, dragonflies.

    Lower Shortditch Turbary – The Lower Shortditch is an ancient monument amid a species-rich heathland, that’s also a great place to forage for whinberries.

    Clunton Coppice – This spacious oak wood has rather shot to fame with sighting of pine martens in its darker corners.

    Lurkenhope – Steep woodland that was once the home and livelihood of charcoal burners. You can still find the remains of their hearths.

    Accommodation suggestions

    White Horse, Clun – inn with dining and rooms

    Baron at Bucknell – country inn with luxury garden rooms

    Hopton House – luxury bed and breakfast

    Reserves in the Ludlow and Clee Hills area

    Whitcliffe Common – Steep wooded slopes rise from the banks of the River Teme, in Ludlow, and to open grassland, with glorious views across the town to the Clee Hills.

    Catherton Common – A wild, bleak and uncultivated ancient landscape, dotted with houses and smallholdings. A wonderful place for many birds that have vanished elsewhere, such as skylarks, linnets, meadow pipits, stonechats, wheatears and yellowhammers.

    Cramer Gutter – This rich grazing pasture on the slopes of Titterstone Clee is home to many specialist bogland plants, and dragonflies.

    Farfields Meadows – Two species-rich west-facing meadows.

    Accommodation suggestions

    Cliffe at Dinham – fine dining restaurant with rooms, Ludlow

    The Clive – fine dining with rooms, at Ludlow Food Centre

    The Feathers – historic hotel in central Ludlow

    Hobson’s brewery – Small number of serviced overnight pitches for camper vans, in Cleobury Mortimer

    Broome Park Farm – country farmhouse bed and breakfast with local produce

    Refreshment

    The Feathers

    Ludlow Castle

    Ludlow Brewing Company

    Ludlow Food Centre

    Attractions

    Ludlow Castle

    Ludlow Food Centre

    Ludlow Brewing Company

    Hobson’s brewery

    This product has been developed as part of the Shropshire Hills Tourism Cooperation Project, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the auspices of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The project is delivered by Gravity Consulting Ltd on behalf of Shropshire Hills and Ludlow Destination Management Partnership.

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