Church Stretton – stay and walk awhile.
Church Stretton, in its spectacular setting, is the ideal base from which to explore the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These “Blue Remembered Hills” were lauded in the poetry of A.E.Housman and provided the setting for many of the children’s books by Malcolm Saville.
In 2008, Church Stretton became the first town in the West Midlands to be awarded ‘Walkers are Welcome status, with a host of way-marked walks for all abilities.
Church Stretton nestles in a wooded valley, retaining much of its Edwardian character with a variety of independent shops, traditional tea rooms, pubs and restaurants, plus a unique antiques emporium. Trace its long history on the Time-line tableaux in the town centre or follow the Town Trail to the Norman church of St. Laurence’s, with its rare pagan fertility symbol (sheila-na-gig). Don’t forget also to taste the pure Stretton Hills spring water, bottled in the town, and check out the many other Things To Do on churchstretton.co.uk
There is a wide choice of homely accommodation options – Church Stretton B&Bs, guest houses and farms and Church Stretton self-catering cottages, with direct bus and rail links to Ludlow and Shrewsbury. In the summer, shuttle buses can ferry you around the Shropshire Hills.
To the east of the town, rises the impressive Caer Caradoc, with its Iron Age hill-fort, offering a stunning vista across to Wenlock Edge and the Clee and Welsh hills, as well as to the other hills in the chain, the Lawley and the Helmeth and, further afield, the Wrekin, all formed 600 million years ago.
To the west of the town, you can walk up through the historic Rectory Wood (inspired by Capability Brown) on to the wild heather and bilberry-clad upland moors of the Long Mynd. This landscape, grazed by sheep and wild horses, is dotted with ancient barrows and intersected by picturesque little hollows, scoured out in the Ice Age, known locally as “batches”. The most famous of these is Cardingmill Valley where the National Trust run a tearoom and a varied programme of activities, such as bird-watching, geology, pond-dipping and astronomy. To tour the full ten mile length of the Long Mynd, you might opt to take the car, especially if you wish to visit the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve beyond.
Church Stretton Visitor Information
Visitor Information Centre – located next to the Library in Church Street.
Tel: 01694 723133
Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Saturday 9.30am – 5.00pm
More Church Stretton information on – www.churchstretton.co.uk
Shropshire Hills Shuttle Bus – a green and easy way to access the countryside
Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural beauty –www.shropshirehillsaonb.co.uk
The Church Stretton and South Shropshire Arts Festival
Last week in July and first week in August.
For details , see www.strettonfestival.org.uk
The Long Mynd Hike
Longmynd Hike Always the first weekend in October
A 50 mile competitive walk, www.longmyndhike.org.uk/