The Stiperstones Area
- The nature reserve includes the major part of Shropshire’s Stiperstones ridge-line, near the Welsh border. In the lower areas of the reserve heather and gorse heath is dominant, while ling and whinberry predominate on the uplands. The site supports common lizard, brown hare and common frog. Birdlife includes curlew, red grouse, skylark, meadow pipit, stonechat, buzzard, pied flycatcher, wood warbler and recently Red Kite. Invertebrates found here include Grayling and Green Hairstreak Butterflies, and Fox, Hawk and Emperor Moths. There is open, and well used, public access to the reserve but it still retains a wild and unspoilt character that has been captured by writers such as Mary Webb, D H Lawrence and Malcolm Saville. The NNR lies within the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is an Environmentally Sensitive Area. This is a perfect spot for long and short walks alike.
Stiperstones National Nature Reserve
- The Stiperstones is a spectacular 10-kilometre ridge rising to 536 metres above sea level. Its unmistakable rugged outline is visible from points throughout the area. Much of The Stiperstones is a National Nature Reserve. It provides an outstanding combination of geological, landscape and wildlife features; wild, dramatic scenery; a fund of myth, folklore and literary connections; and a history of mining and farming.
There are lots of footpaths to use to explore the reserve, some of which start from the pub. A walks booklet ‘From mineshaft to Fireside’ is available to purchase from the shop or the Bog visitors centre. There are also two restored cottages high on the hill that are open on the second Sunday of each month from April until October.
A series of events are run throughout the year, details of which can be seen on notice boards.
For more information see
Walking The Stiperstones Ridgeline
- This is truly beautiful walking country with walks of all lengths and difficulty levels right on our doorstep, so whether you want a gentle stroll or something along the lines of the Long Mynd Hike (50 miles), this is the perfect base to begin from. Lara (Chapel Owner and Landlady of The Stiperstones Inn) Has written a series of walks (Lara’s Walks) for the area which can be found here. Lara is always happy to give advice on walking in the area and is usually up-to-date on the seasonal condition of the paths, the location of herds and which paths are suitable for dogs. Being a keen walker herself she can often be found shepherding stray walkers towards The Stiperstones Inn. We do recommend that you also take an Ordnance Survey map with you on any long walks or hikes as it is very easy to wander off down one of the sheep paths by mistake.
Walking the Stiperstones ridge is a must!
The Stiperstones is a very distinctive range of hills, its quartzite ridge was formed some 480 Million years ago. During the last Ice Age the summit stood out above the glaciers and was subject to constant freezing and thawing which shattered the quartzite into a mass of jumbled scree mounds surrounding several residual rocky tors. At 536 meters above sea level it is the second highest hill in the county, surpassed only by Brown Clee Hill (540m).
The five-mile (8km) long summit ridge is crowned by several jagged quartzite tors The principal ones are named as follows, from north-east to south-west:
The Rock (how's that for descriptive)
Manstone Rock is the highest of these at 536 meters, and is topped with the trig point. The Devil's Chair is the largest and best known and is the source of many legends. In fact the area around the Stiperstones is rich in myths and folklore, according to one legend, the ghost of Wild Edric (a Saxon Earl who held lands that were confiscated after 1066 and successfully defied the Normans, for a time at least) rides the hills whenever England is threatened by invasion. One story of Edric can be found in “Shropshire Ghost Stories” a book by local storyteller Sally Tonge (available at The Stiperstones Inn).
Circular walks from the Inn to the Devil's Chair can take anywhere between one and two hours, however some of the the runners of the “Dash and Dawdle” race which takes place here on Boxing Day (26th December) can make it to the Chair and back (five steep kilometers) in just over 20 minutes. For more information please visit Sproson.com.
The Snailbeach Lead Mines
- Snailbeach was the biggest lead mine in Shropshire and it is reputed to have yielded the greatest volume of lead per acre of any mine in Europe. Underground mining ceased here in 1955 but it is thought to date back to Roman times, the surface buildings are arguably the most complete set in the country. Although the miners mainly extracted lead ore (galena), smaller quantities of Barite, Calcite, Fluorspar, Silver and Zinc were also obtained. Snailbeach mine has been preserved by the County Council and managed by the Shropshire Mines Trust who keep the site open at weekends throughout the summer. Photographs and information on the mines can also be found in the bar of The Stiperstones Inn.
The Snailbeach Mine (SSSI)
Tankerville Pottery and Gallery
- With Roy Evans' hand-made pots and paintings by Pat Evans, Philip Petford and graphic art by Noel Evans, the Tankerville gallery has something to offer everyone. Originals and prints are on sale at the gallery and prints of local scenes can also be seen and purchased at The Stiperstones Inn.
Tankerville Pottery and Gallery
The Bog Visitor Centre
- The unfortunately named Bog Visitor Centre, is an old school-house and one of the last remaining buildings from The Bog Village, demolished in 1972. The centre is the only visitor facility for the Stiperstones upland region. It provides a wealth of information about its mining history, its people, and the current work to restore the surrounding landscape. The centre is staffed by a team of volunteers from the local community who give a warm welcome to visitors, providing tea and home made cakes as well as selling locally produced crafts. The Bog Visitor Centre with its old school interior and gas lighting still retains the air and charm of a bygone age.
The Bog Visitor Centre
- Located at The Bog, Stiperstones, this is one of the largest privately owned shooting complexes in the UK. They offer a wide range of shooting related services, including a Home Office approved shooting club with firearms storage facilities, clay grounds and deer stalking training. The have friendly and entertaining instructors for corporate entertainment, special events and shooting lessons. We have only done this a few times but have had loads of fun in what feels like a safely run environment, we recommend booking in advance of your stay as the ranges can get really busy.
Spring Lea Fishery
- Spring Lea is a series of five pools, offering grey day ticket course fishing. The pools are well stocked with hard fighting Carp and a wide range of other species. This offers a range of angling to suit everyone from the experienced angler, who can set their sights on one of the 20lb plys carp, to beginners, children and those who are returning to angling after some years away.
The 5 hour match weight record is 187 1/2lbs by Richard Lawson in August 2010
Spring Lea is located approximately 6 miles north east of The Old Chapel between the villages of Pontesbury and Hanwood and offers lovely views of the South Shropshire Hills. Open all year round and daily from 7am to dusk. Charges are £6 per rod per day and £5 for children. Tickets are payable on the bank.
Spring Lea Fishery
Eastridge Wood Mountain Biking Trails
- This hill-top woodland his stunning views across the surrounding countryside and some great, raw mountain bike trails for those who like roots, rocks and a little bit of mud. The trails in this wood are built in partnership between the Forestry Commission and the Eastridge Trail Partnership (ETP), to internationally recognised standards. If you want more information get in touch with ETP via their Facebook page.
Eastridge Wood Mountain Biking Trails
Midland Gliding Club
- Gliding is an exciting and rewarding sport for people from 14 to 85, male and female. It is very affordable and not just a sport for the rich and privileged alone. Gliding is a cheap way to learn to fly. Flying in gliders is not at all like flying in commercial airliners. When gliding you are part of your surroundings, not just a passenger in a metal tube. It's "seat of the pants" flying, rather like that enjoyed by pioneer aviators. Flying a glider well depends on your aptitude, skill and judgment, coupled with a thorough training. At the Midland Gliding Club we specialise in training pilots at all levels from beginners to advanced cross country soaring.
Midland Gliding Club
- Gleanings is a Rural Study Centre & Venue situated on a 14 acre smallholding, set in the glorious south shropshire hills. The building has been designed to allow natural light to fill the building through full height south facing windows, and on those chilly days the comforyting log burner will warm you through.
Courses at Gleanings are run in small, intimate groups, thus providing a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, in which to soak up knowledge as well as giving everyone the opportunity to make new friends. They are based on country traditions and the natural world, including folk music, songwriting, birdwatching, wild flower studies, art, smallholdings and farming, as well as country craft skills.
Attingham Park (NT) near Shrewsbury
- Attingham Park was built for the 1st Lord Berwick in 1785 and was in continuous ownership by the family for more than 160 years. Don't miss the atmospheric dining room set for an evening banquet that reflects its Regency splendour, or the delicate decorative scheme in the Boudoir, which has recently been revealed. Work is currently ongoing to rescue and restore the stunning Nash roof that covers the Picture Gallery. This project is part of 'Attingham Re-discovered', which has been carefully bringing the house and grounds back to life since 2006. The Mansion is at the heart of this great estate between Shrewsbury and the River Severn and is set in beautiful parkland designed to impress. Home to a wide range of wildlife, the main highlights on the estate include the Deer Park (as we go with Bob the dog I’ve never seen one), the walled garden and miles of beautiful walks. For families, the Shoulder of Mutton play field is the perfect location for picnics, games and running off steam, with natural play equipment and wide open spaces.
Attingham Park (NT)
Powis Castle (NT) near Welshpool
- The world-famous garden, overhung with clipped yews, shelters rare and tender plants. Laid out under the influence of Italian and French styles, it retains its original lead statues and an orangery on the terraces. High on a rock above the terraces, the castle, originally built circa 1200, began life as a medieval fortress.
Remodelled and embellished over more than 400 years, it reflects the changing needs and ambitions of the Herbert family - each generation adding to the magnificent collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture and tapestries.
A superb collection of treasures from India is displayed in the Clive Museum.
Please note, due to the medieval deer park, sadly no dogs are allowed.
Powis Castle (NT)
Stokesay Castle (EH) near Ludlow
- Stokesay Castle is quite simply the finest and best preserved fortified medieval manor house in England. Set in peaceful countryside near the Welsh border, the castle, timber-framed gatehouse and parish church form an unforgettably picturesque group.
Lawrence of Ludlow, a wealthy local wool-merchant wishing to set up as a country gentleman, bought the property in 1281, when the long Anglo-Welsh wars were ending. So it was safe to raise here one of the first fortified manor houses in England, 'builded like a castle' for effect but lit by large domestic-style windows. Extensive recent tree-ring dating confirms that Lawrence had completed virtually all of the still surviving house by 1291, using the same team of carpenters throughout: more remarkably, the dating also revealed that it has scarcely been altered since.
Stokesay's magnificent open hearthed great hall displays a fine timber roof, shuttered gable windows and a precipitous staircase, its treads cut from whole tree-trunks. It is flanked by the north tower, with an original medieval tiled floor and remains of wall painting, and a 'solar' or private apartment block, and beyond this the tall south tower, the most castle-like part of the house, self-contained and reached by a defensible stairway.
Stokesay Castle (EH)
- The town centre with its steep narrow streets and alleyways is packed with timber-framed black & white buildings. It boasts over 600 listed buildings including the Castle, now a regimental museum and the world-famous Shrewsbury Abbey, home of the fictional Brother Cadfael. Charles Darwin was born and educated in Shrewsbury and all around you will find reminders of his association with the town. The River Severn forms a loop around the town centre offering gentle riverside walks, boat trips are available from the Welsh Bridge. The historic centre is a shopper's heaven packed with designer shops, smart new malls and an amazing range of independent retailers (but its really difficult to buy mens clothes). There is a number of beautiful churches in the town, which are all worth a visit as they differ so much in style and ornamentation, A visit to St. Aulkmond's and St. Mary’s which are very close together, and the unusual, round church of St. Chad's, where you can view the gravestone of Ebanezer Scrooge are a must.
- The historic market town of Church Stretton is situated in the heart of the South Shropshire hills on the English/Welsh border. The Long Mynd, which rises above the west of the town, is renowned for gliding, hang gliding and paragliding, and boasts the second highest golf course in England. The Carding Mill Valley (National Trust) is a popular area, with excellent facilities for all. With stunning views across the Shropshire and Cheshire plains and Black Mountains. This is excellent walking country with much of interest to the naturalist. The Chalet Pavilion in Carding Mill Valley offers information about the area, as well as a tea-room and shop. Church Stretton is a great town for antique and charity shop lovers alike.
- Bishop's Castle is much loved by visitors who want to experience unspoilt countryside dappled with small villages and hamlets. It's a place to get away to and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that is rapidly departing from other parts of England. There are no motorways and few traffic lights; you'll be deafened by the silence broken only by the calls of circling buzzards (possibly because the general population is so old). The shops in the town are a delight in their individuality and independent nature. No IKEA, M&S or Boots here - the majority of shops are locally owned and managed and this makes for a very special visit. Bishop's Castle sometimes feels like the heart of Hippydom on Earth. The town has 2 banks, a post office and 3 grocery stores. Add to that a wonderful deli, several interesting cafés and 6 pubs . . . not to mention the 2 breweries, which are both used by The Stiperstones Inn. We recommend that you call in and see Big Nev’ at the Six Bells Pub and Brewery, a huge gentle bear of a man, who will keep you entertained and may even show you around his brewery.
- Dating from the 12th Century, Ludlow is a market town, perched on a cliff above the River Neme and surrounded by the countryside of the Marches. Many of its fine houses have survived and today the town boasts nearly 500 listed buildings. The parish church of St Laurence, dating from 1199, is one of the largest churches in the country, the climb up the narrow staircase onto the top of the tower is exhausting but worth it for the photographs. For centuries the town has been dominated by Ludlow Castle. Dating from 1086, the fortification was one of a line of castles built along the Marches to keep out the Welsh (they failed). Once a royal palace, the now ruined Ludlow Castle continues to play an important role in the life of the town. As well as an important tourist attraction the castle is also a venue for festivals, open-air theatrical performances and other events throughout the year. We love to visit the open air Shakespeare performances in the castle grounds, which really is the perfect setting for the plays and our picnics. Ludlow is famous as the gastronomic centre of Shropshire and has more restaurants with Michelin Stars than any other town in the country. The town also has a traditional market with many speciality food shops. The intriguing history of Ludlow and its castle is illustrated at the Ludlow Museum in Castle Square.