Shropshire Hills Walks
Date: 27th Aug 2014
Distance: 3.0 miles
Ascent: 500 feet
Time: 2 hours 10 mins
With: Lisa and Rhiannon
Start Grid Ref: SO369977
A short but hugely enjoyable circular walk with the family over the Stiperstones from the Cranberry Rocks car park.
Route Summary: Knolls Car Park - Cranberry Rocks - Manstone Rock - Devil's Chair - Shepherd's Rock - Gatten Plantation - Knolls Car Park
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Although there are longer walks one can do over the Stiperstones the car park at Knolls, a short distance below Cranberry Rocks, offered the opportunity for a short family walk and a rare opportunity for me to get my daughter on to the top of a decent sized hill.
First of all though we had to negotiate the exciting drive over the narrow and steep-sided road known as The Burway that climbs over the Long Mynd from Church Stretton. I decided to set off early so as to lessen the chance of coming across too much traffic coming the other way. My plan worked and it proved to be an enjoyable drive. As it happened by setting off early we were also able to enjoy the morning sunshine before the day clouded over.
The route was a simple one taking the broad grassy path from the car park up to Cranberry Rocks and then following the path along the ridge as far as Shepherd's Rock. It was a superb mile and a half of walking as we visited a succession of rocky outcrops the most spectacular of which were Manstone Rock and the Devil's Chair. The combination of rock, purple heather and patches of blue sky was an excellent one and it was a joy for me to share it with my wife Lisa and especially my daughter Rhiannon.
To keep her entertained I regaled her with some of the many tales of witches, devils and Wild Edric that have attached themselves to the dramatic landscape of the Stiperstones. At various points we also stopped off to film scenes for an ad-libbed super hero story that Rhiannon wanted to make. All in all it was great fun.
I did however deem it too risky for me to take her up to the trig point that crowns the tall summit outcrop. Leaving her safely with her mum I scrambled up to the top myself. The top is marked on the map as Manstone Rock but whether this refers to the summit rocks or specifically to a man-sized pillar of rock at the northern edge of the summit rocks is not clear. Regardless it was an airy perch from which to survey the scene with the profile of Corndon Hill, just over the border into Wales, looking particularly inviting.
From Shepherd's Rock we followed a bridelway south-west to reach a junction of paths above the farm at Hollies. Here we took the bridleway running through Gatten Plantation for an easy mile or so back to the car park enjoying all the while the view towards The Long Mynd.
While the Stiperstones would certainly repay a more extended exploration I am really glad I did this as a shorter walk so that Lisa and Rhiannon could come along too. Indeed this short walk was, for me at least, the highlight of our holiday in Shropshire.