Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Shropshire Hills are recognised as one of Britain’s finest landscapes. It’s not just the stunning scenery which will captivate you, but the people and places, its history and heritage, the walking and wildlife, food and festivals.
The Shropshire Hills are believed to have the greatest variety of rock types of any comparable sized area in the U.K. But you don’t have to be an expert, just stand on any of the hilltops that surround Church Stretton and admire the view – the rocky Stiperstones, the plateau of the Long Mynd, the craggy volcanic Stretton Hills and Wrekin and the long wooded scarp of Wenlock Edge all have their own distinctive beauty.
History and heritage
The countryside around Church Stretton is steeped in history and folklore. Climb Caer Caradoc and walk the ramparts of this impressive Iron Age hillfort. Another fine example is across the valley – Bodbury Ring on the summit of Bodbury Hill. Sixteen Bronze Age burial mounds can be found on the Long Mynd and the Portway, a 5,000 year old ridgeway was once used by Neolithic traders.
People and places
This is a living and working landscape. Centuries of small scale farming has shaped the countryside and its communities. Church Stretton itself is a bustling market town which holds regular markets and includes many independent shops to browse, town trails to follow and tea shops to enjoy. You’ll also find good country pubs serving great food and ale in the surrounding picturesque villages.
Walking and wildlife
What better way to enjoy the beauty of the area than to go for a walk. Come late summer the Long Mynd is a sea of purple and not to be missed. Along with the heather a variety of other plants flourish here including bilberry (known locally as whinberry). The hilltops are also home to upland birds such as curlew, red grouse and merlin, and you will never be far away from a buzzard circling overhead. Keep your eyes peeled and you will probably see red kite as well.
Food and festival
The area is renowned for its food. Sample the local produce and you’ll see why. Regular farmers markets are held locally or you can buy direct from farm shops. Supporting local producers help to look after this landscape and www.shropshirehills-buylocal.co.uk makes it even easier to search for local produce – so there is no excuse!
A great shopping experience
Church Stretton has great shops, individual, customer friendly, and providing a range of products for locals and visitors alike.
National Trust in Church Stretton
The National Trust visitor centre is half a mile from the town, in Carding Mill Valley. Here you can set off for a walk on the Long Mynd, get a cuppa or shop in the National Trust shop. There is ample charged parking in the valley.