Places to Visit

Take the time to explore the rich and varied landscape of the Shropshire Hills AONB. Among our hills, rivers, woods and farmland there is an amazingly diverse geology, a rich heritage including hillforts, castles and remains of early industry, a wonderful mix of wildlife, and stunning views around every corner.

Long Mynd ponies by Phil King

Below you will find ideas, information and links about some of the best places to visit and enjoy. See also our other pages on Enjoying the Shropshire Hills for ideas on walking and other activities, events and getting around.

Main Hills and Features

  • The Stiperstones is a relatively wild, high ridge of heathland with rocky tors and scree, red grouse, ravens and stonechat. The Stiperstones is a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England. On The StiperstonesThe main car park is at the south end, where there is a 650m well surfaced All-Ability Trail. There are also many other points around the hill where access can be gained, including through the deep batches (valleys) from Stiperstones village or Snailbeach, and from The Bog Visitor Centre, which has information and a café.
  • The restored miners’ cottages at Blakemoorgate, high on the hilltop, provide a fascinating insight into life in days gone by (information panels outside, cottages open for events run by Natural England).
  • Adjacent to the Stiperstones are three Shropshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves – the ancient woodlands and boggy pastures of Brook Vessons, the remarkable parkland of ancient holly and rowan trees at the Hollies and the outcrop and restored heathland of Nipstone Rock.
  • The Long Mynd is a large plateau of heathland supporting plants including heather and bilberry (known locally as whinberry), along with green hairstreak butterfly and hunting merlins. Pools and wet flushes add variety, along with the deep valleys with rock outcrops, hawthorn, gorse and short turf acid grassland. The hill top is crossed by the ancient Portway, and the Mynd is rich in archaeology including Bodbury Ring hillfort and Bronze and Iron Age monuments.
  • Carding Mill Valley near Church Stretton is a popular place from which to explore the Long Mynd, or to visit in its own right, for picnics by the stream and short walks in stunning scenery. The National Trust tearooms, gift shop and education centre are also based here, along with an information hut and toilets.
  • Wenlock Edge, a wooded limestone escarpment is famous for its dramatic views, fossils and rare flowers.  The National Trust’s guide to Wenlock Edge includes information on the wildlife, the limekilns and quarries and is available from information centres at Much Wenlock and Cardingmill Valley. The Edge can be reached from National Trust car parks near Much Wenlock and at Presthope, Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Harton Hollow reserve.
    See the beautiful fully illustrated and informative book ‘The Living Edge’.
  • The Wrekin is Shropshire’s iconic hill. Many people enjoy the steady climb through the lovely woods up the main path from Forest Glen to the open hilltop with spectacular views and the famous crag of the Needle’s Eye. The summit holds an impressive Iron Age hillfort, and there are many former charcoal burning platforms in the woods, linked to early industry at Ironbridge. Next to the Wrekin is the smaller hill of the Ercall, a Shropshire Wildlife Trust reserve with woodlands and dramatic geological exposures in the old quarry of the transition (an unconformity) between Precambrian and Cambrian rocks.
  • Offa’s Dyke, is one of the longest linear earthworks in Britain, built by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century. Running north to south roughly along the Welsh border, some of the best preserved sections of this important monument lie within the Shropshire Hills, providing the route for the Offa’s Dyke National Trail and other walks. The Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton provides an interactive exhibition along with other information and a shop.
  • Titterstone Clee is unique in being the only named hill to be shown on the 14th Century map of the world “The Mappa Mundi” preserved in the library of Hereford Cathedral. It is remarkably rich in geology, heritage and wildlife. As well as being a great viewpoint, the summit has the highest and largest hillfort in the county with associated Bronze Age earthworks. The landscape around tells the story of human occupation through ancient coal mining bell pits to large scale stone quarrying and one of the earliest hydro-power systems developed in 1885.
    There is parking available at the head of the road from Cleehill village.
    Adjoining the hill is Catherton Common, a recent Shropshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve with a wide variety of plants and animals.
  • Brown Clee has twin summits, Clee Burf and Abdon Burf, the latter being the highest point in Shropshire at 546 metres above sea level. Also important for its geology, the hill can be accessed through the Burwarton Estate woodlands near Cleobury North.
  • Bury Ditches between Clun and Bishop’s Castle is one of the best preserved multi-vallate hillforts in England, and managed by the Forestry Commission.
  • See our Some Shropshire Hills page for a more comprehensive list of hills in the AONB.

Other Shropshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves:

  • Earls’ Hill is a small but steep volcanic hill near Pontesbury with acid grassland, crags and woodland.????????????
  • Hope Valley is a steep valley woodland near Minsterley.
  • Rhos Fiddle and Lower Shortditch Turbury are heathlands high up in the Clun Forest, important fragments of what would have once been extensive upland heaths.
  • Clunton Coppice is a delightful oak wood in the Clun valley where traditional coppicing is being reinstated.
  • Comley Quarry near Church Stretton is renowned for fossil trilobites.
  • Lurkenhope – a steep woodland above Knighton.

Other National Trust countryside properties

  • Walcot Wood is a small remnant of ancient woodland, once part of a large Elizabethan deer park, and dominated by unusually shaped, 400 year old veteran oaks. Access from Bury Ditches car park.
  • Hopesay Hill near Craven Arms is a grazed common and offers great views for relatively little effort.

Shropshire Council countryside sites

  • Poles Coppice near Pontesbury is an attractive woodland and old quarry at the north end of the Stiperstones ridge.
  • Rectory Wood & Field close to the centre of Church Stretton is woodland and meadow once part of the grounds of the Old Rectory, offering well maintained paths, views and interpretation.

Other Landscape Features

  • The River Clun – The best place to enjoy a short walk by the river is at Clun Castle.
  • Linley Beeches – a beautiful avenue of ancient beech trees above the village of Norbury.
  • Bromlow Callow – a distinctive crown of trees above the village of Bromlow in the Hope Valley.
  • Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle – on Stapeley Common, a testimony to the importance of this area for early Bronze Age communities.

English Heritage properties

  • Stokesay Castle – fortified medieval manor house near Craven Arms.
  • Clun Castle – dramatic ruined 13th Century keep beside the river and the town.
  • Wenlock Priory – ruins of a Cluniac priory dating back to the 1100s in a tranquil garden setting on the fringe of Much Wenlock.
  • Buildwas Abbey – impressive ruins of a 12th Century Cistercian church close to the River Severn.

Other Historic Buildings open to the Public

  • Snailbeach Lead Mine – walk between the tall chimneys, engine houses and tramways at this extensive restored mine site, or go underground on one of the many open days.
  • Hopton Castle – medieval castle ruin between Craven Arms and Knighton, scene of famous Civil War siege, recently stabilised and made available for public access by a Trust.
  • Flounders Folly is an 80 foot tower on Callow Hill above Wenlock Edge built by Benjamin Flounders in 1838.
  • Wilderhope Manor is owned by the National Trust and run as a youth hostel. The Elizabethan gabled Manor was the home of Thomas Smallman, a Royalist Major during the Civil War. Pursued by Cromwell’s soldiers, he is said to have escaped by jumping his horse off Wenlock Edge at ‘Major’s Leap’.
  • Shipton Hall is a stunning Elizabethan manor house, built in the 16th Century by John Lutwyche. It is a family home but can be visited on specific days from Easter.  For details contact 01746 785225.

Other Sites and Useful links