Sunday seems to be our walking day this month and as you’ll know if you’ve read my previous blogs, I’ve been exploring Shropshire a little more. We returned back to the beauty that is Carding Mill Valley (looked after by the National Trust) which leads you on to Long Mynd – a place I’d also like to explore more of!
Last time we took the shooting box walk and this time we took the waterfall walk which is graded a red walk – moderate. And I can see why, it’s all single track with craggy slippery rocks. The muddy path follows a meandering stream with a variety of waterfalls until you reach the main waterfall at the end of the trek. And as waterfalls go (I’ve seen many!) it’s pretty, maybe 15 -20 ft? Carding Mill had snow the day before but most of it had melted and instead left icy walkways and muddy gorges. A sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots are recommended.
Tip: if you’re hiking in the winter, invest in a neck gaiter to keep the cold air out of your lungs.
According to the valley’s map, the guided walk ends here. Yet to the right hand side, you’ll see a carved out stairway in the rock which is roughly the same height as the waterfall. It’s somewhat treacherous when it’s wet which it was on Sunday. And so we carefully made our way up it. There’s a perfect place to stop and rest on the rock and have some soup and hot chocolate which is what we did on the way back.
The scenery is stunning around here and although the viability wasn’t too great due to a heavy mist, the eyes are entertained with mountain Ash and Hawthorn, Heather, glistening rocks, mosses and the occasional Red Kite. When we got on top of the moorland, the grass was covered in a shallow covering of snow and the Heather was decorated in ice crystals.
Out of all of the walks I’ve ever done, I’ve never gotten lost. I’m a bugger for not carrying maps, GPS or a compass on guided walks. But I should know better. As the sign posts stop on this part of the moorland and with the mist coming in heavier, we were unsure of where to go next. In hindsight, we should of continued straight but I decided to turn off and follow the horse tracks which abruptly disappeared and so we ended up at one side of the extremely high valley with no clue which way to go.
We back tracked on ourself as it was the safe thing to do. Luckily I’d taken pictures of things that stood out to me and so we were able to find the path that we’d started on. Instead of continuing straight we went back the way we’d come up (waterfall direction).
It taught me a few things – never underestimate the weather. Always carry a map and compass even on guided walks! Follow your gut, we all have an internal GPS in us and 9/10 for me it’s always been right.
The walk down was much harder for me. Yes you’ve guessed it, my ankle didn’t like it. It kind of put me on a little downer and I feel I’ve come so far and then it starts acting up and I feel right back at the beginning! But I made it back to the start OK, and with a desire for shortbread so we popped into the National Trust cafe to feast.
Carding Mill Valley is quite a popular and somewhat crowded place especially on the weekends. If you’re into quieter places then I’d say the moorland and the Long Mynd area is the best place to go. But if you have a dog, it’s a great place for them regardless.