Walking from Witchend

“This is Witchend, isn’t it?”

My wife knew of the Long Mynd, and the eastern valleys or “batches”, as they are known locally, long before we first came to Shropshire. As a child, she had read and enjoyed Malcolm Saville’s “Lone Pine” stories. The precise locations used in the stories are mostly fictional, though Priors Holt, at the mouth of Nut Batch, is widely reckoned to be the model for Witchend. The gliders we would see on this walk come into at least one of the stories, similarly the rocky tors of Stiperstones, and its mines. But red kites – five were wheeling over Priors Holt Hill at the start of our walk – would have been a very rare sight in Shropshire when the books were written – there were then just a handful struggling on in mid-Wales.

The walk up the forestry road provides a very easy ascent to the Long Mynd plateau, joining the ancient Portway south of the gliding field. A much more modern path – the Starboard Way (!) avoids the gliders and their cables, and leads fairly directly to the top of Minton Batch, for a very pleasant descent. The path across the fields, back to Witchend, would have been slightly easier to follow had I not left the map at home…

The Malcolm Saville Society

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