Black Rhadley

The beginning of April marks an eagerly-awaited turning point in the South Shropshire calendar – the Bog Centre opens up for the season. That fact (with its implied prospect of excellent cakes, scones etc.) was the clincher when I asked my friend where he thought we might go for today’s walk.

Before we can enjoy those refreshments, of course, we have to earn them, and we haven’t even had lunch yet. Black Rhadley, overlooking the river West Onny as it winds through the Linley Hall estates, should be a suitable spot. It was, too – extensive views in all directions, and wonderfully quiet – just the birds, and there’s that curlew again. Lunch over, we head northwards along the Stiperstones ridge, as far as the head of Perkins Beach, where we turn back toward The Bog for tea and Stiperscones.

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Kites above the Devil’s Chair

They must have thought as we did – that it was a perfect day for the hills, almost too good for mid-March. A cloudless sky, warm sunshine, cool air and the lightest of breezes – much better than mid-summer. Fewer people about, but at least four red kites. First there was one on his (or her) own, then another, then a pair, hurrying away to the north – and moments later, another pair circling to our south. The alpacas and llamas were enjoying the sun too. This is south Shropshire, isn’t it? It’s hard to be sure sometimes.

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Stiperstones in October

We’re walking the length of the ridge, from Snailbeach to the Rock, on a fine autumn day with the promise of some sunshine. The starting point is significant – one of our objectives is the Bog Centre for tea and cake – if we’d started there, it might have been closed by the time we returned (and that would never do!). So we’re heading out past Lordshill chapel and the Hollies, and two-thirds of the way around this very enjoyable route we come to the Bog, feeling suitably peckish. We return by the paths skirting Perkins Beach and Crowsnest Dingle, back to Snailbeach past that very fine octagonal chimney high up in the woods. And yes, after a dull start, the sun did shine, though it looked like we’d seen the last of it when we arrived back in Snailbeach. We hadn’t, of course – inevitably, it shone brightly while we drove home, floodlighting the autumn trees against a dark sky. Wonderful – but no photos.

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Wall to wall

That’s what the forecast said about the sunshine – we had to go… Stiperstones in April – warm sunshine, cool air and a pleasant breeze, perfect conditions for a walk on this rocky ridge. We started at the Bog car park – so that we could end at the Bog Centre (tea and cakes again). If we walked to Snailbeach, along the hill-edge paths, we could come back up through the Hollies and follow the ridge. The now-obligatory red kite wheeled over the far hillside, and a little later, a rarer bird, so to speak: a red grouse stalked carefully along just yards from the path. We’ll sometimes hear them up here, gurgling comically and telling us to go back, but this one remained silent. Minutes earlier, we’d noted how quiet it was. He must have heard us…

The Bog Visitor Centre

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Autumn on the Stiperstones

It didn’t feel too autumnal – warm sunshine from a mostly-clear blue sky. The air was fairly cool, but with little wind, it was a great afternoon for these hills. I would say “lonely hills”, but they weren’t lonely today. There were two coaches in the Bog car park. There were quite a few people about on the main Stiperstones ridge, past the Devil’s Chair, but far fewer on the lower lane, and the southern ridge by Nipstone and The Rock. In the woods there are toadstools galore! – including a huge colony (at least 50 specimens) of “Flying Eric” (the psychoactive mushroom more commonly, but perhaps not more appropriately, known as fly agaric – which they were until my then-young nephew misheard or misremembered…).

Sadly, the Bog Centre was packed – the coaches were still there – no tea and cake after this walk.

(We’ve done this walk before – last time we did it anticlockwise, as shown on the map. Today we walked clockwise, for the views to the south-west from the ridge)


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Stiperstones – foxgloves, bilberries and kites

July on the Stiperstones: we were up here around this time last year, and nearly melted. Today the sky was blue, with some white fluffy cloud – and it was pleasantly cool, a great afternoon for a walk. The bilberries need a little longer, though they’re ripening nicely. The foxgloves – great clumps of them in places – are in their prime. A red kite crossed the sky, high up, with never a flap – and returned a few minutes later, performing one large circle and then away. Too far away for the camera, but good to see.


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Spring on the Stiperstones

A colourful day! Blue sky, with white puffy clouds. Red kites, a red grouse (who suggested we should go back), brilliant yellow gorse, brown (and white) sheep. And to follow all that, a trip to the Bog Centre for tea and cakes (we felt we’d earned them)

The Bog Visitor Centre

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A Stiperstones Stroll

There’s quite a breeze, and the clouds never quite clear  – a few rays of sunshine would improve the outing photographically, but otherwise, it’s a good day to be out on the Stiperstones. It’s a Sunday afternoon, so there are quite a few other people about, but there’s plenty of space up here. And though the clocks may have gone back, the Bog Centre is open (for a few more days only, before the winter shutdown) for tea and cake. What more could one ask?

The Bog Centre

Mucklewick in May

Sounds charming, doesn’t it? We started out from The Bog… It was warm, clear, sunny – beautiful! Gone are the pastel shades of the winter months – it’s all in technicolor today.

We leave the Bog car park by the new path beside the road, heading north-east on a walk that would be south-west of our starting point. There’s method in our madness – we’re avoiding a short stretch of path that can be seriously muddy. Later, as we descend from the ridge, a fairly comfortable rock beneath The Rock provides us with table and chairs (I exaggerate) for lunch – a near-perfect spot, away from the wind (a light breeze, very welcome later in the afternoon) and the gunfire. It’s not the quietest part of the county…

Quiet tracks (on the opposite side of the ridge to the shooting range) and a very minor road take us down to the West Onny valley, then via Nind back up onto the hills. Mucklewick Hill is another pleasant spot (enjoying that breeze now) for the last of the day’s provisions before, after a short descent, the long gentle rise to tea and cakes at the Bog Centre (highly recommended!).

The Bog Visitor Centre


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