Priors Holt, at the entrance to Nut Batch on the Long Mynd, is a good place to start a short walk. It’s also generally reckoned, amongst those who know of such things, to be the model for children’s author Malcolm Saville’s “Witchend”, the home of the “Lone Pine Club”. “Where’s the lone pine?”, asked my wife. I guess the club predated the Forestry Commission’s activities in these parts – there’s no sign of it.
The same body’s forest track provides an easy, gently graded route (beware of bmx bikes…) to the summit ridge of the Mynd , where we’re at last free from the trees. As ever, the views into mid-Wales are extensive, and there’s something of Arcadia (capital: Bishop’s Castle) in the middle distance, where lush pastures are encircled by hills.
We’ll return by a route we’ve not tried before, skirting the forest’s south-west flank, before entering the plantations and following a fairly clear path downhill. It’s probably a very clear path in the winter, but at this time of year it’s very nearly impassable, with head-high bracken, and interlocking brambles grabbing us in a most unfriendly manner. At least we found the (a) lone pine. Note to self: bring machete next time.