Quiet days

They’re welcome, after Christmas and New Year – it feels like we’re getting back to normal (whatever that may be). It’s very quiet up here, at the southern end of the Long Mynd. We’ve only seen two other people (but lots of sheep), and the weather is quiet too – not a breath of wind (nor any sunshine, contrary to the forecast). It’s also very cold, nevertheless it’s good to be out on these hills – an enjoyable start to the year.

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Just a breeze…

It’s too warm for energetic activities, but we need some fresh air and a leg stretch. Woodland might be cool, but the tops could be breezy. How about the Long Mynd? We can park at the northern end of the plateau, near Robin Hood’s Butts, and walk to Pole Bank and back. It’s not a long walk, but it’s sufficient, and yes, there’s a pleasant breeze for much of the way. Hang on to that hat!

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A cold day in Callow Hollow

Monday 12 Feb: The wind felt stronger (and colder) and there was more cloud than the forecast had suggested, but it was still a good day (sandwiched between some pretty awful days) for an outing. We thought there might have been some shelter in Callow Hollow – and there was, beside the little Oakleymill waterfall, sufficient for a lunch break. The flurry of snowflakes waited until we were moving again – then, as we reached the summit plateau, the sky cleared, and suddenly the world was colourful once more. Given good weather, the top of the Mynd is a great place to be.

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A Witchend Walk

The Ordnance Survey – and almost everyone else, I suspect – calls it Priors Holt. It’s barely a hamlet, just a couple of houses nestled at the foot of Nut Batch, one of the lesser valleys on the eastern side of the Long Mynd. However, Malcolm Saville seems to have had the place in mind when he wrote his “Witchend” children’s series, so that’s how we’ll think of it. Whatever the name, it’s a quiet spot, despite its popularity with muddy cyclists (we must have seen at least six of them), and the gentle slopes of the forestry roads (ideal for the bikers) make for an easy walk to the Mynd’s summit plateau. The trees are also good shelter from the wind… The forecast said “dry, bright and windy” – it was accurate, though we arrived a little early for its first two elements. By the time we were on the Port Way, walking south along the western edge of the Mynd, the “dry and bright” had arrived, providing us with some dramatic lighting for the extensive views of the border hill country.

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A stroll on the Mynd

It’s not all “stroll” – there’s a steep pull up Mott’s Road to the Long Mynd plateau, and our legs haven’t had enough exercise during the past few weeks. But once we’re up, it’s a very pleasant amble. The sunshine is bright, the sky is (mostly) blue, the breeze is light – no need to hurry. It’s one of those afternoons whose only downside is the need to come down…

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Late October on the Mynd

Friday 27 October – a bright sunny day, far too good for staying at home, so we’ve packed a picnic… It’s very busy in Church Stretton, but we soon lose the crowds – the Pike provides a quick way up onto the hill, at the top corner of the golf course. At this point, we attempted to follow the path clearly shown on the OS map, which is a mistake, as it doesn’t exist. The clear, easy-to-walk path is 100 yards to our left, higher up the hill. At least its quiet along here…
We take our lunch break by the pond, near the top of Mott’s Road, before heading to the summit, then returning to the car by Townbrook Valley. It’s a bit quieter down here – and finally, we time the tea room to perfection… A good day out!

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