Long Mynd Walks and Wroxeter Roman Villa
Greg and I have been to the Long Mynd in Shropshire three times now in the last few months. There is some fabulous walking here, but it really does need a nice day to fully appreciate the beauty of the scenery.
On the first occasion we drove up to the top part and parked up. When then walked over to the Trig Point at the top. It was a beautiful day and you could see for miles. We sat in the car and enjoyed our picnic, which was lovely.
On the way back we came down over the valley and spotted a triangular shaped hill. We stopped briefly, but decided we would tackle that one on another day.
It actually ended up being several months before we got back to Long Mynd. The day was a bit grey and miserable and it was one of those days of “we have said we are going out, so we are going out!” Shortly followed by the optimistic “It might brighten up!”
When we got to Long Mynd, it was very windy and there was a lot of wetting, spitting rain in the atmosphere. Undeterred, we set off up to the ridge. We managed to take a few photos before being beaten by the wind.
This was a day when I wished I had taken both of my walking poles, instead of just one.
In the car park, there was some very curious sheep behaviour going on. The sheep appeared to be trying to suckle the back of a car, around the exhaust area. It was quite puzzled by this, as the car really did not resemble its mother, in any way shape or form!
We decided to go down into the valley to the National Trust tea rooms to have a warm cup of tea and also to see if the weather was going to pick up a bit. The plan was to walk up through the Carding Mill Valley, at Church Stretton, to the Waterfall at the far end.
We enjoyed a gorgeous home-made, fresh-from-the-oven sausage roll in the National Trust tea shop and contemplated the weather. It was not improving.
The decision to “abandon walk” was made by observing the best weather system that is known to human walkers – the sheep sitting quietly under the shelter of the trees. Hmm, do they know something we don’t know about the weather??
They seemed totally unfazed – and possibly quite amused – by all these dedicated walkers setting off in the wind and rain, wrapped up in layers of waterproofs, clutching tightly at the straps of their backpacks.
I am more of a fair-weather walker and adopt the approach that the Long Mynd and Carding Valley has been there for millions of years, so I am sure it will still be there when we come back in a few weeks time.
The third visit was not a great deal better in respect to weather. It was dry when we set off. It was dull and overcast, but was quite muggy. The plan was to walk up to the waterfall and then come back down the valley and head towards the reservoir, followed by refreshments in the tea shop.
The path starts off quite flat and then, as it climbs up through the valley, they are parts where the path becomes quite rocky and it can be a bit of a scramble. Most of the final stretch of the path is alongside the stream, which probably fills that whole area when it is wet. It made me very glad we had not attempted this on the first occasion in the bad weather.
The waterfall was not as spectacular as I thought it would be or as it looked in the pictures.
I went to the top of it and could see the paths leading off in different directions across the Long Mynd. It was quite open and exposed up there.
By this time the Englishman’s sense of “It’s going to throw it down with rain” was getting very strong. The sky was getting dark and the rain was progressing from spitting to quite heavy drizzle. Yes, there are grades of rain and some really are more wetting than others!
We decided to head back down to the tea shop and see if was any better on the path up to the reservoir, which is at a lower lever to the waterfall. Hats on, waterproof coats zipped up, hoods up, rain covers over rucksacks, rain wiped off glasses and we were ready to set off.
As the rain got heavier, the rocky path beside the stream got wetter and more slippery. I was glad to be going down rather than up.
We decided we would drive back via the remains of the Roman Village at Wroxeter, which is close by. This is an English Heritage site. Most of what can be seen today is the ruins of the very extensive Roman baths that were there at the time. It is known that the site was considerably larger, although much of that has not been excavated.
This is also the site where a reconstruction of a roman villa was built in 2011 by a team of modern builders, using the building materials and methods that would have been available at the time the original site was built. This was part of a TV documentary with Channel 4. It is a fascinating building.
We also discovered that English Heritage gift shops sell the most delicious Mead – at a very reasonable price. It is not quite the same as the Mead produced on Lindisfarne, but it comes very close, so we were very pleased with that result!
A very interesting day.