A walk to the reservoir in Carding Mill Valley

Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6JG

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
You can’t swim here now, but you can go for a dip in the reservoir instead. © Peter Johnson (scanned)

You can’t swim here now, but you can go for a dip in the reservoir instead.

You can spot these beautiful dragonflies by the pools in summer © Kate Johnson

You can spot these beautiful dragonflies by the pools in summer

This is what Bodbury Ring hill fort could have looked like 2,500 years ago © Peter Carty

This is what Bodbury Ring hill fort could have looked like 2,500 years ago

You can even go for a wild swim in the reservoir, if you are feeling brave! © Pete Johnson

You can even go for a wild swim in the reservoir, if you are feeling brave!

Route overview

This walk starts from Carding Mill Valley at the heart of the Long Mynd and takes you on a gentle walk past the mill ponds and up the reservoir bank. From the bank you get fantastic views of Bodbury Hill, and if you are feeling really brave you can even go for a wild swim in the reservoir.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Ordance Survey map showing the walk to the reservoir along New Pool Hollow
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Carding Mill Valley, grid ref: SO411949

  1. If you are starting from the Chalet Pavilion, follow the stream uphill to the top car park.

    Show/HideThe top car park

    Filled in in the 1960s, this car park was originally a millpond and popular swimming pool.

    You can’t swim here now, but you can go for a dip in the reservoir instead. © Peter Johnson (scanned)
  2. Once in the top car park, cross the stream on the sturdy vehicle bridge opposite the green ticket machine. Ahead, the track curves around a spur of the hill, before opening out into a broad side valley. You are now walking along New Pool Hollow, named after two early mill pools.

    Show/HideNew Pool Hollow

    Wild thyme and sky-blue harebells edge the path in summer. The damper soil beside the stream holds soft rush, marsh thistle, forget-me-not and curious yellow monkey flower, originally from North America. Look out, too, for golden-ringed dragonflies patrolling their territories along the stream.

    You can spot these beautiful dragonflies by the pools in summer © Kate Johnson
  3. Keep following the path along New Pool Hollow.

    Show/HideBodbury Ring hill fort

    Along this path you'll come across a small pallisaded area. Go inside and look back on the path you have just walked. As you look up you'll be looking directly at Bodbury Ring hill fort. This hill fort is over 2,500 years old and was in constant use throughout the Iron Age period by the Cornovii tribe. The Cornovii were a Celtic tribe of people found across Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Herefordshire. They used the hill fort to guard their herds of sheep and cattle. From the top of the hill you’d be able to see people coming from miles around. This made Bodbury Hill a very good strategic location.

    This is what Bodbury Ring hill fort could have looked like 2,500 years ago © Peter Carty
  4. Within 400 metres, climb the reservoir's retaining bank and cross the stile into the enclosure.

    Show/HideThe reservoir

    Completed in 1902, this 12-million-gallon reservoir was built to support Church Stretton's aspirations of growth as a fashionable spa. Thickening scrub inside the fence shows how the Long Mynd would soon revert to trees if ungrazed; in contrast, the impoverished bilberry and heather outside the fence is the result of chronic overgrazing in the 1980s and 1990s. Finding the right balance is the only way to ensure the Long Mynd's value and beauty for future generations.

    You can even go for a wild swim in the reservoir, if you are feeling brave! © Pete Johnson

End: Reservoir, grid ref: SO411949

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: ½ mile (1km)
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Explorer 217, Landranger 137
  • Terrain:

    This route is along a wide footpath. There are steps up the reservoir bank. It is a dog-friendly walk.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: many long-distance routes, including Jack Mytton Way and Shropshire Way

    By bike: 10 miles (16km) of off-road tracks and bridleways: Sustrans

    By bus: Shrewsbury to Ludlow, alight Church Stretton, ½ mile (0.8km). Long Mynd Shuttle Bus weekends and bank holidays (Easter to October), plus shuttle to Stiperstones

    By train: 1 mile (1.6km) from Church Stretton

    By road: west of Church Stretton Valley and A49; approached from Church Stretton or from Ratlinghope or Asterton; parking: 50 yards (pay and display); SatNav: SY6 6JG

  • Facilities:

     You'll find the following facilities at Carding Mill Valley

    • Tea-room - serving hot and cold meals, homemade cakes and ice-creams
    • Gift shop - selling gifts and walking essentials
    • Toilets
    • Visitor information
    • Parking

  • Contact us