A walk to the Waterfall at Carding Mill Valley

Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6JG

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The earliest rocks on the Long Mynd date to 650 million years ago © Chris Stratton

The earliest rocks on the Long Mynd date to 650 million years ago

Carding Mill Valley is perfect place to explore the great outdoors © National Trust / Chris Stratton

Carding Mill Valley is perfect place to explore the great outdoors

We still use the bilberries today in the tea-room © Pete Johnson

We still use the bilberries today in the tea-room

Reverend Carr almost fell to his death down the waterfall © Roslyn Burns

Reverend Carr almost fell to his death down the waterfall

Route overview

This walk starts at Carding Mill Valley at the heart of the Long Mynd and takes you on a gentle ascent along the stream to the four metre cascade at the picturesque Lightspout Waterfall. On the return the view opens out to Caer Caradoc and beyond.

Route details

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

Ordance Survey map showing the walk to Lightspout Waterfall
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Carding Mill Valley, grid ref: SO445945

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

    Show/HideEarly geology of the Long Mynd

    Notice the almost upright strata of hard grey rock here in the streambed and protruding from the hillside turf. These, originally horizontal, sedimentary shales and mudstones were laid down in shallow sea around 590 million years ago, when simple marine algae were the only life on earth.

    The earliest rocks on the Long Mynd date to 650 million years ago © Chris Stratton
  2. Continue up the valley (following the red trail markers) on the stony track to the left side of the stream.

    Carding Mill Valley is perfect place to explore the great outdoors © National Trust / Chris Stratton
  3. When the valley divides 500 metres later, take the left-hand fork, up crude "pitched" stone steps into the narrow Lightspout Hollow.

    Show/HideLightspout Hollow

    The sound of tumbling water fills the deep V-shaped valley whose billberry, bracken and heather clad slopes are dotted with hawthorns and mountain ash. Watch out for brown trout in the pools and noisy stonechats, buzzards and red kites overhead.

    We still use the bilberries today in the tea-room © Pete Johnson
  4. Rising above the stream, the rocky path snakes uphill around interlocking spurs before opening out, 500 metres on, below Lightspout Waterfall. Return downhill by the same route.

    Show/HideReverend Carr

    It was here that Reverend Carr nearly plunged to his death, lost in a snow blizzard in January 1865. To Victorian visitors the Lightspout was a "miniature Niagara"; and after prolonged rain the four metre cascade is spectacular.

    Reverend Carr almost fell to his death down the waterfall © Roslyn Burns

End: Lightspout Waterfall, grid ref: SO431951

Shropshire © National Trust/Nick Robinson
  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.5 miles (2.5km)
  • Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Explorer 217, Landranger 137
  • Terrain:

    This route is along a footpath that is narrow at various points. There is a gentle incline along the route. Closer to the waterfall areas may become slippy due to the water. 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, 1/2 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 and A49; approved from Church Stretton or from Ratlinghope or Asterton; parking: 50 yards (pay and display); SatNav: SY6 6JG

  • 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 - disabled facilities and baby changing are available
    • Visitor Information
    • National Trust car park (free for members)

  • Contact us