Things to do at Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd
Explore the great outdoors at Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd. Enjoy a bracing walk, a challenging mountain bike ride, a wild swim or just take in the views. Find out more about all the things to see and do in the Shropshire Hills whether you’re looking to get active or just have fun with the family.
Birds to spot in spring
After the quieter winter months, the hill bursts into life in springtime. Migrant birds such as Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Eedstart, Tree Pipit, Cuckoo and Whinchat return from their African winter quarters and fill the hills with their song. Resident birds Skylark, Meadow Pipit song can be heard again – another sure sign that winter is over.
These bird sing in the air – an adaption to open habitats. Dippers rarely sing but can be heard from February singing in Carding Mill Valley, Batch Valley and Ashes Hollow. Also, look out for the spectacle of Ravens performing their ‘loop the loop’ manoeuvre; they are the only birds that can fly upside-down!
Best Bird Hotspots
All the hills and valleys are bustling with courting and nest-building birds at this time of year; however, there are several different places that are particularly good for springtime bird-spotting. Dotterel (first week in May), Skylark and Wheatear can be seen near the Gliding Station, with Tree Pipit and Reed Bunting at Pole Cottage. Cow Ridge and the Reservoir are good places for seeing Cuckoo and Tree Pipit, while the Batch Valley often hosts Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler. In Carding Mill Valley, Grey and Pied Wagtail can be seen around the tea-room area, and Wheatear frequent the Burway. Also, the Pipe Walk offers a varied mix of habitats, which ensures the best chance of hearing and seeing a wide range of birds and is ideal for hearing the spring dawn chorus.
Of course, this is just a selection of the birds that can be seen on the Long Mynd. So, grab your identification book (or app) and see how many you can recognise on your next walk.
Lace up your walking boots or jump onto your bike – there are miles of footpaths, bridleways and permissive paths to explore across the Long Mynd. You don't have to go far out of Carding Mill Valley to find some peace and tranquillity, especially when you get to the top of the hill.
With thousands of acres to explore and lots of ways to enjoy yourself here are some ideas for things to do.
Head to the top
Pull on your walking boots and head to the top of the hill where you can take in the beautiful views, on a clear day you can see over 50 miles in each direction. In the winter the cloud fills the valley to make it feel as if you are walking on the top of the world.
Get on your bike
With tough climbs, high speed descents, technical tracks and great views along the way, mountain biking on the Long Mynd is definitely rewarding.
Go wild swimming
Why not go for a dip in the reservoir? There are some brave souls who swim all year round. Do be careful though, read the information at the reservoir before going in and do not swim solo in the winter. A warming drink by the tea-room fire is well earned afterwards.
Orienteering is a sport that combines map reading and running with competitors having to find their way between a series of checkpoints, called ‘controls’ as quickly as possible. You can take part just for fun though and at your own pace. There are short, medium and long courses available to have a go at.
Take in the views
Whichever way you choose to explore Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd, you will be rewarded with spectacular views. Here are some top spots to take a quiet moment to enjoy the view.
From Dr Mott's Road
Looking back down the valley from Dr Mott's Road on your way up to the top of the Long Mynd gives you some beautiful views across Church Stretton to the Clee Hills.
Looking down from the Pike
From the Pike you get a great view of the red roof of the Chalet Pavilion and also a view of the only remaining part of the original mill. The building is now flats, but it was once the warehouse where the wool was stored and spun.
Carding Mill Valley from Bodbury Hill
From high up on Bodbury Hill, which was once an Iron age hillfort, you can look up Carding Mill Valley to the top of the Long Mynd. During autumn and winter, cloud often shrouds the Stretton Hills and valley adding to the drama. Then at the end of August the tops of the hills turn a lovely shade of purple as the heather comes into flower.
Looking down from the Burway
The Burway road is one of the steepest in Shropshire and, with an almost vertical drop off the side of the road down into the valley, it is definitely dramatic.
The reservoir in Carding Mill Valley
The reservoir once supplied Church Stretton with water, now disused, it is set in the hillside surrounded by trees. The trees have grown up here because the area is fenced off so the sheep can't get in to graze it.
The reservoir from the pipe walk
Follow the original pipeline up the hillside and you get some lovely views back towards the reservoir. From here you can get a real appreciation for the scale of the reservoir and its retaining bank.
Pole Bank from Pole Cottage
From the highest point on the Long Mynd you capture sight of some of the pools found on the Long Mynd. The pools are watering holes for the sheep and ponies that graze on the hill.
Looking out across Shropshire from Cow Ridge
Up on the top of Cow Ridge on a clear day you can get some spectacular views of the Shropshire Hills. Looking across to Caer Caradoc and the Wrekin you can see that these were once a chain of volcanoes hundreds of millions of years ago.
From Bilbatch looking west
From Bilbatch, a valley on the west side of the hill you get stunning views of the Stiperstones and Linley Hill.
Looking towards Bodbury Hill and beyond
One of the best ways to view the Iron age hillfort on Bodbury Hill is to go to the top of the Long Mynd. From here you can clearly see the single ditch running around the top of the hill. In the distance the larger Caer Caradoc can also be seen, there was once a hillfort here too
Gaze at the stars
Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd has been awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site (DSDS) status for four locations across the valley and the hill. Enjoy the extra clarity and darkness winter affords for some eye-popping stargazing.
Any location that is accessible to the public, where there is a good clear view of the night sky can be accepted as a DSDS. The degree of darkness determines its classification, Milky Way Class being the highest. All four of the sites on Long Mynd are in the Milky Way class as it is possible to see the Milky Way with the naked eye there.
As the Long Mynd is open access countryside you can go stargazing any night you like.
Family fun and '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾'
There are lots of opportunities for family fun in the great outdoors at Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd. Here are our top activities to do before you’re 11¾:
No. 14 Dam a stream
Collect twigs, branches, stones and rocks and have a go at stopping the water. Just remember to break down any dams you make before you leave to restore the flow of water again.
No. 27 Go stargazing
With the sun setting earlier in the winter it’s the perfect time to do a spot of stargazing and Long Mynd has been awarded Dark Sky Discovery Status for its excellent stargazing opportunities.
No. 28 Climb a huge hill
Can you make it to the top of the Long Mynd? It might seem really tiring, but once you’ve reached the top you will see some amazing views and think about how much fun you’ll have coming back down.
No. 35 Discover what’s in a pond
Have a go at pond dipping and see what creatures you can find. All you need are wellies, a net and a bucket. There are still creatures to be found even in the coldest times of the year. Don’t forget to release the creatures you find back into the water.
No. 44 Watch a bird
Head to the roof terrace and watch the birds in the wildlife garden or wander up the valley and keep a watch on the trees and shrubs. There are lots of birds that make their home in Carding Mill Valley. See if you can spot a rare seasonal visitor like the hawfinch which likes to eat hawthorn berries.
No. 50 Take a friend on a nature adventure
Pick up an adventure trail from the information boards in the valley and let the children explore the valley. See if they can find their own route to the reservoir, up rope pulls, across streams and down hills. The idea is to get the kids exploring and using their imagination.
Common land for all
The Long Mynd is an area of common land which is cared for by a group of farmers, known as commoners, who graze sheep and ponies on the land.
Everyone is welcome to access all common land on foot and here at the Long Mynd we also welcome horse riders and cyclists although these are restricted to bridleways only.
So, next time you’re walking, cycling or horse riding across the Long Mynd, consider the generations of commoners who’ve helped to shape the landscape beneath your feet. The important work of commoners looking after the grazing on the Long Mynd continues today and it is imperative that the valuable skills and traditional techniques developed by commoners throughout the ages are not lost.
Please leave everything as you found it and take all litter home with you.
Enjoy the great outdoors at Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire Hills. Find out about the best routes and keeping yourself safe while out walking and cycling on the Long Mynd.
The Long Mynd is an area of Common Land, find out more about how this historic grazing pattern has created a special ecology and habitat and the animals you might see.
Carding Mill Valley is a one pawprint rated place. Explore miles of footpaths and open countryside with your dog at Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire Hills. Find out how to keep the wildlife and your dog safe on your visit.
Approximately 750 metre long course with 15 metres total climb short orienteering course across Carding Mill Valley
Approximately 1km long course with 95 metres total climb medium orienteering course across Carding Mill Valley
Approximately 2 3/4 km long course with 135 metres total climb long and technical orienteering course across Carding Mill Valley.
The Ashbrooke river lies at the heart of Carding Mill Valley. It shaped it, it powered its industry, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife. But how much do you know about the river?
Discover the important conservation work that takes place at Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd, to protect this place for future generations.