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|The Legends of Stiperstones Ridge|
|Author: Claire, Published: 20 Aug 2015||Walk rating : Rating:|
|Shropshire, Shropshire Hills|
|A 3 mile circular walk taking in Stiperstones Ridge in Shropshire, a quartzite ridge formed around 500 million years ago. The walk is a must if you are in the area on a clear day, revealing spectacular geology, impressive panoramic views, wildlife-rich upper heathland and a wealth of myths and legends. |
The walk up to the ridge is a decent, fairly steep climb and the ridge-top path is awkward terrain being an uneven rocky surface that will test the strength of your ankles. However if you are fit enough, it's worth the effort to get up close to the quartzite tors and for the amazing view. The top of the ridge is very exposed so please do not attempt the walk in fog and make sure you wear appropriate clothing. There are no stiles on route, just a few single gates. Dogs are welcome within the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve but must be kept on leads to protect the ground-nesting birds. The return path crosses two large fields that are likely to be holding cattle, so take care with dogs. (When we walked one of these fields held cows, calves and a bull; the path is well walked and the cattle seemed relaxed with our dog – but do take the usual care). For those who can't manage the climb, there is also an all-ability wide, level and wheelchair-friendly path from the car park which still gives great views – simply follow the iFootpath map in reverse, heading ‘there and back’ to Waypoint 4. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.
Stiperstones is a distinctive hill in West Shropshire, close to the border with Wales. The walk starts and finishes from the free Stiperstones National Nature Reserve car park (sometimes called The Knolls car park), a very remote and isolated car park within the hills. Signposted roads lead up from the A488, south of Minsterley (south-west of Shrewsbury). The easiest way to get to the car park is first to reach The Bog visitor centre (Post code SY5 0NG). From here it is just a short drive up the hill (following the brown tourism signs) to reach the National Nature Reserve car park, the entrance for which is on the left just before a cattle grid.
|Start to Shropshire Way|
Start point: 52.5735 lat, -2.9319 long
Standing in the National Nature Reserve car park with your back to the vehicle entrance, take the first gate on the left (which sits alongside an information board about the reserve). Walk directly ahead on the obvious grass path climbing through the heather, a blaze of purple in the late summer months. If you need to pause to catch your breath on the way up, be sure to turn round to take advantage of the views opening up behind you.
|Shropshire Way to Devil's Chair|
Start point: 52.5788 lat, -2.9361 long
Turn right and follow the rocky path along the top of the ridge, still climbing steadily. Take care on this uneven (sometimes slippery) awkward surface, making sure you watch your step. The path leads you past a large rocky cairn on the left. Pause here to enjoy the expansive views and discover more about this geological wonder.
|Devil's Chair to Stone Wall|
Start point: 52.5858 lat, -2.9336 long
The Devil's Chair is the largest and most imposing of the tors and attracts the most myths. According to legend, the rocks of the Devil's Chair were brought here by the Devil himself. Carrying a load of stones in his apron, the Devil was actually planning to use his load of stones to fill in the valley on the other side of the Stiperstones, which is known as Hell's Gutter. As he reached Stiperstones, the Devil fancied a bit of a rest. Unfortunately for him, as he got up after his rest on the highest rock of the Stiperstones, his apron strings snapped and the rocks tumbled out. Instead of picking them up, the Devil left the rocks scattered all over the ridge – such a litter lout - and the legend has it that you can still smell the brimstone on them in hot weather. This isn't the end of the Devil's involvement on this rocky outcrop. The evil guy is also said to use the Devil's Chair as... you’ve guessed it...a chair. On the night of winter solstice, according to legend, he sits on his chair and summons all his local followers – witches, the undead and evil spirits - and they pay homage to the King of the Damned.
|Stone Wall to Viewpoint|
Start point: 52.5911 lat, -2.9248 long
Pass through the gate (NOTE: This large field and the next one may be holding cattle), and walk ahead on the obvious path (still part of the Shropshire Way) which bears slightly right down the hill. You will come to a gate ahead, pass through this to enter the next pasture.
|Viewpoint to End|
Start point: 52.5795 lat, -2.9284 long
Continue along the surfaced bridleway, taking time to enjoy the views across the valley to your left and keeping your eyes peeled for signs of the Exmoor ponies in the heath to the right. The low wooden barrier running on the right-hand edge of this path is a tapping rail, allowing partially sighted people to use a stick to navigate the trail.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 20 Aug 2015
There are wonderful views along the whole route (if the weather is good). In July/August the heather is out too.
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 20 Aug 2015
The forest is a welcome change to the wide open expanse of the moor.
|Image by: Claire |
Uploaded: 06 Sep 2015
The iFootpath photographer and his trusted companion at work...
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