Taking The Back Roads In The Shropshire Hills

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My home county of Shropshire is farming territory and so, with only two main towns (Shrewsbury and Telford), five smaller towns, and very many villages, hamlets and isolated farms, there are far more by-ways than highways. Sometimes the back roads start off well, asphalt sealed and marked on the map, only to deliver you, after much meandering, into a farmyard midden or sheep field. This is a particular feature of the upland tracts of the South Shropshire Hills. Sometimes, too, after you’ve been driving on a narrow lane for several miles, thinking you are well on course, you may find the tarmac sprouting weeds. Sometimes it runs out of asphalt altogether yet clearly progresses as a dirt track that must go somewhere. Other times it may simply devolve to a footpath with retreat the only option.

The top photo shows the great divide between the north and south of the county. In the foreground is a hill lane crossing the Long Mynd. The vista beyond is the North Shropshire Plain which in due course runs into the Cheshire Plain, fertile dairy terrain both. By contrast, the hill country is very much about sheep.

The next location is definitely the haunt of sheep, but also of walkers, day-outing picnickers and school parties studying environmental matters. This is Carding Mill Valley, the largest of several combes that cut into the Long Mynd’s flanks, and thus through some of the world’s oldest geology.  This particular lane may begin looking intentional, but then it simply gives up and becomes a rock strewn defile with trickling streamside accompaniment. Boots not wheels for onward progress.

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Now we have moved on across the Long Mynd, and are looking at its westerly slopes as seen from Shropshire’s most mysterious hill country, the Stiperstones, place of mine shafts and lead workings. One of the Stiperstones’ craggy tops is said to host the Devil and his court whenever the fog descends. Such be-misted gatherings of wicked entities obviously won’t enjoy views like this one.

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These next three views are of and around the Stiperstones: gorse along the lanes in high summer, and heather blooming on the hillsides.

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We’re close to the Welsh border now. Corndon Hill in the background, and the white lane we’ve driven along…

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…which then becomes one of those tracks that still looks to be going somewhere. In fact as we left the car to walk, we were passed by a police patrol car. It sped by us over the hill in a manner that suggested routine activity, doubtless taking the unpaved route into Wales.

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We weren’t going that far, at least not terrestrially, though we were going back in time, following 6,000 year-old footsteps to Mitchell’s Fold, the remains of a Bronze Age stone circle.

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These final photos are closer to homes, the lanes below Wenlock Edge, near Easthope.

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Lens-Artists: along back country roads  Beth at Wandering Dawgs wants us to take to the by-ways.

56 thoughts on “Taking The Back Roads In The Shropshire Hills

  1. Your countryside could have come straight out of the Downton Abbey TV series Tish! Very beautiful and I love how untouched it is by the hand of man. Your closing image is really stunning.

    1. Many thanks, Tina. And you’re right, Shropshire has many Downton Abbey type estates along with quite a list of earls, lords, ladies and honourables. In certain quarters we’re still very feudal.

  2. Lovely to see your County Tish. My only experience is via a coach trip to mid-Wales just prior to the C thing. Mind you I reckon old Nick probably pops up there on a sunny day for a spot of fresh air, apparently none too fresh at home! 🤔😂👿🤧

  3. Thank you for taking us along your country roads for a glimpse of this beautiful countryside. I feel as if I have stepped back in time. Your post is perfect for the challenge Well done!

  4. You live in a beautiful part of the world. Great images and greater chance to see what home looks like to someone else. perfect country road trip for us. Very nice post. Donna

  5. Beautiful beautiful. England has the quintessential back country roads. I lived and worked around Wiltshire and the Cotswolds for a few years, LOVED the countryside.

    1. That’s an interesting point, Dries. Obviously we do have some huge sprawling cities and motorway land is pretty grim. But there are vast swathes of England that are rural, and even quite wild.

  6. All inviting shots, Tish. I love the distance in that first shot and the beauty of the last one. We’re just watching Downton Abbey again so I got a chuckle out of Tina’s remark, the first comment I saw.

    1. You had such a good launch spot in that B & B you stayed in. I could quite fancy staying in the NT place up the valley – stepping out on a summer’s dawn before the masses arrive.

  7. Dear Tish,
    thank you so much for taking us on the trip through your home county. Now we feel that could well be our next holiday trip.
    Wishing you a happy day
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. thanks for this treat to your Shropshire – beautiful shots – the Long Mynd I know but there also places I would love to go – Carding Mill Valley, Mitchell’s Fold… I have the peak District on my doorstep now to explore

  9. A wonderful trip through a lovely county and I had to laugh at your description of ending up in a farmyard! Yes, that happened to us, trying to find the road over the long mynd. Have you ever done the black and white trail through Hertfordshire? Something I wanted to do, but never did.

    1. The Long Mynd can have you ending up in all sorts of odd places. And no, we’ve not done the B & W trail as such. (You meant Herefordshire, didn’t you?). Lovely county too.

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