Find your excitement in the hills – you don’t need to be a mountaineer to enjoy the gentle hikes of Shropshire
- The Shropshire Hills are close to the West Midlands and North West, and a three hour drive from London.
- In the heart of the hills, Church Stretton was once a favorite spa town and is often referred to as ‘Little Switzerland’
- “The scenery is breathtaking, one of the most beautiful in all of England,” writes Steve Thomas of the Daily Mail.
Regular visitors to the Shropshire Hills may feel like they know the terrain well, but be warned – things may not always turn out that way.
After reaching the top of Hope Bowdler Hill in fast-falling snow, it’s probably best, for example, not to start filming for a humorous Julie Andrews-inspired online post.
Then to find himself stunned and disoriented realizing that any footprints and trail signs have disappeared on the wide-open summit. Which is what happened to me (I had no idea which way I was looking).
Steve Thomas of the Daily Mail explored the Shropshire hills. Pictured is the view from Hope Bowdler Hill
As you approach the Shropshire hills the road is fairly flat, except if you are coming from the west. The gently rolling landscape appears on the horizon from far away. The landscape is impressive, one of the most beautiful in all of England.
In the heart of the hills, Church Stretton was once a favorite spa town and is often referred to as “Little Switzerland.” And when you get close, that tag makes a lot of sense.
However, the Shropshire Hills are close to the West Midlands and North West, and just over a three hour drive from London. However, on a long walk, you feel removed from all the urban hustle and bustle.
For an outdoor or nature enthusiast, it’s a revelation. There are miles of beautiful trails to explore. Most are well marked, easy to navigate (when there are no snow storms) and are less stressful to follow than some of their rougher cousins across the Welsh border.
Church Stretton is small but has a good selection of restaurants, watering holes, and places to stay. It sits in a flat-bottomed valley that straddles the A49 and the Welsh border railway line.
Within minutes of leaving town, you are at the well-groomed foothills of the hills, and you are served a buffet of trail options with all you can do.
Wild horses roam Long Mynd, a long, flat hill covered with heather that is covered with trails
Peaceful – A rewarding walk up Shropshire’s rugged Caer Caradoc Hill
From here on, it will be pretty much just you and the little wild horses roaming the hills.
To the west of the city is Long Mynd, a long, flat hill covered with heather that is covered with trails. These can be put together to suit your energy levels. If climbing to the 1,693-foot summit sounds heavy, you can simply hike the plateau trails.
My favorite walks are the ones on the less traveled east flank of the city, over Hope Bowdler and Caer Caradoc Hills. These are a bit tougher on the legs and sturdier in nature.
Walking is a great way to experience local nature, especially when the seasonal heather blooms through the purple patch of late summer and also when the fall colors soften.
Remember to be prepared for the occasional adverse weather problems and low fog that can fall on these hills.
And of course, try to avoid any Julie Andrews-inspired online posts if the snow starts to fall.