Yesterday I was back in Church Stretton to do a reccee for the forthcoming ‘B’ party walk with Crosby Rambling Club. Out leaders were Jean and Lynn. It was to be their first attempt at leading a walk and they had invited Roger and myself along as back up. They had downloaded a walk from the ‘Walking Britain’ series. Caer Carodoc and Hope Bowdler Hill. At 9.0 miles and with 1550 feet of ascent it seemed ideal.
We left the village to cross the railway track and the busy A49. It was then pleasant walking across fields towards the Caer Carodoc ridge. On the skyline we could see the Three Fingers Rock. It looked very inviting. The conditions were perfect, we could hardly believe it was early October.
Upon reaching a track we passed through a gate and then forked left to drop down to a footbridge over the stream. We then began a very steep climb up an eroded path heading for Three Fingers Rock. We reached a gate in the fence where we could pause to get our breath back and admire the view down to the valley. As we continued upwards the gradient increased.
We were fairly close to the rocky outcrop that looked interesting.
This was no ‘B’ party walk. Several members would not enjoy this. It was decision time. We decided to abandon plan A and descend to the track. Going down was worse and would be treacherous in wet conditions.
Back on the track we followed it heading NE towards Willstone. We followed the track for a couple of miles. It was easy walking and we could look up to the Caer Carodoc ridge
At Willstone which was really just a collection of farms we left the track to head south across fields towards Willstone Hill.
We arrived at a junction of paths. six in total. One connected directly with the track that we had walked along earlier and could be used as an alternative route to avoid walking through the field full of cows, although they were docile. Willstone Hill is bordered by a triangle of paths and we chose the one running to the left before cutting off to reach the summit at 1322 feet. Here there was another rocky outcrop known as the Battle Stones.
It had been another steep little climb but well worth it for the views from the summit.
We descended SW to meet another junction of paths and crossed over to climb up to another unnamed summit at 1398 feet.
It was only when we were at the top that we realised we were off track and had to retrace our steps. Time to show that we were enjoying ourselves.
Once down we were back on our original route, plan A. We skirted round the flank of Hope Bowdler Hill to reach the road close to the village of Hope Bowdler. A couple of permissive paths helped us avoid any road walking. The remaining couple of miles were across fields before reaching our outward path.
We had covered nearly 9 miles and done almost 2500 feet of ascent. Cutting out the ascent towards Three Fingers Rock we were still left with a good walk.
Our reward was refreshments in the Bucks Head in the village. A pint of Marsden’s Pedigree for me. Just what I needed.