Church Stretton and the Shropshire Hills - DAY 3 (Carding Mill Valley & Much Wenlock)

 The first two days of our short break in the Shropshire Hills are described here, here and here. Day 3 was a packing up and heading home day but would include visits to the National Trust's Carding Mill Valley and the nearby town of Much Wenlock.

After another super breakfast, we set off for our first stop just a mile or so away - Carding Mill Valley - arriving just after 10 am. The car park was already quite full but it was a Saturday and the sky was clear, bright and blue (Photo 1). We unloaded ourselves, boots, rucksacks and walking poles from the campervan and joined the myriad of adults, children and dogs making their way up to the Visitors Centre/Cafe/Toilets and beyond.

Photo 1: Mary Following the Ashbrooke up the Valley

A big thank you to the vast majority of dog owners who kept their canine friends on a lead during lambing season. I only saw one clueless selfish couple who ignored all the signs asking dogs to be leashed.

Mary didn't feel strong enough to make the trek up to Lightspout Waterfall - the path is uphill, sometimes rocky and does require some effort. I left her seated comfortably on a grassy slope watching the wildlife including the visiting grey wagtails. Meanwhile, I set off at pace to make the trip in as short a time as possible. The Ashbrooke is a typical mountain stream, tumbling and cascading its way down to the quieter, more gentle flows through Church Stretton (Photo 2).

Photo 2: The Ashbrooke Cascading Down Carding Mill Valley

There is a nice energetic circular walk that includes the waterfall but I was only planning a quick visit and photo shoot. The waterfall looks very dramatic in black and white ...

Photo 3: Lightspout Waterfall (20/4/24)
... less so in glorious Technicolor ...

Photo 4: Lightspout Waterfall (20/4/24)

The waterfall is only about 4 metres high and we did meet a couple who thought it was somewhat underwhelming. You just cannot please everyone.

Video 1: Lightspout Waterfall, Carding Mill Valley (20/4/24

Retracing my steps back to Mary, we headed back to the car pack via a short detour to the reservoir. Along the way we passed several man-made pools that I assume were leftovers from the now-long-gone clothing mill(s) from which the valley gets its name.

Photo 5: Millpond (?), Carding Mill Valley

Even a man-made waterfall ...

Video 2: Man-made Waterfall, Carding Mill Valley

At the end of this small valley, up a steep grassy bank, is the reservoir (built 19020). The reservoir is a popular spot for wild swimming which is why my picture (Photo 6) cuts off the right hand side of the reservoir (to spare any blushes or potential lawsuits!)

Photo 6: Carding Mill Valley Reservoir (20/4/24)

We returned to the campervan around 1 pm and decided, on the spur of the moment, to return home via Much Wenlock. Our stop in the town was necessarily time-constrained with time just to walk through the centre and grab a bite to eat after visiting Wenlock Priory

Photo 7: Bijou Residence with His & Hers Balconies (High St, Much Wenlock)

Photo 8: Another Attractive Property on the High Street, Much Wenlock

As English Heritage members, entrance to Wenlock Priory was free. Originally, an Anglo-Saxon monastery (680 AD), it was re-purposed as a Cluniac Priory by the Normans around 1080 AD. The dissolution of the Priory in 1540 was part of the English Reformation. Here are a few photos to give a flavour of the Priory ruins ...

Photo 9: Mary amongst the Topiary

Photo 10: Mary on the march

Photo 11: Mary still managing to get in the picture

Photo 12: Still in the picture
Photo 13: Mary-free Zone

Photo 14: Impressive Ruins


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