The Darnford Walk is one of four walks in the series 'In the Shadow of the Stiperstones', which explore the rugged beauty of the Stiperstones. Ramble along the Shropshire Way to discover a hidden, golden valley. Then enjoy panoramic views whilst following a 3000 year old thoroughfare.

Distance

6.5 miles

Terrain

Pleasant walking through farmland and on quiet country lanes. Some gentle climbs. Can be very wet and muddy in places.

Start from

The Bridges Inn, Bridges

Nearest to

Church Stretton, Stiperstones, The Bog

Parking

Parking at The Bridges Inn

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.5902639619, -2.8697442979

OS: SO412995

The route

This 6.5 mile walk sets off following the Shropshire Way, Shropshire’s 140 mile long distance footpath. The Shropshire Way, which starts and finishes in the market town of Shrewsbury, explores the main uplands of the Shropshire Hills, designated in 1958 as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This identifies the Shropshire Hills as a place of national importance for its natural beauty and diversity. This walk will help you discover what makes this area so special as you experience the inspiring views, wildlife and history of the Golden Valley.

If you don’t fancy the full 6.5 mile route, there is also a shorter alternative available which is 4 miles long.

The Bridges Inn

Formerly known as The Horse Shoe Inn, the inn has now reverted to its original name – The Bridges Inn – named after the settlement that surrounds it. The inn originally served a major coaching route between Shrewsbury and Bishop’s Castle and boasted a smithy, which was working until 1940 and still survives on the corner of the road to the left of the pub. Working until 1940, the smithy’s purple sandstone walls, quarried nearby, are obvious in many of the buildings locally.

The Bridges Youth Hostel was formally a school, built in 1866. In became a youth hostel in 1931, one of the first 10 in England.

Ratlinghope

Often called Ratchup and marked Ratchop on 19th century plans, Ratlinghope is a settlement of much less importance today than in the past. There are records of a mill here from 1291; the old mill building probably dates from the 18th century and last worked in 1900.

The Port Way

Cutting across the top of the Long Mynd, the Port Way, thought to be Bronze Age in origin dating back 3000 years, runs close to several burial mounds or “tumuli”. This ancient track has been a vital route, perhaps initially linked to the trade in bronze age axes from the axe family on Corndon Hill to the west and later as a main drovers road.

Darnford

Darnford from “dearne-ford” means ‘hidden ford’. Certainly the sunken lane which descends to a ford and into Lower Darnford is indeed a hidden valley which suggest the route has been much used in the past.

Other walks in this series

Flenny Bank Walk: The view from Flenny Bank is one of the finest in the land! Discover the story of this landscape, said to have been shaped by the devil himself!

Mucklewick Walk: Wander the hills and valley of this quiet borderland. If you want to get away from it all, this is the walk for you!

Adstone Walk: An inspiring 5 ½ mile walk following the Shropshire Way over the summit of Adstone Hill. If you love a good view, you’ll love this walk!