Cardingmill Valley to Picklescott. Heather Drovers and Robin Hood.
Some steep slope, stone and grass tracks
Cardingmill Valley or, in holiday periods when Cardingmill Valley is very busy or if you want to avoid the steep climb up, you can park at Womerton and follow the lane and then bridleway west to The Port Way
Cardingmill Valley (National Trust parking fee)
Lat/Long: 52.5447102268, -2.8050809316
Leaving Carding Mill Valley, Mott’s Road takes us up high above Church Stretton to the ancient Portway track. Here we part company with the Jack Mytton Way and head north, between carpets of heather, with sheep and wild ponies grazing, and, possibly, a sight of a Red Kite gliding overhead. Robin Hood’s Butts Bronze Age Barrows, the largest tumuli on the Long Mynd, stand out to the north of the plateau. It is not certain where the name came from, but Wild Humphrey Kynaston, was known as the Robin Hood of Shropshire. We follow the Portway over the rolling Betchcott Hills with views to Caer Caradoc, The Lawley, and The Wrekin to the east, and with the north Shropshire Plains laid out below. These high routes, being safer and drier than the valley tracks, with no tolls to pay, were used by drovers in the past to drive their animals to market. Our route leaves the high road and drops down towards Picklescott, an attractive hamlet with its bubbling stream and 16th century Inn.
Carding Mill Valley is named afterthe carding mill, built in the 18th century to card, or untangle, wool, ready for weaving. This was closed at the beginning of the 20th century.
The stoney track that follows the stream up Carding Mill Valley is named after Dr. Charles Mott of Church Stretton, who led a campaign to raise funds to improve this bridle path. Even so, in recent years, it was still a challenge on horseback, but now is made much easier following work done by the National Trust.
The Bottle and Glass Inn dates back to the 16th century. It was originally a farmhouse and got its first license as an ale house in 1837. An Alehouse, called The Gate Hangs Well, was first recorded in Picklescott in 1616. It closed around 1800 and later became a wheelwright’s shop. It is now a private house called The Gatehouse.