Castles, Ways and Churches

Ride Shropshire Route 8: The Ratlinghope Ride image

Distance

13.5 miles

Terrain

Hilly, grass and stone tracks, some steep and narrow

Start from

Church Pulverbatch Village Hall

Nearest to

Church Stretton, Pontesbury, Ratlinghope

Parking

At start/finish

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.5995934345, -2.8953685685

OS: SJ3956

The route

Prehistoric remains, medieval churches, one of the oldest roads in England and wonderful views of the Stiperstones and Long Mynd make this a great ride.

Whether it’s at the start or end of your ride visit St Edith’s in Church Pulverbatch see the circular churchyard; a sure sign that this was a prehistoric site.

On the ridge line above Picklescott you are on the Portway. From this ancient road you see burial mounds and on the top of Ratlinghope Hill, to the south, the earthworks of the Bronze Age castle ring. All signs of Man’s work 3000 years ago.

In medieval times these hilltop ways and tracks were used as drover’s roads to drive herds of Welsh cattle to market. They used the hilltop routes to avoid toll roads in the valleys and be gentler on cattle’s feet. Long distances walked on paved roads meant they had to be shod!

The church in Ratlinghope village also has ancient origins. In the 12th century there was a cell of Augustinian monks here. The original church has gone and the one you see was rebuilt in 1788.

But a warning! Don’t ride here in the failing light of the evening! Many have seen a ghostly funeral procession travelling this stretch of road. As you drop back down into Pulverbatch at the end of the ride make time to see the motte and bailey. One of the best preserved in Shropshire and a fitting end to a wonderful ride.

River Onny

The river Onny flows along the picturesque valley between the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones. The river begins as two tributaries, the West and the East Onnys. Each tributary is associated with abundant wildlife with sightings of otters becoming more common.

The Long Mynd

Even today the weather on these hills can take you unawares.You may get to hear the tale of the Reverend Carr, who set out from Ratlinghope Church on a winters evening in 1865. He got lost in the snow and spent the night in freezing temperatures wandering around the hillside. Fortunately he survived and recorded his experiences in a book called "A Night in the Snow".

Blue Remembered Hills

Although he had no intimate knowledge of the county, A.E.Housman (1859 -1936) wrote about Shropshire in his collection of poems ‘A Shropshire Lad’. As a boy he had first seen the distant hills from his home in Worcestershire and this inspired him to write nostalgically of those ‘blue remembered hills’.