Ancient landscapes, old mines, and plenty of walks. The Stiperstones is a great destination for a bit of family exploring.
Discover the Stiperstones
The Shropshire Hills is an area of outstanding natural beauty that remains undiscovered by most people in the UK.
A large area, known as the Long Mynd, covers much of the Shropshire Hills, but as you stand on the rolling hills and moorland of the Long Mynd and look North West, you see the almost menacing skyline of The Stiperstones.
Characterised by its jarring jagged rocks that pierce the sky, The Stiperstones looks a very different hill to its neighbours.
This difference is probably why the hill picked up a sinister myth: one of the large outcrops of rocks is called The Devil’s Chair, and local folklore says that when the clouds are covering the top of the hill, Satan is sitting in his throne up there.
But away from the spooky stories, The Stiperstones rocks are easy to get to as there is a car park not too far from the summit (see map below), with a short walk up to the top. It is also a National Nature Reserve and is abundant with wildlife.
A climb up the hill is a good stretch of the legs and plenty of lungs full of fresh air, but an easy walk for many families…though it’s definitely a walk that’s not pushchair friendly.
As you walk up, the first tower of rocks on your left is Cranberry Rock. Up a little further is the summit, Manstone Rock at 536 metres (1759ft). After Manstone Rock is The Devil’s Chair.
Unlike many of the other hills around, the ground at the top of the Stiperstones is littered with rocks, so it’s recommended that everyone wears walking boots for the extra ankle protection.
You should allow at least an hour for a walk to the summit and back, though obviously depending on how fast your family is and how long you want to stay, explore, and take in the views.
It may be somewhere to avoid when the weather is bad though. Not just because someone may be sitting in the ‘Chair’, but it can get pretty grim and exposed at the top. You must also stick to the paths as there are old mine shafts in some areas.
The Shropshire Way Ridgeline Walk
If you want to take in an extended walk and can arrange transport at the other end of the hill, or pick up the shuttle bus (see below), then a walk along the ridgeline is well worth it (shown on the map). This is one for older kids though.
If you can travel at an adults pace then this walk could take about two and a half hours, though you may wish to stop and explore and travel at a more leisurely pace. You can stop off at the restored Blakemooregate cottages and get an appreciation for how families lived in this harsh landscape.
As you walk north along the trail there are a few routes down the hill into the valleys on the left.
The walk back up the hill from the Stiperstones Inn can be a little hard after lunch!
The first proper trail (i.e. wide path, not sheep trail) left after the main outcrop will take you down to the Stiperstones Inn. The Stiperstones Inn welcomes walkers and we’ve always had a good meal when popping in there, and makes a great walk/eat/walk route (though the walk back up the hill from the Stiperstones Inn can be a little hard after lunch!)
The Bog (yes, not a very attractive name), is just a little further down the road from the car park of the Stiperstones hill (see our map below).
This area used to be a large mining facility (once with 300 buildings), and you can park among what’s left of the ruins.
Here you will also find The Bog Visitor Centre, and a great place to stop for a warm drink and slice of cake 😉
The Shropshire Mines Trust occasionally do trips into the Somme Tunnel at The Bog, so check their website out to see if your visit coincides with one of their open days. Helmets and lights are provided, and it’s easy for kids to do.
The Snailbeach Mine
At the other end of the hill to The Bog is the Snailbeach Mine.
This former mine is run by the Shropshire Mines Trust. Please check their website for opening times.
You can park off the main road at Snailbeach in the car park at the end of the village and walk up to the mine via the footpath opposite. There are toilets in the car park. Please pay in the honesty box.
It’s possible to stop off and visit the mines even when they are closed, but we recommend you go when the Trust has them open and get an information leaflet (only 50p when we last visited). They may also have the ‘Day Level’ tunnel entrance open, and so you’ll be able to get suited up with helmet and light and go underground.
Further up the hill is the shaft entrance (covered with a grill), so you can have a look down into the dark tunnel you visited earlier.
Shropshire Hills Shuttle Bus
Throughout the summer the Shropshire Hills runs a shuttle bus service which stops at Snailbeach, The Stiperstones Inn, The Bog Visitor Centre, and the Stiperstones Hill car park (as well as going on to other stops at the Long Mynd).
If you want to do a one-way walk across the top of the Stiperstones (The Shropshire Way) then work in the Shuttlebus timetable to your route.
You can find the Shuttlebus Timetable here.
If you’d like to discover more about the area, here are some useful links.
You can park at the Snailbeach Community Centre Carpark (small donation to park) there are toilets there. It’s a short walk up to the Snailbeech mine.
Alternatively, further up the hill you can park at Bog where you can find a Cafe. You’ll also pass Stiperstones pub and Tankerville as you go up the hill. Also great places to stop.
Further up and you’ll get to the Stiperstones carpark, where you can walk up to the rocks.
Here’s where you can find Discover the Stiperstones.
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