About the Area
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Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country is a beautiful upland area of shared landscape character that crosses the Welsh English border between the Shropshire Hills and Montgomeryshire.
Less than a hundred years ago it was a thriving industrial area, at different times containing one of the largest lead mines in Western Europe and the largest barytes mine in England. There would have been many more people living and working here and life would have been hard. The mining reflects the underlying geology, with two rock types separated by the Pontesford-Linley fault, lead ore to the west and barytes and copper to the east. There is also important prehistoric and medieval history, with hillforts, stone circles and medieval hunting forests.
Livestock farming is still important but whilst the modernisation of farming has had an impact here, the area still contains a mosaic of high quality habitats that are a haven for Biodiversity Action Plan species such as curlew, snipe, lesser horseshoe bat, dormice and spreading bellflower. Some of these sites are publicly owned but the majority are in the hands of private landowners. There is a rich cultural heritage of myths and legends and the stunning scenery inspired authors such as Mary Webb and Malcolm Saville.
Today, the area is sparsely populated, with pockets of deprivation amongst otherwise wealthy communities. Most working people are self-employed and many have a number of trades. Wages are below national averages and there are few large employers. As in many rural areas, young people are moving out and older people moving in, with around a fifth of residents being over 65.
Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country seeks to ensure that the precious cultural and natural heritage is appreciated and enjoyed for generations to come. Hedgerows, drovers’ routes, stone banks and walls will be repaired. The mosaic of habitat will be conserved and enhanced, with a softening of the boundaries between heath and farmland.
Mining relics and other cultural heritage sites will be repaired and access and interpretation for all abilities and ages improved. People will investigate their local heritage and talk to older members of the community about their experiences. New opportunities for training and work in heritage skills will be developed.
As well as helping conserve and enhance the landscape, the scheme will bring people together; better understanding the heritage and their part in it. They will begin to appreciate how others see the landscape and promote the services it provides.