Access and Interpretation
There is an extensive network of public rights-of-way [ROW] in the LP area and three areas of open access. Honey pot locations include the Stiperstones NNR and the Bog Centre, where there are large car parks, a number of self-guided walks and an all-ability trail. Other popular sites include the Stone Circle at Mitchell’s Fold and the Wildlife Trust sites. A number of circular routes have been developed as part of a project called Walking with Offa. These help promote the public houses in the area and increase the use of Pontesbury as the northern gateway to the Shropshire Hills. The Parish Councils of Pontesbury and Minsterley are developing a bid to the Market Towns initiative to become Better Visitor destinations. Self-guided walks leaflets are available for Stapeley, Adstones, Mucklewick Hill, Fenny Bank, Stiperstones and Chirbury amongst others but there is, at present, no joined-up approach to the promotion of these walks across the border.
The Shropshire Way long distance path has undergone considerable improvements over the past few years, including the development of new circular routes. Details of the Shropshire Way can be found on the Shropshire Walking website . The Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail is only a few miles outside the area and some local ROW connect with it.
A new leisure path is being considered from Pontesford to Minsterley, taking riders, cyclists and walkers off the busy main road onto the route of the disused railway that used to take ore from the mines in the area.
The Long Mynd Hike is an annual event, held in the first week in October, where, in 2010, 339 competitors covered 50 miles over the hills, including Corndon, Stiperstones and Stapeley. There is also a Welsh National Fell Running race, the Corndon Classic, that takes place annually in April. This takes in Roundton, Llan Fawr and Corndon and is completed in about 45 minutes!
The Sustrans national cycle route 44 goes through the area from Shrewsbury towards Bishop’s Castle.
At Eastridge Woods there are a number of well developed and used mountain bike circuits developed by the Forestry Commission and the Blue Remembered Hills project. These were once used for national competitions but the visitor infrastructure and services were insufficient to meet demand and the competitions now occur elsewhere.
Horse riding is a popular pastime and there are a number of fun rides in the area and a commercial stables.
Public transport is reasonable with a bus every 40 mins from Shrewsbury to Minsterley and one every two hours on to Bishop’s Castle. On weekends and bank holidays there is a tourism service, the Shropshire Hills Shuttles, that do a circuit including Minsterley, Pontesbury, Stiperstones and Bridges.
Interpretation in the area can be found at the Bog Centre, a volunteer-run visitor centre and café, and on panels for example at the Stiperstones and Roundton NNRs, the Bog village, Norbury, Bridges and Mitchell’s Fold. Snailbeach mines are also widely interpreted with arranged visits underground at regular intervals through the summer. The mines’ buildings are owned by Shropshire Council and managed by volunteers from the Shropshire Mines Trust. The mines are open from Easter.
The Stiperstones NNR offers a range of educational activities and guided walks, which will increase following the completion of Blackmoorgate cottages. There are many other guided walks and small events advertised in the Shropshire Hills Events brochure, published annually.
There are a number of local events and shows including Norbury Fete, Hope and the ‘Pontesbury Potter’. The Minsterley Show (a traditional agricultural show going back generations) is now held at Lea Cross, outside the LP area.