Its been a great few weeks, gorge walking and then a nice weekend with family. I’m tentatively close to 900 miles of running for the year, with a week day off work I fancied a trot out somewhere different.
I love the Long Mynd but find it a little busy sometimes, so loading up OS mapping I zoomed in on the Stiperstones, I had been here once before during the ill-fated Wild Edrics way and was fascinated by the stoney twisted terrain.
Perusing the OS map I settled on a little spot of Pontesbury, or more precise Pontesbury Hill, I’ve never been to this part and being only a few miles from Stipperstones it seemed a good start.
I arrived early 7am, I only just caught the entrance to the car park as it wasnt well signed. Still being dark I donned my head torch and set off towards the indicated fort. I passed through the outer defenses and then breached the flat inner sanctum. I do love a good hill fort.
I ran the path below Earls Hill, coming across a lady walking her dog, a tiny sausage dog followed us until she called for ‘bacon’ to follow her. I loved that name and it made me chuckle.
I emerged from the wood and into open farm land, the path her was just shallow slushy mud, I tread carefully trying to remain upright as puppy pulled me along. Entering Habberley I passed the local pub and church, its one of them ‘Id love to live here’ places. Following the road I passed Habberley Hall and took a path into Eastridge wood, there was no sound here, not even birds, the air still and silent making me stop and take a moment.
I wound my way along the forest tracks, noting the multitude of mountain bike trails for a later return and emerged onto open farm land, turns out on reaserching that this site is home to mountain bike races.
Before entering Snailbeach Coppice, now there’s a mine hidden within and I remembered that Wild Edric’s spirit is enterned here, I didn’t hear any restless spirits and was soon entering another small wood only to come out onto a small valley.
I spied what to me seemed the perfect cottage, nestled in this valley it seems cut off from the world and must offer its owners a total hideaway, across from me stood another hill fort (like two a penny round here), but not really knowing how to get to it, I missed this one and after a sit, a think and stare I set off again, onwards and upwards.
Once on top the weather was a tad breezy and cold so after passing scary looking rock formations, I at Shepherd’s Rock and headed down Gittinshay Wood, this was hard going, the lower paths now churned by local cattle made for an interesting route,each step attempted to suck my trainers from me whilst simultaneously attempting to make me slip over. The mud sloppy and sticky in equal measure, a young cow then decided to take a little run along side me this ended with me slipping over in said mud
I passed by The Hollies which for a change was festooned with Hollie trees a splendor in red berries. I passed down through various fields, it was here that the paths was a little uncertain, I could see on my OS map where the path ran, even where the signs were, but it appeared the fence was now locked, along with the sign post buried in a diverted stream? I considered climbing said fence before noting the sheep pass through further down,
I then came across another oddity
Now far from me to say they are wrong, but your wrong, the path did go through here, plus I could see the footpath signs on the other side!!!
Anyway I pretty much ignored it and past back into Habberley before tracing my path back to Earls Hill, the ascent was steep but worth it, a couple of lively spaniels tried to take a log the wrong way through a gate until the owner took pity as I laughed on
Overall I ran 10miles, this part of the world is a cracking walk/run, usually the paths are well maintained and well sign posted, the going on lower parts was tough given the amount of mud, usualy mud is ok but not when it’s sticky.