OverviewThe Stiperstones Ridge
Status is being a Marilyn at 536 metres AOD and also being the second highest point in the county of Shropshire after Brown Clee Hill. The weather could have been better but i will try and get better shots next time i visit this lovely area.
To the south west of the bustling county town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire is a distinctive ridge that dominates the North West fringes of the South Shropshire Hills and lies close to the border of Wales.
The ridge is of significant interest especially in its geological history.
It consists of a craggy quartzite ridge (Quartzite is a toughened type of Sandstone)
The stone here is of some 480-500 million years old.
The quartzite is of a pale creamy almost white in colour with occasional bands of conglomerate with small rounded quartz pebbles. This indicates the existence of once ancient beach deposits. The rock layers here as in the dip direction of the discontinuity are at an angle of about 70 degrees. These lines of dip are clearly visible when climbing up onto the ridge and even more so when on the tors.
On top of this ridge are the distinctive outcrops of this quartzite rock or more commonly known as tors. The most northern of the ridges great tors is The Devils Chair. The most southern is Cranberry Rock and the highest in the centre is Manstone Rock surmounted by the summits trig point Trig-Number S1523.
The Three main Tors
Getting There and Access onto the ridgeThe Stiperstones is Relatively Isolated but not difficult to find.
This map is from Streetmap...
Stiperstones By Streetmap
The nearest main roads of any major significance are the A488, A489 and A49.
The A488 gives access from the A5 Shrewsbury bypass heading in a south west direction and the villages of Stiperstone and Snailbeach are signposted off this road once you have passed through Minsterly and head for Bishops Castle.
The A488 also gives access from South and Mid Wales from Knighton and Clun and also the interlinking A489 from Newtown.
The A489 also gives access from The Midlands region via the main trunk A49 between Craven Arms and Church Stretton on the Leominster to Shrewsbury stretch.
Access Routes up onto the ridge are best from the following places
Pennerley Stiperstones Village and Snailbeach - Streetmap Links
These are three small villages that all lie to the west side of the Stiperstones Ridge and all three have footpaths and bridleway routes that head out onto the ridge.
Please be aware that parking is limited in all three of these villages.
These all offer interesting routes up onto the ridge and Snailbeach offers a route with a difference that is definitely worth combining. The reason for this is the mining museum at Snailbeach which is covered further on this page.
The Bog - Streetmap Link
This is a small community area and The Bog visitor centre is an old school building now converted into a local history and nature reserve centre.
Also available here are light snacks teas coffees and cold drinks.
More information about The Bog visitor centre is with the mining museum.
Again there is limited parking but there is access onto the ridge from this car park.
For the simplest route up there is a large public car park just below Cranberry Rock.
This is a very short walking distance from the summit and requires an ascent of about 110 metres. Well not complicated but anyway pleasant enough but busy in the summer days.
Red Tape restrictionsThe Stiperstones Ridge being an area of outstanding natural beauty and a site of SSSI / Site of Special Scientific interest along with the local nature reserve has a free to rome throughout its complete area when out on the ridge. The lower areas may have access limited due to the farmers.
Although please follow the paths when out on the ridge as the plants and heathers make this ridge the beautiful colours and are a wonderful site especially when in flower.
Safety on the ridge and weather.The safety issues here are unusual really for an easily accessible ridge.
My main concern when i was up on the rocks was the youngsters climbing about the tors. A young girl slipped whilst climbing them and her leg went down a large spacing in between the rocks (Painful).
Also these rocks can when wet become very slippery due to the amount of algae present on them.
The paths are very unstable from large rocks being deposited everywhere and tripping and misplacing your feet can be an easy way to sustain an ankle injury.
But when up here so many people were walking in trainers and some even in bloody Croc's flip flops (Mad).
The northern end of the ridge is easier to get lost on than the south end.
This is because the north end has more ridges connecting to it.
The south end you can follow the path from along side the tors.
The local weather details from the following link.
Church Stretton and South Shropshire Hills weather
Local history and tourismSIGNIFICANT LOCAL HISTORY:-
As mentioned the village of Snailbeach is surrounded with mining history dating back many years.
The mining industry in this area was one of the most successful areas in the whole of the United Kingdom and its main extracts consisted of lead, zinc, barite along with many additional materials. In 1875 the mines here alone produced over 10% of the United Kingdoms lead ore and up to the First World War produced about 25% of the United Kingdoms barite.
Well preserved mining buildings at Snailbeach
Its underground workings extended ¾ mile by 250 yards. This mine worked to a depth of 1,650 feet. The underground mining in this area ceased in 1955 but the surface buildings here are the most complete in the county of Shropshire and possibly the most complete in the United Kingdom. Being honest in my travels I have not seen a Cornish mining building in the same condition so I believe it is true.
Although the miners here extracted lead ore or better known as galena, smaller quantities of barite, calcite, fluorspar, silver, zinc along with witherite were also obtained.
More well preserved mining buildings at Snailbeach
As the pictures show visiting this mining complex you get to see a complete set of well preserved 19th Century buildings.
There can be underground tours arranged here for those who wish to be adventurous.
The complete site is managed by the Shropshire Mines Trust Ltd and the tours are done by volunteers prepared to spare there time so as to share there local history with others. The complete site is open on Sundays between Easter and the end of October.
The surface area is open at all times.
From the mining buildings there is a large isolated chimney high on the edge of the hill. To access the Stiperstones Ridge head for this chimney and there is a distinctive path that is signposted for The Devils Chair and gives direct access up and onto the ridge.
This is a great website for local history...
Shropshire Routes to Roots
The bog visitor centreLocal information is available from here
Opened in 1996 this is one of Shropshire’s tourism success stories.
It is a truly local project which is run by a team of about 20 helpers.
The building began its life in 1839 as the school for the local mining community and finished as a school in around 1968.
The site continued as a field study centre and still has links with Oxford University.
Now being the visitor centre it attracts an audience of around 12,000 visitors a year from all over Britain and Overseas.
But why is it called The Bog?
Prior to the construction of a drainage tunnel called the Boat Level in 1797 the area was very wet. The Boat Level, 312 feet below the surface, still exists and runs from The Bog to its discharge point near Stiperstones Village.
Mid March – End of October 10am – 5pm Wednesday to Sunday each week
Also open all school and bank holidays
Group Visits are available by prior arrangement.
THE BOG VISITOR CENTRE
The Bog, Stiperstones, Shropshire SY5 0NG
Tel: (01743) 792484
I Tried the visitors centre website and contact email address and neither of these seemed to work:-
But i took a visit to the centre back in August-2007 and the centre was fully open and running.