Walking Britain graphic

Shropshire Hills Walk
Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington

Outline Route Map Walk Grading

Region - Shropshire Hills

County/Area - Shropshire

Author - Daryl Smith

Length - 7.0 miles / 11.4 km

Ascent - 1700 feet / 515 metres

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference SO506951
Lat 52.55149 // Long -2.729988
Postcode SY6 7JZ (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington Photo from the walk - Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington Photo from the walk - Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington Photo from the walk - Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington Photo from the walk - Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington Photo from the walk - Caer Caradoc, Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills from Cardington 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

A lovely hill walk that avoids crowds and starts from the delightful Shropshire village of Cardington. The sheer quiet of the countryside here belies its turbulent past, this was hotly disputed border country long before the time of the Marcher Lords.

Our walk is based on the pretty, conservation village of Cardington, tucked away in beautiful countryside about three miles to the north-east of Church Stretton. Cardington is best approached from the A49 either from Church Stretton or from Leebotwood a few miles north. There are no public facilities in Cardington other than the Royal Oak, a "picture-book" country pub both ancient and charming. There is usually plenty of room on the village hall car park, immediately opposite the church; parking is free although donations are requested. St James' Church is itself worth a visit if only to see a panorama mural created by local people.

Go left out of the car park and head out of the village taking a lane on the right signposted for Willstone and Caer Caradoc Hill; stay on the lane until it turns sharp right then carry on straight ahead on a farm track. You will soon get a fine view of Caer Caradoc ahead with Hope Bowdler and Willstone Hills off to your left. Ignore the first two signed footpaths on your right and leave the track by the third, just beyond a road gate and an information board, head across the field where Caradoc soon comes back into sight with The Lawley beyond.

To make the most of the ridge traverse don't go for the direct ascent that is now visible, go through into access land and then go right gradually gaining height until you reach the northern end of the ridge. Simply follow the ridge of Caer Caradoc Hill for its entirety, taking time to explore the summit where outlines of earthwork fortifications dating back to the Iron Age and possibly beyond can still be seen. This hill fort is reputedly the location of the last stand of Celtic chieftain Caradoc (or Caractacus) against the might of Rome. There is a small cave known as Caractacus' Cave on the north-western side of the summit where he is said to have hidden after the final battle.

Westerly views are of course dominated by the bulk of the Long Mynd; there are excellent wide-ranging views in all other directions. Looking ahead, the next ridge walk from the Gaer Stone to the Battlestones is clearly visible. Continue down the ridge line past Three Fingers Rock, through a kissing gate then on the lower slope veer right to a footbridge over the small stream. On the opposite bank go left to a gate giving access to a path around the base of Helmeth Hill; this gate can be difficult to spot when vegetation is in full leaf (it is just above and to the left of the ford). Helmeth Hill's natural woodland is open to explore if you wish to detour from the main walk.

Our path around the hill follows an often muddy track then swings left over fields to the foot of Hope Bowdler Hill. Back in access land at the toe of the slope, contour around to your right until you reach the end of the ridge below the Gaer Stone. Follow a clearly defined ridge walk over Hope Bowdler Hill and onto Willstone Hill. Wander left off the main path to Battlestones and you can see the lovely setting of Cardington below. At the end of the ridge look down south-east to a field corner, go through the kissing gate at that corner and left along the hedge line then straight ahead on a surfaced farm track. Follow the concrete road past North Hill Farm and just before the start of the highway (tarmac surface) turn right onto a footpath. After the first field go diagonally left past the Sharpstones and then through a gate turning left on the lane. Your map will offer a choice of field paths back to Cardington but it is just as pleasant to stroll down the quiet country lane into the village.

 
Go to full list of Shropshire Hills Walks

 
Maps   Ordnance Survey Logo   Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 217Sheet Map1:25kBUY MAP
Anquet OS Explorer 217Digital Map1:25kBUY MAP
Ordnance Survey Landranger 137Sheet Map1:50kBUY MAP
Anquet OS Landranger 137Digital Map1:50kBUY MAP

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

Printer Friendly Page

For an easy to print version of this walk description and outline map Click Here

OS Map showing start

Ordnance Survey Map showing starting point of walk - Click Here

GPX File

Download GPX File

Right click or option-click the link and choose "Save As..." to download this file.

You can also view the route of this GPX file on Google Maps by following this link to the Online GPX Viewer by Tom Hallam which is hosted on an external website.

Recommended Reading

Cicerone Books

Cicerone PressCicerone Press offer a range of books and eBooks offering guides to all the popular walking areas and long-distance trails in Britain and overseas. Their illustrated guides feature walks, information and maps to help you make the most of the outdoors.
Explore Cicerone's Catalogue


Recommended Cottage Holidays

Sykes Cottages

Over 7,000 personally inspected holiday cottages. In fact, we think we've got the finest selection in some of the UK and Ireland's most beautiful places.

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

the people's poncho 2.0

Lightweight, stylish and lightweight alternative to traditional waterproofs ideal for walkers. More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains. Use the Met Office specialist reports or their iOS or Android Apps (here & here) which offer detailed forecasts for most mountain areas in the United Kingdom.

New to Walking?

Click for a simple guide of how to start walking. Includes a guide on how to select your walks.