The Stiperstones walk is easily one of the best walks in the Shropshire Hills. This guide has all the info to help plan an amazing day here.
I’ll say this now. The Stiperstones walk is easily one of the best circular walks in Great Britain.
Honestly, it’s on par with anything you’d get in the Lake District or the Peak District. And the views from the top of the Stiperstones over Shropshire are just stunning.
I’ve got you excited for it, haven’t I? Well then, you’d better keep reading!
When we visited Shropshire, we spent a couple of days exploring Shrewsbury and Ludlow. With places like Ludlow Castle and the Iron Bridge, obviously there are so many things to do in Shropshire.
However, we couldn’t come to this county and not explore the Shropshire Hills. Just a handful of miles from the Welsh border, this is one of the greenest counties in England, and there are some incredible hikes in the area.
We didn’t just want any hike though, we wanted one with some epic views that showcased the best of Shropshire. Well, we couldn’t have picked a more perfect hike for us.
If you’re looking at hiking the Stiperstones yourself, this is our guide packed full of everything you need to know.
Oh, and make sure you bring your camera, you’re going to want it!
What are the Stiperstones?
The Stiperstsones are in the heart of the Shropshire Hills. You can tell when you’ve made it to the Stiperstones themselves when you see these eerie rock formations on the horizon. It’s almost as if the rocks have been dumped here and long forgotten about.
The remarkable ridge of the Stiperstones is made of quartzite, an extremely hard, crystalline rock which sparkles in the sun. It really can be blinding on a bright day.
This rock was formed around 510 million years ago during the last ice age. Apparently, this whole area would’ve looked more like a beach than what it looks like today, which is just crazy when you think about it.
The Stiperstones circular walk is 5.5 miles (9 kms) long that’ll take you around 2 to 3 hours to complete.
If you bring a picnic, you will want to add on 30 minutes to your walk which I’d suggest. Anything to make this walk longer as I find it very hard to leave the place behind!
The terrain can be rough and uneven underfoot in places, especially when climbing over the stones, so make sure you’re wearing suitable footwear or hiking shoes.
The Stiperstones is part of the Shropshire 3 Peaks Challenge. This is a walking route that takes in the Stiperstones as well as Black Hill and Brown Clee Hill. You can find out more about this route here!
The Devil’s Chair
On the Stiperstones hike, one of the most imposing rocky outcrops is the Devil’s Chair.
Legend has it that the rocks of the Devil’s Chair were brought there by the Devil himself. Apparently has was travelling across Britain with these stones in his apron creating one of the nearby valleys when he fancied a wee rest.
As the legend goes, as he stood up the strings on his apron snapped and all the rocks he’d been carrying tumbled out onto the landscape. Instead of picking them up, the Devil left them all over the ridge as a warning.
In really hot weather, you can still smell the brimstone on the Stiperstones, a sign that the Devil had once been there.
Also, this used to be a popular site for pagan witches centuries ago, so the whole area is steeped in scary myths.
To make things even spookier, sometimes to ghost of Wild Edric can be seen wandering the area.
He was a Saxon earl who held lands that were confiscated after 1066 and successfully defied the Normans. Apparently, he can be still seen trying to protect the countryside whenever England is being threatened by invasion.
We kept an eye out for Wild Edric but as things are relatively peaceful at the moment, so we didn’t see him.
I’m not too sure I’d want to be caught out alone at the Stiperstones in the middle of the night though…
Getting to the Stiperstones car park
The one thing about the Stiperstones is they’re in the middle of the countryside, so you need a car to get there.
Thankfully, it is marked on Google Maps, so it is very easy to pop it into your sat nav and follow the directions.
When you’re about 5 miles away from the car park, the roads become single track roads. There are lots of passing places, but just be mindful of your speed around blind corners.
The car park is called the Bog Mine car park. The Stiperstones parking is free, but there is a voluntary payment of £3 per day which you can pay via your phone. This money is used for the ongoing upkeep of the landscape, so I’d always recommend paying if you can.
Near the Bog Mine car park is the visitors’ centre. Here you can pick up some snacks and supplies before your walk. You can also learn more all about the Bog Mine which was in the area.
According to the website, the visitor centre is open seven days a week between April and end of October, from 10am to 5pm. However, it was closed when we went there, but I’m assuming they’re running reduced hours at the moment.
Highlights of the Stiperstones walk
Section 1: Learning about the Bog Mine
You don’t have to walk far from your car before you start coming across remnants of the old Bog Mine.
During the 1870s, the Stiperstones area was one of Britain’s main sources of lead. It was a highly prized metal used for roofing and plumbing as well as paints and bullets, and it was mine here.
Dotted around are the old mining buildings like Somme tunnel and the powder house where all explosives used to be stored.
Just a little way along from the Somme tunnel, there is a narrow path that takes you through the forest to a wooden walkway. This is essentially the start of the Stiperstones walk.
If you follow the path through the trees, it will lead you out into a farmer’s field. During summer when we visited, this field was covered in yellow daisies and buttercups which made for a very colourful start to the walk.
Once you get to the top of the field, it veers slightly to the left. This is where you have to cross the road onto the next section of the walk.
Section 2: Exploring the Stiperstones
From there, the next section is a gentle incline all the way up to the Stiperstones. You don’t really need directions here – all you need to do is keep walking to the giant stones on the horizon!
One of my favourite things about the Stiperstones is you get to clamber all over the rocky outcrops which I loved. The views from the top of Devil’s Chair (there is a trig point at the top of this outcrop) are just astounding.
On a clear day you can see for miles around. It’s easy to see what the Shropshire Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) that’s for sure.
If you look to the north west, you’ll even be able to see Snowdonia in Wales.
I would say the walk from the road to the Stiperstones takes around 30 minutes, but we took a bit longer as we kept on stopping for photos.
Section 3: Walking through the fields and the forest
If you keep following the rocky path along the ridge of the Stiperstones, it eventually starts taking you downhill until come across a waystone at a crossroads.
Now, it’s very easy to keep on walking straight here to the next set of stones, but you want to take the path to the right. After about 5-10 minutes, you’ll come across a stile into a farmer’s field.
When we were there in summer, the field was full of sheep and cows which made nice company.
The path cuts across the field until you get to a small road/path. This was the most confusing section for us, and where we got lost.
The signposts point left – this is where the Shropshire Way continues – but you want to take the path into the field on the right.
If you keep following the Shropshire Way to the left, it will take you through a farm to the farm entrance. This is Hollies Farm – if you see the farm sign, you’ve come too far and you’ll have to turn back.
You’ll know you’re on the right path for the Stiperstones circular walk when it takes you uphill through the forest. Don’t worry, it isn’t uphill for long!
Section 4: Looping back round to the car park
If you keep on walking along this path/road, you’ll have some beautiful views of Shropshire over to your left. I know I keep on going on about it, but it’s just so beautiful here.
This path/road will take you all the way to the Stiperstones car park – this is a different car park which people use for a more direct route to the Stiperstones. Once you hit the car park, turn right and either walk along the road, or the path just next to it.
This road links up to where you crossed the road towards the beginning of the walk. I promise you’ll recognise it!
From here, you’ll want to take the path of the left that will take you downhill towards the car park.
Instead of heading straight for your car, head to the visitors’ centre. Hopefully it’s open because apparently the ‘bog cake’ they sell there is to die for. I am gutted it wasn’t open when we were there because I would’ve devoured that cake after our walk.
As I said, the walk should take you around 2 to 3 hours, so it’s perfect for a morning or afternoon activity.
The hardest bit is the uphill section towards the Stiperstones. Also, walking around the stones will test the strength of your ankles too.
If you wanted to, you could do the walk in reverse. Personally, I think this would be much better as the views coming back down the ridge would be spectacular. However, and it is a pretty big however, it would be much tougher in reverse. The walk up the farmer’s field to the Stiperstones is pretty steep, which is why most people do it the way I’ve suggested in this blog post.
Walking packing list
Usually when we go out on these walks, we’re spending all day out and about in the countryside. Because of that, there are some things that we always bring with us and recommend to others. Hopefully one or two of these items can help make your walk that little bit more enjoyable!
- Walking shoes – The no.1 item we always recommend is a good pair of walking shoes! They can really make or break your walk. Here are the ones we currently have – Mens | Womens
- Walking socks – It’s important to have a comfy pair of socks too otherwise your feet can blister – Mens | Womens
- Plasters – And if your feet do get blisters, then make sure you bring along some platers just in case (and hope you don’t need them).
- Rain jacket – The reality of walking in Great Britain means walking in all weathers, so it’s always a good idea having a quality rain jacket with a hood just in case the weather turns bad – Mens | Womens
- Sun cream – On the opposite end of the scale, it’s always a good idea to have sun cream on you too for when the sun comes out, especially in summer.
- Water bottle – I am a water bottle convert and I barely leave the house without one now. This is a great water bottle with a built-in straw – it’s surprisingly handy when walking!
- Energy bars – No matter whether I’m hiking or trail running, I always have a couple of energy bars in my bag to stave off the hanger. These are some of the best I’ve found.
- Portable power bank – Just incase you’re out hiking for a long time and your battery dies, it’s always a good idea to have a power bank as a backup. This one is my favourite – just make sure you charge it before you go walking!
- Quick dry towel – With the rise of wild swimming (or cooling off under a waterfall in the Lake District), then having a quick dry towel in your bag is a must.
This post was in association with Visit Shropshire promoting some of the best things to do in the area. As always, views are entirely our own and without bias.
Are you planning a trip to the Stiperstones? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I’ll get back to you!
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