Shropshire Hills

Caer Caradoc

1. 12. 2023

Peter Schrammel


almost cloudless, -8°C, thick frost on the northwestern faces


*****: One of the finest panoramic ridge walks in England


Longnor, 118m - Lawley parking, 172m - The Lawley, 375m - Comley, 182m - Caer Caradoc, 459m - Hope Bowdler Hill, 428m - Hazler, 261m - Ragleth Hill, 398m - Little Stretton, 190m

Elevation gain





5h (2/3 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 3/4 + 1 + 1/2 + 3/4 + 2/3)


E: quite long


0: sometimes very steep and slippery


<2: caution near summit rocks

Visitor frequency 

c: lots of walkers around the Lawley and Caer Caradoc, much quieter around Hope Bowdler Hill and Ragleth Hill


I took a long weekend to do some late season hiking. I travelled to Shrewsbury on the previous day and then took the bus to Longnor in the morning. The plan was to traverse most of the hill chain down to Little Stretton where I would stay overnight. The night has been cloudless and it was very cold when I left Longnor at dawn. The sheep were standing like frozen in the pastures covered with thick frost. The prominent peak of Caer Caradoc appeared like a volcano dyed in pink and orange emerging from the flat fields. I walked fast to reach my operating temperature and arrived at the Lawley parking after 8.30am. There are peeled off several layers and started climbing the broad ridge that soon rises above the tree line. I encountered a couple of dog walkers. On the first bump of the ridge I had to put on my jacket again as it was a bit too windy. The beautiful ridge to the Lawley looked much, much longer than it actually was. After a few minutes I had passed another bump with a cell phone tower and another few minutes later I was on the summit. The panorama is marvellous from the Wrekin over the Wenlock Edge and Caer Caradoc to the valley of Church Stretton and Long Mynd. Whereas the northwestern side of the ridge was covered in frost, it had already melted on the southeastern facing slopes. A steep descent led down to cold Comley that hadn‘t seen a sun ray yet. Paying too little attention at the now again frozen ground, I slipped and fell on the icy road. Crossing a field with an amazingly old oak tree, I reached the foot of Caer Caradoc. I removed my jacket again for the steep climb to green Little Caradoc. The strong winds forced me to put it back on again when I crossed the saddle towards white Caer Caradoc. Two hikers with a dog were already approaching the last steep climb. At 11am I had reached the summit that is decorated by several rocks and ditches that are relicts of an iron age fort. The view was now even more impressive than from the Lawley. I took pictures all round before taking shelter in the ditch behind a big rock to eat my lunch. A hiker‘s dog was magically attracted by my lunchbox and was quite disgruntled that I didn‘t give in to its begging. Finally, its master arrived on the summit too and lured it away. Towards noon I continued the hike. First I had to walk around the lumpy, volcanic rocks that decorate the southestern edge of the mountain in order to reach the path that leads down via a pasture with plenty of sheep to a road and then further down into a little valley. There I had to cross a brook via a little bridge. However, to get there I had to cross deep mud. Fortunately, the mud was frozen – unfortunately, only superficially and didn‘t always bear my weight. I then had to clean my shoes on frost-covered hassocks before climbing up the steep path to the Battle Stones. This curious rocks had already caught my eye from Caer Caradoc opposite. The following section of the path over the extensive broad fern-covered Hope Bowdler Hill looked less interesting. Again I overestimated the distances and after a few minutes I had reached its southwestern summit looking down to Church Stretton. Yet another impressive rock, Gaer Stone, sits on the continuation of the ridge. I didn‘t attempt to climb it in the current, icy conditions. The pyramid looks even mightier from Hazler. I took the path that leads around the western slopes of Hazler Hill. Passing by pig heads sculpted into a box hedge I reached the northeastern view point of Ragleth Hill after a short steep section. Clouds arriving from the west heralded the bad weather that was forecast for the next day. I didn‘t stop for a long time and continued over the broad ridge to its southwestern point marked by a pole and overlooking Little Stretton, my destination for the day. The step descent was incredibly slippery despite the eroded steps that formed the path. After 2.30m I had reached the A49 and crossed over an old stone bridge into the village. Since I could only check in my accommodation from 4pm, I had time to peek into the cute timber frame church and have coffee and cake in the nearby pub.

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