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Walking The Stiperstones In Shropshire – A Guide


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Sydelle Tillery



Welcome to the Stiperstones, a stunning and rugged area of natural beauty nestled in the heart of Shropshire, England. This ancient landscape, with its dramatic rocky outcrops and heather-clad rolling hills, offers a unique and memorable hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts.


The Stiperstones is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and it’s easy to see why. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking vistas, this is a destination that truly embodies the essence of England’s rural charm.


Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual nature lover, the Stiperstones has something to offer everyone. From discovering the area’s fascinating history to immersing yourself in its tranquil surroundings, there’s no shortage of things to see and do here.


In this guide, we’ll delve into the history of the Stiperstones, explain how to get there, provide advice on the best time to visit, and give you tips on preparing for the hike. We’ll also explore the trail and its points of interest, highlight the diverse wildlife and flora you can encounter, and offer some important safety tips to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience.


For those looking to extend their stay, we’ll suggest some nearby attractions and offer accommodation options to suit every preference and budget. So lace up your boots, grab your backpack, and get ready to discover the wonders of the Stiperstones.


History of the Stiperstones

The Stiperstones is not only a place of natural beauty but also steeped in fascinating history. Dating back millions of years, these impressive rocky outcrops were formed during the Ordovician period and are made up of quartzite, a hard and durable rock.


Throughout the centuries, the Stiperstones have played a significant role in shaping the local community and the surrounding area. The rocks were quarried for their quartzite, which was used for building materials, road construction, and even as an abrasive in the once-thriving local mining industry.


Legend has it that the Stiperstones were named after a fearsome giant who terrorized the local villages. The giant’s body was said to have turned to stone after a powerful witch cast a spell on him, creating the striking rock formations we see today.


During the medieval period, the Stiperstones became a haven for outlaws. The area’s rugged terrain and isolated location made it an ideal hiding place for bandits, who would ambush unsuspecting travelers passing through. The notorious highwayman Humphrey Kynaston was said to have used the Stiperstones as his base of operations.


Over the years, the Stiperstones has inspired writers, poets, and artists with its mystical charm. The famous British poet A.E. Housman, known for his collection of poems titled “A Shropshire Lad,” was captivated by the beauty of the Stiperstones and included references to the area in his works.


Today, the Stiperstones is cherished both for its natural beauty and its cultural significance. The area is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is managed by Natural England, ensuring its preservation for future generations to enjoy.


Exploring the Stiperstones is like stepping back in time, allowing you to connect with the rich history and heritage of this unique corner of England.


Getting to the Stiperstones

The Stiperstones are conveniently located in the county of Shropshire, making them accessible for those traveling from various parts of England. Whether you’re arriving by car, public transportation, or on foot, there are several options to reach this beautiful natural area.


If you’re coming by car, the Stiperstones can be reached via the A488 road. There are designated parking areas near the Stiperstones Nature Reserve, where you can safely leave your vehicle before embarking on your hike. It’s worth noting that parking can get busy during peak times, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot.


For those opting for public transportation, there are bus services available from nearby towns and cities, such as Shrewsbury and Bishop’s Castle. These buses provide a convenient and eco-friendly way to reach the Stiperstones. However, it’s essential to check the bus schedules in advance, as the frequency of services may vary.


If you prefer a more adventurous approach, you can also hike to the Stiperstones from surrounding areas. There are several footpaths and bridleways that lead to the Stiperstones, allowing you to enjoy the journey and immerse yourself in the stunning countryside.


When planning your trip to the Stiperstones, it’s essential to consider the time it takes to reach the area. Shropshire is well-connected to major cities like Birmingham and Manchester, both of which have international airports. From there, you can take a train or bus to reach Shrewsbury, the nearest town to the Stiperstones.


Overall, whether you’re traveling by car, bus, or on foot, getting to the Stiperstones is relatively straightforward. The journey is part of the adventure, as you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the Shropshire countryside along the way.


Best Time to Visit

The Stiperstones can be enjoyed throughout the year, each season offering its own unique charm and opportunities for exploration. However, there are specific times that are considered the best to visit, depending on your preferences and desired experiences.


Spring (March to May) is a delightful time to visit the Stiperstones. The hills come alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom, creating a picturesque landscape. The weather tends to be mild, making it perfect for hiking and enjoying the scenery. Birdwatching enthusiasts will also be rewarded with the arrival of migratory birds during this time.


Summer (June to August) is a popular time to visit the Stiperstones, especially for families and outdoor enthusiasts. The days are longer, allowing for extended hikes and picnics amidst the beautiful surroundings. The heather on the hills begins to flower, painting the landscape in shades of purple and attracting a myriad of insects.


Autumn (September to November) is a breathtaking season to visit the Stiperstones. The hills become a mosaic of warm hues as the foliage changes color, creating a stunning backdrop for your hike. The crisp autumn air and quieter trails make it a peaceful time to explore the area.


Winter (December to February) brings a unique beauty to the Stiperstones. The hills may be dusted with snow, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland. This is a perfect time for those seeking solitude and a more challenging hiking experience, as the weather can be cold and the paths may be icy.


It’s important to note that the weather in the Stiperstones can be unpredictable, regardless of the season. It’s always advisable to check the forecast and dress accordingly, packing essential items such as waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, and extra layers to adapt to changing conditions.


Regardless of the time of year, experiencing the Stiperstones is a delight for nature lovers and those seeking a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Each season offers its own unique beauty and opportunities to immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings.


Preparing for the Hike

Before embarking on your hike in the Stiperstones, it’s essential to make some preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:


1. Research the Trail: Familiarize yourself with the trail options available in the Stiperstones. There are various paths of varying lengths and difficulties, so choose one that suits your fitness level and time available. Consider downloading offline maps or bringing a physical map to navigate the area.


2. Check the Weather: As mentioned before, the weather in the Stiperstones can be unpredictable. Check the forecast before heading out and be prepared for all types of weather conditions. Dress in layers, carry waterproof clothing, and pack sunscreen and a hat for sunny days.


3. Wear Suitable Footwear: Ensure you have sturdy and comfortable footwear suitable for hiking. The terrain in the Stiperstones can be uneven and rocky, so proper footwear with good ankle support is essential to prevent injuries.


4. Pack Essential Items: Carry a backpack with essentials such as water, snacks, a first-aid kit, a fully charged mobile phone, a whistle, and a map or compass. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, and a camera to capture the stunning views.


5. Inform Someone: Let a trusted person know your hiking plans, including the trail you plan to take and your estimated time of return. This is especially important if you’re hiking alone.


6. Respect Wildlife and Nature: The Stiperstones is home to a variety of wildlife and unique plants. Respect their habitat by not disturbing or feeding them, and follow any signage or guidelines regarding their conservation.


7. Stay Hydrated and Energized: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially during warmer months. Pack energy-boosting snacks to keep you fueled along the way.


8. Leave No Trace: Help preserve the beauty of the Stiperstones by following the principles of Leave No Trace. Take all of your trash with you and avoid damaging plants or disturbing the natural environment.


By taking these necessary precautions and preparing adequately, you’ll be well-equipped to have a safe and enjoyable hike in the Stiperstones. Remember to leave some room for spontaneity and let the beauty of the surroundings guide your journey.


Trail Description

The Stiperstones offers a variety of trails that cater to different hiking preferences and abilities. Here, we will describe the popular “Stiperstones Circular Trail,” which takes you on a captivating journey through the unique landscape of this remarkable area.


The Stiperstones Circular Trail is approximately 6 miles long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the stops you make along the way. It starts and finishes at the Stiperstones Nature Reserve car park, where you can find parking and visitor facilities.


The trail begins by following a well-marked footpath that leads uphill to the rocky outcrops of the Stiperstones ridge. As you ascend, you’ll be greeted by panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, with the rugged rocks adding an element of drama to the landscape.


Continuing along the ridge, you’ll encounter multiple viewpoints, such as The Devil’s Chair and Manstone Rock, where you can pause and take in the breathtaking vistas across the Shropshire Hills. These spots are also perfect for capturing memorable photographs.


As you make your way along the trail, keep an eye out for remnants of the area’s mining past, such as old mine entrances and ruins. These historic features serve as reminders of the region’s industrial heritage.


The terrain varies along the trail, from rocky paths to grassy slopes, providing a mix of challenges and easy stretches. The route is well-maintained but can be uneven and steep in places, so caution is advised and suitable footwear is necessary.


The trail winds through beautiful heather-covered hills, especially vibrant in late summer and early autumn. The flora and fauna you encounter along the way are diverse, with opportunities to spot wildflowers, butterflies, and even bird species such as curlews and peregrine falcons.


After descending from the ridge, the trail meanders through peaceful valleys and picturesque farmland, offering a serene contrast to the ruggedness of the Stiperstones. The gentle descent allows you to relax and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings before returning to the starting point.


Throughout the trail, there are various waymarkers and signage to ensure you stay on the designated path. However, it’s always advisable to carry a map or use GPS for added navigation assistance.


Overall, the Stiperstones Circular Trail offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the stunning landscape and embrace the history and natural beauty of this remarkable area. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.


Points of Interest

While exploring the Stiperstones, you’ll encounter several points of interest that add to the allure and fascination of the area. These locations offer unique experiences and opportunities to delve deeper into the natural and cultural wonders of the Stiperstones.


1. The Devil’s Chair: One of the most iconic features of the Stiperstones, The Devil’s Chair is a dramatic rock formation resembling a natural throne. Legend has it that the devil himself would sit here and enjoy the panoramic views. Whether you believe the folklore or not, this is a fantastic viewpoint and a perfect spot to take in the breathtaking scenery.


2. Manstone Rock: Another notable feature along the trail is Manstone Rock. This large rocky outcrop stands prominently against the rolling hills and offers stunning views across the landscape. It’s a popular spot for photographs and a great place to rest and rejuvenate before continuing your hike.


3. Shropshire Mines Trust: The Stiperstones has a rich mining history, and the Shropshire Mines Trust provides insights into this heritage. Visit their visitor center to learn about the area’s mining past, see exhibits featuring mining artifacts, and gain a deeper understanding of the local industry that once thrived here.


4. Snailbeach Lead Mine: Located near the Stiperstones, the Snailbeach Lead Mine is a fascinating site to explore. Take a guided tour to discover the underground workings and learn about the history of lead mining in the area. It offers a unique glimpse into the industrial heritage of Shropshire.


5. Nature and Wildlife: The Stiperstones is home to a diverse range of wildlife and plant species. Keep an eye out for birds such as red grouse, kestrels, and buzzards soaring above the hills. If you’re lucky, you might spot a rare black grouse or a peregrine falcon. The heather-covered hills attract a variety of insects and butterflies, adding to the charm of the landscape.


6. Bog Visitor Centre: Located nearby in the picturesque village of Stiperstones, the Bog Visitor Centre is a great place to learn about the unique ecosystem of upland bogs. Discover the fascinating plants and wildlife that thrive in this environment and gain an appreciation for the delicate balance of nature.


These are just a few of the many points of interest you can encounter while exploring the Stiperstones. Each adds its own flavor to the experience, providing opportunities for awe-inspiring views, historical insights, and a deeper connection with the natural surroundings. Take your time to appreciate these points of interest and make the most of your time in this incredible area.


Wildlife and Flora

The Stiperstones is a haven for a diverse range of wildlife and boasts a stunning array of flora. From soaring birds of prey to delicate wildflowers, the area is teeming with natural treasures waiting to be discovered.


Wildlife: Birdwatchers will be in their element in the Stiperstones, as it is home to an impressive array of avian species. Look to the skies and you may spot red grouse, curlews, kestrels, buzzards, and even peregrine falcons. These majestic birds soar above the hills and add to the beauty of the landscape.


The moorland habitat of the Stiperstones also provides a home for other wildlife. You may come across the elusive mountain hare, which changes its coat color with the seasons to blend in with its surroundings. Small mammals like stoats and weasels scurry amongst the heather, while shrews and voles hide in the grasses.


Additionally, the area is known for its diverse butterfly population. Keep an eye out for species such as the common blue, orange tip, and small pearl-bordered fritillary, which flutter gracefully through the meadows and contribute to the vibrant ecosystem.


Flora: The Stiperstones boasts a variety of plant life that adds color and texture to the landscape. The heather-covered hillsides are a sight to behold, with the purple hues intensifying in late summer and early autumn. Heather not only adds vibrancy to the scenery but also provides a valuable habitat for many species of insects.


The Stiperstones is also home to a variety of wildflowers, each blooming in its own season. Look out for common spotted orchids, harebells, and bird’s-foot trefoil, which dot the meadows with their delicate blooms. In spring, daffodils and primroses add a cheerful touch to the landscape.


During your hike, you may come across patches of bilberry bushes. These low-growing shrubs produce small, tart berries that are a favorite amongst wildlife and even humans who enjoy foraging for them. Keep an eye out for their distinct leaves and purple fruit.


It’s worth noting that the Stiperstones is also home to several rare and protected species, so it’s important to admire and respect the flora and wildlife from a distance. Take care not to disturb or damage their habitats, allowing future generations to appreciate the beauty of this unique environment.


Exploring the Stiperstones offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a diverse and thriving ecosystem. Whether you’re a bird enthusiast, a lover of wildflowers, or simply a nature enthusiast, the fauna and flora of the Stiperstones will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.


Safety Tips

While exploring the Stiperstones and immersing yourself in its natural beauty, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some essential safety tips to ensure a secure and enjoyable experience:


1. Plan and Prepare: Before setting off on your hike, familiarize yourself with the trail, check the weather forecast, and pack appropriate clothing and equipment. Carry a map, compass, or GPS device, and let someone know about your plans and estimated return time.


2. Dress Appropriately: Wear suitable clothing and footwear for hiking, taking into account the weather conditions and the terrain. Dress in layers to adapt to temperature changes and bring waterproof gear to protect against rain showers.


3. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Carry an ample supply of water and drink regularly to stay hydrated, especially during warmer months. Pack energy-rich snacks to keep you fueled throughout your hike.


4. Follow Signage and Stay on the Trail: Stick to designated paths and follow signs and markers to avoid getting lost. Straying off the trail can lead to potential hazards and damage sensitive habitats.


5. Be Mindful of Weather Conditions: Be aware of changing weather patterns, as the Stiperstones can experience rapid weather changes. Avoid hiking during severe weather conditions, such as storms or dense fog, as they can make the terrain more treacherous.


6. Watch Your Step: The Stiperstones trails can be uneven and rugged. Pay attention to your footing and be cautious when navigating steep or slippery sections. Use trekking poles for added stability, especially on challenging terrain.


7. Respect Wildlife and Nature: Observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural habitats. Refrain from feeding or approaching wild animals, as this can be harmful to both you and the animals. Admire the flora and avoid picking or damaging plants.


8. Be Prepared for Emergencies: Carry a well-stocked first-aid kit and familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques. Carry a fully charged mobile phone for emergencies, but be aware that there may be limited reception in certain parts of the Stiperstones.


9. Take Your Time and Enjoy: Don’t rush your hike and be mindful of your physical abilities. Take breaks when needed, drink water, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery and tranquility of the Stiperstones.


By following these safety tips, you can have a memorable and secure experience while exploring the Stiperstones. Remember, safety should always be a top priority to ensure a positive and enjoyable adventure in this remarkable natural area.


Nearby Attractions and Accommodation Options

With its picturesque surroundings and proximity to other points of interest, the Stiperstones offers more than just stunning natural beauty. Here are some nearby attractions and accommodation options to consider when planning your visit:


1. Shrewsbury: Just a short drive from the Stiperstones, the historic town of Shrewsbury is worth a visit. Explore its charming streets lined with timber-framed houses, visit the stunning Shrewsbury Castle, and indulge in the local shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of traditional Shropshire.


2. Ironbridge Gorge: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ironbridge Gorge is approximately 30 miles from the Stiperstones. Explore the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and visit the Iron Bridge, an iconic symbol of the area’s engineering prowess. Discover the various museums that tell the story of this significant historical site.


3. Carding Mill Valley: Located in the nearby Long Mynd area, Carding Mill Valley offers beautiful walks, waterfalls, and a tranquil setting. Enjoy picnics by the stream, explore the meandering trails, and take in the breathtaking views of the Shropshire Hills.


4. Long Mynd: A prominent feature of the Shropshire Hills, Long Mynd offers extensive walking opportunities with its vast heather-covered moorland and dramatic valleys. Hiking through this stunning landscape rewards you with panoramic vistas and a sense of tranquility.


5. Accommodation Options: There are several accommodation options available near the Stiperstones to suit every preference and budget. From cozy bed and breakfasts and country inns to self-catering cottages and campsites, you can find the perfect place to rest after a day of hiking. Some popular choices include The Stiperstones Inn, The Bridges YHA, and The Hand at Llanarmon.


It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your preferred choice. Consider staying for more than a day to fully explore the area and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Stiperstones and its surroundings.


Whether you choose to further explore Shropshire’s historical towns, venture into the Ironbridge Gorge, or simply unwind in the tranquil valleys, the Stiperstones provides a central base for experiencing the best of this remarkable region.



The Stiperstones in Shropshire, England, offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or a curious traveler, this unique destination has something for everyone.


As you explore the Stiperstones, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas, rugged rock formations, and a diverse range of wildlife and flora. From the dramatic peaks of The Devil’s Chair and Manstone Rock to the peaceful valleys and meadows, every step reveals a new facet of this remarkable landscape.


The Stiperstones is not just a place for outdoor enthusiasts; it’s also steeped in history and folklore. From the ancient quartzite rocks formed millions of years ago to the tales of giants and outlaws, the area is intertwined with captivating stories waiting to be discovered.


When visiting the Stiperstones, it’s crucial to prioritize safety, plan your hike accordingly, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Respect the environment and the wildlife that call this place home, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy its wonders.


The Stiperstones is also conveniently located near other attractions, such as the historic town of Shrewsbury and the Ironbridge Gorge. Take the opportunity to explore these nearby sites, immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region.


Whether you spend a day or several exploring the Stiperstones and its surroundings, you’ll leave with memories of a tranquil escape, breathtaking views, and a deeper connection to the natural world.


So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your camera, and get ready to embark on a journey through the captivating landscapes and intriguing history of the Stiperstones.