A tough MTB route from Church Stretton taking in: Cardingmill valley, the Batch, Plush Hill, the portway finishing on Minton Batch. Lots of single track, lots of tough climbs, experienced mountain bikers only. Although this trail has options for the less adventurous rider.
Just over 16 miles mixing singletrack, double track and some roadwork, map and directions on Google maps.
Step by Step
Starting from the square, take a left to head north along high street towards Shrewsbury take for the left turn following the brown sign for Carding Mill valley.
First short cut opportunity:
Carry on along the Shrewsbury road to avoid the first steep climb, you can either re-join the route by turning left at the Stretton water plant or continue all the way to Batch valley taking a left at the YHA brown sign.
Follow the road up Carding Mill valley, over the cattle grid and follow the road past the pay and display machine on the left then look out for a singletrack trail that climbs steeply out of the valley on the right hand side. Switchingback this single track trail is signed with a National Trust path sign. This is a permissive track that you can ride. The trail climbs sharply over loose rocks.
The singletrack continues up to the golf course where the trail turns left, following the track with the fence on the right side of the trail. When the track turns into a wide gravel track keep right to follow a short climb up to the right then straight when it levels out to the first singltrack descent.
Follow the trail down into Cwmdale, turn right through the gate then down and over the road to the singletrack on the other side and begin to climb, keep right at the first fork following the fence then left at the next fork for a short sharp climb followed by some flowing singletrack, go straight across the hill on the obvious route that eventually re-joins the fence line and descends into Batch valley. Don't worry if you take the wrong trail, it all ends up in the same place.
Once in Batch valley take a left to climb up the valley on a double wide track crossing the river twice. After the second river crossing stick to the main trail on the valley floor, past a house on the right, over a very small wooden bridge the trail switches back to the right signed with a marker-post on the right with a blue arrow pointing at a steep and narrow climb up the valley. This is another permissive track that is not shown on all maps.
Second short cut opportunity:
Take a left at the road to cut out the descent and inevitable climb, pick up the route at the next cattle grid.
From the top of the climb head towards the main trail, take a right to find the road, turn left on the road then right at the sign for Gogbatch, the trail is wide, grassy and fast flowing, follow the main trail straight at the first junction to enjoy the descent all the way to the road.
Turn left at the road to follow up Gogbatch valley into a steep climb, left at the junction and keep climbing on the main road. When you get to a cross roads with a cattle grid on the right and a steeper gravel road ahead carry on straight on, the gravel will turn to grass and the gradient will mellow out. Follow the fence line until you arrive at a junction, the fence will bear right but you need to bear left following the grassy trail.
Keep following the main trail that will pass the head of Carding Mill Valley and join the gravel road of the portway, bear right as the track turns left on to a narrower trail that gently climbs and then crosses a road and leads to the summit at Pole bank.
From Pole bank head South towards the gliderstation and the forest, the trail is narrow and rocky at first dropping onto the Port way that is now a tarmac road, follow the road for nearly 1 mile looking for the marker post for Minton hill.
Third short cut opportunity:
To get down off the hill a little quicker: Continue straight along the Port way road until just before the gate for the glider station turn left looking for the marker post for Minton Batch and the singletrack beyound.
Take the trail signed for Minton hill that will gently climb, this track will eventually turn left, at this point bear right looking for the track to lead you back, it looks like a sheep track but this is the actual bridleway. Follow this grassey singletrack back towards the postway and the glider station, this track will eventually lead you to the Minton Batch trail head marker.
Turn left to follow the singletrack down Minton Batch, the trail is narrow with loose rocks and stream crossings. When you finally run out of trail you will find yourself at a farm, follow the main track straight ahead, over a couple of cattle grids to the road.
Turn left at the road and head to Minton. Take the left at Minton and follow the road through Minton, the road steepens. Left at the next junction, follow the road round to the Ragleth arms, Turn left and follow the road all the way back to Church Stretton.