7-Night Explore Nature in the Shropshire Hills

Merlin (Falco columbarius) North Yorkshire,England,September,2015
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Explore Nature

The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty encompasses a region of limestone escarpments, woodland and heather moorland – each with their own natural wonders. A walk along Wenlock Edge should reward with some real specialist species; spurge laurel and the rare wall brown butterfly. There is also an interesting colony of mining bees. In the woods there may be green woodpecker, nuthatch and marsh tit flitting about in the trees. Out in the open there’s the chance to spot soaring red kites, red grouse, wheatear, stonechat, linnet and even a merlin – the UK’s smallest bird of prey. In September, the heather on the Long Mynd will be in flower, creating a wonderful carpet of purple.

Holiday Highlights

  • Leisurely walks with regular stops to watch wildlife
  • Share enthusiasm and improve your wildlife ID skills
  • Flexible itineraries will take into account prevailing weather conditions and any reported sightings

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays Leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
  • If applicable, all essential transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or another mode of transport, e.g. boat
  • If applicable, all entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.

The Stiperstones National Nature Reserve is noted for its gaunt quartzite rock formations reminiscent of the Devon tors. The contaminated soils of this former mining area do not re-vegetate readily and this favours the grayling butterfly for which the Bog car park, where we shall start our walk, is the best site in the area. The poor soils of the hill have a limited but interesting flora. We take an easy route through the heather to the tors where red grouse, wheatear, red kite and merlin top the bird list. On a fine day the views are dramatic and we finish our walk with some unusual mining bees. A splendid start to our holiday.

After a hearty breakfast, we head out to Wenlock Edge - a fine limestone escarpment facing north-west across Shropshire. The ridge is mainly wooded but for most of our walk from Much Wenlock to Presthope we shall be on the sunny edge of the wood and concentrating on limestone plants, such as spurge laurel, and butterflies – the rare wall brown is the star of these. Woodland birds are quiet in August but a small hide in the wood allows close views of such as marsh tit and nuthatch. The walk up to the wood from the car park provides an opportunity to see limestone grassland flowers like the dramatic woolly thistle.

Armed with our tasty picnic lunches, we first walk through the Rectory Wood overlooking Church Stretton. Many fungi appear around the wonderful ancient trees of this historic wood, and last year we had excellent views of dragonflies around the old town reservoir. We then follow the path up the Townbrook Valley through the resplendent heather moorland to the top of the Long Mynd. On the way we’ll find a variety of acid-loving plants, butterflies and dragonflies plus birds such as raven, red kite (now frequent in the area), green woodpecker, stonechat and linnet, all while enjoying yet more spectacular views of the Shropshire countryside.

The River Teme is one of Britain’s cleanest and a fine place to look for both dipper and kingfisher from the vantage point of Ludford Bridge – at least six kingfishers here in 2017! Before we leave the river we see the grove of hornbeam trees famed among birdwatchers for its hawfinches in winter. We then follow the Mortimer Trail up to Mortimer Forest where in addition to the woodland birds we shall see a wide variety of fungi, some interesting plants and with a little luck silver-washed fritillary butterflies. A large bank of buddleia bushes is a great help!

Clunton Coppice is a hillside oakwood reserve above the River Clun, an important survivor of the charcoal industry. Woodland birds include marsh tit and stock dove, and the fungi can be dramatic. We then enter an area of open modern forest which proved excellent for butterflies in 2017 – and red kites! In the afternoon we cross the Clun Valley to Bury Ditches, a hill fort surrounded by one of the best butterfly sites in Shropshire; here we were successful in finding the rare wood white in 2017 along with a breath-taking display of other butterflies including wall brown. This is a wonderful way to round off our holiday!

Depart after a leisurely breakfast

Longmynd House

Hidden in plain sight, there’s a well-kept countryside secret in the heart of England that might just surprise you with its wonderful upland walking, trails, history and heritage. Discover the heart of Shropshire from striking Longmynd House, stood on a wooded hillside above Church Stretton, on the border of England and Wales. Wake early to watch the sunrise from your balcony; take a dip in the heated outdoor pool and gear up for a great day in the hills on walks full of rich variety. Stride out on the Long Mynd itself, a dramatic, isolated whaleback hill with an expanse of heather wilderness and deeply cut valleys, explore the Stiperstones and climb to the Iron Age fort on top of Caer Caradoc, or surround yourself with historic castles, market towns and trails of all kinds.



Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house or in one of 8 brick-built lodges in the grounds. With 54 rooms, Longmynd House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic and Premium Rooms to choose from. Chose Room 16 for the four poster bed and separate sitting area, with green leafy views or Room 44 with its compact balcony and outdoor eating area overlooking the heather-clad rise on the far side of the valley. The lodges away from the house offer a little more privacy and their own terrace looking out over the gardens.

All ‘Classic’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, lounge, bar, ballroom, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Shropshire Hills, return to the house. Stroll through the extensive grounds and discover the woodland sculpture trail that threads through the trees, looking out for ‘deer’ and ‘bears’. Dip into the heated outdoor pool to swim below the trees. Head to the long lounge with its wall of glass giving on to the view outside, or for a more intimate space, sit at the smart bar with its crouching lions and attractive jug lamps or surrender to the leather sofas around the fireplace and enjoy a local pint of Shropshire Lad or Lass with a lively conversation among your fellow guests.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Food at Longmynd House is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Longmynd House

10694_0059 - Longmynd House - Exterior

Getting to Longmynd House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

On Explore Nature holidays, you will be outdoors for the full day, so be sure to bring outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs. You will also need strong and comfortable footwear with good tread. If there's warm weather, a sun hat, suncream and sunglasses may be useful.

Please also bring binoculars to ensure you get the most from your Explore Nature holiday.

You may also wish to bring a telescope, camera, water bottle or a thermos flask.

Guest Reviews

7 nights
Explore Nature

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

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