Dark Skies Discovery Sites Church Stretton

A Dark Skies Discovery Site is a place where the Milky Way (not the chocolate bar) is visible in the night sky with the naked eye. There are four Dark Skies Discovery Sites across the Long Mynd, Church Stretton.

The Milky Way over the Swiss Alps

These locations need to be accessible to the public and have a good clear view of the sky to be accepted as a Dark Skies Discovery Site.

There are degrees of classification, Milky Way Class being the highest. The degree of darkness determines the classification.

The four sites at Church Stretton are at Carding Mill Valley, Cross Dyke Car Park at Boiling Well, Pole Cottage and Shooting Box Car Parks, and are shown on the map below.

An OpenStreetMap of Dark Skies Discovery Sites, Long Mynd, Church Stretton

OpenStreetMap of Dark Skies Discovery Sites

Star in Your Skies organises events on Long Mynd supported by Shropshire Astronomical Society.

Events are often arranged at short notice by local enthusiasts and of course weather-dependent.

Stars In Your Skies Walk 20th June 2019, starting at 10pm in Carding Mill Valley. It is a two hour stroll around Carding Mill Valley and the foothills of the Long Mynd. Lots of facts figures and stories to keep you entertained. £6 guided walk. www.churchstrettonwalkingfestival.co.uk

Solstice Sleepout organised by the National Trust , look at events for Carding Mill Valley, on the 20th and 21st June 2019. See Sunset and Sunrise under the stars. Booking is essential £20. Bring warm clothing and a small tent. Meeting at 10p.m. place to be arranged.

I am certainly thinking of doing the walk.

The image at the top of this post shows the night sky during the lunar eclipse over the Swiss Alps. Along with the eclipsed moon, visible in the photo are Mars below the moon, Saturn in the middle, and Jupiter to the right. The Milky Way arises above them all, shining through wispy high clouds. Numerous satellites and aircraft make it a happening Friday evening in the sky. The image is from Wikimedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Wikimedia article on Church Stretton notes that the town was once nicknamed “Little Switzerland”.

Hill Bagging

Long Mynd

Long Mynd

I knew about Munro bagging but had not realised there was other classifications for hills and mountains.

A Munro is a mountain over 3,000 feet. If haven’t you heard of Munro bagging, it is where some people who like climbing,  climb all the mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet? Their aim being to climb all the Munros.

I was looking up some information on Titterstone Clee and Brown Clee and kept wondering what the little bit saying Marilyn meant. When I looked it up I found this whole world of other classification for hills and mountains.

I am not going to explain them all here but there are names like Wainwrights, Donalds and Tumps. Tumps in Shropshire are burial mounds, and probably in other parts of the country as well.

These classifications are said to give climbers something to aim for, others say it devalues climbing.

However you feel towards these classifications it is still interesting subject.

In future look for the hill classifications in blogs about Shropshire Hills.

The image above is a view of Church Stretton and Long Mynd taken near the summit of Caer Caradoc, Shropshire by Copsewood from Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Long Mynd

Bodbury Hill From The Burway on Long Mynd

Bodbury Hill from The Burway on Long Mynd

The Long Mynd is the back drop to Church Stretton, seven miles north of Craven Arms.

The Long Mynd is approximately 7 miles long by 3 miles wide. The highest point is Pole Bank at 516 metres (1,693 feet) above sea level. It is classed as a Marilyn.

Much of the Long Mynd is owned and managed by the National Trust and falls within the designation of the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

The National Trust have a Visitor Centre in Carding Mill Valley which has a an exhibition and a tearoom. Many activities are put on over the year.

There are many indications of ancient human activity on Long Mynd.

The Portway runs the length of the Long Mynd. It is a Drovers Route which is thought to have linked up with the Kerry Ridgeway.

There are twenty tumuli, of which one had a Shooting Box on it until 1992 and to this day is called the Shooting Box Barrow.

There are also three dykes, Bannister Plain Cross Ridge Dyke, High Park Cross Ridge Dyke and Devils Mouth Cross Ridge Dyke. They separated areas of moorland and are thought to be 1,500 years old, unfortunately in some places they have been damaged in more modern times.

Bodbury Ring is a small Hill Fort. It sits above Carding Mill Valley and looks over to Caer Carodoc and Lawley both of which have hill forts at the top of them.

As you can see there is lots of human activity to look at but also lots of wildlife to observe as well. There are lots of walks up to the plateau of Long Mynd and from the car parks up on the Mynd.