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   Loop 2   Where is Church Stretton?

 Church Stretton Loop 1

  1. From the supermarket car park, turn back out towards the traffic lights on the main A49 road and go straight across and on up the hill until the road just begins to level out, no warm up here, it's pretty steep! As the road levels you will see the farm road to your left.
  2. Go up here until you pass through a farm gate then bear right up double track. Through another farm gate then 30 yards on up a short steep double track to a gate overlooking the farm house. Go left through the gate along the single track until you reach a small wooden gate (look to your right at the hill here - you're going to be coming down it later!)
  3. through the gate and straight on up the grassy track and follow track along to a T junction with a farm track at a small stand of trees.
  4. Turn right on to the track and follow this along and up through a metal farm gate. Carry on over the crest and down a treacherous (read fun) rocky rutted road till you meet a tarmac road at another farm.
  5. Follow on down the tarmac road till you cross the small ford at Cardindton. Turn right here along tarmac road then take first right up lane (after about 300 yards). Follow this lane up the hill (it becomes a seriously steep concrete road) until you reach the farm at the top.
  6. Turn left here and climb the last 30 yards then fall over in mortal agony clutching your cramping calves. Pull yourselves together before anyone else arrives and carry on along this earth farm track which turns right. Follow round a couple of bends and through a farm yard then out the other side and through a gate (which has the most revolting cattle wade when wet). Follow grassy double track up, as it bears to the right up around the hill. The track goes over a cattle grid then straight down a 1 in 3 slope with a hairpin bend near the bottom. It's loose and rocky and no insurance known will cover you to do it at the speed we go down it! Take the time to change your shorts if necessary then see if you can get up the pitch in front of you without getting off. I fail most days. Over the cattle grid and follow the track at high speed but which side is safe? You'll find out pretty soon.
  7. Join the main road at the bottom turning right downhill and freewheel towards the houses. Just before the first house on the right and up a grass bank is the gate to the next climb and this is the worst of the lot. (the climb not the gate).
  8. Go straight up the hill and use the two gates as an excuse to stop and feed a little blood through the lactic acid in your legs. After the second gate the track takes you up on to and across the moor. Follow the track across some small streams/ditches then follow as it bears to the left towards Church Stretton and that steep single track. If your brake pads aren't sharp you will live to regret it! At the bottom send someone to fetch a mountain rescue team (or at least a St Bernard with a good Brandy) then turn left going back along the single track of an hour earlier and retrace back to Church Stretton.
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