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Small Batch Campsite, Ashes Valley, Little Stretton, Church Stretton, Shropshire
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Small Batch Campsite, Ashes Valley, Little Stretton, Church Stretton, ShropshireAt the foot of the seven-mile hulk that is the Long Mynd, and next to a 17th-century cottage on the outskirts of the village of Little Stretton, sits a little secluded paradise for those who like to combine their camping with a bit of walking. Or even a lot of walking.'The average walker can get a week's hiking in without once using their car', says Oscar, who has run the site with his wife Pam for over 40 years. Indeed, there's been a campsite here since the 1920s, when Oscar's grandfather William Prince was the owner.

The footpath to the Long Mynd passes right through the campsite and takes walkers alongside a stream gently up the steep-sided Ashes Hollow before suddenly depositing them close to the heavens. The view at the top is one of the great panoramas ot the British countryside, and worth every step of the 300-metre climb. There are several ways back to the campsite, so no dull backtracking.

Just up the road, in tea-shop-tastic Church Stretton (where there's a cafe or tea room for every day of a week-and-a-half), the Shropshire Cakes and Ale Trail passes through on its search for the very best locally produced pints.There's also the Jack Mytton Way, a bridleway that forges a trail around some of the choicest bits of Shropshire. Or you can just make up your own route from the thousand-and-one footpaths that criss-cross the area.

The campsite can get a little busy at weekends in summer, so those who prefer their camping to come with a generous dose of tranquillity should aim to stay here on school nights.

COOL FACTOR The mighty Long Mynd is not on your doorstep, it is your doorstep.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs, young groups (with adult/s) - yes. Big groups - by arrangement.

ON SITE There are 30 pitches in one small, largely flat field, many of which have electric hook-ups. The showers (1W, 1M) and loos (3W, 2M) are rustic but clean. Washing-up is at an outdoor sink, and kids can play in the stream that runs across the entrance to the campsite. Trees are all around, so there's a good deal of shelter. No campfires.

OFF SITE If you've any time off from pounding around the Shropshire Hills you can always pay a visit to Bishop's Castle, Clun, Ludlow, or Shrewsbury. There's also the Acton Scott historic working farm near Church Stretton (01694 781307), which recaptures life on a Victorian estate; or the National Trust's Attingham Park (01743 708123) with its walled garden.

FOOD AND DRINK The Ragleth Inn (01694 722711) is a hop and a skip away (booking advisable). There's a farmers' market in Church Stretton every second and fourth Friday (9am-1pm), and others in Ludlow (second Thursday, 9am-2pm), Bishop's Castle (third Saturday, 9am-2pm), Craven Arms (first Saturday, 9am-2pm), and Knighton (fourth Saturday, 9.30am-1.30pm).

GETTING THERE From the A49 follow Shrewsbury/Church Stretton signs.Take the B5477 to Little Stretton, turn left at the Ragleth Inn and first right. The campsite's beyond the ford.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Take the train to Church Stretton then bus no. 435 (Minsterley Motors; 01743 791208) to Little Stretton (alighting at the Ragleth Inn).

OPEN Easter-September.

THE DAMAGE One-person tent £10 per night; 2-person tent £12; 2 people'in a big tent' £14; all else £14. Hook-up £2.


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