Shropshire Hills and Ironbridge Gorge
Warning: This holiday has passed. Please return to the holidays section to view all current and future holidays.
A geological master piece - an area of Outstanding Natural beauty - an AONB- these hills are a walkers delight.
Rolling hills, but some interestingly magical summits, and lovely stream valleys that delve deep intothe hills to provide excellent walking for the discerning walker.
You will be enchanted by the magic of the Longmynd, the majesty of the Stiperstones ridge and the volcanic Stretton Hills with Caer Caradoc the flagship hill.
Added to this - the Severn Valley gorge, and Ironbridge- pleanty of walking here with industrial and histrical reminders of by gone industrial might.
Join us on the "Get Active" weekend in Shropshire - a land of surprising contrasts – from the gently rolling plains in the north to the unexpectedly stunning hills in the south – there’s something for everyone
Accommodation and food
We stay at the Buckatree Hall Hotel.- www.buckatreehallhotel.co.uk
Sole occupancy rooms no single supplement.
We eat in the hotels dining room each evening - a three course meal of the highest standard.
Lunch is taken at one of Shropshire's lovely country pubs
A relaxed, social approach
These hills are a genuine secret – unbelievably quiet and still relatively undiscovered compared to other popular walking areas. There are places here where you can completely get away from civilisation which really makes for a genuine relaxing experience. From the top of the Long Mynd, you can see right to the Welsh coast, far out over the Cheshire plains, the Peak District, The Malvern Hills and the Black Mountains – a true 360 degree experience.
You’ll see plenty of sheep quietly grazing the hills and even our own herd of wild ponies and their cute foals. Depending on the time of year, you will see glorious swathes of deep purple heather on the upland moors or the amazing golden shades of autumnal bracken on the hillsides but what you won’t see are hordes of people… this is a quiet land.
So why not come and experience a true land “that time forgot”.
Great reasons to join us
There are other walking holiday companies that cover Shropshire but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….
We are a small friendly company
We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
We always use good hotels. Our hotel in Church Stretton is set in lovely surroundings with fabulous views and the standard is really good. It is a walkers hotel so it caters for all your needs.
We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies, because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit on one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.
Your holiday programme
Your "Get Active" weekend break
We offer either three and a half days walking and three nights at Bank holidays or two and half days walking and two nights at other times of the year,
Walking Friday afternoon - if you can make it - Saturday/Sunday and Monday - finishing at 3.30pm on Monday at Bank Holidays and Friday afternoon/Saturday and Sunday finishing at 3.30pm for our weekends.
We start on Friday afternoon from the hotel at 2.30pm for a two and half hour introductory walk in the surrounding hills.
Walking - Grades and difficulty
The paths in the Shropshire Hills are exceptionally good underfoot. There is an active Footpaths Group which regularly surveys paths and reports problems. This keeps the standard extremely high which makes walking in this area a real delight. You don’t have to worry about wading through waist high crops or stumbling over worn out stiles, you can simply relax and enjoy the views.
Our walks are usually between 8-11 miles. We don’t rush because we want you to have time to enjoy the amazing views and take those photos as mementos. Yes, you will be going up hills – the Long Mynd is 517 metres above sea level, but Church Stretton is already 200 metres high so the ascents are not great and are very gradual - we always take our time. Nor are there precarious descents , in fact the whole area is pretty safe so if you are an inexperienced walker, these are ideal hills to start on!
We love our hills – we’d like you to love them too. Church Stretton is full of people who fell in love with the hills on holiday and decided to retire here years later – that might even be you one day!
Meet New Friends
Its all about meeting new friends. Each holiday is designed to be a friendly, relaxed and stress free occasion. Talking is as important as walking or discovering on Short Breaks for Single Travellers holidays. We don't go in for disco's, we may use an event that is taking place in the area we are in to boost the weekends activities - but its good, old fashioned chat that makes our short breaks successful.
"Make new friends that turn into old friends - that's our motto."
You might be surprised by what fun you’ll have with people who are older or younger than you during a holiday with us, and that’s exactly the sort of atmosphere we encourage; people find it very rewarding.
It doesn’t matter what your reasons for traveling with us are, we’ve had people who are single, divorced or widowed, people who have partners that are unable to travel, and people who can’t holiday with their friends anymore as they’ve all got married themselves. There are people who want to make friends, see sights, and experience something completely new. Whatever your reason, we’ll welcome you with open arms and our friendly hosts will help you to get the most out of your holiday.
Don't worry if this is the first time you have ventured to join a group holiday - its always a bit daunting - but we will look after you, ensure that you get used to being amongst friends again - trust us to to get you back into the swing of things"
Oh - by the way - its not a dating agency - over the years we have had people meet and fall in love - but that's just chance. Our aim is that you make like minded friends - just relax and enjoy.
Some of the walks we will choose from
Walk One - The Long Mynd
A superb walk through Carding Mill Valley, ascending to the top of the Long Mynd at Pole Bank. Walking along the heather-clad ridge before descending down one of the many delightful valleys for our lunch stop at a local hostelry. In the afternoon, we ascend Ragleth Hill and walk along it’s ridgeline with superb views in all directions. We finally return to Church Stretton in time for a cuppa.
Walk Two - The Stretton Hills
Our walk takes us to the ancient and picturesque village of Cardington, over the Stretton Hills in the morning, passing ancient rock formations, steeped in local legend. Lunch is at the magnificent Royal Oak - a 16th Century hostel, offering a great menu selection. We return to Church Stretton via the Wilderness and moody Caer Caradoc, site of an ancient hill fort.
Walk Three - The Stiperstones Ridge
We travel out over the Long Mynd to reach the rocky tors of the Stiperstones ridge. This is a magnificent drive in Shropshire’s best hill country. Our walk takes us under the legendary Devil’s Chair before descending to the old lead mining village of Snailbeach. Lunch is at the quaint Stiperstones Inn. In the afternoon, we pass several old lead mines as we view the Stiperstones Ridge from a distance ending up at The Bog Visitor Centre for a cuppa and cake. Transport back to Church Stretton.
Walk Four - The South End of the Long Mynd
Through Rectory Wood, and ascend Town brook valley to the top of the Longmynd, We the walk along it's spine with magnificent views, and round the south end of the hill to Hamperley, before arriving at Little Stretton. After lunch, either pub or packed, we ascend Ragleth Hill, walk along it's magical ridge line before descending into Church Stretton for tea.
Walk Five- Into a magical revolution
Fro the hotel, we ascend the Wrekin hill, then descend into the Severn valley, passing open cast coal mines that have been tstefully retruned to nature. Into the Loamhole Dingle and to Coalbrookdale - the site of Abraham Darby's first iron works that started the Industrial Revolution.On into the Severn Valley and finishing at the the icoic Ironbridge itself
Walk six - Wenlock Edge - a ridge of contrasts
Ascend to the ridge line and walk along the edge before swinging through fields and woods into Much Wenlock. Then following the Shropshire Way into the Severn Valley via the historical remains of clay pits, lime kilns and coal mines of the Industrial Revolution before reaching the Ironbridge Gorge and the Ironbridge itself.
Walk Seven - Ashes and Batch Valley's
We walk up Ashes Valley to Pole bank and along the Longmynd spine to it's north end. We descend down the Gallups and the Batch Valley into All Stretton for lunch. We wander out towards Caer Caradoc in the afternoon, take in wooded Helmeth Hill, and back into the town for tea.
Walk Eight - The Blacksmith's Walk and Long Mynd Heights
A pastoral walk, out to Acton Scott and Wenlock Edge, and around Ragleth Hill. We follow the route of Blacksmiths' who looked after the heavy horses on the Acton estate, eventually reaching Little Stretton for lunch. We ascend Ashes Hollow and descend the Burway in an undulating afternoon walk.
Just arrive and enjoy.
We offer two days of walking, with two nights in the Buckatree Hall Hotel for the Shropshire Hills, We start walking at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon - a 2 hour "get to know you walk" If you do not make this walk. meet on Friday evening, at 7.00 pm, for a three course dinner and a discussion on what we are doing during the weekend. Each weekend’s walking has a different theme, to fit into the time of year, or events going on in the area.
walk in a secret land of superb scenery
- good paths, excellent hill country
- 360 degree views into mid Wales, to The Clee and Malvern Hills, to the North Wales mountains
- Shropshire's renowned hospitality
- Local, knowledgeable walk leaders
-No single supplement
- our relaxed social approach
What you get on a Secret Hills break
- Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite two nights/ three nights if the holiday falls on a Bank Holiday - Spring Bank or August Bank Holiday
- Dinner- three course.
- Lunch- except first day on Friday
- Sole Occupancy- no single supplement
- Personal service
- Expert guiding- friendly, local guides that know the area superbly well.
- Transport to walks start and finish as needed.
- No single supplement
- Complimentary wine on first evening
- A social, relaxed approach
- Full joining deatils prior to your holiday
- Our administration support from the point of booking to you joining the holiday
Great reasons to join us
There are other walking holiday companies that cover the Shropshire Hills but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….
- We are a small friendly company
- We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
- We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
- Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
- You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
- Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
- We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
- We always use good hotels. Our hotel in Wellington is set in lovely surroundings and the standard is really good.
- We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies, because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit on one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.
Shropshire Hills & Ironbridge.
I just wanted to say thank you so much for such an enjoyable trip, everything was so well organised and the walks were amazing. Thanks so much I now feel refreshed and invigorated after a very difficult year we have had. Kind Regards Frazer
Alan (Secret Hills Walking owner and walk leader) lead on this weekend. Really enjoyed it, good contrast in the two days walking. The group were really lovely as well. Very much enjoyed guided walking. Organisation of holiday – excellent. Hotel was perfectly fine and food good. Really enjoyable weekend, thanks.
Laura Bowyer - Shropshire Hills & Ironbridge, July 2021.
Very much enjoyed the guided walking. Friendly and knowledgeable leaders and lovely walks, particularly on the Sunday from Church Stretton. Ing(walk leader) was also good as we arrived at Ironbridge about 1.5 hours before the taxi was due so he asked if we would like an additional walk on the flat and we went to a fab little tea room in a nice courtyard with shops about a mile or so away (as Ironbridge was busy and noisy that day). I thoroughly enjoyed my break. It’s evident how hard you work Alan, and the staff that support you, and that you care about ensuring your customers have a great time. Like you say it’s not just a walk but a holiday. Great job. Really well organised both in terms of the things we see but also all that must go on behind the scenes in ensuring these weekends run smoothly.
Janet Coates - Shropshire Hills, Ironbridge, October 2020
I really enjoyed the guided walking on this holiday with the variety of walks from Church Stretton and Ironbridge as well as those local to the hotel and The Wrekin. Walking with several different guides on this holiday contributed to the enjoyment as each added something different to the experience. I was impressed by Secret Hills’ ability to offer alternatives within walks (e.g. high or low routes led by different guides) so that everyone could enjoy their holiday. The office team were very patient in handling my late booking. Once I had made contact, the e-mail exchanges and booking process were straightforward. The joining instructions and pre-holiday information were comprehensive. It was lovely to meet Barbara and put a face to a name. Thank you for all your hard work, including the Alan Garner taxi services. Organising holidays at the moment must be very challenging. I appreciate what you have been doing.
Alun Jenkins - Shropshire Hills, Ironbridge, October 2020
Thank you for a memorable holiday in what is very unusual times! The guides were uniformly excellent. Couldn't be bettered!
A weekend walking is a really good idea for a short break.
Excellent few days and I am really looking forward to my next holiday booked with you. I would recommend to others.
Andrew Cooke Beat the Xmas Pud Shropshire 2017
The highlight for me was Caer Carodoc in the snow, it was stunning, we were so lucky there. A fabulous few days with a fabulous group of people.
Paul Russel Beat the Xmas Pud- Shropshire 2017
Happy New Year – I hope your New Year's Eve performance went down well !
I just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful holiday in the Shropshire hills. What lovely people and fantastic walking; I can't wait for the next one (I'll book earlier next time !).
All the best,Paul
Kate balmond Beat the Xmas Pud- Shropshire 2017
Just to say thank you for a lovely walking break in Church Stretton.
I enjoyed the set up, the company and the food and of course the walking
Happy New Year to you all
Sue Ashmore Beat the Xmas Pud- Shropshire 2017
Excellent food and had a large comfortable room, good value for money and would recommend to other walkers. Thank you Alan, Liz and Ian for great guided walking especially as the weather conditions were not always as we wanted but it was an experience walking in the snow and ice. Once again an enjoyable holiday….Sue A
Linda Kesington - November 2016
"It was great being met & taken back to the station. Ian was very good. Free drinks on the first night were wonderfully generous, and much appreciated! The scenery was lovely, regardless of whether; the length of walks was probably just right. The meals were very good, and the pubs where we had lunch, and the lunches themselves were excellent Loved the unexpected tea laid on the first afternoon we were there! Loved the idea of the first evening's meal as a sort of 'taster' event. Great room size, with a bath! "
Jackie Woodroffe- Shropshire October 2017
Alan was excellent and tailored the walk to be all inclusive and was very knowledgeable. Barbara joined us for Friday and Saturday which helped having 2 leaders. I met a lovely group of people who made it easy. This was my first holiday on my own and I would definitely recommend it "
Kate Oxyley - Church Stretton -October 2017 -
I liked the details re the daily walking itinerary. The style of description of the Shropshire holiday, in particular, was very friendly and inviting I thoroughly enjoyed the walks and the flexible approach that Secret Hills offer I.e. that I could walk at my own pace. I also appreciate the ethos of Secret Hills that the holidays aim to provide an enjoyable walking experience but also the opportunity to meet new friends share experience with fellow walkers. The knowledge Alan has of the local area enriched the experience for me
Susan Lauder - Shropshire August 2017 - September 2017
The bed was very comfortable, and the room was spacious. Hospitality from Stuart and Becca and Duncan (chef for breakfasts) was outstanding. Best that I have ever had. Breakfast portions plentiful with great options. Would definitely stay here again if in the area. Taxi driver to ferry us to the main hotel was friendly and helpful. This was good value for money. Appreciated the range of ages within the group and modifications to routes which were made in light of time/walking abilities. Appreciated no single room supplement. Guides were knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic about their walks and locality,
Andrew Cook- Shropshire August 2017 - September 2017
I was very happy with Liz, Lesley and Paul, Barbara, Ian and of course Alan. They are all really knowledgeable. I would definitely reserve another Secret Hills Walking holiday. They are so reliable. I would definitely recommend your holidays to others
Judy Steele- Shropshire August 2017 - September 2017
All of the walks were interesting and exhilarating. The pace was good with time allowed to drink in the fantastic views. The guides were knowledgeable about the local area. The destinations were stunning. And the weather was perfect. What more could anyone ask for! Everything was so well organized from pick up at the station, which was very much appreciated given the hill up to the hotel, to drop off back to the station. All events and walks ran seamlessly. Enough time allowed for pints and showers before dinner. Plenty of time for leisurely breakfast before the walks. Lunch ready and waiting at the pubs. Just a huge thank you to Alan and Barbara for excellent organization and to Ian, Liz, Paul and Lesley for 4 days of fabulous walks that I will always remember. Thank you all for introducing me to an area of the country I hadn't really noticed before. A wonderful weekend! It's a joy to deal with a company that focusses on solo walkers. I get so fed up being discriminated against for being single with single supplements I really appreciate the effort that must go into finding places that will release up to 15 rooms for single people.
Hazel Salisbury -Shropshire August 2017 - September 2017
Just wanted to drop you a line to express my thanks for organising such a great weekend of walking in such a lovely area . The guides were great - everything was organised so well yet the weekend didn't feel regimented - all very relaxed. We had great weather which helped a lot and met some lovely people too. The walks were as I expected from the Description of 'moderate ' in terms of length and terrain / difficulty etc . Thank you for being so organised and bringing this altogether .I'll be keeping an eye out for my next walking trip with you . Our group was great company too - and it also was nice to be with a similar age group .Look forward to next time and thanks again for all of your help in the booking process, all my questions / requests etc.
June Jones Shropshire July 2017 - August 2017
I cannot praise the guides enough. Nothing was too much trouble and I felt very well looked after.
Stephen Faine-Shropshire - June 2017
Shropshire was an excellent weekend spent with a fantastic group of people
Julia Carrol - Shropshire - June 2017
Had a wonderful time with many thanks to Ian for showing us round the lovely hills of Shropshire.
Lien Hoang- Shropshire - June 2017
The running of the hotel was very well organised, helpful and friendly. I especially liked their grounds which has a garden and sculptures and trails which you can stroll in and explore
James Betteridge- Shropshire - June 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. Excellent walks, great views, a really good mix of people, delicious lunches and top-notch guides. 5 out of 5. I liked Ian's relaxed and flexible approach which really made it like walking with a group of friends. Both Ian and Tristan were very friendly and made everyone feel at ease. This was my first Secret Hills break and I am seriously impressed. Thanks very much!
Mike Compton - Shropshire April 2017 - May 2017
My first time but thoroughly enjoyed it. Your concern for all your guests was very apparent and appreciated. Good mix of people. Particularly liked pub lunch and tea
Susan Rees - Shropshire April 2017 - May 2017
Guides very friendly and informative and good at making sure everyone was being looked after. It was the first time I had been on a holiday of this type and I was very impressed and came home having had an excellent break away
Celine Lachevre- Shropshire Hills April 2017
The team was very responsive when I had queries about the trip before booking. Great location, excellent service, comfortable
Jane Blandy Church Stretton October 2016
I loved the guided walking experience, Ian and sue were friendly and supportive, paced the walks to the group's abilities but praised us all the time too. Loved the pub lunches. Scenery was beautiful with the wild, heather covered hills with sheep and wild ponies, easily accessible. Great sense of achievement to have climbed all those hills. Ian told us stories about how the local area. "
Julia Putman - Shropshire August 2016
This is my second Secret Hills holiday which I very much enjoyed the first time. Again I was not disappointed. There was a good mix of walking & exploring to the most perfect places.
Alan & Sue did an excellent job leading the group
Susannah Basford- Shropshire August 2016
Hotel was well suited to walkers and staff were friendly and helpful. Food was good and restaurant was well organised. All the leaders were helpful and had a lot of local knowledge really enjoyed the holiday, thanks very much.
Arrived home feeling very relaxed and keen to book another holiday next year. Thanks to everyone involved
Jan McKenney- Shropshire August 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. The room was comfortable, the views exceptional and the food was great. Thank you for a great holiday. I enjoyed every minute of it. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for Alan and his team.
Chris Lester- Shropshire Hills and Church Stretton October 2015
Really enjoyed the weekend. Felt we were well looked after and that we, as customers, were important to you.
Jane Hawksley- Shropshire Hills and Church Stretton October 2014
I really enjoyed the whole experience and as this was my first solo holiday- I was more than satisfied. I felt at ease with everything that was arranged,
Gillian Fifield- Church Stretton October 2014
Very enjoyable weekend, excellent leader and very pleasant people to walk with. Perhaps a slightly larger group would have meant a bit more socialising after the evening meal (although perhaps it was good to get 2 early nights!)
Linda Jones August 2014
I enjoyed my time with Secret Hills, sadly the weather slightly marred the walks, but the leaders were great. I particularly want to thank Darren for his last minute stand in, when you realised I was staying the extra night, and his chat which got me through a couple of “hairy” moments. For me, the food was reasonably tasty at the hotel, the guinea fowl was fabulous and my room had great views. All in
Getting to the hotel
Getting to our destination
By train - Wellington Shropshire is the nearest station, some three miles from the hotel.. Contact us for a transfer to hotel from the station - it is uphill..See www.nationalrail.co.uk
By car - the post code for your Sat Navs is TF6 5AL . The hotel is two miles from the M54 motorway. .A good way of checking a route is using the AA route finder. www.theaa.com/route-planner
Full detailed journey instruction will be sent with your Joining Details prior to the holiday.
The Local area
Church Stretton is an historic Market Town situated in the heart of the South Shropshire hills on the English/Welsh border known as The Marches. It is the only town in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the first Walkers are Welcome town in the Midlands and a Fairtrade town. The area is renowned worldwide for its geology, with some of the oldest rock formations in existence.
Church Stretton and its picturesque surrounding villages forms an excellent base for the country lover and sportsman alike at all times of the year whether hikers, horse riders, mountain bikers, or naturalists . The Long Mynd rising above the west of the town is renowned for gliding, hang gliding and paragliding, and boasts the second highest golf course in England. The beautiful countryside, with its wild uplands and breathtaking views, features prominently in the books of Mary Webb, A E Housman, and Malcolm Saville.
Church Stretton is very well situated to act as a base for visits to many local attractions. At the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are market towns & villages, castles, hill forts and much much more nearby. Whether you walk, go by train, car or bus...with great scenery along the way – you can enjoy a great many days out from this What to See section.
It’s not just the stunning scenery that will captivate you, but the people and places, its history and heritage, the walking and wildlife, its food and festivals. Combined they offer magical experiences. Such magic is best summed up by the Independent newspaper review in 2009 which claimed Church Stretton to be "England’s ultimate retreat".
IRONBRIDGE - THE HEART OF THE INDISTRIAL REVOLUTION- with many reminders of this in the surrounding countryside - - deep in the Severn Valley and Ironbridge Gorge- a World Heritage site. Mnay good walks around and the Wrekin hill fort - close by to the hotel
Britains longest rive-a powerhouse in flood time but a lovely meandering river the rest of the time- we walk close by the river on a number of occasions.