Long Mynd view over Church Stretton greyer

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Caer Caradoc (Welsh - Caer Caradog) is a hill in the English county of Shropshire. It overlooks the town of Church Stretton and the village of All Stretton and offers panoramic views to the north towards The Wrekin, east to Wenlock Edge, and west over the nearby Long Mynd. On a clear day, it is possible to see the hills of north-east Wales to the north, the high-rise buildings of Birmingham to the east, Worcester Beacon in the Malvern Hills to the south-east, and Hay Bluff in the Black Mountains, Wales and the peaks of the Brecon Beacons, to the south. Caer Caradoc is hill G/WB-006 in Summits on the Air. This Caer Caradoc is not to be confused with the Caer Caradoc 1km to the west of Chapel Lawn village near Bucknell.

Caer Caradoc rises sharply and steeply up out of the narrow valley in which the town of Church Stretton is situated, known as the Stretton Gap. It is the highest point on a high, narrow, northeast–southwest "whaleback ridge", sometimes called a hogsback ridge. The Wrekin is a very similarly shaped hill and on the same alignment, some 10 miles (16 km) to the north-east. Caer Caradoc may be fairly easily climbed from Church Stretton town but the ascent/descent is steep; a more gentle climb is from the village of Cardington, which lies two miles (3 km) to the east. A good way of climbing Caer Caradoc is to do a linear walk from along the aforementioned ridge, including the nearby summits of Ragleth Hill and The Lawley to gain the best perspective on each. Otherwise, the ascent of the hill and return is some 7 miles (11 km) from the town.

With a three inch mount, the large size is five foot wide. Then add the frame.

With a three inch mount, the large size is five foot wide. Then add the frame.

The hill is volcanic in origin, like the Wrekin etc., formed of narrow ridges of resistant Pre-Cambrian rock, thrust upwards by movements deep down along the Church Stretton fault. This fault runs from Staffordshire to South Wales and can be seen on OS maps as a line of springs on this hill.

Caer Caradoc cave, near the summit

The summit is crowned by an Ancient British Iron Age or late Bronze Age hill fort. It is this which the hill is named after - Caer Caradog in Welsh meaning Caradog's fort. Local legend has it that this was the site of the last stand of Caractacus against the Roman legions during the Roman conquest of Britain, and that after the battle he hid in the cave near its summit. Others say his last stand was in the locality but that this was one of his fortresses.

The Devil's Mouth Cross Dyke

The Devil's Mouth Cross Dyke is the shortest and most accessible cross dyke on the archaeologically rich Long Mynd. It is over 400 feet long, with a 100 feet section missing where the Burway Road cuts through the feature as the road moves away from the precipitous drop into Carding Mill Valley. The whole area is under the management of The National Trust. It is important to point out that the road is very narrow, with many passing places. In peak season it can take some time to make a journey to or from The Long Mynd, and the location of the road is not for the faint hearted (though the views are astounding). The dyke runs north - south across the hill it bisects, and its likely function was to manage east-west access on the ancient route across The Long Mynd. It certainly cannot be defensive as the ground either side of the earthwork is considerably higher. The bank is a construction of earth and stone some 18 feet wide, and up to 4 feet high on the southern part; the northern end across the modern road is less well defined, and had a width of some 12 feet. Radio carbon dated to 1500-1300BC, it remains to most today completely ignored. Where the road intersects the feature, all that can be seen is a slightly raised green mound on the south side of an area once used as a car park. The nearest parking is just a bit further to the west on higher ground, and the dyke is reached by a footpath descending from there. The car park also serves as a request stop for the Shropshire Hills Shuttles. At first the dyke may not be that obvious, as it tightly hugs the curve of the hill until it meets the steeply contoured

Sixteen Bronze Age burial mounds can be found on the Long Mynd

Bodbury Ring

A small univallate hillfort, surviving from the Iron Age as a ring with a commanding view across the area. It possibly incorporates an earlier cross dyke.

As humans began to have a less nomadic way of life people and goods started to move over great distances.   Lowland Shropshire was densely forested and so tracks took the easier and safer course over high ground.

This photograph shows the Portway on the Long Mynd which was used by Neolithic axe traders (4000-2300 BC) and recognised as the Kings Highway until the Middle Ages. Today it is still visible and used as a designated bridleway.

The earliest human evidence uncovered at a hillfort in Shropshire was at the Roveries hillfort in south west Shropshire. Excavations in 1960 revealed the presence of material dating to the Neolithic period (4,000 BC – 2,300 BC), some 2,000 years before the Iron Age hillfort was constructed.