Sunday rolls around again, but this time we haven’t prepared anywhere to go. We missed our weekly outdoors fix last week and I am pining to go out somewhere.
We chose a place we have been to before and know we are guaranteed a nice day out. So off we trot to Carding Mill Valley. A National Trust area of natural beauty, we can be sure of a car park, toilets and some visitor information.
As we are National Trust members, we scan our card at the parking machine and bag ourselves a free ticket. I think this must be one of the best perks about being a member! The amount of money we save on parking, more than makes up for the membership cost.
The weather is mild, but threatens rain, so we are fully equipped with warm layers, buffs and gloves. As we approach the visitor center, we are greeted by three wild horses who are grazing by the stream. Molly is already made up and starts squealing!
Oliver grabs a map with directions to the main event. The LightSpout waterfall. We walk up the path, with the cafe to the left of us, and over a small footbridge.
Up ahead is a fork, of which we investigated to the left and had a mooch around the dipping pond. Finley had a jump around, throwing his consignment of rocks into the water, trying to disturb any signs of wildlife. Sadly, there was nothing much to be seen, but we did come across a small bird hide. We sat inside for a while and watched a medley of blue tits feeding from the hangers. The kids were interested in the picture boards hanging inside the shelter, and Molly decided she wants to come back and see the owls in the dark!
Carding Mill Valley is an area of Dark Sky Discovery and the National trust hold stargazing events throughout the year, for budding astrologers to come and test their telescopic skills. Sadly, camping is not really allowed, so it would mean pulling an all-nighter, or finding a local place to stay. It’s certainly food for thought though, as we would love to see the skies at night.
On we walked up to another fork in the path, this time signposted with the direction to the waterfall. 20 minutes, the sign says. So we refreshed ourselves with a drink and a snack, before heading on. The terrain gets quite rocky and we had to jump over flowing water.This spurs the kids on more, they love a challenge rather than just boring fields to walk through, so I am more than happy to let them lead the way. Molly jumps up the rocks, Finley stops to pick up whatever he can, and Oliver just gets on with it.
Soon enough, we came up to the waterfall. The kids are pleased that we have reached our destination and stop to play in the little rock pools that have formed at the base of the falls. The water is freezing, according to Finley! To the right of the waterfall, there are steps carved into the hill which are easily accessible, if a bit slippy in the wet. They lead to the top of the waterfall and carries on with a path towards the Long Mynd. We decided not to continue as we would have been out for a few more hours, and we needed to get back to sort out school stuff!
We head back, in good spirits, the kids leading the way again, navigating the terrain like pro’s. The route is fairly busy, as it is a popular little walk, but everybody was kind enough and popped out a little ‘hello’!
I would definitely recommend Carding Mill Valley for a family day out. We actually went in the height of summer one year, and made little boats to race down the stream. The kids loved it and we had a nice picnic and explored other parts of the area.
If you would like to visit, the car park we used was SY6 6JG. Take some change if you’re not a National Trust member! It is very easy to find, and also very big. There are great facilities; toilets and a cafe. Perfect for a family day out.
For more waterfall related days like Carding Mill Valley, check out the Four Falls Walk.