- About AONBs
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A landscape of diversity and contrast created by varied geology, the Shropshire Hills provide a dramatic link between the Midlands and the Welsh mountains. Of the hills themselves, the craggy Stiperstones and Wrekin, the moorland plateau and valleys of the Long Mynd, the quarried Clee Hills, the wooded Wenlock Edge and the rolling Clun Forest all have their own character.
Centuries of farming have shaped the landscape. 70% of the AONB is grazing land, and below the moorland and rough grass hilltops and commons lies a patchwork of fields rich in hedgerows and veteran trees. Ancient woodlands, wildflower meadows and orchards also survive, each habitat with its characteristic wildlife plants and invertebrates. Red grouse, skylark and dormouse are among the great variety of birds and mammals.
The Rivers Clun, Teme and Onny, along with many smaller rivers and streams, are very unspoilt. Many are lined with alder, and home to important species such as freshwater crayfish and otter.
A rich heritage of hillforts, castles, mottes and Offa’s Dyke tell of centuries of border strife. Much of the pattern of dispersed settlement and small fields is very ancient. Stone, brick and timbered buildings combine with the industrial relics of lead mining, quarrying and charcoal burning. Off the beaten track, unspoilt and remote in the context of the West Midlands, the Shropshire Hills are a haven of tranquillity – peace and quiet, dark skies, and of high scenic and environmental quality.
From the town of Church Stretton to remote villages, strong and active communities are maintaining rural culture and traditions while adapting to changes. Opportunities for enjoyment and wellbeing are open to both locals and visitors through walks and outdoor activities which respect the area’s qualities.