Stranded motorists rescued from Long Mynd after snow gates left open at beauty spot

Two motorists had to be rescued by police while stranded on a county beauty spot after gates preventing access were left open.

Snow gate at the entrace point to the Long Mynd in bad weather
Snow gate at the entrace point to the Long Mynd in bad weather

Access to the Long Mynd is usually prevented in bad weather, which sees the closure of three snow gates on the entrances to the area of natural beauty.

However, on January 7, when the incidents occurred, Shropshire Council confirmed that "it wasn't felt necessary to close the gates," but recommended "that people drive to the condition of the roads."

On Friday evening – whilst dealing with another incident in Church Stretton – a South Shropshire SNT officer assisted two motorists who had become stuck up the Burway, on the Long Mynd.

The first motorist informed the officer that his Ford Fiesta had become stuck in the ice and snow whilst driving up the Burway, forcing him to abandon his vehicle and walk back down.

A heavy rain shower had hit the Church Stretton area at around 5pm that evening. On higher ground, where the rain landed on snow, the climb up the ungritted road had become icy as a result.

That same evening, the officer also offered his support to another motorist driving a Nissan Qashqai who – following the orders of their sat nav – had become stuck in the snow and was blocking the road up the Burway.

One of the motorists had to be picked up by a friend in Church Stretton as the vehicle was unsafe to reverse down the hill, whilst the other motorist was guided back down the Burway by the officer.

The snow gate was later closed to prevent any further motorists from getting stuck and the National Trust Ranger was informed, who organised for the other two gates at Belmore and Asterton to be closed for the night.

Snow gates closed on the Long Mynd

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “Closing the snow gates on the Burway is the responsibility of the National Highways, who contact us whenever the need arises.

“We close the gates on their behalf, and on this occasion (Friday, 7 January) we were not asked to do so."

A spokesman from Shropshire Council, said: "The gates are closed when it is felt necessary – eg. if the weather forecast or road conditions are bad.

"However the gates have been known to be opened by members of the public wanting to access the Long Mynd in snow conditions at their own risk, and unfortunately the gates are on occasion left open by these road users.

"Shropshire Council strongly recommends that people drive to the condition of the roads and do not take unnecessary risks in snow conditions.

"It’s important to note that there are signs placed at access roads to the Long Mynd stating that the road is not maintained during winter months.

"As the National Trust has a better awareness of conditions on the Long Mynd, any decision to close the gates will first be discussed and agreed with them.

"If it is agreed that the gates should be closed the National Trust will close the gates on the Church Stretton side of the Long Mynd and the council will then contact local landowners to close the gates on the Rattlinghope side.

"Last week it wasn’t felt necessary to close the gates."

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