The South Shropshire Hills form one of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas of the country. We mention some of the attractions, but there are many more. At night, there is the lowest level of light pollution in England (Campaign to Protect Rural England) and so the stars are stunningly vivid. There is very little evidence of commercialism – the nearest burger outlet is about ten miles away! But for those who like simple pleasures the area around Hurst Mill Farm is a delight.
The entrance to Hopton Bike Trails is three miles from Hurst Mill Farm.There are 32 kilometres of forest track for off road cycling and mountain biking. Routes are colour coded. There is a relatively easy family track, intermediate tracks, and tracks designed for expert bikers.
The area is renowned as wonderful hill walking country. Many walks start from Hurst Mill Farm. There are several long distance footpaths. These include the Shropshire Way, Jack Mytton Way, Offa’s Dyke Way and Glyndwr’s Way.
The Offa’s Dyke Centre is 8 miles away at Knighton. It is a very well presented exhibition of the turbulent history of the border region between England and Wales. Offa’s Dyke runs close by.
Described as one of the most scenic railway lines in the U.K. the Heart of Wales line goes through mid Wales and offers a feast of panoramic views and fascinating small towns. Bill Bryson called it ‘sensational’ (Sunday Times 14-12-03).The train can be caught at Hopton Heath station, a few miles away from Hurst Mill Farm.
Clun has its Green Man festival on Spring Bank Holiday celebrating the fertility of the seasons. Street theatre, stalls, exhibits, and much merriment take place. There is a carnival and show on the first Saturday in August and a beer festival in October.
The town has its own museum, excellent pubs, cafes, shops, and the castle. It has an antique shop featuring art exhibitions by local artists. There is a Norman parish church, a Methodist church and the historic Trinity Alms houses built in 1615 by the Earl of Northampton, brother of the Duke of Norfolk who owned Clun castle. An ancient packhorse bridge gives visitors a delightful way to cross the river Clun. All in all, a lovely place to wander and take time out.
The town of Bishops Castle has many quaint buildings with traditional shops. Here are art and craft and book shops. The real ale festival in the Summer is a worthy celebration for a town which is famous for brewing its own beer.
The Land of Lost Content is the National Museum of British Popular Culture in Craven Arms. A visit brings back memories of everyday artefacts of yesteryear. Also in Craven Arms is the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre depicting the natural history of the Marches. Further along the A49 is the fascinating historic working farm at Acton Scott.
The town of Ludlow has been described as one of the jewels of England with many perfectly preserved medieval buildings, a market, theatre, and many interesting shops. Ludlow Festival features a highly regarded Shakespeare production in the castle along with many other top rated productions. Ludlow’s eating places range from simple cafes to Michelin starred restaurants.
The Judge’s Lodging is an award winning historic house in Presteigne. The building has been stunningly restored and its history presented in a fascinating manner. The town itself has real charm and was recently included in the ten best places to live in Britain. It has a Festival of Music and the Arts each Summer.
One of the best preserved medieval manor houses in Britain is Stokesay Castle. Visitors enjoy an informative tape-recorded commentary. Re-enactments of medieval scenes take place on bank holidays. [Photo © www.castlewales.com]
Bury Ditches is a pre-historic hill fort two miles from Hurst Mill Farm. There are well marked walks round it, and stunning views.
There are several castles. One of the best is Ludlow Castle. with its magnificent ruins of the inner bailey. Also of interest is Clun Castle, which is on a very picturesque site. The ruins of Hopton Castle, have a blood soaked history! It is about a mile or so along the lane and can be viewed from the road. Wigmore Castle is also impressive.
Most of the towns and village near Hurst Mill Farm have festivals or carnivals. Knighton, Clun and Craven Arms all have carnivals, and there are outdoor plays, processions and celebrations. Aston on Clun has its ancient Arbor Day and there are numerous smaller events. Click on the sites for further details.