The cultural history of this distinctive area is ingrained in a landscape that was fought over for centuries. The Welsh place names and many defensive earthworks, such as Offa’s Dyke, Clun and Hopton Castle, are testimony to these turbulent times.
This page is under construction, please bear with us.
English Heritage properties
Stokesay Castle – fortified medieval manor house near Craven Arms (pictured below).
Clun Castle – dramatic ruined 13th Century keep beside the river and the town.
Wenlock Priory – ruins of a Cluniac priory dating back to the 1100s in a tranquil garden setting on the fringe of Much Wenlock.
Buildwas Abbey – impressive ruins of a 12th Century Cistercian church close to the River Severn.
Other Historic Buildings open to the Public
Snailbeach Lead Mine – walk between the tall chimneys, engine houses and tramways at this extensive restored mine site, or go underground on one of the many open days.
Hopton Castle – medieval castle ruin between Craven Arms and Knighton, scene of famous Civil War siege, recently stabilised and made available for public access by a Trust.
Flounders Folly is an 80 foot tower on Callow Hill above Wenlock Edge built by Benjamin Flounders in 1838.
Wilderhope Manor is owned by the National Trust and run as a youth hostel. The Elizabethan gabled Manor was the home of Thomas Smallman, a Royalist Major during the Civil War. Pursued by Cromwell’s soldiers, he is said to have escaped by jumping his horse off Wenlock Edge at ‘Major’s Leap’.
Shipton Hall is a stunning Elizabethan manor house, built in the 16th Century by John Lutwyche. It is a family home but can be visited on specific days from Easter.
The restored miners’ cottages at Blakemoorgate - high on the hilltop, the cottages provide a fascinating insight into life in days gone by (information panels outside, cottages open are open on the first Sunday of the month between April - October, 11am- 3pm - see Natural England facebook page).
Other Sites and Useful links
There are 34 Hillforts in the AONB
Bury Ditches between Clun and Bishop’s Castle is one of the best preserved multi-vallate hillforts in England, and managed by the Forestry Commission.
Titterstone Clee is unique in being the only named hill to be shown on the 14th Century map of the world “The Mappa Mundi” preserved in the library of Hereford Cathedral. It is remarkably rich in geology, heritage and wildlife. As well as being a great viewpoint, the summit has the highest and largest hillfort in the county with associated Bronze Age earthworks. The landscape around tells the story of human occupation through ancient coal mining bell pits to large scale stone quarrying and one of the earliest hydro-power systems developed in 1885.
There is parking available at the head of the road from Cleehill village.
Offa’s Dyke, is one of the longest linear earthworks in Britain, built by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century. Running north to south roughly along the Welsh border, some of the best preserved sections of this important monument lie within the Shropshire Hills, providing the route for the Offa’s Dyke National Trail and other walks. The Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton provides an interactive exhibition along with other information and a shop.
The Wrekin is Shropshire’s iconic hill. Many people enjoy the steady climb through the lovely woods up the main path from Forest Glen to the open hilltop with spectacular views and the famous crag of the Needle’s Eye. The summit holds an impressive Iron Age hillfort, and there are many former charcoal burning platforms in the woods, linked to early industry at Ironbridge