Bishop’s Castle is a small, market town at the centre of magnificent, unspoilt hill country. The prominent 18th century Town Hall, which has undergone a major renovation, stands at the top of the main street, and is the centre for much activity in the town (see Places to Visit).
There are two museums and a Heritage Resource Centre, two breweries, including the oldest licensed brewery in the country (see places to visit). There are now 6 pubs but there used to be more than 40, reflecting the town’s history as a drovers’ stop-over. For a tour of the o!d pubs with their history go to lostpubsofbishopscastle.co.uk. There are also restaurants and cafes and shops catering for almost every need (see shopping and services guide) line the main street. There is frequent evening entertainment and the town is a centre for live music and crafts and art.
Clun is a smaller, quieter and more picturesque town with its ancient packhorse bridge, the only river crossing, impressive ruined Norman castle and romantic river. It offers more limited services while still being a good place to eat, drink and shop. There are lively pubs, a brewery, cafes, galleries and independent shops.
The towns and nearby villages host a series of festivals throughout the year (see events list).
Both towns are situated in the sparsely populated valleys and uplands of Shropshire Hills and the Welsh border, and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Public footpaths, stiled and way marked, will take you well off the beaten track. Many walks in the area are downloadable from www.bishopscastle.co.uk. A good map will prove most useful, highly recommended is the Ordnance Survey Landranger map 137 (Ludlow,Wenlock Edge and surrounding area). For even greater details use the Explorer Maps 216 (Welshpool & Montgomery/Bishops Castle), 217 (the Long Mynd) and 201 (Clun). The new Harvey Map – Shropshire Way, Shropshire Hills section – is excellent for this area.
There is a wide selection of maps and local books available locally. Walking maps and booklets, including “Walking for Pleasure” series and circular walks around Bishop’s Castle & Clun are also available at the Visitor Information at the Town Hall along with leaflets about nearby towns and places of interest. There are also Visitor Information Points in many of the villages which have useful local information and leaflet racks in many pubs and shops.
This area is ideal for a host of other outdoor sports and activities – riding, cycling, tennis, orienteering, fishing, shooting, hang-gliding and other flying sports and studying wildlife. It is also rich in history; castles as well as museums, big and small, abound. Entertainment in the region ranges from Morris dancing to music festivals. There are concerts, films, theatre and regular live music at various venues from pubs to village
halls and schools. SpArC in Bishop’s Castle has a swimming pool, leisure centre and squash courts and a theatre with a programme of professional theatre and film events throughout the year (see places to visit). See local posters, “Broad Sheep”, the Herefordshire/Shropshire borders listings magazine – telephone 01544 260051 or go to www.broadsheep.com and “Spotlight”, a what’s on leaflet published in Bishop’s Castle and downloadable >>HERE<<. There is a variety of town and country accommodation on offer, from inns and farmhouses to bunk houses, camping and caravan sites, youth hostels (Clun & Bridges), B&Bs and hotels and self-catering flats and cottages. They make an excellent base for exploring the area.