Discover Shropshire’s AONB
Much of south Shropshire is a designated Area of Outstanding of Natural Beauty (AONB) – official recognition that its diverse landscape (hills, farmland, rivers and woodland) are vital to wildlife, tranquillity, culture and enjoyment. You need only glance at the ancient hills and rolling patchwork landscape to realise the importance of protecting this beautiful part of Shropshire. Our most famous hills include the Stiperstones (which during Victorian times were the location of Europe’s largest lead mines) and the heather-topped Long Mynd which means ‘long mountain’ in Welsh. Want to explore more? Try a summer trip on the Shropshire Hills Shuttle buses.
Bishop’s Castle is a vibrant small market town on the outskirts of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This small ancient town is surrounded by stunning countryside and is a great location for exploring the unspoilt countryside of the Shropshire Hills and Welsh border by car, cycle or on foot. www.bishopscastle.co.uk/tourism . www.shropshirehillsaonb.co.uk
The Town has a long and proud history of brewing and is home to the oldest working brewery in the UK. It was once a stop off point on a busy Drovers route where for over 800 years the Welsh Drovers brought sheep and cattle to market here and further afield. As a result the town has a history of many inns and public houses, some of which remain whereas the others can be spotted on the old pub trail around town.
Many walks can be accessed straight from the town centre taking you to stunning views within minutes. The Shropshire Way, which links the remains of the Castle at the top of town to the Victorian church with its Anglo Saxon tower at the bottom, goes through the centre past brightly coloured buildings including great places to eat, drink and stay as well as a variety of independent shops.
Clun was described by AE Housman as ‘the quietest place under the sun’. It is indeed quiet, in a good way: have fun exploring Clun’s castle ruins and town museum. If you cross Clun’s medieval packhorse bridge, folk say it will sharpen your wits … are you ready to visit and give it a go?
Church Stretton, Craven Arms and Ludlow
Head south from Shrewsbury and your journey will bring you to a trio of special Shropshire towns.
Church Stretton is in Shropshire’s AONB – an excellent town base for hill walking, with lovely shops and tea rooms and comfortable accommodation. With its mineral water, fresh air and hillside setting, it’s clear why fashionable Victorian and Edwardian travellers flocked to this spa town for restorative holidays. Church Stretton was sometimes known then as Shropshire’s ‘little Switzerland’. Find out more at Visit Church Stetton
On to Craven Arms and this is your gateway to discovering the Shropshire Hills. Journey on towards Ludlow and take a short detour to the iconic Stokesay Castle.
Ludlow is perhaps south Shropshire’s best known town, thanks to its reputation for fine food and the spectacular ruins of Ludlow Castle. Nearby Bromfield has an extraordinary food centre, renowned for stocking the best of the region’s produce. Find out more at The Ludlow Guide & Lets Go Ludlow
Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock
Don’t miss Bridgnorth, by the Severn Valley, with its museum, busy markets, and quirky town hall that straddles the thriving high street. Here you get a low town AND a high town, from which King Charles I declared the views to be ‘the finest in all my kingdom’. Take the cliff railway between the two for a fun(icular) experience. Bridgnorth is also your first stop on the Severn Valley Railway.
South east of Ironbridge is Much Wenlock. This quiet, pretty market town is where Dr William Penny Brookes decided to revive the Olympic Games in order to boost local people’s physical health. The rest, as they say, is history …