Built: The original motte-and-bailey castle here was built in the late 11th century. It was then rebuilt sometime before 1233
Location: Newport St, Clun, Craven Arms SY7 8JT
History: Clun Castle sits high on a natural rocky mound in a loop of the river Clun, on the edge of the small, picturesque town of the same name. Founded shortly after the Norman Conquest to demonstrate the authority of the English monarchy over this part of the border region, the castle and the nearby settlement prospered in the 13th century thanks to the management of the Fitzalan family, but suffered a number of attacks from across the Welsh border. It was used as a hunting lodge in the 14th century, but was increasingly neglected, and by 1539 the castle was reported as ruinous.
Parking: Yes, Free
Review: Luke and I visited Clun Castle back in February when we stayed at Bitterley Shepherd Hut’s Rest for a much needed weekend away. It was here that we decided to spend some time exploring the historic sites in Shropshire and we stumbled across Clun Castle.
We didn’t know what to expect when we visited this place, but although it’s not a massive place to explore, the fact that it’s free does make it worth stopping by.
There is also free parking, with some toilets if needs be, which is good if you’ve been driving around for hours.
When we arrived, it was a day or two after storm Eunice and what we didn’t realise was the river/stream that ran nearly next to the castle. The car park was clear, but you had to cross over a bridge to follow the main footpath to the castle.
Luckily we realised that there was another entrance, we just had to follow the road back over the “safe” bridge and up the hill. Halfway up the hill there is a gateway, albeit a little bit hidden, but there’s a path that we were able to follow to the castle.
It did sloop awkwardly and since it had rained so much it was very slippy, so appropriate footwear is needed.
When we walked through the gate, we were greeted by this splendid view of the castle, and despite chucking it down the day before, the sun was shining.
There’s a bit of incline up to the main castle ruins, which felt a little dangerous at some points, but probably the wind and wet ground didn’t help.
Luke and I didn’t quite know what to expect from this castle, but we were pleasant surprised.
There are several information boards dotted around thanks to English Heritage, so it was nice to read a bit more about the history of the castle.
There is a little platform in the main ruin, so you could get a nice feel for the place. Unfortunately when we went it was closed due to it being unsafe, so we could only go so far. This was back in February though, so it might have changed since then.
I’d definitely recommend going in the summer and definitely when it hasn’t rained so much beforehand.
You won’t be able to spend all day here, but it’d make for a nice little detour and there’s plenty of grass to sit on and have a picnic, or let your children run around and climb up the hills!
If you’re planning on staying out all day then feel free to explore Ludlow Castle, Stokesay Castle, plus several other historic places nearby!