Bishop’s Moat to Clun. Bishops and Brewing. PLEASE SEE TEXT FOR SLIGHT DIVERSION AT POINT 5
Stoned Tracks, lanes and cross field bridleways
Bishop's Castle, Clun
Lat/Long: 52.499687047, -3.0443760644
PLEASE NOTE – ROUTE DIVERSION to avoid Blakeridge Wood as permissive agreement has lapsed and gates are locked. POINT 5: At Cefn Einion turn right and continue ahead over the next crossroads along the lane to Bryn. At Bryn turn left at the road junction to follow the lane alongside Argoed Wood to rejoin the route at point 7.
A 12 mile linear route from Bishop’s Moat to Clun through the farming land to the west of Bishop’s Castle. The ride takes you through some lovely woodland and up to the spectacular iron-age hillfort of Bury Ditches, widely regarded as one of the finest hillforts in Britain.
The Bridleway winds down from the Kerry Ridgeway through the farming landscape west of Bishop’s Castle. The town is only a further two miles along to the end of the Ridgeway and is well worth a visit. Formerly one of the smallest boroughs in England the town is a vibrant community. It was founded in Saxon times when the land was given to the Bishop of Hereford by the lord of the manor, Egwin Shakehead, after he was cured of palsy in Hereford Cathedral. A castle was built in the 11th century and the town gradually grew up around it.
The occupations and industries in the town are still predominately based on agriculture. Brewing has been carried out since at least the 17th century when the Three Tuns public house obtained a licence and the tradition continues in the town to this day. There are two breweries in the town and there is much of interest to the visitor among the historic streets.
The remote rural community of Mainstone is named after the stone which now stands in front of the pulpit of the Parish Church. It was most likely used as a weight for bags of grain as the settlement in medieval times was a trading post on the Kerry Ridgeway. However there is a local folk tale, dating from the 19th century, which recounts the stone (weighing 204.5 pounds!) was used by the young men of the locality to demonstrate their strength and win their lady love. According to the tale the young men competed in a test of strength which involved throwing the stone across the quaintly named river Unk. The one to throw the ‘mainstone’ the furthest won the hand of the lady of his choice. It is unlikely that the local youth of today would go to such lengths to ‘get their girl!’
Standing at a height of 340m (1,115ft), overlooking the Powys-Shropshire border, is the remains of a motte and bailey castle known as Bishop’s Moat. It is now a gorse covered mound but it can be seen how its position, lying at a narrow point along the hill, could have helped control access along the Ridgeway. The earthwork is on a site founded around 1120 and named after the bishops of Hereford who held the area in the middle ages, the district known as Bishop’s Teirtref. The castle stood at the western end of this territory and would have played a role in the administration of the area.
Jack Mytton Way
Part of the Blue Remembered Hills Bridleway coincides with the Jack Mytton Way. This 68 mile route crosses Shropshire from the River Severn to the Welsh border at Llanfair Waterdine. The distinctive waymark depicts the legendary Jack Mytton, a characterful but wayward local landowner after whom the route is named. There is also a network of ten circular routes linked to the Jack Mytton Way which criss cross the Shropshire Hills, stretching from Wenlock Edge, across the Long Mynd, to the jagged Stiperstones.
Bury Ditches is a spectacular Iron Age hill fort which can be visited on foot. The fort occupies an area of about 3 hectares (7½ acres) and is widely acknowledged as one of the finest hill forts in Britain. The defending ramparts are up to seven metres high and were designed to help the inhabitants survive the most ferocious of attacks. It is only since the 1970’s that visitors have been able to see the fort in its full splendour as previously it was well hidden by forestry for many decades.