High Views, Parks and Parliaments

Ride Shropshire Route 10: The Acton Burnell Ride image

Distance

13.0 miles

Terrain

Hilly, grass and stone tracks

Start from

Chatwall Hall

Nearest to

Cardington, Church Stretton

Parking

At start/finish

Map reference

Lat/Long: 52.5732585956, -2.7176601813

OS: SO515975

The route

The views of the Lawley and its Bronze Age settlements are wonderful from this ride. You cross a Roman road, see the ruins of a 13th century manor house and ride past an Elizabethan lodge.

Acton Burnell, have you noticed how many “Actons” there are in Shropshire? Acton comes from the Saxon words “Ac” for oak and “Ton” for settlement. Then a famous persons name would be added. Here the name was taken from Robert Burnell the Lord Chancellor to Edward the first. King Edward visited here in 1282 and held the first full parliament at Acton Burnell Castle.

When you get to Frodesley village the road you cross was built by the Romans. It ran from Wroxeter (Viriconium) to Leintwardine and was a lot busier then than it is now.

As you ride around Lodge Hill and Frodesley look out for the remains of old boundary walls. These are Elizabethan and once surrounded the vast Frodesley Park. Now little remains except the Lodge, built in 1591 as a hunting lodge. It’s said there are tunnels running into the hill behind it used by Royalists to escape Parliamentary forces in the Civil War.

The views from Hoar Edge and Yell Bank are superb. To the north-west is the Lawley with its prehistoric earthworks. To the south-east the fossil rich limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge. Beyond the Clee Hills, the highest point in Shropshire with their modern radar and radio masts.

Acton Burnell Castle

Despite being called a castle Acton Burnell isn’t. Defence was never a major purpose of the building. Built of red sandstone in the 13th century it is a fine example of a fortified manor house. It is considered to be one of the oldest remains of its type in the country.

Roman Reminders

Causeway Wood lies on very tough sandstone which was quarried by the Romans to use in the construction of their town at Wroxeter known as Virconium. The quarries are within a short distance of the road between Frodesley and Acton Burnell which runs along the course of a Roman Road,Watling Street, which linked Viriconium to Leintwardine, or Bravonium, in Herefordshire.

Pitchford

The village of Pitchford owes its named to an ancient well near a ford in the Rowe Brook.

From very early times the well was a source of pitch or bitumen which was used as mortar or adhesive. In the village, next to the church, is Pitchford Hall, a 16th century half timbered mansion regarded as one of the finest of its type in Britain.