Clun castle

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Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2020

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One glance ahead told us Craven Arms was not the destination we wanted so we took the turning left towards Clun. It is a longer and more devious route than we expected, but well worthwhile.

Coming into the village we followed the signpost and found a free parking area with a path to the castle. There was also a picnic table beside the stream, so we sat there for lunch on pork (with crackling) baguettes from a very popular shop in Ludlow. They were generous enough to threaten a long delay to our planned visit; certainly some came and went while we were eating. We had no need to hurry though.

The time we spent over lunch amply confirmed Housman’s epithet, even allowing for the bikers who also came and went. (We would see more later at the cafe.)

The castle mound is steep, and we had need of the calories from lunch. The stream we had sat beside would once have supplied what passed for a moat, because Clun had no need of defence even in its earliest days. Ludlow had more than enough power to keep this area of the Marches under control. As we were to learn, the keep at Clun was also superfluous although impressive to visitors, both medieval and modern.

All around are splendid views. Below, looking towards the bridge into the village, are the houses and bowling green that occupy the outer bailey of the castle. These are modern because the original village, from Anglo-Saxon times, was clustered around the church that we could easily identify by its squat tower. There would again have been little for the castle occupants to fear from that quarter; they were probably content as we were with the view. (The church was closed because of Covid-19 though we did not know this until we had walked there later.)

From the castle all we could hear were birds and the occasional distant vehicle. A few other visitors added their voices but not even the sheep were audible. As peaceful as even Housman could have wished; somewhere to stay in gentle September sunshine for as long as daylight lasted. Our declining daylight was for the drive back, though. We took this by way of Knighton, through bilingual villages in the lee of Offa’s Dyke.

As an English Heritage open air site the castle is free to access, as long as you can manage the slopes. It was not the easiest of those we found but well worth while. The village is charming without in any way being precious.


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