To Clun, via Bury Ditches Hill Fort

Bishop's Castle → Bury Ditches → Clun

Paths, fields and tarmac. 7.8 miles. One way. Lots of stiles.

Remember that this route is one-way. Unless you plan to walk back you will need to organize return transport in advance.

Bishop's Castle To Brockton

As ever, we start our walk in The Six Bells with a pint of home-brewed ale. Leave through the front door and turn right, then immediately right again into Kerry Lane, then immediately left into Church Lane. Walk past the Church Barn, then turn right just past the fire station. Walk a few yards up here then turn left up Field Lane – an unsurfaced vehicle track going gently up hill.

Carry on up Field Lane until you come to a large gate by some houses. Pass through the gate and past the houses then through a smaller gate and continue in the same direction along the narrower path. This is part of the Shropshire Way.

Follow this path through several gates until you go over a stile and into a field which slopes down steeply in front of you. On the far side, roughly opposite to where you are standing, you will see a stile next to a gate by a small stream. Go down the hill and cross the stile into a muddy track on the far side. 50m or so up this track you will come to a paved lane. Turn left towards the hamlet of Colebatch.

In a couple of hundred meters you come to a crossroads with the A488. Cross carefully and continue along the lane opposite. Go past the houses and about 75m past the last farm look for a stile in the right-hand hedge. Cross the stile and enter the field.

About a third of the way along the opposite hedge is a stile. Cross the field and pass over the stile. Over the stile turn left and there is a large gate in the in the hedge to the left. Pass through the gate and into the large field beyond.

The next stile is half way along the hedge to the right. Walk across the field and over this stile.

On the far side of this field, a little to the left of your current position is yet another stile with a plank bridge in front of it. Cross both field and stile.

All we do in the next field is cut the corner. There is a stile part way up the left hand hedge. Cross this stile (and the padded barbed wire fence) into another field.

Our target this time is opposite and slightly to the right. Beware, this field is boggy. A brook runs through the trees opposite and there are stiles and a footbridge. Cross them into a new field system.

Across the bridge turn right then head for a stile in the right-hand fence. Go over this stile, across the farm drive, and over the opposite stile. Go straight across the next field and over another stile. In the next field head for the far right corner. There is a stile in the corner, but you will probably not need it as large gate onto the road is normally open. Turn right on the lane and walk down into Brockton.

Brockton to Bury Ditches

In Brockton cross the footbridge next to the ford then carry on up the lane. Ignore any tracks to the right and roads to the left – stay on this lane to leave Brockton. You will pass some large barns then industrial units on the right as you leave.

Follow the lane out of Brockton. It is flat to begin with then it goes round to the right and starts to climb. Carry on up to the next hamlet, amusingly named Lower Down. There are a couple of farms and a phone box. (In the field behind the phone box you can see the remains of a motte and bailey.) Carry on out the other side on the same lane, climbing again. At the highest point of the lane you will see the Bury Ditches car park. Turn right into the car park. There are picnic benches here and we are around half-way through our walk, so it’s an obvious place for a rest and/or picnic.

Explore the Fort

To the back of the picnic benches is a sign-posted footpath which climbs up through the trees to the fort itself. Watch out for this carving. Follow it to the top then pass through the stile into the fort.

The fort today comprises concentric oval ditches and mounds. My preferred tour is to climb the steep slope to the left shortly after entering the fort. This takes you onto the rampart and gives you excellent views to the north and east. You should see the Clee hills in the distance. Follow this mound to the far side of the fort until you are forced to come back down. This is the back entrance to the fort. Make a note of it as we shall leave that way later. Across the path climb back up onto a rampart - either inner or outer will do - and carry on around the fort. When you are 75% of the way around you should spot the toposcope. Slither down off the mound and visit the toposcope for a while.

To leave, walk to the middle of the fort and pick up the main path through the middle. Go right and follow it to the back entrance path that you passed earlier. Follow this path out of the fort and you will come to a gate. Pass through the gate and turn right.

Bury Ditches to Clun

Follow the well-defined path as it leads round the back of the fort then into the forest. Eventually you will come to a clearing and a T-junction with a wider forest track. Turn left. Just after you turn left you should see a Shropshire Way marker. Follow this track down through the forest ignoring any other forest roads to left or right.

After 15 minutes or so you will come down a gentle slope to a junction with a wider forestry road. Go right. (I saw two deer at this point last time I did this walk.)

The road goes up hill gently for a while then down again. Ignore a road to the left, but shortly after this watch out for a narrow footpath to the left into the trees. It is signposted ‘Shropshire Way'. Pay attention, it is easy to miss. This path takes you through trees for a while then you get to a gate which you go around.

Carry on along a long dirt road. Just keep following your nose. You will pass a vehicle barrier and, eventually, you will come round a right-hand bend into the hamlet of Guilden Down. The house on the corner does tea and cakes at peak times.

Follow the lane round to the left, walk on through the farm and follow the lane down and out the other side. In a while you pass a couple of pretty cottages. Further down the hill look out for a stile on the right over a little brook and into a field. This too is signed ‘Shropshire Way’. Cross the stile and walk across the field to another stile in the far hedge. There are springs in this field and you can suddenly find yourself up to you ankles in water. Avoid them by watching out for the patches of particularly lush grass.

Cross the stile and the next field until you get to another stile by a house. Follow the path around the property then down to re-join the lane. Carry on past Clun Youth Hostel until you come to the Community Hall. Walk across the hall car-park and to the left of the hall. Go past the playground and BMX track and up a narrow alley to the A488. Turn left.

At this point you may wish to cross the road and explore Clun castle. If not, just before the bend is the back yard of the White Horse pub. An excellent place to finish your walk. Like the Six Bells, they too brew their own beer.

I hope you enjoyed the walk.

Click here for a sketch map of the route.

If you have Google Earth installed use it to open this file to see the walk.

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