Hopton Castle, the name of the village as well as the ruin, lies in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in south Shropshire about 11 miles north-west of the historic and beautiful town of Ludlow. This borderland has a bloody history of dispute and the area is full of castles and their stories.
IN THE VILLAGE
Update September 2011 - Hopton Castle - is now Open! to the public!
The development plans include (by 2011) parking for 2 or 3 cars, an improved bridge over the brook, and an information board and access ramp for visitors with impaired mobility or sight. There will be NO TOILET FACILITIES (the nearest public toilets are in Clun).
From London, First Great Western service from Paddington to Newport, change for the Manchester line. From Birmingham, change at Shrewsbury for the Arriva service to South Wales. Newport is the best changing point from the south-west and some points in the south.
If you arrive at Craven Arms on the north-bound service, it is necessary to climb stairs from the platform to a bridge over the railway and descend on the other side. The station is not manned and there is no lift. A taxi is necessary to the village of HOPTON CASTLE (there are phone numbers on platform hoardings).
There are occasional (2/3 a day) trains from CRAVEN ARMS to HOPTON HEATH on the Heart of Wales Line which is a request stop (ask the ticket collector to tell the train driver).
From the south east, take the M40/M42/M5 to Junction 4, then A491, A456 for Kidderminster; A456 to Cleobury Mortimer then A4117 for Ludlow. At the Ludlow by-pass roundabout turn right onto the A49; after the short elevated section, take the slip road and left turn onto A4113 towards Leintwardine. After The Jolly Frog on the right, take a single-track lane to the right, right again at the end; wind along to turn left onto B4385 to Bucknell and Hopton Heath. At T-junction, turn right, then sharp1st left over railway bridge and left to Hopton Castle.
The routes given above all bring you, by very narrow lanes, into Hopton Castle from Hopton Heath.
After the village sign and the lane (to Bedstone) on the left, you will see the Castle on the left behind the trees. Until access arrangements are complete (2009/10), the ruin is only visible from the road.
Ludlow (c. 13 miles west of Hopton Castle) is the obvious local tourist draw for its Lord of the Marches castle, magnificent parish church, food outlets, antique shops and markets.
South of Ludlow are Berrington Hall (National Trust) and Croft Castle.
Most people also enjoy Clun Castle (c 5 miles north west of Hopton Castle, CLUN has pubs, cafes, car park, Post Office, ironmonger's and PUBLIC LAVATORIES) and Stokesay Castle, one of the best medieval domestic buildings in Britain. The Stokesay site (English Heritage) is very well set up for visitors and the castle holds pageant and other event days.
The Secret Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms focuses on the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Craven Arms has most amenities as well as train and bus services.
Shrewsbury (20 minutes by train from Craven Arms, 40 minutes by car, a bit longer by bus, not too taxing by bike) is still delightful in the centre and has a full range of retail parks for those in need of that kind of therapy. Attingham Park (National Trust) is just outside the town.
Ironbridge, often called the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, is about 30 minutes to the north-west by car, reached via Much Wenlock a pretty market town with the ruins of a famous medieval abbey. Nearby is Wroxeter, site of the Roman regional capital Uriconium and some impressive ruins of the military camp.
Church Stretton has a wider range of shops than Craven Arms and is an attractive, mainly Victorian town set on the slopes of the hill range which includes the Long Mynd. There are very good walks around as well as Cardingmill Valley (National Trust).
All of these venues and Ludlow and Shrewsbury tourist offices have helpful web-sites.