Things to Do
Secluded and peaceful, Shropshire is almost as undiscovered and unspoiled today as it was in the 14th and 15th Centuries.
Hopton House is perfectly located for exploring the best of South Shropshire, North Herefordshire and Mid Wales.
Whether you like to wander round beautiful market towns and small villages, explore National Trust Properties, other historical buildings and gardens, enjoy seeing wildlife, like good food and drink or walking in beautiful isolated countryside, it's possible within a 30 minute drive of Hopton House. Some of those activities you can even do on foot from the B&B itself.
The Shropshire Hills has something to interest everyone. We've listed a few of our favourites here
Fans of Channel 4's Time Team will recognise Hopton Castle. Hopton Castle has just been restored and is now open for the public to visit. It makes a lovely short walk from Hopton House along quiet lanes and through fields. It should take about 45 minutes to get there and back.
The grounds of the castle are the perfect place for a picnic, or just to sit and chill and relax.
The BBC's Victorian Farm was filmed on the Acton Scott Estate just 15 miles from Hopton house before you get to Church Stretton. You can visit the Historic Acton scott Working Farm Museum from March to November each year. Click Here for more details.
FOR NATIONAL TRUST AND GARDEN LOVERS
Powis Castlenear Welshpool is fascinating National Trust property with beautiful gardens, which can be combined with a visit to Coed Y Dinas Garden Centre.
Burford Gardensnear Tenbury contains the national clematis collection as well as over 2000 other varieties of plants
Hergest Croft Gardens down near Kington ( combine with a lunch or dinner at the famous Stagg Inn at Titley! ) has acres of woodland and a lovely kitchen and rose garden
The National Trust's Croft Castle is just 20 minutes from Hopton House and has a beautiful walled garden. There is also a walk up to Croft Ambrey Hill Fort where you can apparently see 14 counties. Just a little further on from Croft Castle is Berrington Hall, with grounds designed by Capability Brown.
FOR BEER DRINKERS
We are lucky to have some wonderful local breweries including the Three Tuns in Bishops Castle, Woods of Wistanstow and the new brewery in Ludlow.
Best of all though, Rob's favourite beer, Hobsons Mild from Cleobury Mortimer , has just been voted best beer in the country! You can find it at The White Horse in Clun and the Church Inn in Ludlow. Hopton House is centrally located to visit Bishops Castle, Ludlow, Wistanstow and Clun!
Just 3 miles away in Leintwardine we have the Sun Inn, an example of a classic English Parlour Pub.
Ludlow is of course famous for its food. It has 1 Michelin starred restaurant and is an important member of the Slow Food movement. There are also many other wonderful pubs and restaurants hidden in lovely locations in the Shropshire Hills. The Ludlow Food Festival is held every year in September - book early!
The Ludlow Food Centreaims to source 80% of its produce locally or visit the wonderful farm shop at Strefford Hall Farm . The Local to Ludlow website lists all of our local producers.
FOR WALKERS, CYCLISTS AND RIDERS
We have hundreds of miles of wonderful walks, cycle routes and bridlepaths in Shropshire including The Shropshire Lad Walk ( which starts at Hopton House and takes in all of Housman's villages of Clun, Clunton, Clunbury and Clungunford ) Offa's Dyke, Wild Edric's Way ( see what the Guardianhad to say about Wild Edric ) and the Shropshire Way.
We have several circular walks from the house ranging from 45 minute stroll to a 15 mile circular walk. We are happy to provide you with maps, guide books and make suggestions for suitable walks when you arrive
Check out our new Shropshire Activity Websites www.shropshirewalking.co.uk , www.shropshirecycling.co.uk , www.shropshireriding.co.uk .
Just developed by the team of the Shropshire Hills AONB are a series of walks called "Walking with Offa" You can access the ones starting at Bucknell by taking the train from Hopton Heath.
You can see quite a few birds just by staying put here at Hopton House. We have yellowhammers, nuthatches, tree creepers, buzzards, curlews, swifts, swallows, goldcrests, goldfinches, ravens, willow tits, long tailed tits, house martins, bullfinches and the occasional red kite, tawny and barn owl - not to mention all of the more regular garden birds who come to our feeders and of course - the chickens.
Or venture up to the woods at Hopton Titterhill to see woodcocks or to the Black Wood above Clun to see Goshawks and, at dusk, and you may be lucky enough to see nightjars.
My favourite trip is to drive just 45 minutes to the Red Kite Feeding Centre at Gigrin Farmnear Rhayader and watch the kites, buzzard and ravens being fed daily.
FOR HISTORY BUFFS AND GEOLOGISTS
The Shropshire Hills has something to interest anyone interested in history whatever your preferred era.
Hopton Castle, pictured above right, is an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Robert "Picot" de Say. In 1276, Walter de Hopton founded the stone castle and added an impressive rectangular two storey keep, with a projecting stair turret to the low motte. Hopton Castle has just received £880,000 to receive a facelift and new information boards. The work has already started.
From Bury Ditches Hill Fort, dating from the 1st Millennium BC, Clun Castle built in the 1100s, Stokesay Castle, the best preserved 13th Century Fortified Manor House in England to the neo classical Berrington Hall.
Or go back even further and investigate the fascinating geology of the Long Mynd , the Stiperstones and Wenlock Edge - a coral reef that used to neighbour the Seychelles.
You may be interested to know that the very pretty town of Much Wenlock, at the end of Wenlock Edge and about 45 minutes drive from Hopton house, is where the modern day Olympics first started.
FOR ANIMAL LOVERS
The Small Breed and Owl Centre at Kingtonhas a fascinating collection of owls and other animals including alpaca and goats that you can get up close to.
Our very friendly rescue dogs, Mitsi and Murphy, are always available for a cuddle and you will be guaranteed "friend for life" status if you're willing to throw the ball for them.
Also in the garden we have lots of wild rabbits, voles, field mice, bats, hedgehogs, foxes and stoats.
We try and garden to attract birds and wildlife, with nettles, wood piles and long grass in the paddock. Under very stone you're likely to find a frog, toad or newt!
We often get Roe Deer in the fields next door or you'll spot them in the woods on Hopton Titterhill.
If you visit Rhos Fiddle Nature Reserve past Clun you're very likely to see hares.
FOR WET WEATHER
The Judge's Lodgingat Presteigne is a fascinating look back at 1870s England.
In Craven Arms you'll enjoy a fascinating walk back through history at the Land of Lost Contentor enjoy a virtual balloon ride over the Shropshire Hills at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre
And what could be nicer that spending a wet day sitting in a cosy tea room , drinking local Shropshire blend tea and homemade cakes? Try Rocke Cottage ( Formerly the Bird on the Rock ) in the Clun Valley or Berry's Coffee House in Church Stretton.
FOR RAIL ENTHUSIASTS
The Independant published a guide to theTop 50 Railway Journeys of the world in August 2008. I'm very pleased our own Heart of Wales Line was one; "The train between Shrewsbury and Swansea wends through some of the most unspoilt scenery in the Welsh Marches and Wales. There are spectacular views for most of the way, and some of the stations are bright with flower-beds and hanging baskets looked after by local volunteers." This train stops, on request, at Hopton Heath station.
Also in the list, within easy travelling distance of Hopton House, is the Severn Valley Railway( about 45 mins drive ) and the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway( again about 45 minutes from Hopton House in the other direction ).
The Heart of Wales line runs from Shrewsbury to Swansea, passing through some beautiful countryside. Take the train for Sunday Lunch and sleep the journey back to Hopton House on their special rail and roast packages