Haughmond Abbey stands on the side of a hill, 3 miles to the North East of the Shropshire town of Shrewsbury. It is free to enter for English Heritage members or just £4 for adults without membership. Unfortunately, Haughmond Abbey is closed over the autumn/winter period (from 1st October 2016 to 31st March 2017), so if you wish to visit this year, you’ll need to be quick!
Access is down a short (and somewhat bumpy) lane (not the best for turning out of when leaving) and there is a small car park for up to 15 cars.
When we arrived at lunch time, we were the only visitors there, so we had the abbey to ourselves for a while (handy for taking photos!).
As you can see, Haughmond Abbey is in ruins, but enough of it still stands to give you a good idea of what it must have been like back in its heydey. The guide book (which can be purchased from the kiosk) gives you a map and tour around the site, but we made our own way around… First exploring the outside of the ruins, before exploring the inside.
Haughmond Abbey was formally founded in 1135, but a small religious community was first established there around the end of the 11th century. As part of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, the abbey was dissolved in 1539 and the abbot’s hall and adjoining rooms were converted into a private residence. After a fire during the Civil War (the mid-1600’s), the abbey was no longer used as a higher status residence. Instead, it was used as a farm until the early 1900’s.
It’s amazing so much of the remains still survive, especially as partial demolition and removal and reuse of stone from some of the buildings had taken place.
A kiosk selling souvenirs and gifts, as well as hot/cold drinks and snacks, stands at the entrance. There is a picnic area (with picnic tables and benches) and two port-a-loos (including a disabled one) on-site.
After leaving Haughmond Abbey, we made our way to Wroxeter Roman City (in a roundabout way), but more about that another day.