On the southern edge of Shropshire sits Hopton Castle. Once a crumbling ruin, Hopton Castle has been lovingly and painstakingly conserved and researched by Hopton Castle Preservation Trust with help from archaeologists, building historians and Channel 4’s Time Team.
Having passed the brown tourist sign for Hopton Castle many times, we finally decided to visit one warm spring day in April. The castle can be found on the edge of the village of the same name. Entry is free (although donations are welcome), but be aware there is limited parking at the castle.
Hopton Castle is said to have been built in the early 1300s on the site of a former Norman motte and bailey castle. You’ll notice from my photos that this doesn’t seem to be a big castle, it’s perhaps more of a medieval tower house and built by Walter de Hopton, a wealthy and influential man. The castle, or tower, has seen action though. A rare eye-witness account reporting events as they unfolded survives, it tells of how 31 Parliamentarians held out for five weeks against an army of Royalist soldiers in 1644, during the English Civil War.
Despite being in a rural area, Hampton Castle seems quite popular. We visited just after lunch (Fiddlers Elbow Fish & Chips, Leintwardine – just 4.5 miles down the road) and a campervan pulled up in the car park just before us. Then within a few minutes, a group of ramblers arrived on foot.
If you’re in the area and are looking for other castles to visit, these are worth checking out:
Clun Castle (6.5 miles)
Stokesay Castle (7.5 miles)
Ludlow Castle (12 miles)
Croft Castle and Parkland (15 miles)
Montgomery Castle (21 miles)
Powis Castle (26.5 miles)