Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival eyes 25th anniversary

Shropshire Hills Long Mynd
Shropshire Hills. Photo: gren/Pixabay

The Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival in Shropshire takes place from May 16 to 19, and the organisers are already looking forward to the 2025 event, which will be the 25th anniversary of the festival.

Bishop’s Castle, with a population of just under 2,000, is around a mile from the Welsh border, and close to Offa’s Dyke.

As well as guided walks, there are also ‘fringe’ events taking place, including a tour, a film, a talk and various dinners and meet and greets.

Walks start on Thursday, May 16, with a 5-mile walk taking in Adstone Hill. Other walks on the opening day include a strenuous 12-mile Offa’s Dyke hike, as well as some walks in the 7-mile range.

There are six walks on the Friday, some of which are already fully booked. The walks range from 5 to 11 miles, and all are morning starts. The walks vary in difficulty, but all include some level of uphill walking.

On Saturday, only two of the six hikes still have open spaces, the first of which is “Mineside to Fireside”, a moderate 4-mile walk. The second walk is a strenuous 15-mile circular, starting in Chirbury and crossing the English/Welsh border toward Churchstoke. The walk includes the four peaks of Todleth, Roundton, Lan Fawr and Corndon. The afternoon includes the Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle, then back to Chirbury via Middleton and Heightley.  

There are five walks on the final day, with the easiest (4.5 miles) and most difficult (12 miles) the only ones with spaces remaining.

Booking is required for the walks, some of which are already sold out. Dogs aren’t permitted on the hikes.

Additional walks

For those interested in extending their visit, there is a separate sponsored walk, called the Round & About Walks, from Bishop’s Castle. Staged by Community College Bishop’s Castle (CCBC), the signed walk can be undertaken any time from May 20 to June 9. While the 23 miles can be done in one day, it is also possible to spread the walk over several days, and not necessarily consecutively.

The ramble starts and ends at the Church Barn, Bishop’s Castle. The scramble portion of the walk covers 13 miles, while the amble, at 10 miles, is a bit more gentle. Maps are provided for the walk after online registration is completed.

The walks are fundraisers for Blood Cancer UK and CCBC. In 2023, £3,246 was raised.