I had to have a little smile to myself when I wrote this tip as you could argue that Shropshire itself is off the beaten track!
Anyway this tip will take you to a beautiful, unspoiled Shropshire village and it's castle. If you are travelling from Shrewsbury south towards Much Wenlock then the village of Acton Burnell is about 6 miles from the main road along narrow, twisty Shropshire lanes.
When you get to the village just follow the signs for the castle.
The castle is made from local sandstone and is just a ruin. Like Stokesay castle Acton Burnell is actually a fortified manor house that dates from the 13th century and was built by Robert Burnell, the chancellor of King Edward I.
The great thing about Acton Burnell is that it is free.
Next to the castle is the impressive Concord College hall of which I can find no history of the building at all.
Depending on which way you approach Acton Burnell you may also come across Cantlop Bridge. A small bridge built by engineer Thomas Telford and forged by Abraham Darby in 1813.
Arrouasian canons from the ancient minster of Dorchester-on-Thames first settled in this beautiful part of Shropshire in 1143. They moved to within a mile of the present site shortly afterwards, but in 1148 a new house was founded by Richard de Belmeis at Lilleshall Wood. Now absorbed into the Augustinian Order the monastery was known as Lilleshall Abbey.
Work soon commenced on building a new abbey in stone and the choir of the church, together with the east and south ranges, were completed first. Although the west end of the church was probably completed some 50 years later, the splendid Romanesque work of the earlier building was copied to give it a typically Norman appearance. But the decorative work is pure Gothic which, by the early 13th century, was the modern style of architecture. Sizeable by Augustinian standards, the church measured some 228 ft in length but had a simple, aisleless nave with chapels at the east end, and possibly a Lady Chapel to the north-east where some foundations are still visible. With the exception of the north transept, the walls of the abbey church have survived to a good height and many of the doorways and windows show some exceptionally fine carved detail.
The Obilisk defines the centre of Lilleshall - a sleepy English village in the middle of Shropshire. Lilleshall is not well know - nor should it be - however it does have lovely views of Shropshire and beyond.
The Obilisk was put up by the tenents of the First Duke of Sutherland in about 1833. It is written on the side of the Obilisk that the Duke was a generous and well liked man and that the tenents put up the momument as a mark of respect to him after he died.
Go climb it! It's there so why not? It's 459m above sea level, there are the remains of an ancient celtic fort near the summit, not too far from Church Stretton and there are sheep .. what more could you ask for!
Lilleshall Abbey was an Augustinian abbey of the 12th-13th centuries, which ended its life as a Royalist stronghold in the Civil War.
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Ludlow Road, Bridgnorth, WV16 6UA, United Kingdom
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