Storm The Castle is set in the medieval town of Ludlow, Shropshire. The race route takes in some of Ludlow’s spectacular scenery and finishes in the grounds of Ludlow Castle itself, following a tough climb around the castle walls. The bike route runs through the beautiful and notoriously hilly countryside of south Shropshire, before heading back to the town via the spectacular descent of High Vinnals and Whitcliffe.
For details of how to get to Ludlow, click here.
Ludlow is a thriving medieval market town and an architectural gem with a lively community feel, busy with events and festivals throughout the year. The historic town centre is situated on a cliff above the River Teme and is surrounded by the unspoilt and beautiful countryside of south Shropshire and the Welsh Marches. Ludlow has many excellent walking and cycling opportunities right on its doorstep. In recent years, Ludlow and the surrounding area has acquired an excellent reputation for the quality of its food and drink with many excellent restaurants and cafes encouraged by the areas abundance of quality food and drink producers. Every September, the showcase for this is the Ludlow Food and Drink Festival, when the town is filled with food lovers from all over the UK, and beyond.
For further information on Ludlow, visit www.ludlow.org.uk
Whitcliffe Common is a delightful area of countryside available to all and on the doorstep of one of the loveliest market towns in England. The present Common is all that remains of a much larger medieval common used in the 13th C. to graze livestock, gather hay and quarry stone for the construction of buildings such as Ludlow Castle. On the Common and visible, are the long trenches thought to have been dug by the Parliamentarians for the siege of Ludlow Castle during the Civil War in 1646. Whitcliffe is also of international geological importance for exposures of Silurian strata. The work of Murchison in the 19thC gave the name ‘Whitcliffian” to the Ludlow Bone Beds. In 1821 the tradition began of caring for the area by local residents and this is continued today by the Trustees for The Friends of Whitcliffe Common. The organisers of Storm The Castle are very grateful for the help and support of The Friends of Whitcliffe Common.
For further information on Ludlow, visit www.friendsofwhitcliffecommon.org.uk
Ludlow Castle – A brief history
Walter de Lacy, a trusted member of the household of William fitzOsbern arrived in England with the conquering army of William in 1066. FitzOsbern was rewarded for his loyal part in William’s victory with an Earldom over the lands of Hereford.
After three years of local resistance, fitzOsbern was able to claim his Earldom and planned to keep his new acquisition secure by developing a string of castles along the border of England and Wales. To assist in this plan, he followed the model of patronage and favour set by William the Conqueror himself and began to distribute areas of his lands to his trusted men, in order to keep their loyalty and support. Thus, Walter de Lacy, fitzOsbern’s second in command, seems to have acquired the lands of South Shropshire – and from there, he appears to be linked with the earliest developments around Ludlow Castle.
Walter’s sons, first Roger and then Hugh built the earliest surviving parts of the Castle that we can still see today, and the de Lacy family retained lordship until the end of the 13th century. The Castle Fortress that the de Lacy’s built, occupies a finely judged defensive position. Guarded by both the rivers Teme and Corve, Ludlow Castle stands prominently on high ground, able to resist attack from would be invaders from over the Welsh border. Stone was readily available, being quarried from the castle’s own site, and water was obtained from a deep well – sunk from what is now the Inner Bailey, down to the level of the River Teme.
During the course of the civil war, control of the castle changed hands several times and once again descended through the Lacy family. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries Ludlow Castle was taken into the care of the crown on multiple occasions to ensure the family’s loyalty. The family owned the castle until the 14th century, when it came into the possession of the Mortimers through marriage. Early in the 14th century, the castle was enlarged into a magnificent palace for Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, then the most powerful man in England. During their reign the Mortimers made their castle (Ludlow Castle) crown land. It remained crown land for three hundred and fifty years.
The Earls of Powys began renting Ludlow Castle from the Crown in 1772, and bought the structure in 1811. The castle has descended through the family since and is owned by The Trustees of the Powys Castle Estate on behalf of the family of the Earls. Now open to the public, the castle is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
For further information on the Castle visit www.ludlowcastle.com