Shropshire Myths & Legends

Wild landscapes and turbulent history. The stuff of myths and legends. Shropshire is a centre for the revival of the ancient art of storytelling with an international storytelling festival and a museum of myths and fables.

Mad Jack Mytton, Wild Edric, the real King Arthur and the wicked witch Mitchell are just some of the Shropshire characters you can encounter - who needs fiction when reality is much more frightening?

Mythstories - a museum of myth and fables in Wem and the International Storytelling Festival near Much Wenlock, held in July, help unlock our past. Ghost trails in Shrewsbury will also take you around the network of shuts and passages.

Shropshire's scenery, history and legends have inspired the poetry of A.E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad) and Wilfred Owen, the novels of Mary Webb and D. H. Lawrence and the children's books by Malcolm Saville (The Lone Piners) and many others besides.

Below you will find a list of Shropshire sites associated with myths and legends:

Hawkstone Historic Park & Follies

Weston-under-Redcastle, Nr Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Tel: 01939 200611

For two centuries very important personages were drawn to England's most romantic parkland "Art has proceeded no further than to make the succession of wonders safely accessible" wrote Dr Johnson, an early fan of Hawkstone.

Then the caves, cliffs and the Red Castle disappeared behind the pines, beneath rhododendrons. Lightning blasted Sir Roland, the hermit's hourglass shattered, the Stately Lion lost his tail, and even King Arthur snoozed, the Holy Grail safe in the vault of a bank.

Asleep for a hundred years, this award-winning Lost World has re-emerged. The Grotto has lost its splendid decoration of shells, corals and stained glass, but in their place King Arthur addresses his troops.

At last you can cross the Swiss bridge over the Chasm to the thatched Gingerbread Hall. Had Dr Johnson arrived a little later he might have seen a dozen counties from the top of the Monument.

The most spectacular man-made landscape (English Heritage Grade 1) in Europe commands exploration, astonishment and admiration.

King Arthur Trail

King Arthur and Guinevere came from Shropshire. Honestly! Fortunately, they left a trail.

Mitchells Fold Stone Circle

Nr, Chirbury, Shropshire

It sits high in the Shropshire hills, on the long ridge of Stapeley Hill, 1000 feet above sea level and close to the Welsh border. Its exposed position gives fine views of the Stiperstones to the east and the Welsh hills to the west.

Nesscliffe Hill & Humphrey Kynaston's Cave

Nesscliffe, Shropshire

The small village of Nesscliffe is located between Shrewsbury and Oswestry.The village was home to Humphrey Kynaston - Shropshire's answer to Robin Hood. He hid in a cave on Nesscliffe Hill having been outlawed in 1491.

He evaded the law with help from his horse, named Beelzebub, which performed great feats such as jumping the gap between Montford Bridge.

If you visit today, you don't need to worry about highwaymen. As you amble your way along the pine and rhododendron covered hillside you will come to the red sandstone cliff in which Kynaston's cave is cut into the cliff face.

Slightly less obvious, but are there if you look deep enough are the remains of the defenses from the Iron Age hillfort that crowned the hill 2000 years before Kynaston. The ditches and ramparts can still be found beneath the trees.

From the top of the hill, you can enjoy rolling views of Shropshire's countryside.

Offa's Dyke

Nr. Oswestry, Shropshire
Tel: 01547 528192

Offa's Dyke was constructed in the late eighth century on the orders of King Offa. The Dyke is the longest archaeological monument in Britain. The Dyke was originally constructed to mark the boundary between the Kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh Kingdoms to the west; probably intended to serve as a means of regulating access to and from Wales and today lengths of the Dyke form part of the National boundary between England and Wales.

Old Oswestry Hillfort

Oswestry, Shropshire
Tel: 01691 671323

The Old Oswestry Hill Fort, known as Caer Ogyrfan after King Arthur’s father in law, is said to be the birthplace of Queen Ganhumara, or Guinevere. It is also believed to have been the site for the final battle of the Powys King Cynddylan, the last descendant of King Arthur to rule in Shropshire.

The Wrekin

Telford, Shrosphire

The Wrekin is perhaps Shropshire’s best known landmark, a curious legendary hill that, from this way it looks like a mountain, and that way, it crouches low. From the top you can see fifteen counties.