Visit the location of England's first parliament and see a historic church, a ruined castle and a remote chapel as you walk through peaceful fields, lanes and woods in a little known but scenic corner of Shropshire.
8.6 miles (13.9 km)
Walking time:
04h 15m

Start location

Acton Burnell Crossroads. SJ531020, SY5 7PA

lat: 52.6139908

lon: -2.6942497




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Getting there

<p><strong>By Car:</strong>&nbsp;<em> Acton Burnell Village is on a minor road between the A49 and A458 south of Shrewsbury. From the crossroads by the post office in the village centre go down the road signed to the castle where there is plenty of room to park on the street.&nbsp;</em>&nbsp;<em>Postcode SY5 7PA</em>.</p> <p><strong>By Bus:</strong> <em>Acton Burnell is served by the very infrequent 540 circular service from Shrewsbury. There is a stop by the post office at the crossroads. See&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p>



From the crossroads in Acton Burnell take the road signed to the castle. At the end turn right through white gates and follow the tarmac drive round to the left to pass the church [A] on the left. Continue ahead a short distance to the end where there is a small parking/turning area for castle visitors. Go ahead a short distance and through a gate on the left. Follow an interesting little path through yews and rhododendrons to reach the castle ruins [B]. After exploring them return to the turning circle and go left, following a wooden fence on your left, to a stile. Cross it and turn left to follow a hedge on your left. Cross a stile in the next corner and keep straight on with a wall to your left to reach a road. [A] It is worth a short diversion to look inside the interesting 13th century parish church. In particular to see the impressive monuments in the north aisle. The brass for Sir Nicholas Burnell, dating from 1382, is considered to be one of the finest in the county.[B] The castle was built between 1284 and 1293 by Bishop Burnell, Edward I's Lord Chancellor. If you look into the playing fields to the right you will see two barn ends, it is believed the first parliaments were held in the barn in 1283 and 1285. The castle was left to decay when the family built a more modern building next door - the large white building you can see which houses the college now.


Turn left along the road and follow it for about 1400 metres. The road eventually descends to meet houses on the right. Take a left turn signed to Langley Chapel and continue until you reach the small parking area for the chapel on the right. Go through the metal kissing gate and go ahead to view the chapel [C]. The far door on the left side is normally unlocked, or the key may be left in it for you to unlock yourself. [C] Richard Burnell, from nearby Acton Burnell, had this chapel built in 1313. It was rarely used after about 1700 and the last regular service was held here in 1871, after most nearby farm workers had moved away to Ironbridge or the Black Country to earn better wages in the new industries. This saved the chapel from modernisation work and left it as it is today. The layout of the chancel end is of particular interest, there is no altar, communicants sit on benches around a communion table, in a way that would have been popular with puritans in the 17th Century. The large box pew near the front was a private pew for the Lee family, the local landowners. The middle classes had smaller box pews and the servants and labourers sat on benches at the back.


The next bit of path has recently been diverted and no longer goes through the farmyard just to the east. Follow these instructions, regardless of what your map shows. Go back to the kissing gate, but do not go back through it onto the road, instead turn right and follow the hedge on your left around a protruding corner and to a metal gate by a telegraph pole in the next corner. Go through, turn left and almost immediately right to pass a barn on your left. Go through a pedestrian gate left of double metal gates and bear right along a track. When the track bends left to a second set of double gates take a pedestrian gate on the right and go ahead with the hedge on your left, aiming for the steep wooded slope ahead of you. In the next corner, the path has been diverted again and may be different from that shown on your map. Go straight on through the wide gap and continue with the hedge on your left to reach the bottom of the wooded slope by a tall waymarker post which directs you over a plank bridge and left along the bottom of the wood. At the next waymarker post turn right and follow the small path going steeply uphill past some more helpful waymarker posts to reach a forest track. Go up the steps opposite and reach a kissing gate at the top of the slope. Go ahead a short distance to the next gate and go straight across the next field to a gate onto a road.


Turn right along the road. Gaps on the left give fine views across to Wenlock Edge. After a house on the right go right up a dirt track which is indicated by a finger post on the left pointing up it. It is also next to telegraph pole 5 A. Go straight on up and through a gate right of the top barn. Follow the track as it bears left up into the next field. Keep straight on with a hedge to your right. Cross a stile in the corner. Keep straight on through a metal gate and ahead to a stile. Cross it and go half right to a gate in the far right corner. Keep straight on along the right edge of a long field, then along the right edge of 5 more, where the trees end and you now get wonderful views down the slope to the right. In the last field go half left to a stile in front of a cottage, cross it and go left to a road.


Turn right along the road and follow it downhill. Ignore a left turn, and a little beyond, turn right down a road signed to Ruckley and Acton Burnell. Just as this road starts to descend steeply take an unwaymarked track starting through a wide metal gate on the left. Go through a rusty gate and take a moment, as the next bit of navigation is tricky. Keep on down the track a short distance until you are exactly level with the bottom of a hedgerow coming down from the left. Your next stile is just down to the right here, but you are unlikely to be able to see it because of trees in the way. Go right as best you can down into the trees where you will find a stream. If there is a barbed wire fence on the far bank you are too far left, go right a little until the fence crosses to the near side of the stream and find the stile crossing the fence a little further to the right. Cross the stile, which was in poor condition when the walk was developed, and the stream beyond, then walk diagonally left up the field to a stile mid-way up the slope on the left boundary. Cross this and aim slightly right, keeping just right of some trees, to the next stile. Cross it and go right to follow the fence up to a stile in the corner that leads into woods by a bench. If you cannot find the stile on the right, or the stile and/or stream look too tricky to cross, go back to the track and follow it parallel to the stream on the right. Just before reaching the far end of the field turn right down a track and ford the stream where it is full of boulders. Keep straight on up the left field edge to find the stile on the left midway up the slope.


Go right and left to reach a large forest track. Turn right along it and follow it for some distance, ignoring any right turns, until it runs along the left edge of the wood and reaches a T-Junction at the far end. Turn left past a metal barrier then turn right, not on the track between the gateposts, but the one left of it that follows a wall on the right to a wooden gate into a field.


Go half right up the bank and follow the wooden fence on your right to a metal bridle gate. Go through and across the next field, keeping roughly parallel to the left hedge, to another gate a little right of the far left corner. Go through and left down to the next corner then turn right to regain your direction along the left edge of the field. Midway along it, ignore a signed bridleway going left. Keep straight on in a second field past woods on the left. Go through two gates in the corner and turn left across a small field to another gate. Go ahead up to the ruined cottage, pass just left of it and turn right and then left immediately beyond it. Continue on a good track with a hedge on your right for some distance. After passing a modern barn on the left ignore a right fork and keep ahead towards a small square brick tower. Turn right just before it, reach a road and turn left back to the start.


<p><em>Both Acton Burnell Castle and Langley Chapel are maintained by English Heritage. Both have free entry.</em></p> <p><em>See&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p>

Problem with this route?

If you encounter a problem on this walk, please let us know by emailing If the issue is with a public path or access please also contact the local highways authority directly, or find out more about solving problems on public paths on our website.

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Join the Ramblers and enjoy

  • unlimited free access to 50,000 Ramblers group walks
  • a library jam-packed with thousands of tried-and-tested routes
  • a welcome pack teeming with top tips plus our quarterly Walk magazine
  • exclusive discounts from our partners
  • knowing your support is opening up more places to walk and helping more people discover the joy of walking