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To wake up feeling literally on top of the world, or on top of Shropshire, at least, makes a truly invigorating start to any morning, and that’s the feeling you get when you greet the day at Foxholes, whose expansive grassy plateau is surrounded by far-reaching views of magnificent hills, which wistfully beckon campers on to the Shropshire Way running through the campsite, and deep into their bucolic embrace.
There can be few campsites in England that enjoy such a vista: the foothills of the Cambrian mountain range, the famous bulk of the Long Mynd, Stiperstones – in whose Roman lead mines Wild Edric is said to be buried with his soldiers, ready to fight should England ever be endangered – and a cornucopia of other bumps, knolls and mounds that make up part of the 139-mile loop that is the ShropshireWay. With almost a 360-degree panorama, it’s as near to heaven as a "hillophile" is ever likely to get.
Four sprawling, natural camping areas are spread out among 10 acres. A sloping field at the back accommodates tourers and caravans; a cosy half-acre enclave suits tents requiring shelter; above that is the field that feels like a hilltop Iron Age fort (only without the ramparts); and there’s a further, more out-of-the-way field, which has been largely left to meadow. Campers arrive and pitch up in all weathers, but less hardy souls can book the comfy, clean bunkhouse in the farmyard that sleeps six and costs a bargain £10 per bed per night.
Owners Chris and Wendy bought the property in 2006 and opened for business the following year, and they are experienced, easy-going hosts – just as long as you don’t attempt to throw anything away that can be recycled. How else would they be able to make their castellated-roof tin knight, plastic recycling bin guard or papier-mâché notice board? They will readily invite visiting conservationists and the occasional camper into their kitchen for a cuppa and a chat, and their eco-friendly stance affects everything they do, with new eco-facilities that feature solar-powered showers and loos that are flushed by rainwater.
Pass by the metal sculpture of a fox skulking around a hedge, down towards the path that leads to the nearest town, Bishop’s Castle, to find a little Buddha under the trees, collecting coins for the local air ambulance (Shropshire’s roads are too windy and narrow to receive emergency vehicles quickly). Each year the town plays host to a May Fair (the weekend after the first May Bank Holiday); a walking festival (the second week of June); a stone-skimming championships (the last Sunday in June); a carnival (the first Sunday in July); and a beer festival (the weekend after the carnival) among others. Phew! Or merely leave the crowds behind by tackling a section of a long-distance footpath.The Offa’s Dyke Path, Wild Edric’s Way, and the Kerry Ridgeway are all within striking distance, the last of these doubling as a cycle route if you’re a peddler rather than a plodder. Meanwhile, at basecamp, wildlife is nurtured, and the hedgerows left to grow freely, which pleases the birds that thrive here, and adds to the morning welcome. Just pack earplugs!
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Reader ReviewsAdd Your Review
what a beautiful campsite, we go camping alot and were really impressed, the views were fabulous and the site well.maintained, we loved the fact it was eco friendly and allowed campfires. Toilet block was always kept clean, there was a short walk into town which had some lovely shops and a nice pub, the three tuns, we would defiantly return.
I am old enough to remember the impact when the cinema screens went wide and the sound came from all directions. Because many of the places where we live have limited views it is very refreshing to sit on the hillside at Foxholes and have these superb views that are of the wide screen variety. We have seen the complete arcs of rainbows and the weather moving across the countryside. All the different light and shade of a panorama and the sounds of the countryside. When the wind blows this adds to the drama of the scene.
In spite of this the landscape is quite benign with fields and the town of Bishops Castle in the distance, It is only the more distant hills that give the area a more remote flavour.
However, in spite of the hillside camping ground there are excellent showers and even comfortable wet rooms. The addition of a cabin with a verandah for washing up add to the facilities and there is a well described recycling area.
Bishops Castle retains the charm of the sort of town that has all but disappeared and everything that a camper might require is readily available.
This is a special campsite but if you want to venture out there are many options for walking and Wales,Ludlow, Church Stretton, Shrewsbury and the Iron bridge Gorge are all within striking distance in a car.
We stayed here at the end of June for 7 nights. We camped at the top of the tent field. Fantastic views all round. The site was not busy and was quiet despite several DOE award groups coming and going. Only a short walk to Bishops Castle. Lovely Indian food in the Chai Cafe with friendly chat. Bhajis were delicious. Great spot for exploring local area on foot or cycle. Facilities are good and clean.
Even Better by Evolution
I have been staying at Foxholes since 2007. It was good then, and it's even better now as the site evolves and Chris and Wendy have added features over the years. I have camped in the fields, used the very snug eco cabin, stayed in the caravan and in the compact bunkhouse, so I think I know the place pretty well by now! The views are amazing and you are perched right on the Shropshire Way to head off into the wilds or take the other way into nearby Bishops Castle. The showers and toilets are modern and very clean and the recycling facilities are everywhere, so no excuses for not recycling.
The rates are very competitive, especially for such a well kept site near a town. Bishops Castle itself is a CAMRA delight. The Three Tuns was one of the last few brew pubs in the 70s and is a must. At the other end of town is the Six Bells pub, where Big Nev brews his ales. Two very different experiences, so visit both - and the other 3 or 4 pubs along the High Street.
We stayed here last week for 3 nights, it's a fantastic, relaxed campsite! We stayed in the half acre field as the weather was a little windy but the views from all over the site are beautiful. Not a lot to do in the area, except walking, and we found the town a little bit strange and there didn't seem a lot going on...but we didn't have a great amount of time to explore the local area. Facilities were kept nice and clean : )
Thumbs up for Foxholes
My sons and I completely lucked out on heading to Foxholes in mid-July during the gorgeous heatwave.
It was our first outing in a recently acquired tent and proved a delight. The kids loved setting up at the brow of one of the fields set aside for campers with great views. The dog also new to camping, loved it too.
There's plenty of space for those keen for more shelter or shade from the sun in the morning. On this occasion, the bit of evening breeze afforded for heading to the brow of the campsite was welcome after temperatures tipping 30°C degrees in the day.
The wash block facilities were good and well maintained while the "common room" with fridge and freezer - as well as power point for mobile phone top up - was also perfect for the site.
We stayed mid-week - before, perhaps, the campsite would be at its busiest - and ahead of the start of most school holidays. On our visit there was a real sense of space of a bit of privacy.
Wendy was very amenable and happy to have a bit of banter as she took the occasional stroll to check on the site.
You are up of the top of a hill with great views of surrounding valleys and far off escarpments here. But Bishops Castle is a few minutes away across public walkways for those seeking to avoid the hop in the car.
If the weather is good, it's hard to fault this as a destination for a few days.
Owner got up on the wrong side of bed!
I planned to meet up with some friends already staying at this campsite so I called on the morning I wanted to go out of courtesy. I was bringing my dog and didn't want to just turn up in the morning as I was only going to stay the one night. The lady who answered the phone was extremely unpleasant and shouted at me for calling so early. I was told that they were full (which apparently they were not) and that even if they weren't, I was not welcome to stay. I had managed to fit in about two words to her before she started on her rant about her husband having to clean the toilets at 3am, but it was evident that she did not want my business albeit only one night. It wasn't unreasonably early for a phone call to a business and I would expect that if it is not convenient to take calls related to a business you would employ the use of an answer phone!
Response from Foxholes Castle Camping
Thanks for your feedback. On the date of enquiry, we were in fact fully booked. We like our campers to have a relaxed and peaceful stay with us so even with our maximum capacity a large amount of the site remains unoccupied. Apologies if my tone seemed abrupt – the phone call was very early. Our website clearly states we are a family-run business, and we prioritise emails, failing that phone calls after 9 am. It is true my husband had been cleaning at 3 am, as we regularly do, hence we ask for this little bit of ‘our’ time first thing in the morning.
Foxholes Castle Camping
A review in a sentence.
Brilliant Campsite, lovely location, friendly owners, reasonable rates.. can be a little abrupt via email..
This is one of my favorite campsite in the UK. The road up to it is a little bumpy, but get past that, drive up to the pseudo-castle, pay the very welcoming owners and then drive up into the large field and find your slice of heaven. The views are stunning, there is little better than waking up and frying bacon, overlooking the sites of the Shropshire hills.
Bishops Castle is lovely as well, and the walk from the campsite is along the Shropshire Way. Late summer, the walk is even better as you walk through a cornfield to the alleyway-like passage into Bishops Castle. In the small town itself I can highly recommend the Three Tuns pub/brewery – amazing ales, lovely food; beautiful pub. The Seven Stars is also a microbrewery, but the ale is not quite up to the standard of the Three Tuns.
Back to the campsite itself, it's a recycling campsite with lots of different bins/places to put the different types of rubbish. The toilet facilites are amazing – very well cleaned, I always seem to bump into Wendy cleaning them, especially in bad weather. The showers are good and warm and over all.
Foxholes Castle Camping
Foxholes Castle Camping
We stayed for 2 nights at the beginning of August to try out our new tent. I was a little trepidatious based on one of the reviews below but we received a warm welcome and I thought the facilities were more than adequate and perfectly clean.
It's true that there isn't much to 'do' in Bishop's Castle but we didn't go to rural Shropshire for excitement. The town is nice enough to stroll through but we were really there for the Shropshire Way, which goes right through the campsite.
The top field can get a little windy and we gave up trying to light our stove on the second night and walked into the town in search of dinner. It turns out all the foody pubs fill up ahead of time so without reservations we were reduced to chips from the takeaway on the little square. They were good chips though! Also good is The Three Tuns, who brew excellent ale round the back of the pub and have a selection of board games to play while drinking it - and it's only a 15 minute stagger back to the tent.