Storm The Fort is set in the pretty village of Clun, nestled in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The race route takes in some spectacular scenery, including a tough but hugely rewarding run to the Iron Age hill fort of Bury Ditches, while the bike route runs through the beautiful and notoriously hilly countryside of south Shropshire.
Bury Ditches Hill Fort
Storm The Fort takes it’s name from Bury Ditches Hill Fort, near Clun, south Shropshire and is one of the UK’s best preserved hill forts, dating from about 500BC.
It was once a heavily defended settlement of around 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres). The structure dates to the first Millennium BC and would have been a centre of habitation with people living in simple round huts within the hillfort defences.
The extent of the site and the layout of its defences were largely unknown until 1976 when heavy storms blew down trees on the hilltop and large scale tree clearance was undertaken by the Forestry Commission. It was revealed that Bury Ditches was a multi-vallate hillfort, which means that it was defended by a series of ditches and ramparts, which in some places would have reached a height of 7 metres. On the north side of the hillfort where the hillside is less steep, and so offers less natural protection, there are as many as 4 or 5 successive banks with intervening ditches. The defensive banks overlapped at the rear entrance to provide further protection from enemy attacks.
The entrance at Bury Ditches is a classic example of an ‘in-turned’ entrance, where the ramparts (banks) turn back on themselves to form an internal passage. The in-turned entrance at Bury Ditches leads into a 40m long passage. It was designed to draw the enemy into small internal space where they could be dealt with efficiently by the defenders who could attack from the ramparts above.
The summit at Bury Ditches offers spectacular views of South Shropshire and beyond.
Bury Ditches is managed by the Forestry Commission and further information on this beautiful area can be found on their website.
“Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun are the quietest places under the sun”
The small, pretty town of Clun is one of South Shropshire’s gems. Overlooked by spectacular castle ruins, most people think of Clun as a village, but it has the distinction of being granted a very early town charter in the 14th century. It was also mentioned in the Domesday Book. Today the town is smaller than when it was granted its town status, but it has many interesting buildings and side streets through which to wander.
Clun’s ruined castle, perched high on two ice age mounds with the River Clun running past it, makes a scenic picnic spot and a good place for the children to vent their energy running up and down the embankments.
The narrow 15th century stone packhorse bridge divides the town in two, the ancient part on the south and the newer Norman town on the north.
The Town Hall was built by Lord Clive in 1780 and has been a jailhouse and a market hall. Today it is the location of the town museum.
Clun’s church is Norman and of great size and sits high on a hill looking down to the River Clun, the Castle and the two halves of the town. There are ancient yews on the churchyard and lovely views of the Clun Valley.
Clun’s most popular annual event is the Green Man Day at the beginning of Spring when there is a battle on the bridge with the green man and the evil witch!
Despite it’s sleepy demeanour, Clun is often bustling with activity. The town also boasts two butchers, a newsagent, garage, Post Office, hardware shop, florist, craft shop and grocery store.
For details of how to get to Clun, click here.