South Shropshire News

Bishops Castle Tourism Group

Bishops Castle Tourism Group in South Shropshire
Bishop’s Castle Tourism Group have been promoting and developing sustainable tourism in the area since the early 1990s, a time when the Town was going through a very low economic period. The Group was formed when the old South Shropshire District Council offered £10,000 to any group in Bishop’s Castle which would use the money to improve the town centre for visitors – no existing body took up the challenge! And look what has happened since…….. why don’t you join us

During the 1980’s there were only two bed & breakfast accommodation providers in the town and just a few serving Offa’s Dyke.  Now there are seven in the town centre alone plus numerous holiday cottages and a campsite.  There are many B&Bs, self catering units and campsites in the surrounding countryside and the company has nearly one hundred members.

Early projects and successes

  • The Tourism Group start Michaelmas Fair. 
  • Identified the need for an early summer ‘mid-week break’ offer to help the areas accommodation providers.  This became the Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival, now just completed its eleventh successful year.
  • Recognised the need and lobbied for a camping site in walking distance of the town centre.

Recent and current projects

  • Set up the visitor information pages on the town’s official web site.  All the accommodation in the area plus information on shops, festivals, events and ‘what to do’ is available on these pages. 
  • In 2004 The Group was in discussion with some of the Town’s festivals and events who recognised the need for a co-ordinator who could advise on producing ‘professionally’ run events.  The Group obtained EU funding via Shropshire County Council to employ a Festival Officer to work with the areas festivals.  The Tourism Company carries on this work today acting as an ‘umbrella’ for the many festivals and activities in the town and surrounding area. We continue to employ a Festival Officer, now funded through The Leader Project, administered via the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • The Company obtained ‘Better Welcome’ money to carry out the £30,000 recent improvements to the Auction Yard/Church Street route.
  • In 2008 Bishop’s Castle joined the ‘Walkers are Welcome’ network after work by the Group and support from all the town businesses.
  • In 2008 Bishop’s Castle Tourism Group realised that to access funding directly it would have to change to some form of limited company.  In 2009 we formed Bishop’s Castle Community Interest Company with currently a board of eight directors and nearly one hundred members.

In the future the company hope to be involved with running a fully staffed Visitor Information Centre (VIC) in Bishop’s Castle.  To this end it is working with The Town Council and Bishop’s Castle Heritage Resource Centre (BCHRC) on the Town Hall Renovation Project following a successful first round Heritage Lottery Grant application.  In 2012 we will know whether we have successfully passed the second and final round of the process. 

If you would like to join Bishop’s Castle Tourism Group contact Jane Carroll:Bishop's Castle Tourist Information Point Tel: 01588 638467 (0044 1588 638467) Fax: 01588 630126 (0044 1588 630126) email jane@oldtime.co.uk


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