Discover Shropshire’s AONB
Much of south Shropshire is a designated Area of Outstanding of Natural Beauty (AONB) – official recognition that its diverse landscape (hills, farmland, rivers and woodland) are vital to wildlife, tranquillity, culture and enjoyment. You need only glance at the ancient hills and rolling patchwork landscape to realise the importance of protecting this beautiful part of Shropshire. Our most famous hills include the Stiperstones (which during Victorian times were the location of Europe’s largest lead mines) and the heather-topped Long Mynd which means ‘long mountain’ in Welsh. Want to explore more? Try a summer trip on the Shropshire Hills Shuttle buses.
Church Stretton lies in the heart of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a historic market town with a Norman Church and buildings dating back to Tudor times. A charter market has been held in the Town Square on Thursdays for over 800 years. The town’s history is laid out in Illustrative tableaux on the wall of the Antiques emporium.
Church Stretton is a small friendly town with a compact shopping centre, which retains much of its original Edwardian style. The town is proud to have a number of independent speciality shops, several of which have been recognised with regional awards. There is a choice of coffee houses and a range of different eateries, as well as well regarded pubs in the adjacent villages of Little Stretton, All Stretton, Cardington and Leebotwood.
The town has two parks and two Nature Reserves, covering over 200 acres on either side of the wooded valley, so there is ready access in to the surrounding countryside. The town sits below the imposing Long Mynd – a seven-mile long heather-clad upland plateau, popular with walkers and bikers, as well golfers relishing the challenge of the second-highest golf club in the country. The Gliding Club benefits from some of the best thermal currents in the country, as do para-gliders and model aircraft enthusiasts
One of the valleys descending into the town from the plateau is the nationally renowned Carding Mill Valley, managed by the National Trust. This is a magnet for visitors of all ages, whether it be children playing in the stream, hill walkers, or adults wild swimming in the Reservoir or taking their ease in the chalet pavilion.
Church Stretton has a direct road and rail link to Shrewsbury and Ludlow. It is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area and other nearby market towns.
The town has a wide selection of guest houses, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation as well as campsites in the surrounding area.
Read more about things to do in Church Stretton here
Further information on these facilities can be obtained from Church Stretton Library churchstrett[email protected] or via the Church Stretton website www.churchstretton.co.uk
Discover more – The Hills are Alive
Bishop’s Castle is a vibrant small market town on the outskirts of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This small ancient town is surrounded by stunning countryside and is a great location for exploring the unspoilt countryside of the Shropshire Hills and Welsh border by car, cycle or on foot.
The Town has a long and proud history of brewing and is home to the oldest working brewery in the UK. It was once a stop off point on a busy Drovers route where for over 800 years the Welsh Drovers brought sheep and cattle to market here and further afield. As a result the town has a history of many inns and public houses, some of which remain whereas the others can be spotted on the old pub trail around town.
Many walks can be accessed straight from the town centre taking you to stunning views within minutes. The Shropshire Way, which links the remains of the Castle at the top of town to the Victorian church with its Anglo Saxon tower at the bottom, goes through the centre past brightly coloured buildings including great places to eat, drink and stay as well as a variety of independent shops.
Clun was described by AE Housman as ‘the quietest place under the sun’. It is indeed quiet, in a good way: have fun exploring Clun’s castle ruins and town museum. If you cross Clun’s medieval packhorse bridge, folk say it will sharpen your wits … are you ready to visit and give it a go?
A market town with a thriving high street and lively market and a calendar of colourful events. With a strong reputation for locally produced food and drink and many independent shops, cafes and restaurants, a warm welcome awaits you in Ludlow. It’s perfect for a day trip or longer as a base to explore the Marches border with Wales, including the magnificent Shropshire Hills.
Relax and unwind wandering along the narrow streets, including the spectacular Broad Street with original town gate and do the ‘Bread Walk’ along the river Teme. For evening’s check out what’s on at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms or the Ludlow Brewery which has regular live music nights. Take time to visit St. Laurence’s Church and climb the tower for the best views of the medieval centre or visit the magnificent Ludlow Castle.
Discover some of the best things to do in Ludlow here
Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock
Don’t miss Bridgnorth, by the Severn Valley, with its museum, busy markets, and quirky town hall that straddles the thriving high street. Here you get a low town AND a high town, from which King Charles I declared the views to be ‘the finest in all my kingdom’. Take the cliff railway between the two for a fun(icular) experience. Bridgnorth is also your first stop on the Severn Valley Railway.
South east of Ironbridge is Much Wenlock. This quiet, pretty market town is where Dr William Penny Brookes decided to revive the Olympic Games in order to boost local people’s physical health. The rest, as they say, is history …