203: Ludlow

OS Explorer map 203, Ludlow: Tenbury Wells & Cleobury Mortimer – I do not own this map, and had not visited it before starting this blog. Visited for this post 28th December 2019.

For the Christmas period in 2019, I went to stay with the Dearest Progenitors in Northamptonshire for a week or so, joining them on Christmas Day, and leaving to return to my home in Cambridge on New Year’s Day. Christmas Day itself was spent in a blur of extended family: twenty or so of us got together for a Christmas lunch in a room of a pub, then proceeded to my parents’ house to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening. On New Year’s Eve, we’d be seeing family again, spending the evening at Lovely Uncle’s house.

However, in the intervening period, the Progenitors and I did as we do reasonably often between Christmas and New Year, and went away for a short holiday, in this case going to stay in a cottage in Shropshire from Friday 27th to Monday 30th December.

Christmas dinner in a pub with my extended family a few days before!

We stayed the three nights in a barn conversion near the village of Pulverbatch, which was very nice – I often forget about Shropshire when thinking of pleasantly hilly areas of the UK, but I shouldn’t: the Shropshire Hills are not small, with plenty of quiet hilly farmland to offer as well as the moors of the Long Mynd (about which see my next post). I won’t write in detail about what we did in the place where we stayed – partly because, due to my long blog deficit and not having taken notes of this trip or written the post in advance, I’m writing this post 18 months after the fact and don’t remember it all that well; but also because our accommodation was actually in map area 241, which has featured on this blog before, from my visit to Shrewsbury earlier in 2019. I will, though, give you a triptych of me and the Dearest Progenitors doing what we do best on any holiday: lounging around!

However, as you’ve presumably guessed from the existence of this post, I did visit a new map area on this trip – two, in fact, as I’ll be writing about Church Stretton and the Long Mynd next. This happened on the Saturday, when the Dearest Progenitors and I decided to visit Ludlow, some fifteen miles to the south.

Some buildings in Ludlow

Though I’d not been to Ludlow before, I’d heard of it: it has quite a reputation as a cute old English town, as well as for fine food. It was indeed very pretty, with half-timbered Tudor buildings all over the place. The foodiness was on show, with posh little food shops all around and various interesting bits available in the market that was on that day; though quite a few places were closed due to the time of year. I bought some picked garlic in the market, which I very much enjoyed gradually eating over the following weeks!

The market in Ludlow

We had a good wander around, poking our heads into various foody and antique shops, and I briefly entered the grounds of Ludlow Castle though I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to go in as we were getting hungry. We stopped in a pub for lunch, where I had a very nice vegetable pie; before drawing our excursion to a close by getting a few things in the local branch of Tesco, then heading back to the holiday cottage. (This is rather the way of things on holidays with my parents, which tend to be rather lazy and slow-paced affairs: we usually follow a lazy morning with heading out to do something for a few hours in the middle of the day and getting some lunch, then getting back in time for some tea and a bit more sitting around before dinner!)

Ludlow Castle

And that was it! It was rather a short visit to Ludlow, but a nice one nonetheless. The second visit to a new map area I did on this trip was at least a little more strenuous, involving a couple of hours of moorland walking: you’ll hear about that in my next post!

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