Thursday 25th August 2016
Following my final night in Shropshire, I awoke early the next morning to a cold and damp environment. Outside of my tent, I could see little but grey cloud all around. Much of hilly landscape has disappeared overnight.
I had hope to be able to do a final walk up to Brown Clee Hill – I even drove out to the start of the walk after packing away my gear. But, the conditions were only here to stay. I didn’t fancy getting wet feet or an exerting climb up to a hilltop without views.
So, several hours ahead of schedule, I paid a visit to the Medieval town of Ludlow.
I’d planned ahead and selected the Castle Street pay-and-display car park as my destination. My SatNav led me close enough although, I found it tricky to get to as you almost have to circumnavigate the market in the town’s centre. There weren’t many spaces left, as I arrived – I guess the secret’s out that this is the cheapest car park in the area.
I then had to spend an additional 20p in order to ‘spend a penny’. At least, the facilities were immaculately clean. Elsewhere, it looked as though rainfall would be imminent.
So, I’d chosen this car park because of it’s low charges. With that, it was also conveniently close to Ludlow Castle – which is something I’ll write about in a separate post.
Beyond the market stalls, I walked out without direction or a destination in mind; following narrow streets until I spotted the bell tower of St. Laurence’s Church.
I cannot decide whether this is conveniently situated for the locals or, whether it was poorly placed originally and the town has since developed to surround and almost suffocate it.
It was free to enter, explore and to admire. Although, I’m sure donations are also appreciated.
You could also see the original mechanism of the church clock.
I was more interested in this Transformers-like organ.
It looks like may also be possible to take a tour of the tower at St. Laurence’s Church. Although, I hadn’t read about this ahead of time… One for a return visit!
This was a Thursday morning and yet, with a Bank Holiday weekend about to begin, I guess a lot of people were already off work due to school holidays or similar. It seemed to be quite busy, everywhere I would go, in Ludlow.
Back outside the church, I continued my aimless wander away from the town centre; admiring each and every timber-framed Tudor home that I would come across.
There was one house that almost looked too modern to be authentic:
Although, it’s not quite as shameful as a modern housing estate that I’ve seen in Bridgwater, Somerset, that attempts to replicate the Tudor style.
As I found myself heading for roads with an increasing volume of traffic, I knew that I would need to consider turning around. Having taken some screenshots of the mapping for Ludlow, I’d not been wandering completely without a clue and I was able to navigate back towards the centre but on a different route.
When I spotted Ludlow Castle from this distance, I felt like it would be a good time to head on up and pay a visit; leaving the rest of my exploration until afterwards.
I found my way along a winding path that circumnavigates the castle grounds but also lies above the river. Along here, it finally began to rain and I found a bush beneath the castle walls in which I could stop for a discreet and charge-free wee.
Towards the end of my visit to the castle, I would see kids climbing up on to these ruin walls; suddenly lacking the bravery that had got them there to take the final plunge over… I don’t know why anyone would want to risk badly injuring themselves though, when it costs only £5 per adult to enter.
As I mentioned earlier; I’ll write about my time within the castle walls in my next post.
After visiting the castle, where I also stopped for lunch, I then followed what appeared to be an mini arts trail of children’s work, in the direction of the River Teme.
At the bottom, I crossed the river at Dinham Bridge – a route I had driven along earlier, in search of the right car park.
By now, the rain had eased and I could admire my surroundings.
From here, I walked east; following a riverside footpath where people were less likely to be found. I can only remember a couple with their dog, heading my way – the man kept throwing a rock in to the water for his dog to chase, tirelessly. I couldn’t decide whether it was quite cruel (as opposed to throwing a stick or treat) or, was it good exercise for the canine?
Soon, I would cross back over at Ludford Bridge, near Ludford House.
This one appears to be used more frequently by motor vehicles and there weren’t any ducks in the water below, as far as I could see.
Back in the day of the castle’s conception, I could see this river almost acting as a moat, for one-half of the castle’s circumference.
Now, heading uphill, I was on my return to Ludlow.
On the wall outside the Wheatsheaf Inn, I found this sign that I hope even non-dog owners can appreciate.s
I probably spend around four-hours in Ludlow before the long drive back to North Somerset. I liked this town to something bigger than Axbridge but not as larger as Salisbury or Wells… Yet, I also felt as though there were more timber buildings in this small town than in most of the medieval places I have explored.
Shropshire is full of places like this and castles can be found almost as frequently as in Wales. I can see the appeal in visiting Ludlow. I also wonder what those other towns, villages and cities are really like. Is Ludlow that much superior? Or, just easier to get to?
Thanks for reading.