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A great collection of cottages in Shropshire, Herefordshire and adjoining counties
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More details of the local areas can be found below, to see more pictures of the towns mentioned and surrounding area click on the photograph to the left of the writing or the towns name. Some useful links can also be found here
Ludlow has a long and illustious history with its Norman Castle dominating the town (see picture left). The town has its origins back in the 11th Century and has a remarkable wealth of buildings from that period to modern day. It has over 500 listed buildings and, apart from the Castle and the 15th Century Church, (St Laurences), the most famous is probably the Jacobean Feathers Inn, reputedly haunted. Medieval buildings are everywhere you look in Ludlow, many of them turned in to shops or tea rooms, ( De Greys tea room is worth a visit).
Sitting on the banks of the River Teme and on the Welsh/English border (The Welsh Marches) it has been fought over throughout the years. The town itself has many original and independent shops. Ludlow has a reputation as a foodies paradise with two Michelin restaurants and a range of other restaurants for fine dining, as well as local produce on sale in the shops for you to take away and enjoy.
Ludlow has a theatre with a variety of events programmed as well as spring and autumn food festivals there is the main festival in June, with a Shakespeare play staged in the grounds of the Castle. The first performance of Milton's Comus was held at Ludlow.
Leominster, another town in the Welsh Marches area has been fought over many times one of the main battles being in 1052, between the Welsh and a mixed force of the Normans and the English Saxons.
The name thought to be derived from a minster (meaning a community of clergy) in the district of Leon, probably from the Welsh root Lei (to flow). The minster was bestowed on Reading Abbey by Henry II in 1121, when the Priory was established, although recent excavations show there was settlement here since the 7th century.
Leominster is also the historical home of Ryeland sheep, once called "Lemster ore". This wool was prized amongst all English Wool throughout Europe in the middle ages. It is the wealth from this wool that established the town and attracted the envy of the welsh and other regions. It also became home to one of only four cotton spinning mills in the country, funded by Lancashire born Daniel Bourn and other Lancashire men.
Leominster was also the last place where the ducking stool was used and the ducking stool itself is on show in the Priory Church (seen left). There are many medieval houses in Leominster and it is the start of the black and white village heritage trail.
Clun takes its name from the River Clun which runs through the centre of the town. It dates back to Neolithic times although the town grew up around the Saxon Church on the south bank of the river in the 7th century. Later the town expanded on to the north bank and the two parts are now linked by a 14th century bridge.
The town is on a main drovers road which was used to take sheep from Wales to market in the Midlands and beyond to London.
Clun, according to research carried out by the Campaign for the protection of Rural England is thought to be one of the most tranquil of places in England.
The famous Green Man Festival is held over three days here on the first May Bank Holiday with the Green Man battling the spirit of winter on Clun bridge, a fair is also held in the grounds of Clun Castle. The first saturday in August is the Clun Carnival and the first weekend in October is the Clun Valley beer festival.
There is a long recorded history to this border town beginning in the 8th century, although the ancient prehistoric Bronze Age trackway of Kerry Ridgeway leads from the town, so there has been activity here for much longer.
In the 8th century Edwin Shakehead, being miraculously cured of palsy at the tomb of St Ethelburt in Hereford, gave part of his lands, including Bishops Castle, to the Bishop of Hereford. The bishop built a castle, originally a motte and bailey design to defend the town against the Welsh in 1087.
As peace came to the Welsh Marches Bishops Castle became on of the notorious "Rotten Boroughs" this practice ruined the then owners of Bishops Castle, the Walcots, and the town was sold to Robert Clive (Clive of India). When the Reform Act 1832 eradicated this practice Bishops Castle became disenfranchised.
Bishops Castle has two micro breweries and only a 10m long wall remains of the castle at the top of the town.
Great walking country, there is a three day walking festival held in June each year. Bishops Castle has a Carnival in July followed by a beer festival the week after. A Michaelmas fair and a christmas lights festival is held in December.
Hay on Wye is situated on the banks of the River Wye, on the border between Wales and England. Known as the "town of books" Hay is famous for its International Literary Festival held here each year at the end of May / beginning of June.
Hay sits in one corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park just north of the Black Mountains and is a fantastic little market town with a variety of independent shops, cafes and galleries to browse. The main interest in Hay is of course books, with over 30 book shops, selling second hand and specialist books.
As with all of the border towns in this area it was much fought over by the English and the Welsh. The Castle dominates the centre of town and commands great views of the river below. It is possible that Hay Castle has the oldest Norman Tower in Wales, it is thought to have been already standing when the castle was given to the 1st Earl of Hereford in 1121. It could have dated back to 1070.
The excellent local produce means that Hay has a good selection of local eateries with menus changing on a regular basis depending on the season. The Wye Valley Walk and Offas Dyke both run through the town.
Ledbury is a busy market town, which dates back to the Domesday Book, where it was recorded as Liedeberge. Ledbury probably takes its name from the River Leadon on which it stands.
Ledbury was the childhood home of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the birthplace of John Masefield, the poet laureate. One of the finest buildings in Ledbury is the Market House (picture left) and the Church, which is thought to date back to the 11th century. Pevsner described it as the "premier parish church of herefordshire".
Ledbury holds a poetry festival in July and has The Big Chill festival at Eastnor Castle nearby in early August.