Sunday, August 20, 2006


Everyone enjoying a game of CluedoBrother-in-law carrying a pitcher of beerBishop's Castle is a small town in Shropshire that dates back to the eighth century or earlier. The town used to have a motte and bailey castle, which was replaced by a Norman stone castle in 1167. Now, all that remains of the castle is a hill and a couple of stone walls. Click here to watch the videoWe used this as a base, from where we went on country walks and day trips. Each evening, we would bring home a pitcher of locally brewed real ale from the local pub and enjoy a game with the children.

Offa's Dyke

Offa's Dyke
Offa's Dyke
An Elizabethan church in Mainstone, near Offa's Dyke
An Elizabethan church in
Mainstone, near Offa's Dyke

On the first day, we went for a countryside walk through fields of wheat, cows and sheep. The next day, we went in search of Offa's Dyke. This is a big earthwork dyke that was built by the Mercian King Offa as a defence against the Welsh hoardes.


Ludlow is a busy market town on the River Teme. It has many tudor buildings and a rather large Norman castle ruin at its centre. One of my favourite things is looking around castles -- whether or not they're intact and functional. There's something exciting about looking around a ruin -- climbing up the narrow winding staircases to the parapet and into what were once rooms and imagining what it may have been like in its heyday.

Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle
Eating ice creams outside an old tudor building in Ludlow
Eating Ice Creams

Bridge on the River Teme
Bridge on the River Teme
Ludlow Market
Ludlow Market

Blackberry Picking

Blackberry pickingBlackberry pickingWhile on one of our country walks, we engaged in the ancient art of blackberry picking. The trick is to be fussy and only collect the blackest berries that involve the most stretching and the greatest exposure to stinging nettles. It is a law of nature, however, that the best berries are always just out of reach.

Severn Valley Railway

At Highley StationClick here to watch the videoThe Severn Valley Railway is a standard-gauge railway that used to be a part of the old Great Western Railway, but now operates mainly as an attraction for tourists such as ourselves. The children mainly loved it because they could sit in carriages that were similar to those in the Hogwarts Express. Skimming stonesAll they needed were some of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and a few chocolate frogs to catch. After lunch in a nice little pub that sold almost-only local ciders, we took the train from Bridgnorth to Highley. At Highley we went for a short riverside walk and skimmed stones before taking the train back to Bridgnorth.

Blists Hill Victorian Town

A horse drawn carriage goes past in Blists HillWe also visited the Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge. It can best be described as an open air, living museum. Mark and Emily had visited the town before, but the rest of us hadn't. At first, we tried quizzing shopkeepers in various shops that we entered about Victorian life, but, with the odd exception, found that their level of knowledge was only surface deep. In the end, we just stopped asking questions and just enjoyed the day. It was especially good to see how much the children entered into it -- especially becoming pupils for a while in a mock nineteenth century schoolhouse.


Lorraine said...

Sounds like a super time. And the weather looks fabulous.

Whit said...

Love the video of the cottage, grounds and rail station. Makes me want to visit England again.