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Sunday, April 08, 2012

A very NT weekend

A couple of weekends ago the husband and I had a weekend in Shrewsbury. No particular reason other than we wanted to go away somewhere and Shropshire was far enough away to make the trip worthwhile and close enough that we wouldn't spend all weekend driving. I'd never actually visited Shrewsbury or even Shropshire before but the county seems very familiar to me from the novels of Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael is actually the reason I decided to study medieval history at university). Of course this meant we had to visit the abbey of St Peter and St Paul (now a church). There's very little of the original Norman buildings left thanks to Henry VIII and Thomas Telford respectively but the church that stands there now (a lovely red sandstone building) is still beautiful.

Shrewsbury Abbey

We felt that Shrewsbury could probably cash in a little more on its most famous fictional inhabitant but the abbey did at least have complete set of Cadfael novels for sale plus this very lovely modern window celebrating the Benedictine history of the church and the Ellis Peters' novels.

Benedictine window, Shrewsbury Abbey

After visiting the abbey I did try to pick up a yarn shaped souvenir from the very jolly looking Solo Alpaca but unfortunately the owner was out at the post office when we first walked by and still out at the post office after we'd finished our coffee - queues, eh. I was really sorry not to be able to pop in as from what I could see through the window it looked like a very nice yarn shop.

In the afternoon we drove out to Attingham Park, a National Trust property, a few miles east of Shrewsbury.

Attingham Park

We arrived at around half past two, just after the deer feeding time and just in time to see the deer reasonably close before they wandered back to the less accessible areas of the deer park.

Fallow deer, Attingham Park

They have a herd of around 200 fallow deer and as a result of seeing them I now have the difference between fallow (pale, broad antlers, and spotty) and roe (darker brown, white bums, and pointy antlers) firmly stuck in my head and can now be much more authoritative when pointing out deer to the husband on our bus ride into work.

The interior of the house was as fabulous as the outside. My favourite rooms were the drawing room and the birdcage room - both in the feminine wing of the house. I could quite happily settle down for afternoon tea and knitting in either of them.

Drawing room, Attingham Park

As it was we had our tea outside the stable block before heading off to see the walled garden and orchard which had a flock of very free range chickens.

Chicken, Attingham Park

On Sunday we visited Carding Mill Valley, a beautiful area which is also looked after by the National Trust. We hadn't really packed our walking shoes and I definitely wasn't shod for serious walking but we made our way up the valley for half an hour before heading back for more tea in the cafe. It was a really idyllic landscape, very reminiscent of Cumbria (fells and little rivers), and at one point all we could hear was the gurgling of the stream and the bubbling song of the skylarks.

Carding Mill Valley

I'm really happy to have found such a lovely place for walking so much closer to home.

1 comment:

Felicity Ford said...

Shrewsbury is wonderful! One of my favourite childhood camping experiences was had in Shrewsbury; there were no showers on the site and we all had to wash from a billycan.

Our field had big cow pats in it, which all the under-10s (3 of us at that point - Thad wasn't yet born) found hilarious. Also, me and Ned discovered an electric fence, which we couldn't see the point of until the charge running through it sent us flying 2m backwards, landing on our bums. And best of all, we climbed The Wrekin which is a marvellous mountain in Shropshire.
It rained the whole time we were there, and there were no other tents in the field where we camped.

Your outing sounds much more civilised; my Mother was slightly traumatised by primitive camp site facilities/cow-dung/electronic fence/tough mountaineering exploits but perhaps she could be tempted back with the lure of all those nice tea and cakes you mention!

So glad you had a lovely time, Happy Easter x