With over 500 listed buildings, a Castle, the monster of a Parish church called St Laurence’s, medieval town walls and one remaining gate, a royal history, a whole host of independent shops, a market and beautiful surrounding countryside, we were in place that ticks all our JWalking boxes.
We started the day following a history trail around the town. Ludlow dates back to the Norman conquests so we knew there would be a history overload. Well, we weren’t disappointed. At every turn there was a medieval or Tudor building to admire. We are not sure if it is by luck or judgement or a bit of both but the town has maintained its historic roots and feel. Even the High Street with it’s mostly independent, but some chain, retailers had managed to keep the feeling of stepping back in time rather than one in the 21st century.
Every corner we turned led to another street of amazing architecture and more blue plaques than even I can cope with. A big celebrity visit was Lord Nelson who stayed at The Angel Inn in 1805 after the Battle of the Nile and three years before the Battle of Trafalgar and is rumoured to have addressed the crowds from one of the bay windows. A certain Sir William Hamilton and his wife Emma were also staying there. Sadly the Angel is no longer an Inn.
A “small” Parish Church
St Laurence’s Church towers above Ludlow and dominates the skyline even more than the castle. There was some filming taking place for a documentary so we couldn’t enter unfortunately but a wander around the outside and surrounding courtyard gave us a flavour of the size of the interior. Following our history trail we darted down an alley way which led us to the back of a pub and once again it felt like stepping back in time.
As a temporary home to various “Kings-in-waiting“, Ludlow was of huge importance during the War of the Roses and the English Civil War. Now mostly a ruin, it attracts a large amount of tourists. We took a stroll around the castle walls and promptly took a wrong turn and ended up clambering through undergrowth before rejoining the proper path. Not one of our finest JWalking moments.
From the castle we walked down to the river. Dinham Bridge lies to the west of the town above the River Teme. To get there we passed through the only remaining gate of seven originally in the town walls, Broad Gate. It is still used by traffic but with a few chunks of masonry missing in places.
Lunch with a View
Most days we pack up some sort of snacks or picnic to have in the hope that the weather will be kind enough for us to find a bench somewhere. Just a short drive out of Ludlow to the west we saw a large parking bay with a few cars and decided to take a look. It was a view of views with a bench or two. Our snacks certainly tasted better I’m sure.
Kit Cottage, Mocktree Barns
Our overnight stop was about 11 miles from Ludlow in a little cottage which was one of five little self-catering apartments snuggled on the hillside. The cottage by some people’s standards would be regarded as small but it had everything we needed and was so cosy. For summer stays there was communal outside seating which would be great to sit at and compare daily outings and walks with other guests.
Before heading to our little cottage we figured that we had just enough time to head to Mortimer Forest, a former Saxon hunting ground, for a few views. We had read about a walk called Vinnalls Loop. From the information board it looked like a 3 mile loop which had a few steep climbs to get us to the summit of High Vinnalls and great views in all directions.
Within about 15 minutes we arrived at the summit and the views were certainly panoramic. After a bit of lazing on a bench we continued on the walk where there were a couple of diversions. This took us through some very muddy sections which were being excavated and felled. Our 3 mile loop ended up more like 5. In hindsight we should have walked back down the way we had reached the top but I, particularly, like a circular walk. All builds up an appetite though and the fridge was full at Kit Cottage! Hoorah!
29/09 – 30/09/2020