It’s not the Shire of the Middle-Earth, but Shropshire is still pretty darn neat! Do you want to know more about this cozy little corner of EEENGLAAAND? Then read this article and find out for yourself!
- Shropshire Hills
Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is massive landscape preservation area that takes up about a fifth of the shire. It’s 802 square kilometres large and gets its name from an upland region in the area.
There’s a lot of natural beauty to be observed in the AONB – I mean, the name says as much. Actually, it’s mostly about the hilly landscape and the hill themselves, dotted as they are with slightly towering tors. The area is sparsely inhabited: Church Stretton (sometimes known as “Little Switzerland”) is the biggest town, and it only hosts 1000 people. However, there’s a lot of history to this place, so you’ll be able to visit places like the nearby Ludlow Castle, constructed in 11th century by a noble tasked with protecting the England-Wales border.
No, Ludlow propper isn’t in the Shropshire Hills AONB, but it’s very close. The market town is very much a historical wonder. It contains nearly 500 listed (protected for historical value) buildings. Sir John Betjeman, a poet, described Ludlow “probably the loveliest town in England,” and it’s easy to agree with him once you see those medieval and Tudor style buildings.
Or you can visit the Ludlow castle, probably the coolest castle in Shropshire. Built in the 11th century right after the Norman conquest, it played a role in many wars and conflicts. Though it’s termed a ruin, it’s a very intact one, and you could hardly tell it from the outside. The castle had new additions built by every owner, so it shows a blend of styles and influences.
- Ironbridge Gorge
Have you ever shown interest in industrial history, Shropshire or otherwise? Then Ironbridge Gorge UNESCO world heritage site will be just for you. In essence, it’s a gorge with an iron bridge going across it. However, it’s not just a simple iron bridge – it’s the Iron Bridge, the first one of its kind!
In fact, the location used to be called the Severn Gorge, before the current name overtook it. The area was favored by industrialists, as it provided easy access to such materials as coal, limestone, iron ore and more. Being as it were near a river just made it easier to transport it down to the sea.
- Telford Steam Railway
If “Trainspotting” conjures images of steam rather than drugs in your mind, you just found your holiday destination. Telford Steam Railway is a historical rail route operated by volunteers and opens on Sundays and Bank Holidays between Easter and end of September.
Telford runs on parts of the former Wellington and Severn Junction railway line. It has both steam engines (one of them named “rocket”) and diesel ones in operation. Not only that, but there’s also an adjacent narrow gauge railway, for even more exotic rolling action!
- Offa’s Dyke Path
Tired of all that industry and want to get back to nature? Then Offa’s Dyke Path will offer that in abundance. It’s 285 km in length and is one of Britain’s National Trails. The Path follows closely the England-Wales border, as well as Offa’s Dyke – an earthwork (basically, a wall made of soil) ordered by Offa, an 8th century king of Mercia. Nobody really knows why it was built, but there it stands.
If you set out along the path, you’ll cross several towns in Shropshire before crossing into Wales and visiting a few places with near-unpronounceable names. All in all, it’s a great adventure for people who want to imagine themselves as Mercian patrols.
Shropshire’s beauty can’t protect you from flight disruptions, though. Whether you’re a tourist visiting its many historic towns or a hiking fan ready to take on the Path or the Shropshire Hill AONB, you can still fall prey to flight delays, cancellations and overbooking. If that happens to you, file a claim on Skycop! You’ll stand the chance to get up to €600 in compensation, which can afford quite a few historical railroad rides!