Nicknamed “Little Switzerland” due to the surrounding mountainous landscape Church Stretton is a a busy market town as well as a destination for visitors to the surrounding countryside, with the Long Mynd situated immediately to the west of the town and the Stretton Hills to the east.
The Long Mynd itself is a dramatic, isolated whaleback hill with an open expanse of heather wilderness and deeply cut valleys with hill streams. It is a landscape with significant archaeological and geological importance that has been modified by human activity over thousands of years. The Long Mynd has beautiful scenery to admire and is a peaceful place to both relax and exercise. The majority of the Long Mynd has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1965.
About half an hour’s drive from Church Stretton is Ludlow. A thriving market town and architectural it bustles with events and festivals throughout the year.
Dominated by the impressive ruins of Ludlow Castle, the town is perched on a cliff above the River Teme, surrounded by the unspoilt and beautiful hilly countryside of south Shropshire and the Welsh border country - the Welsh Marches.
Cleobury Mortimer is tucked between the Clee Hills and the Wyre Forest. Surrounded by panoramic views it can be reached directly from Ludlow town centre by following the Mortimer Trail footpath. Ludlow can also be reached by train fron Church Stretton.
The cathedral city of Hereford home of the famous 13th Century Mappa Mundi is also easily reached by train as is the County Town of Shrewsbury with its attractive black and white timbered houses. The grand 18th century Attingham Park, with its extensive deer park is just outside Sherwsbury.
The small town of Much Wenlock, about 30 minutes' drive from Church Stretton, is particularly attractive with many black and white timbered houses. Despite its small size the town can claim to be the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games as, in 1850, local surgeon William Penny Brookes (one of the people credited with introducing physical education into British schools) founded the Wenlock Olympics Games for the “promotion of moral, physical and intellectual improvement”and Baron de Coubertin was inspired to create the global Olympics after a visit to the Much Wenlock games.
The Much Wenlock Olympic Games are still held every July and the towns place is Olympic history was acknowledged when one of the two mascots of the 2012 London Olympics was named Wenlock.
In medieval times Shropshire was the front line of defence between England and Wales and, as such, was home to many spectacular castles many of which still stand today.
Located near Welshpool, about 45 minutes' drive from Church Stretton, the medieval fortress of Powis Castle has been remodelled over more than 400 years – each generation adding to the magnificent collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture and tapestries. The world-famous garden is overhung with clipped yews, shelters rare and tender plants.
Just under an hour's drive north of Church Stretton, Chirk Castle is a fine medieval fortress completed in 1310. As well as military displays, the castle was also a domestic home for many centuries, and is surrounded by excellent gardens.
As well stunning countryside and defending England from the Welsh, Shropshire played an important part in the British Industrial Revolution. About 45 minutes’ drive from Church Stretton lies the famous Ironbridge Gorge. Known as the “'birthplace of the Industrial Revolution” it was here that Abraham Darby perfected the manufacture of cast iron which was later used to build the area’s iconic iron bridge across the River Severn. Today there are 10 museums in the gorge including the Museum of Iron, the Coleport China Museum and the excellent Blists Hill Victorian town.
A further nod to Britain’s industrial past is the Severn Valley Railway. One of Britain's premier steam railways. This lovingly recreated Great Western Railway branch line follows the rural valley of the River Severn from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. The nearest station at Bridgnorth is about 40 minutes' drive from Church Stretton.
A trip back in time to the regions rural history can be found at Acton Scott Working Farm. Situated just 10 minutes’ drive from Church Stretton, Acton Scott is a living museum based around a restored Victorian farm. The farm has featured in the BBC2 series Victorian Farm and Escape in Time.
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