architecture buildings conservation Shropshire South Shropshire

Rural Shropshire – Architecture Old and New


Visitors come to Shropshire for its wonderful countryside, beautiful old market towns and for the peaceful atmosphere. Rural areas of Shropshire are dotted with old farms with ramshackle buildings, barns, cattle biers, cottages and farm houses, but there are isolated examples of good modern architecture. The Ludlow Food Centre provides a good example of this based around old farm buildings and a row of cottages but given a new use and so a new lease of life.

I have always liked their sign seen in the photo above, with the simple representation of fields in natural colours. Sadly recently it has changed to just lettering which is nowhere near as interesting.

There is now just the row of cottages left which have been renovated recently and  are lived in once again. The walls show an attractive combination of brick and wood and the chimneys are most impressive.






Behind the cottages is the new Food Centre and Garden Centre and these sit alongside a coffee shop and post office in old farm buildings. They have certainly been given a new lease of life. Needless to say we visit the coffee shop whenever we are close by.





The Food Centre itself is housed in a building that reflects the property’s farming past, with a huge entrance reminiscent of the old barn doorways that allowed loaded carts through and it is clad in darkly painted wood a popular finish for old farm buildings especially barns. Inside local food producers, a baker, a butcher, cheese maker etc, sell their wares and glass walls allow visitors to see food being made and packed before they decide to purchase.


At the side of the food centre a naturally planted wildlife pool with colourful shrubs enhances the peaceful atmosphere here.




The new plant centre is housed in a new building built just as you would imagine a new upmarket barn would be built. Modern materials are used in a traditional building style. Beautiful local products such as metal sculpture are displayed inside alongside organic gardening fertilisers, bird feeding equipment, books and a rich mixture of gardening sundries. All very tempting! Out back can be found a plant nursery.


photography Shropshire

Shropshire Architecture – Part 1. A Taste of Ludlow

This series of posts all about architecture in Shropshire is in response to a challenge after a fellow blogger’s request for some photos of architecture. So Margie, if no-one likes these it is all your fault! Only joking!

A morning in Ludlow to visit a craft exhibition in which our daughter was showing her silver jewelery (see earlier posting), afforded us a few hours to walk a few of the narrow streets of this South Shropshire market town. This is a taste of some more detailed posts to come both of Ludlow and other towns and villages of our county.

A “taste of Ludlow” means different things to different people. For foodies the first ideas to spring to their minds, or stomachs, will be the number of restaurants with Michelin Stars and Egon Ronay mentions. Ludlow to many is the capital city of food, bettered only by London. But it is only a small market town. To historians and the architecturally minded it would be the buildings that popped up. Ludlow is well-known for ancient buildings going back in history for centuries. The streets boast a juxtaposition of styles and ages. Facades hide older gems.

Ludlow was the UK’s first town ever to be designated a “Slow City”.

Saturday is a busy time for the streets of Ludlow so most of these pics are looking up to avoid traffic and people.

The most important building in Ludlow though is really the Orvis Store where us fishermen can buy our fly fishing gear.

Most streets here are steep, some very steep! It is so lucky that there are lots of coffee shops as well as gourmet restaurants.

Here is a fine example of Ludlow’s hidden gems. This ancient window and patch of wall sits inside a much later building.

To most people especially calendar designers, holiday tour operators, the writers of gazeteers of the towns of England and TV crews, Ludlow is known for this one old building. The Feathers Hotel is featured in so many books and magazines. The path opposite it is worn away by the feet of photographers! It is pretty good but there is so much more!

There is even the odd modern piece of corporate architecture hidden away behind the historic street frontages and away from tourists’ glances. The new library and museum building is impossible to find, signed from nowhere but quite a handsome building of its type.

Ludlow architecture holds little details to delight the photographer’s lens. Just look through open gateways and up alleyways and there they hide.

And so I can only hope this little taster showing the variety that exists within the architecture of Ludlow will leave you wishing for more. If not there is more on its way anyway! I am thinking “Gates, Doors and Windows”, “Little Details”, ……………

colours jewelry Shropshire

Jo’s Jewellery on show.

In Ludlow Library our daughter, Jo exhibited some of her silver jewellery, so we trotted along to take a look. Her fellow craftspeople at the Westhope Guild of Contemporary Designers had put on a fine display, showing great skill and creativity. The level of creativity and originality was startlingly impressive.

When we arrived Jo was there performing her meeting and greeting duties.

And here is some of her work ……………..

Check out Jo’s website which is currently being developed by her husband, Rob, .

Other members of the group exhibited fabric work full of textures and patterns. I was tempted to take these close-up photos.

Talented bunch!!

photography Shropshire trees wildlife woodland

Walking the Teme – a riverside walk.

What a way to start a walk – a long latte and a thick slice of coffee cake in a riverside cafe! Here in South Shropshire above the River Teme sits the town of Ludlow. An historic market town with a reputation as a town of food, Ludlow has more Michelin Star restaurants of anywhere outside London. It is the home of organic, locally produced food.

We visited today for a walk along its trout river, the Teme. We crossed a beautiful old stone bridge, called Dinham Bridge before finding the riverside track. From the bottom of the valley we could enjoy views of the town’s castle in one direction and along the river in the other. As we crossed the bridge we looked down into the rapidly moving water to see a pair of swans glowing white against the dark shadow of the bridge’s arches. They became a blur as they moved into the reflections of the sun.

The blue of the clear sky added extra colour to the reflections of the overhanging trees on the opposite bank. It was a warm day so walking within the shade of the Teme’s deep valley sides was a cooling luxury.

On the steeply sloping valley side erosion from rainwater rushing down, had exposed the massive roots of the tall trees. Within the exposed roots white fungi grew looking like chewing gum pushed into cavities.

Similarly, water seeping through the rock strata of the steepest slopes coupled with the freeze-thaw action of the severe winter weather of South Shropshire, has attacked the rocky outcrops. Large chunks of stone have broken away and exposed fossils. On the gentler slopes the rocks have been smoothed by the action of surface water.

It is a popular place for fisherman, both course and fly.

We walked as far as the weir where our path rose steeply through woodland. My legs decided it was safer not to go on.

Just where we turned back we found this interesting old stone plaque, emphasising the power of the water along which we were walking.