Church Stretton and the Shropshire Hills - DAY 1 (Stokesay Castle)

 Another day, another holiday. This is a busy time of the year in the garden so it's good to have a few short breaks for the mind and body to recover. Church Stretton is an historic market town close to the Shropshire Hills. We visited many times either camping or staying B&B. The town is on the Hereford to Shrewsbury railway line and we have caught the train on previous occasions. This time we went by campervan even though we were staying B&B.

Photo 1: Stokesay Castle, Craven Arms

Church Stretton is 40 miles due north of Hereford on the A49 and it takes about an hour by road. We always try to make the journey part of the holiday so dropped in on Stokesay Castle on the way. Described as the finest and best preserved fortified medieval Manor house in England, it really is a gem. Photo 1 is taken from the doorway of the Great Hall looking back towards the gatehouse.

Photo 2: Inside the Great Hall, Stokesay Castle

We had to cut short the excellent audio tour because the chill wind meant the house was extremely draughty and cold, especially with all the doors open and no windows! It was actually warmer outside with the benefit of some weak spring sunshine. Fortunately, being English Heritage members (with free entry) we didn't feel the need to overextend our stay to get our monies worth. 

Some parts of the house were clearly more expensively furnished & comfortable such as the Solar - the private living and sleeping quarters of the owners.

Photo 3: The Solar, Stokesay Castle

You can ascend the North Tower ...

Photo 4: North Tower, Stokesay Castle

... for excellent views of the surrounding countryside.

Mary had noticed one or two swallows flying around the castle so we were not surprised to hear this one singing his/her heart out from this overflow.

Video 1: Singing Swallow, Stokesay Castle (18/4/24)

A couple of close-up photos of this remarkably tame specimen ..

Photo 5: Swallow, Stokesay Castle (18/4/24)

Photo 6: Swallow, Stokesay Castle (18/4/24)

In the North Tower, numerous swallows were flying in and out, pairing up and building nests ...

Photo 7: Pair of Swallows, North Tower, Stokesay Castle (18/4/24)

Time to say goodbye to Stokesay with one last look at the entrance to the castle ...

Photo 8: Entrance to Stokesay Castle

... and a trio of yellow Spring flowers: from left to right - false oxlip, primrose and cowslip.

Photo 9: False Oxlip, Primrose & Cowslip - Stokesay Castle (18/4/24)


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