Grants for Shropshire Market Towns

Shropshire Market Towns have been awarded £167,000 of grants to encourage visitors after the flooding earlier this year and of course in the aftermath of Covid 19.

Smaller Market Towns have been granted £50,000 between them. They will each be able to receive a grant of up to £5000.

Craven Arms Town Council are going to spread their grant over several initiatives.

They want to improve access and provide a secure environment for both locals and visitors after Covid 19. Not sure how this works, sounds good.

There will be money towards Local Produce Markets this Autumn in October and November, I do miss our Craven Arms Farmers Markets.

Money will be granted to Festive Events and the Christmas Lights.

There will also be joint admission offers for visitors attractions. A Passport scheme for all three of our visitor attractions, The Land of Lost Content, Stokesay Castle and The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, would be good. It would be good to see this before the end of this visitor season.

 

Peregrine Falcon in Craven Arms

I had an email from a friend in Craven Arms in which he told me of his encounter with a Peregrine Falcon.

He had been watching the birds in his garden when they all disappeared, something flashed past him and he was aware it was grey.

A couple of days later he spotted a bird on his roof apex and took the photo below of it, it was a Peregrine Falcon, lucky him.

A photograph of a Peregrine Falcon taken in Craven Arms, Shropshire on Sunday 30th August 2020.

I thought I would share a few facts about Peregrine Falcons with you.

Peregrinus in Latin means ‘ to wander’. Some Peregrine Falcons do over winter in other countries on the Continent however they can be spotted in Great Britain all year round.

They are our biggest Falcon at between 40cm and 54cm in length, the female being bigger that the male. They have an impressive wing span of 102cm

Peregrine Falcons are very striking birds. Yes they are grey, which makes them sound boring but they are beautiful.

Their back and wings are a dark slate grey and are white below with black bars across their breast and belly.

They have white cheeks and throat, with a black mask round their eyes and a moustache to match.

Peregrine Falcons start breeding when they reach two years of age. They have clutches of 3 to 4 eggs which are incubated for 31 to 33 days the chicks then taking 39 to 40days to fledged.

They can be found nesting in towns and cities, using tall building instead of cliffs which would be their natural nesting place.

Peregrine Falcons can be found in most areas of Great Britain.  Judging by distribution maps the only area that does not have many is East Anglia.

Peregrine Falcons are one of the fastest birds reaching up to 200miles per hour. They prefer to take their prey on the wing and dive down to catch their prey from great heights this is called stooping.

One of their favourite prey is pigeon, there are plenty of them round here. They also like collared doves, their numbers have only recently started increasing again.

In 1999 Peregrine Falcon were taken off the Endangered List as numbers have been steadily increasing since the banning of DDT.

The use of DDT(Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was banned in 1984. It was used as a pesticide and resulted in the decline of Peregrine Falcons among others. It caused the thinning of egg shells which would get broken while being incubated.

Peregrine Falcons are still persecuted. Egg collectors will climb down cliffs for their eggs and they are poisoned in areas of grouse moors.

As we saw earlier they can be seen around Craven Arms and they can be spotted through out Shropshire, we have seen them at Folly View as well. Happy Bird watching.

Shropshire opening

I have ventured into Ludlow and Church Stretton to see what is happening and what is open.  I have not been out and about much so some of this is gathered from guest and friends. This is not comprehensive.

So here is an idea of some places I know are open in Shropshire.

Ludlow Market is open with a one way system. The Castle and it’s cafe are open again for business.

Most shops were open except a few charity shops and some businesses which have unfortunately been effected by  Covid 19 Lockdown and will not open again. I am very sorry to see some of my favourite shops and cafes closed.

The car parks are busy but not full.

In Church Stretton most places seemed to be open although you may notice some changes when you enter them.  There are one way systems hand sanitizer stations and some places have shut off parts that are tricky with social distancing.

Heather Brae to the north of Church Stretton is open for business.

In Craven Arms the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is open, the cafe has less tables and was running  a less diverse menu.

The Land of Lost Content is open with a booking system.

Stokesay Castle is open, I don’t think the cafe is.

Ludlow Food Centre is open, I hear they have a very good system in side. The Plant Centre is also open and the Cafe.

Blists Hill is open, our last guests spent all day there when they ventured there.

In Craven Arms only one of the pubs is open, The Stables, drink only.

The Stokesay Inn has been taken over by local folks but is not yet open.

The Kangaroo at Aston On Clun is open with a booking system.

We hope when your come to Folly View you will find plenty to do

The Apple Tree at Onibury is open as is the Station at Marshbrook.

The take always in Craven Arms are open for business.

Don’t forget Tuffins do a lovely range of ready meals called Cook if you are not inclined to eat out.

 

Little Egret

A photograph of a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) taken by Shantanu Kuveskar

There has been one Little Egret around for three or four years. While walking the dogs on Halford Meadow along the river bank we disturbed three Little Egrets. I thought I had seen two earlier in the year but wasn’t sure as I didn’t get a clear view. Two of them flew off together while the other one flew off alone. Little Egrets look like small white herons when flying. Herons always remind me of pterodactyl when they are flying.

So I thought I would tell you about Little Egrets.

Little Egrets were once a rare visitor from the Mediterranean. The first confirmed breeding of Little Egrets in Britain was in 1996 in Poole Harbour in Dorset. They are now well established in Britain with well over five hundred pairs.

They became extinct in Northwest Europe and scarce in Southern Europe after being hunted extensively for their long head plumes in the 19th Century. At one point in time Little Egrets plumes were worth more them gold. After being given protection their numbers increased and spread.

Little Egrets are found mainly around the coast line and esturaries of England and Wales. It is increasing in numbers and spreading further North and inland. It has been discovered that some of these beautiful birds can migrate and can go further North after the breeding their breeding season.

Little Egrets are easily recognised as they are a brilliant white. On the top of their head and neck they have long white plumes during the breeding season. They are about 60cm long with a wing span of between 88cm to 106cm. The bill and legs are black in colour and they have yellow feet, these are red in the breeding season.

They prefer to breed in colonies as they are social birds, so will often been seen in heron colonies. Little Egrets build a platform of sticks in trees, bushes or reed beds. They produce three to five eggs of a bluish-green colour which are incubated for three weeks by both parents. The chicks fledge at six weeks.

Little Egrets prefer open locations and will not be seen in dense cover. Hence why they are seen on Halford Meadow and not on Onny Meadows.

They stalk prey in shallow water shuffling their feet to disturb small fish- they will run through the water or stand stock still and wait to ambush. Their diet is mainly fish but includes frogs, toads, reptiles, small mammals, birds, crustaceans, molluscs, insects, spiders, worms, and ticks of livestock.

So look out for the Little Egret around your local rivers, canals, ponds, lagoons, marshes, the coast and  the shore of lakes, as long as it is not densely covered.

The photograph of a Little Egret, latin name Egretta garzetta, at the top of this post was taken by Shantanu Kuveskar and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Flounders’ Folly – Opening Dates 2020

This post lists the Flounders’ Folly Opening Dates 2020.

Flounders Folly in the early morning sunlight

Flounders’ Folly

Flounders’ Folly – Opening Dates 2020

When the Folly is open a St George’s Flag is flown from the top of the Folly and the planned opening dates for 2020 are listed below:

Sunday 26th January 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 23rd February 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 29th March 11:00 – 16:00

Friday 10th April 11:00 – 16:00 Good Friday

Monday 13th April 11:00 – 16:00 Easter Monday

Sunday 26th April 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 4th May 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday 25th May 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 31st May 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday 28th June 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 26th July 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 30th August 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 31st August 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Saturday 19th September 11:00 – 16:00 – Heritage Open Day (TBC)

Sunday 20th September 11:00 – 16:00 – Heritage Open Day (TBC)

Sunday 27th September 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 25th October 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 29th November 11:00 – 15:00

The Folly is only open to visitors on certain days of the year and whilst there is no fixed entrance fee you are requested to make a small donation to The Flounders’ Folly Trust to support the maintenance of this landmark.

Folk at the Farm

Folk at the Farm is at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm Museum on July 20th 2019 from 10am until 7pm.

Folk at the Farm Logo

Folk at the Farm is a Shropshire Folklore Story and Music Festival. There will be a Folklore Trail celebrating Shropshire words.

There will be be music in the meadows, beer in the barn and activities that all the family can get involved with around at Folk at the Farm.

There will be traditional crafters demonstrating their skills and selling their wares. Their will be have ago sessions as well.

Whalebone with Jean Atkins will be performing Understories, a fusion of music and poetry.

Men from Off, Janie Mitchell and Free Born Rising will provide more music and some performers will be wandering  round and providing entertainment.

Storytellers will telling stories for young and old, these include Cath Edwards, Andy Harrop and Sal Tonge.

There will be dancing from Ledbury Morris and poetry from Kate Innes and Carol Forester.

Folk at the Farm is a great chance to celebrate our diverse, music, poetry, storytelling and much more.

Advance bookings for adults are £15 and a Family ticket is £30. Information and tickets available at www.folk.co.uk or www.tickettailor.com/events/folk1

The logo used in this blog post is copyright Folk at the Farm.

Walking Festivals and Challenges 2019

Shropshire is a great area for walking in and for those of you who enjoy organised events I have put together a list of some of our local walking festivals. I will give a quick summary and let you research further.

A photograph of the Kemp Valley, near Bishop's Castle, South Shropshire

Kemp Valley, near Bishop’s Castle, South Shropshire

Bishops Castle Ramble, Scramble, Amble, May 11th 2019. Three walks from Bishops Castle or to bishop castle for the amble. Raising money for Bloodwise.

Bishops Castle Walking Festival 15th May until 19th May 2019 . This is the 21st Walking Festival in Bishops Castle.

The 17th Clun Valley Challenge is on 18th May 2019. There is a 26 mile or 16mile walk with a 4300 ft ascent. Entry is £22.

Church Stretton Walking Festival is from the 20th June until June 23rd 2019. Lots if different walks including a Stars in Your Skies Walk, a Photography Walk and a Nordic Walking event. The Mynd Drover is the long walk.

Bishops Castle Challenge Walk is in Saturday 3rd August 2019. This is a 24 mile walk with a 4000 ft ascent. There are 13 mile and 11mile options available. £20 entry fee which includes refreshments and certificate.

The Tusker Colour Run at Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms is on the 17th August 2019. Book via the Centres Website www.shropshirehillsdiscoverycentre.co.uk. There is a 3.5km route which you can jog, run or walk along which are paint stations from where the participants get covered  in paint. Entrances fees are from £15 per adult.

Cardio Carlos 5km Fun Run is on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August 2019.  The race starts at 9.30am from the Aston on Clun Village Hall where there is also parking and is organised by the Kangeroo Inn. Entry fee is £15 pre 15th August, £20 after. All proceeds will go to CRY (Cardio Risk in the Young). Visit their Facebook page (Cardio Carlos 5k).

Tour des Marches formally the Wistanstow Challenge is on 14th September 2019. It is 26miles long with a mass start at 8.30am. Fee from £10 which include a light breakfast from 7.15, hit food at the finish and Beer.

Much Wenlock Walking Weekend is on August 30th until September 2nd 2019. There are walks for different abilities. Keep checking their Web site.

I hope there is something to inspire you. I like the look of a couple of the Church Stretton walks, so I may see you out there.

The image used in this blog post is with kind permission of Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival.

Dark Skies Discovery Sites Church Stretton

A Dark Skies Discovery Site is a place where the Milky Way (not the chocolate bar) is visible in the night sky with the naked eye. There are four Dark Skies Discovery Sites across the Long Mynd, Church Stretton.

The Milky Way over the Swiss Alps

These locations need to be accessible to the public and have a good clear view of the sky to be accepted as a Dark Skies Discovery Site.

There are degrees of classification, Milky Way Class being the highest. The degree of darkness determines the classification.

The four sites at Church Stretton are at Carding Mill Valley, Cross Dyke Car Park at Boiling Well, Pole Cottage and Shooting Box Car Parks, and are shown on the map below.

An OpenStreetMap of Dark Skies Discovery Sites, Long Mynd, Church Stretton

OpenStreetMap of Dark Skies Discovery Sites

Star in Your Skies organises events on Long Mynd supported by Shropshire Astronomical Society.

Events are often arranged at short notice by local enthusiasts and of course weather-dependent.

Stars In Your Skies Walk 20th June 2019, starting at 10pm in Carding Mill Valley. It is a two hour stroll around Carding Mill Valley and the foothills of the Long Mynd. Lots of facts figures and stories to keep you entertained. £6 guided walk. www.churchstrettonwalkingfestival.co.uk

Solstice Sleepout organised by the National Trust , look at events for Carding Mill Valley, on the 20th and 21st June 2019. See Sunset and Sunrise under the stars. Booking is essential £20. Bring warm clothing and a small tent. Meeting at 10p.m. place to be arranged.

I am certainly thinking of doing the walk.

The image at the top of this post shows the night sky during the lunar eclipse over the Swiss Alps. Along with the eclipsed moon, visible in the photo are Mars below the moon, Saturn in the middle, and Jupiter to the right. The Milky Way arises above them all, shining through wispy high clouds. Numerous satellites and aircraft make it a happening Friday evening in the sky. The image is from Wikimedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Wikimedia article on Church Stretton notes that the town was once nicknamed “Little Switzerland”.

Festivals of Ludlow 2019

There are a few festivals in Ludlow every year. We focus on one or two each year but I thought it might be worth reminding you of the others happening throughout this year 2019.

Ludlow Spring Festival is at Ludlow Castle. As well as local food and drink producers there is live music to entertain  you, 180 cars to drool over if that’s your thing. There is a Meet the Brewer event and the whole festival us described as “like a beer festival but better”.

Ludlow Fringe Festival is on from 15th June until 30th June 2019. There are events to suit everyone from talks, performing arts, dance, film screenings, Ludlow Arts Trail, music, Street Theatre. The Ludlow Secret Gardens is part of the fringe.

Ludlow Green Festival is on the 24th July 2019 from 10a.m. until 4pm on Castle Square. It celebrates all things ‘green’ and challenges us to do more to help our Planet.

Ludlow Dog Day is on 21st July 2019 from 10am until 5pm. Staged in the grounds of Stokesay Court there are dog displays, competitions and a wide variety of stalls and activities.

Ludlow Food Festival is on the 13th until 15th September 2019. It is throughout Ludlow but the main event is in Ludlow Castle. A feast of mouth watering events with over 140 food and drink producers.

Ludlow Medieval Fayre is on the 23rd and 24th November 2019. Said to be the best in Britain this Medieval Fayre has over a hundred stalls to buy your Christmas gifts from. With medieval jesters, jugglers and many others to keep you smiling.

I hope this quick whizz through the Festivals of Ludlow has peaked your interest and reminded you of plans you made at the beginning of the year. See you in Ludlow.

The Ludlow Fringe Festival logo is used with kind permission of the organisers whose copyright is acknowledged.

The Ludlow Green Festival logo is used with kind permission of the organisers whose copyright is acknowledged.

Stokesay Court Guided Tours 2019

Stokesay Court Guided Tour 2019 dates are available for pre booking.

Stokesay Court

Stokesay Court

Sunday 28th April

Sunday 5th May

Tuesday 14th May

Sunday 26th May

Tuesday 4th June

Tuesday 18th June

Tuesday 2nd July

Tuesday 16th July

Sunday 28th July

Tuesday 30th July

Tuesday 13th August

Sunday 25th August

Tuesday 3rd September

Tuesday 17th September

Sunday 29th September

Tuesday 1st October

Sunday 13th October

All tours start at 2.30pm except for those in October which start at 2pm.

Stokesay Court is still a lived in privately owned house. It is a Grade 11 listed late Victorian house.

Stokesay Court featured in the film Atonement and was as a WW1 Hospital for which there are exhibitions to view on your tour. The guided tour of Stokesay Court includes afternoon tea with home made cakes.

A minimum of 20 people are on each tour which needs to be pre booked and costs £16.50.

The image in this blog post is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.