A few months back we stayed at Ivy House in Wall-under-Heywood, next door to the Plough Inn, with 8 others from the family, including 3 small children. That pub was friendly and served an excellent roast Sunday lunch to all 10 of us.The nearest town is Church Stretton, which we saw a bit of. We can certainly recommend Berry's coffee house, the Van Duesberg's deli, and St.Laurence's Church, which seemed a happy and lively community. There was a fun little store called Entertaining Elephants that stocked lots for those who want organic, fairtrade, vegan etc., and we bought a few things to show willing. The Indian takeaway from Jaipur was good and plentiful, but the nan breads were a bit mushy and chewy, and they piled on the artificial colouring and oil too heavily.I'd picked out a few interesting-sounding geocaches to try to find in the area, with the hope of showing some of the others what this hobby was all about. But I probably chose the wrong first one for Dad and Emma to join me on, as it had 7 separate stages, requiring us to cover a lot of ground throughout Rectory Wood, which has some rather steep climbs and descents. But find it we did, and it was all the more satisfying when we did. (Should have tried the much easier Shropshire Church Gems two-stage cache in Little Stretton first.)On Wednesday we headed into Shrewsbury, starting with a late picnic watching a cricket match at the ground next to the Guildhall car park. We pottered around a little after that, via an obligatory coffee shop stop: as promised OMH (Old Market Hall) had plenty of olde-world charm, and good drinks too. And despite its ancient foundings, turned out to be about the only place we've yet found to have WiFi available. Shropshire's not good for iPod Touch owners ... or owners of 2G mobile internet dongles ... and has really encouraged me to get an iPhone. But that's another story ...


Dad and Mum found what was probably the highlight, the Carding Mill National Trust estate. I'm rarely interested in historic houses, and thankfully this is one NT place that doesn't have one. Instead the draw is just the land: a wonderful series of valleys alongside Long Mynd, with great views, and some good walking, and when we needed refreshments, a decent Tea Room.

AuthorJonathan Clark