The Sykes Cottages Guide To Much Wenlock

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Visitors on a cottage holiday will be tempted to explore Much Wenlock. Close to Shropshire’s World Heritage Site, Ironbridge, the charming village of Much Wenlock stands on the doorstep of some of the county’s best walking, in Wenlock Edge, and offers one of it’s many claims to fame – rather unusually, that of birthplace of the founder of the modern Olympic Games.

The lovely village has much to be enjoyed on foot, from beautiful ancient buildings and some interesting specialist shops, but visitors often begin with a trip to the museum and a look at a famous gravestone. Local surgeon, William Penny-Brooke, was ahead of his time in establishing the link between physical exercise and general mental and physical well-being, and the town’s museum has the full history of his ground-breaking work, from introducing physical education in schools to setting up a local precursor to the modern day Olympics right there in the village. It is well worth making a visit to find out how an all-female race for a pound of tea has translated into the multi-million dollar extravaganza of the Olympics that we know today!

The village’s narrow streets hold some real gems; feel the sense of history as you wander around and browse the independent shops, from artists’ galleries to pottery shops to book specialists. There are ancient hostelries for refreshments, the dramatic ruins of a beautiful twelfth century priory, and a regular Saturday market. Twice a month also sees a Farmer’s market host a tempting array of locally produced foods. Don’t miss too the antiques markets, located in the wonderful, overhanging Guildhall, built in the sixteenth century, that are held throughout the year. On the ancient timbers of the Guildhall note the original whipping post, still bearing the iron staples once used to shackle prisoners.

Close to Much Wenlock, Wenlock Edge is a popular beauty spot for walking and cycling, run by the National Trust. It stretches some fifteen or so miles, a high escarpment offering great views over the surrounding countryside and a lovely place to spend a day outdoors. For action and adventure, try mountain boarding or quad biking, and nearby there’s plenty to see and do. World Heritage Site Ironbridge is just a short drive away; sixteenth-century Benthall Hall and gardens, Elizabethan Shipton Hall, and working farms at Church Stretton and Bridgenorth offer interesting days out. Bridgenorth, with its ancient funicular cableway linking the town that clings to a cliff face, is just a short drive away.

For self catering holiday cottages in Much Wenlock, please click here.

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