There are so many fascinating things to do in Shropshire. The Shropshire Hills, where Dick Turpin Cottage is located, is not only a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but is also labelled by the Countryside Commission as one of only three remaining havens of tranquility in Britain. The cottage boasts some of the most breath-taking rural views to be found in England, being high above the historic village of Clun, set in a pretty woodland wilderness reserve of 20 acres.
Perhaps you could begin your break with a meander up one of the paths through the trees above the cottage, leading to amazing views over the green, rolling hills. Later, why not explore further afield? The ancient Offa’s Dyke path runs nearby, snaking through beautiful scenery along the border between England and Wales.
The village of Clun, a mile down the hill from Dick Turpin cottage, is home to 700 people and the country’s first “Environmentally Sensitive Area”. You can quench your thirst at one (or both!) of the pubs, or shop for basics at the tiny supermarket, open seven days a week. There are also two cafés (one highly-rated on Trip Advisor), a flower/greengrocery shop, a butcher’s shop, a petrol station/garage, a general hardware shop and a well-stocked gift shop called “Caractacus” where you can pick up tasteful trinkets for those back home. Shopping aside, you can’t miss the Norman ruins of Clun Castle towering above you and it’s worth looking out for the 15th century bridge across the river Clun, linking the two halves of the village. If you get chatting to the locals, you might like to know that they prefer to call this charming little village a “town” because of its Town Hall (now a museum) and long history.
The village of Craven Arms is a few miles to the East of Dick Turpin Cottage and also worth a visit. Here you will find the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, with a wealth of local information and natural history. It’s the starting point for several country walks of various lengths, all well-signposted and all returning to the Centre, where you will find an award-winning café/restaurant that serves local, seasonal produce. Stokesay Castle is just outside Craven Arms. Its half-timbered gables offer some great photo opportunities and it’s said to be one of the best-preserved fortified manor houses in England, dating back to the 13th century.
Further afield at a short 30-minute drive away is the pretty south Shropshire town of Ludlow. A visit to this quaint English town should always feature on anyone’s list of things to do in Shropshire. It’s a place packed with history, accolades and amenities, especially taking into account its relatively compact size. The town has accumulated no fewer than 500 listed buildings and an impressive castle during its long history, but nowadays it has become a nationally-renowned centre of excellence for food and drink. There is a twice-yearly food festival, several well-known high-quality restaurants and the Ludlow Food Centre, a showcase for local produce.
So if you’re looking for a very special place in which to enjoy a romantic break; if you need to get away from it all and escape to a pretty, rural yet luxurious retreat; or if you’re looking for a base from which to explore Shropshire’s glorious towns and hills, Dick Turpin cottage is ideal!