A few miles from Valley's End lies undisturbed and peaceful the small, friendly town of Bishop's Castle with fewer than 2000 inhabitants, probably including cats and dogs.
In the early medieval period a number of 'planned' towns were established in South Shropshire, based around Norman strongholds and earlier settlements or religious sites. Bishop's Castle is a good example of this development: its settlement pattern, laid down around 1280, remains remarkably intact to the present day.
Today this sleepy little town has neither castle - except for a few ruins - nor bishops, although it once had both. The Saxon lord Egwin Shakehead sold the land to the Bishops of Hereford who promptly built themselves a castle, hence the name of the 'modern' town.
The pace of the town is as unhurried now as it has ever been, the very steep High Street originally lead from the castle in the upper town to the church at the bottom end. It has a variety of small family-run shops and dwellings, with many interesting facades, ranging in age and period from a medieval half-timbered cottage with dormer windows, through Elizabethan dwellings, also black and white, to handsome Georgian houses in mellow brick as well as solid Victorian buildings.
The House On Crutches, now the Town Museum
Yarborough House, stuffed to the rafters with second hand books, old vinyl records and CDs.
It also has a coffee shop where you can study your purchases and possibly decide to buy a few more of each. Jock, the owner is an excellent wood turner, I have one of his huge plates crafted from elm wood.
The people of Bishop's Castle have a whacky sense of humour. Many houses have 'interestingly' painted facades, like the spotty one next door to the fish and chip shop.
Another of the fashionable attractions of Bishop's Castle is a shrine for 'real ale' enthusiasts, the Three Tuns Inn and Brewery at the very top end of the town on Salop Street, a pub with an unpretentious frontage but with its own brewery next door.
The Three Tuns Brewery produces excellent ales, the 'Cleric's Cure' among them which is served in the pub, together with a few hearty dishes from the menu.
The Three Tuns' brewing licence was first issued in 1642. Part of the present brewery is of 17th Century origin, which would make it the oldest working brewery in Britain.
This is just one small town nestling in the South Shropshire Hills.
I'm enjoying this series, it gives me an opportunity to appreciate the peaceful rural world I live in. It is so easy to become blind to the beauties surrounding us on our home ground, my thanks to the people at
That's My World who gave me the idea to look again more closely.