The Mill at Croft Castle
Welsh Marches and Beyond
The area surrounding Ludlow and the Shropshire hills is traditionally known as the Welsh Marches. Rather confusingly this term generally refers to the English, rather than the Welsh counties that run down border – particularly Shropshire and Herefordshire. The Shropshire Hills runs right up to the border of Wales but is really one continous landscape that gradually turns from a rolling landscape of fields into a more rugged landscape of hills turning into mountains as you head west into the heart of Wales.
Historically the area was the scene for the long struggle between the Welsh and English kings and princes, a struggle still evident in the fact that the area has the highest density of Motte and Bailey castles in Britain. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Offa’s Dyke, a defensive ditch built in the 8th century by Offa of Mercia. After the Normans arrived Ludlow became the seat of the Marcher Lords, with Ludlow Castle as their headquarters.
While there is plenty to keep you occupied in the Shropshire Hills there are also plenty of great days out from Sutton Court Farm to places slightly farther afield, including the County Town of Shrewsbury, Tenbury Wells and the Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge. Sutton Court Farm Holiday Cottages are situated in the south of Shropshire so are also ideally suited to explore Herefordshire – a quick drive will bring you to a host of fascinating and beautiful spots such as Wigmore, Leintwardine, Leominster, Croft Castle, Berrington Hall and Hampton Court Castle. Slightly further afield but still perfectly do-able as a day trip are Hay-On-Wye, Hereford and Ledbury. Over the border into Wales the town of Knighton is worth a visit along with a walk along a stretch of Offa’s Dyke, while the legendary Powys Castle always impresses.