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You are what you eat


We take a closer look at food fads, eating habits and diet regimes WIN Leading ladies Meet the wonderful women of Welsh history Glorious gardens Put a spring in your step at these local showstoppers It’s what’s inside that counts Make sure you love where you live with our style suggestions Talking transformations Shane Richie slips into heels for his latest role

Theatre tickets, family passes, exclusive entry to shows and much more… Turn to page 145


The scenic Shropshire spot with an unusual alpine appeal


New lease of life for a family favourite


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WELCOME, DEAR READER… Publisher Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Art Editor Tom Sullivan Chief Subeditor Jo Williams Advertising Design Sarah Norman Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Subeditor Chris Miller Staff Writers Eluned Watson Helen Gordon Adele Barry Cover Consultant Jennifer McKinney Sales & Marketing Pauline Jones Shona Newton Maria Eales Distribution Manager Paul Howard Finance & Accounts David Kynaston Nicky Kynaston Jane Osman


ere we are, launching into spring with the latest edition of Shire – and how lovely it is to see a bit more sunshine and slightly longer days already. It’s a great time of year to be out and about enjoying everything the patch has to offer, so in this issue we’ve included a round-up of some of our favourite National Trust gardens that are reopening their gates for the season. Have a read and choose which one to focus on for your next family day out. Speaking of family days out, we’ve also got our usual suggestion page inside – and this time we’re reaching new heights with a selection of indoor climbing walls you might like to tackle! Our in-depth features this issue include a historical look at the wondrous women of Wales! After our recent feature on the men who’ve made their mark, it’s only fair that we give the ladies some limelight. We do hope you appreciate our selections and agree that these Healthy blueberries on the cover women really helped make our area what it is today. Our second longer read looks at the various diets that more and more people seem to be adopting these days. Whether to lose weight, get fit, save the planet or for medical and health reasons, increasing numbers of us are switching from traditional eating patterns. We take a look at some of the more popular options and their pros and cons. In addition to that, we also have all the usual treats you’ve come to expect from us – homes and interiors, arts and books, food and drink and, of course, our packed What’s On section as always! Enjoy!

Email Shire magazine

IN THIS ISSUE The feminine touch Meet the Welsh women who helped shape our history and culture on page 60


John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, Catherine Buckley, P Parker, Clive Williams, John Stubbs, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Graham Tinsley, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270

Recipe for success Get the lowdown on today’s most popular eating regimes on page 76


Spring in your step? Our What’s On guide, from page 6, has the latest events across the region Print ISSN 2514-3913 Online ISSN 2514-3921 SHIRE MAGAZINE is published bi-monthly by Superstar Publishing Ltd. Every effort is made to ensure that the information and advice contained in these articles is correct and appropriate, but no liability or responsibility for loss or damage to any person acting or refraining from action in reliance on or as a result of anything omitted from such articles can be, or is accepted by, the authors, the publishers, their employees or any other persons connected with Superstar Publishing Ltd. Views expressed by contributors to Shire magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine or of Superstar Publishing Ltd and should be attributed to the authors concerned. Save as expressively permitted by law no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written authority of the Publisher, acting for Shire magazine. Privacy Policy published online at © 2020 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188.

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…


Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st April is the deadline for events in our next issue, May/June 2020.


Share your reader stories. Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We’d like to feature it in the next issue. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two as well.


We have lots of regulars readers can contribute to:

Reader photos Taken a great shot recently? Email your best effort and you might get picked! See page 114. Reader poems Do you like penning the odd line? So do we! Send us your poems – we’d love to include them on our poetry page. See page 141 for more. Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along

Give a friend the gift of Shire!

Do you love Shire so much you can’t wait to share it with friends and family? Well, now’s your chance! Buy them a subscription and they’ll get every issue delivered to their door so they never miss the fascinating features and packed What’s On guide ever again. Better still, treat yourself to one too!

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 110 for further details. Get social Follow, like and friend us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first in line for event updates, competitions and more. Visit our website online at and send submissions and information by email to

TURN TO PAGE 128 for our fantastic subscription offer! March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3

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Contents M A R C H /A P R I L 2 02 0

PAG E 5 4 Matthew Kelly takes our Q&A

6 What’s On Our packed events listing covers everywhere from north and mid Wales, across Cheshire, including the Wirral, and the whole of Shropshire – check out what’s happening where and when, including school holiday and Easter events 17 Celebrity We catch up with everyone’s favourite Queen Vic landlord, Shane Richie, as he takes to the stage at Venue Cymru in smash West End hit Everyone’s Talking About Jamie 18 Wrexham Make the most of a short break with this two-day itinerary

PAG E 1 2 1 Bring some flower power to your wardrobe

PAG E 7 6 Are you following the best diet?

52 Church Stretton Stunning scenery and a lovely location make this Shropshire town a firm favourite 54 20 Questions We turn the spotlight on star of stage and screen Matthew Kelly, appearing at Theatr Clywd in The Habit Of Art this May 56 Big City Our round-up of the main events happening further afield, in Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester

PAG E 1 7

PAG E 9 9

Shane Richie heads to Llandudno

Add a touch of spring to your home

59 Reviews Find out what the Shire team have seen over the past couple of months, with the latest show reviews 60 Wonder Women Of Wales Take a closer look at some of the leading ladies who have made our area what it is today 64 Rhyl The family favourite is being reinvented to give the seaside town a new lease of life 67 Holidays With summer on its way, now’s the time to plan a last-minute getaway or even make a holiday home investment of your own

PAG E 6 Where to explore this Easter

PAG E 6 0 Meet the great women of Wales

72 Indoor Climbing Centres Looking to reach new heights on a day trip with a difference? Check out these local venues 75 Active The enduring appeal of croquet, plus a great local walk to get you out and about as the weather improves 76 Food For Thought Confused by conflicting dietary advice? We take a look at what it all really means 81 Food & Drink Our new expert chef shares one of his favourite recipes, plus surprising facts about wine 87 Homes & Interiors If you’re looking to refresh your

home inside and out, we’ve got the latest trends and advice 101 Gardening As public gardens’ gates creak open for the new season, we round up the best outdoor spaces near you 105 Green Living Discover ways to be more environmentally friendly in your day-to-day life 109 Pets & Wildlife Updates from local bird and wildlife experts, plus your fantastic pet pictures 112 Arts & Crafts Read how one local artist has been inspired by the incredible detail and beauty he finds in nature 117 Weddings Do you have a wedding in the diary? We can help you find the best venues and suppliers 121 Women’s Fashion Put a spring in your step with these floral patterns 122 Health & Beauty Advice to help you keep looking and feeling your best 124 Retirement Top tips on how to get the most out of your later years 126 Men’s Fashion Brave the April showers in this practical and stylish outdoorwear 131 Schools The latest news from colleges and schools across the area, as we keep you up to date with developments across the education sector 140 Books & Poetry An interview with the author of a new self-help guide, the literary events taking place near you and the latest page-turners, plus some of your best poetry 142 Charities & Volunteering A look at the voluntary and charity organisations that do so much good for so many good causes across the area 143 Letters To The Editor We hand over to you, our readers, to discover what you’ve had to say about Shire and local events 144 What’s In Your Stars Check out what’s coming your way with our horoscope forecast by Gloria Mans 145 Competitions Your chance to win some fabulous prizes, which this issue include a day at the races, a family trip by steam train and a cruise down the River Dee

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1st March, St David’s Day on Bala Lake Railway Ride along the shore of Bala Lake. The railway is offering a free ride to all residents of north Wales (bring proof of address) and less than half-price tickets for non-residents (£5 adults, £2 children). www.

1st March, St David’s Day, RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve Put on your best Welsh fancy dress and enjoy free entry to the reserve. Open 9.30am-5pm, with craft sessions 1pm3pm. No booking required.

Spring back to life at Erddig Reawaken with the spring and experience nature in all its glory when you visit Erddig’s stunning 13.5-acre walled garden. Here you can watch waves of spring highlights wash over the garden, take a wander through the woods and look beyond the leaves to discover the enchanted trees of Erddig in the new Treemendous Trail. The trail has been created by carving artist Ian Williams and brings the trees to life in a new and exciting way. The trail will be open from 4th to 26th April. Don’t forget to look up into the branches and see if you can spot the wooden characters just waiting to be discovered…

Celebrate a carnival of words in Wrexham

7th March, Till Death Do Us Part Murder Mystery Dinner, Theatr Clwyd, Mold One of the wedding party is found dead in the wine cellar! It’s your job to assist the inspector with his investigations, trade clues with your fellow guests and figure out who completed this dastardly murder! 7pm. £30, including a two-course meal and a drink on arrival.

The Wrexham Carnival of Words takes place in Wrexham from 23rd April to 2nd May offering the chance to meet book idols, hear them read and get books signed. Opening the festival on 23rd April will be Jim Kelly (The Mathematical Bridge). Other authors in attendance include international bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick (pictured), Amanda Prowse and her son

7th March, Astronomy Club, Techniquest Glyndwr, Wrexham Travel into space within a portable StarDome Planetarium, delve into the deepest corners of the universe and – weather permitting – stare into the sky for some live stargazing with telescopes. Everyone is welcome who loves astronomy. 6.30pm8.30pm.

Dare to fly! Put your daring to the test and raise money for an incredible cause with the Zip Line Challenge on 28th March. The event, at Zip World Penrhyn Quarry, is in aid of PennyAppeal’s Emergency Response campaign to help protect thousands of families from the devastating effects of natural disasters and conflict, and uses Velocity 2, the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe. Registration costs £50.

7th March, Learn To Crochet, Wrexham Enterprise Hub Suitable for absolute beginners, this session will teach you basic crochet stitches and how to make a granny square. All equipment is included and you take home what you make. £20. 10am-noon.

7th-8th March, World Book Day Weekend, Chirk Castle Dress up as your favourite book character and get free entry to Chirk Castle & Garden. You can also join in storytime with storyteller Andy Harrop-Smith and buy a new book with your World Book Day voucher in the bookshop. 10am-4pm.

Erddig’s gardens are open from 11am to 4pm before 28th March and from 10am to 5pm thereafter. From 28th March the house will open for the spring season, and you can find out more about Erddig and its unique history with guided tours of the magnificent state rooms and servants quarters.

Can you beat the train?

See if you can beat the train on Bala Lake Railway on a standup paddleboard or boat in a fun twist on the popular Race the Train event on 4th April. Or travel on the train to follow the race; the train departs from Llanuwchllyn at 5pm and tickets cost just £4 each way for adults and £2 for children. There’s lots of fun on Bala Lake Railway over the Easter holidays too, with an Easter egg hunt from 10th to 13th April.

Josh (The Boy Between) and Neil Spring (The Burning House) . History Day will comprise six events including bestselling authors Barbara Erskine and Peter Doyle, military reenactments and much more. Tickets are available at www. or from Wrexham Library. For the full programme, visit www.

Get on a bus to find real ale

Rediscover the charm of authentic Welsh pubs on the Wrexham bus-based real ale trail on 25th April. Starting from the centre of Wrexham, you’ll visit some great rural pubs, stopping off in places such as Bwlchgwyn, one of the highest villages in Wales. Enjoy locally produced real ales, food and entertainment while hopping on and off the Real Ale shuttle buses as many times as you like between 11am and 10pm. There will be a minimum of three real ales in each pub, as well as plenty of other drinks to sample too. So grab a friend and enjoy a great day out!

Conwy Seed Fair returns for 2020

Stock up on all your seed needs as the Conwy Seed Fair returns on 26th March. The Royal Charter fair is a longstanding local tradition, taking place along Conwy High Street and Lancaster Square from 9am to 4pm. Entry is free, and there’s always lots to see, so browse the stalls showing off seeds, plants, local crafts and a variety of produce.

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DID YOU KNOW? Carole King wrote ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ aged 17

Inspiring stories at Venue Cymru

We Will Rock You, 9th14th March An awe-inspiring production featuring 24 of Queen’s biggest hits, including ‘Radio Ga Ga’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. 7.30pm. Tickets from £21.50.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, 14th18th April The Olivier award-winning West End and Broadway show tells the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise to stardom. 7.30pm. Tickets from £23.

Ben Fogle: Tales From The Wilderness, 18th March Join Ben for this uplifting show as he recounts with warmth and honesty his thrilling tales of the wilderness. 7.30pm. Tickets £28.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2020, 23rd April A collection of short films from the world’s best adventure film-makers and explorers as they push themselves to the limits in the most remote and stunning corners of the globe. Witness epic human-powered feats, life-affirming challenges and mind-blowing cinematography – all on the big screen! 7.30pm. Tickets £15.

Zog, 3rd-5th April Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved dragon comes to life in Mike Shepherd’s magical adaptation. Times vary. Tickets £17.50 adults, £12.50 children.

See history come to life No Man’s Land is an exciting living history event at Bodrhyddan Hall, Rhuddlan, on 18th and 19th April. See 350 people displaying authentic period uniforms, original equipment and weapons from the First and Second World Wars. There will also be a large display of vehicles, firing displays, trade stalls, refreshments and live music. The event runs from 10am to 4pm. Email

Walk or run for St David’s Hospice

8th March, Llangollen Canal Walk A sponsored 10-mile walk in aid of Hope House. 10am at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Free entry; sponsorship encouraged.

11th March, Kingfishers, Gresford Trust Memorial Hall The North Wales Wildlife Trust brings you a talk led by photographer Andy Davies. 7pm-9pm.

Free fun for mums!

Get creative at Ruthin Craft Centre

Treat mums to a fun day out at Gypsy Wood Family Park on Mother’s Day, 22nd March. Mums go free all day, so why not enjoy a great day out at the outdoor park? Gypsy Wood combines the magic of fairies with the charm of animals and the rugged wilderness of 20 acres of woodland. The park is open from 10.30am to 5pm between 21st March and 27th September.

Visit the beautiful scenery of north Wales, get active and raise money for a fantastic cause on the Aber Falls 7K on 14th March. Or if you fancy a longer challenge, why not tackle the 20-mile Anglesey Coastal Trek on 5th April? The one-day 20-mile trek starts at Cemaes Bay and finishes at Moelfre, following the scenic coastal path route. Visit to register for either event. For or more information, call Ella Baxendale on 01248 751022.

8th March, Bird Watch Day, The Spinnies, Bangor Hosted by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Visit the shore hide, with experts on hand to help identify the birds. 10am-2pm.

Let your artistic side out at a new masterclass led by textile artist Stewart Kelly. Metamorphosis: Contemporary Transitions Through Drawing, Collage & Stitch lets you explore the possibilities of combining drawing, colour and mixed media. It takes place on 7th and 8th March from 10.30am and costs £65. www.ruthincraft

Soul at the Stiwt

Wrexham’s Stiwt will be swinging when two sensational soul acts join forces on 20th March for a fantastic evening of entertainment. Former Drifters Michael Williams and Ryan King have come together with Jordan King to form the fabulous Masters of Motown, bringing you all the hits you know and love. Tameka Jackson’s multi-awardwinning tribute to Diana Ross, meanwhile, has captivated audiences all over the world. The evening begins with a set from DJ Denzil at 7.30pm and tickets cost £18 .

12th March, Curry & Quiz Night, Rhug Estate, Corwen Put your general knowledge to the test and enjoy a delicious homemade curry. 6.30pm. To book call 01490 411 100 or email

13th March, Comedy Night, Ty Pawb, Wrexham Starring Adam Staunton, Katie Tracey, Rob Mitchell and Kevin Caswell-Jones. 7.30pm. £10 from Eventbrite or Ty Pawb.

21st March, Coastal Foraging Walk, Borth-y-Gest Beach, Porthmadog An introduction to edible plants, seaweeds, shellfish and other wild foods with Original Outdoors. The session runs for approximately two hours and is timed to coincide with low tide.

22nd March, Mother’s Day, Llangollen Railway A magical return trip through the beautiful Dee Valley, including afternoon tea with a selection of finger sandwiches, assorted sweet treats and a glass of bubbly. Train departs 1.30pm. £33 adults, £18 children.

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At Theatr Colwyn


22nd March, Doggy Social, Trevor Hall Farm, Llangollen Let your dog play off the lead and socialise with other dogs in a secure and safe environment. All sessions are supervised and fun agility equipment is also available. 11.15am-1.15pm. £6.50 per dog.

•28th March, The 6th Trail,

Portmeirion Take on this 6km race route in the trails and tracks of the Gwyllt woods within the iconic village of Portmeirion in the Snowdonia National Park. The children’s race sets off at 10am with the adults following at 11am. Bespoke prizes will be awarded.

28th March, March for Veterans, Llandudno Join this 10-mile fully guided walk and raise money for blind veterans. Starting at the Blind Veterans UK Llandudno Centre, you’ll head for the Promenade and along to the Cenotaph before making your way up and around the Great Orme. Sponsorship target: £75.

28th March, Real Ale Train, Llangollen Railway Step on board and soak up the atmosphere while enjoying the real ales on offer at the well stocked bar. The train departs from Llangollen at 6.30pm. Advanced tickets £19 per person with a free Llangollen Railway pint glass. Tickets on the evening £20 per person.

Reconnect at Plas Newydd House

If you’re looking to improve your mental and physical wellbeing, why not try two new activities designed to help you slow down and reconnect? Plas Newydd House is running Qi by the Sea on the first Saturday of each month beginning on 4th April and Forest Bathing sessions on the first Sunday of each month beginning on 5th April. Qigong is a relaxing and spiritual practice with its roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, while forest bathing draws on the therapeutic power of nature and connects you with your surroundings. Both take place in the beautiful gardens of Plas Newydd House, Anglesey. Sessions run from 12.15pm to 1.15pm and 2.15pm to 3.15pm. Normal admission charges apply.

World class snooker in Llandudno

The best snooker players on the planet will be at Venue Cymru from 17th to 22nd March for the Coral Tour Championship. The field will include the best eight players from the one-year ranking list. Last season, Ronnie O’Sullivan scooped £150,000 top prize and became the inaugural winner of the Coral Cup, beating Neil Robertson in the final. Visit www. or

28th-29th March, Craft & Gift Fair, Bellis Brothers Garden Centre, Holt A selection of quality crafts and giftware from around the world, including ceramics, cards, toys, glass, knitwear, photographic art, bath bombs, ladies’ clothing, paintings and jewellery. 10am-5pm.

Beautiful ballet at Neuadd Dwyfor Enjoy two performances from the Bolshoi Ballet screened live at Pwllheli’s Neuadd Dwyfor. Romeo & Juliet on 29th March stars Ekaterina Krysanova and Vladislav Lantratov as the eternal lovers, accompanied by Prokofiev’s cinematic score. Jewels on 19th April is a chance to enjoy the genius of the choreographer Balanchine’s visually captivating work performed by some of the world’s most dazzling dancers.

DID YOU KNOW? The original Broadway run of Avenue Q won three Tony awards

The Floyd Effect, 21st March Renowned for their remarkable accuracy, The Floyd Effect faithfully recreate the music and intensity of a Pink Floyd concert. Every note you hear is played and sung by the band, making each concert a genuine live event. 7.30pm. Tickets £22.20.

Avenue Q, 26th-28th March Hilarious musical comedy for adults. Enter a puppet-filled world and meet some lively characters realising that life isn’t as simple as they dreamt it would be! 7.30pm (plus 2.30pm on 28th March). Tickets £16.20. 10cc’s Graham Gouldman & Heart Full Of Songs, 29th March When Graham formed Heart Full Of Songs six years ago, it was for the pleasure of playing his songs in their simplest form, acoustically. For lovers of perfectly crafted music, their concerts are an exquisite experience. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50.

A day out with Thomas Peep! Peep! Thomas the Tank Engine is back at Llangollen Railway Station on 17th to 19th April. Take a ride with Thomas, meet the Fat Controller and ride in Rickety and Clarabel as many times as you like. There will also be face painting, story reenactments and more. The event opens at 10am and tickets cost £20.50 for adults and £12.50 for children.

Prisoners of Portmeirion Fans of the cult 1967 TV series The Prisoner will converge on Portmeirion from 24th to 26th April for the annual Prisoner Convention, hosted by the Six of One Prisoner Appreciation Society. Popular events include talks for Six of One members, as well as an Election Parade and Human Chess. The hotel village is block-booked by Six of One, so members can stay at the resort during the convention, and Portmeirion’s shops, bars and dining facilities are also open. Visit www. or

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RACE TO IT Thrilling jump racing at the only track in North Wales this Spring


Sky Sports Racing Raceday

SATURDAY 18 APRIL Discovery Day










01978 780 323 | |




*Discounted ticket price available on pre-booked tickets only. ^Prices are per person +VAT at the current prevailing rate, based on a Hospitality package in the Wynnstay Restaurant. ~Children aged 17 and under are eligible to attend when accompanied by a full paying responsible adult.

Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9NF

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T H U R S D AY 4 J U N E 2 0






05 / 07 / 2020

J& hoi s oR h yltsh m &HB l o lland ues Orchestra fe a t u r i n g G I L S O N L A V I S

With Special Guest Eddi Reader and Guest Vocalists RUBY TURNER & LOUISE MARSHALL




Venue Cymru, Llandudno



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Culture for all at Theatr Clwyd WNO Lunchtime Concert, 5th March A relaxed, fun concert with a mixture of light arias and entertaining songs. 1pm. Tickets £5. The Kite Runner, 5th-7th March A haunting tale that spans continents. 7.30 & 2.30pm. Tickets from £10.

musical comedy. 2.45pm and 7.45pm. Tickets from £10.

Sarah And Duck’s Big Top Birthday, 9th April The enchanting world of Sarah And Duck is brought to life in a brand-new stage show. 1.30pm and 4.30pm. Tickets from £10.

Milky Peaks, 20th March11th April A fabulous, edgy

Linos Piano Trio, 26th April One of Europe’s most creative and dynamic trios perform

Hunt for birds and chocolate at Chirk

Art available for all at print fair

Discover the different species of bird that call Chirk Castle estate home this spring. Follow the birdsong nature trail around the Pleasure Ground Wood on 4th to 19th April. Then from 10th to 13th April get in the Easter mood by joining the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt. Complete the trail, which has a birdy Chirk twist, to claim your chocolate prize.

Printmakers from across the UK will present work for sale at Llandudno’s Mostyn Gallery at the North Wales Print Fair on 7th March. The fair is a fantastic chance to buy affordable original art direct from the artists. There are also print workshops, demonstrations, a book sale and the chance to win some fabulous print-related prizes. Entry is free and the fair runs from 10.30am to 5pm.

Hunt for dragons in the fforest Zip World Fforest near Betws-y-Coed takes on an exciting new persona to become Dragon Fforest from 28th March to 19th April. Join Ffion the Dragon and her friend Zippy the Bunny on their quest for fun. Soar through the woodland at up to 25mph on the Dragon Flyer alpine coaster, explore the treetop nets to find clues and crack the Easter puzzle, and zip, climb and leap your way to the end of Hoppity Hoppers to see how much Easter treasure you can collect!

Historic day out in Hawarden

Visit Hawarden Old Castle on 15th March to explore the ruins of the medieval building. The castle, part of the Gladstone estate in Flintshire, is only open four times a year, so this is a rare chance to explore the ruins. It’s open from 11am to 3pm. Admission is £3 for adults with two accompanying children; additional children are £3. Hawarden Castle Pavilion will be open for the Pavilion Spring Fair, Florist & Supplier Showcase.

Beethoven’s The Archduke Piano Trio with Mozart’s joyful Piano Trio K548. 7.30pm. Tickets from £18.

29th March, Repair Café, The Clubhouse, Mold Learn how to make repairs to household items or share your repair skills with others. Learn basic bike servicing, discover how to make clothes alterations, or visit the digital drop-in for advice on repairs to laptops and PCs. 11am-2pm. Free entry.

KIN, 28th-29th April National Dance Company Wales examines how dance can connect us by bringing families, friends, clubs, teams, tribes and communities together. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10.

3rd April, Gin & Cocktail Tasting Evening, Coffee V, Llandudno Join Seb of Grandma’s Cupboard for an evening of gin and cocktail tasting. Ticket price includes 10 cocktail samples, a full cocktail of your choice and nibbles. 7pm. Tickets from Coffee V or via Facebook.

A great walk around the Great Orme Challenge yourself to a 10or 20-mile walk around the Great Orme, Llandudno, on 21st March. The route will take you to the beautiful West Shore beach (twice for the 20-milers) and finish with a celebration, including a glass of fizz. Fundraise or just do it for fun! www. breese adventures.

3rd April, Snowdon Moonlight Guided Walk, Llanberis Climb Snowdon at dusk and enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the summit before heading down via moonlight and headtorches. 4pm.

4th April, World’s Steepest Street Run, Harlech Not many 5km runs can boast a recordbreaking section! With a 37.45% maximum gradient, Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech is the world’s steepest street. Have you got what it takes to tackle it? 5pm.

Perfect place to rest your weary feet! Spring is a great time to explore the spectacular Conwy Falls Forest Park in Betws-y-Coed Conwy Falls. And when it’s time to take a rest and refuel, the Conwy Park Café offers a warm welcome. The spacious building was designed by Sir Bertram Clough William-Ellis to complement the architecture of Portmeirion, and is open every day serving a wide range of food, cakes, hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams. There is plenty of free parking, ample seating and panoramic views.

4th April, Spring Coffee Morning, St David’s Hospice, Llandudno Easter activities and stalls, including a tombola and raffle, to raise money for St. David’s Hospice. 10am-2pm. Free. Email adrian.owen@

4th-19th April, Easter Activities, GreenWood Forest Park, Y Felinheli Be entertained in the Forest Theatre, get creative in the craft area and explore among trees for giant eggs on the Easter trail. www.

5th April, Music in the Pin Mill, Bodnant Garden, Colwyn Bay Local harpist Dylan Cernyw plays in Pin Mill, in the scenic gardens around the Canal Terrace. 2pm-3.30pm. No booking required. Free entry.

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11th April, Easter 5k Promenade Dash, Llandudno This fast and flat 5k is now firmly established on the local running calendar. As always, there will be Easter eggs and other seasonal goodies on offer, plus a medal at the finish. Also includes a short children’s race.

Music and laughter at William Aston Hall Jess Fostekew: Hench, 14th March Absolute powershed and regular host of The Guilty Feminist podcast explores her strength in a show that was nominated for Best Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival. 7.30pm. Tickets £13.75 Francis Rossi: I Talk Too Much, 21st March The Status Quo lead singer shares the extraordinary secrets of his 50-plus years in rock ’n’ roll. 7.30pm. Tickets £30. Friends! The Musical Parody, 2nd April Hilarious romp through our favourite moments from the hit TV show in an uncensored, hilarious, musicfilled production. 7.30pm. Tickets £30.80.

The circus is in town, promising a fantastic show for all the family when it pitches up in Wrexham’s Bryn Y Grog Farm from 25th to 29th March. Circus Funtasia is an allhuman live show that proves that the circus isn’t just for kids. This year’s show is bigger and better

12th April, Children’s Easter Nature Trail, The Spinnies, Bangor Follow the clues around the nature reserve and find the special creatures that call this wonderful place home! Easterthemed rewards for those that find them all. Noon-3pm. Free for Wildlife Trust members, £2 for non-members.

Stunning running in Anglesey

18th April, Wild Food, Foraging & Wilderness Cooking, Erddig, nr Wrexham Join the Woodland Classroom team to explore the world of edible plants, fungi and wild game. 9.30am-4.30pm. £55 per person (ages 16 and over).

Experience the most beautiful half marathon in the UK at the Jones Crisps Anglesey Half Marathon or 10km Race on 1st March. Both races begin on the Menai Suspension Bridge, before flowing through Menai Bridge town centre and along the winding closed roads to Beaumaris, where the route is flanked by breathtaking views of the Snowdonia National Park and the Menai Strait. All finishers are rewarded with a medal and T-shirt.

20th April, Toddler Day, Techniquest Glyndwr, Wrexham This event will be the last to take place at Techniquest before it closes for relocation. The new Xplore! will open in May – watch this space for more information!

ABBA Mania, 25th April The world’s number one touring ABBA tribute production. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50.

Roll up, roll up!

11th-13th April, Easter Egg Hunt, Llanberis Lake Railway A fun family day out on the rails with a hunt for Easter eggs cunningly hidden around the railway and stations. There will be prizes for the kids.

19th April, Pond Dipping for Adults, RSPB Conwy, Llandudno Junction Grab a net and rediscover your natural curiosity as you delve into a pond to explore the complex food chain beneath the water’s calm surface. 2pm3.30pm. £3 members, £4 non-members. Booking essential. Call 01492 581025.

Joel Dommett: Unapologetic (If That’s OK?), 18th April Joel brings you bang up to date on his life since his last live show. 8pm. Tickets £19.80.

Step inside beautiful Brynkinalt Enjoy a rare opportunity to see inside Brynkinalt Hall, Wrexham, when the historic house opens its doors to the public on 19th March. Brynkinalt Hall is a Grade II listed building, the central portion of which was completed by Sir Edward Trevor in 1612. The estate has a long and fascinating history and the lavish interior is extremely well-appointed. The tour begins at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £17.50. To book visit

than ever before, packed with dazzling and dangerous feats, displays of strength and skill and of course a whole lot of laughs. Expect spectacular aerialists flying through the Big Top, Wheel of Death acrobats, fire eaters, jugglers, effortless comic moments, crazy motorbikes, The Geek, and so much more!

Thrill of the race at Bangor-on-Dee The first Saturday fixture of the year at Bangor-on-Dee, Sky Sports Racing Raceday, is on 21st March. This is followed by the Discovery Day on 18th April, giving you the chance to experience the excitement of jumps racing. Bangor-on-Dee’s open course enclosure is the perfect place for families to watch the action unfold. Adult tickets start at £7 and under-18s are free when accompanied by an adult. Paddock enclosure tickets are £17 and hospitality packages are also available.

Revenge, rebels and wedding bells with WNO Welsh National Opera brings its spring season to Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on 4th to 7th March, with three operas full of revenge, temptation and suspense: Carmen on 5th March, The Marriage Of Figaro on 4th to 6th March and Les Vêpres Siciliennes on 7th March. Tickets can be booked through Venue Cymru. Visit or

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Theatr Bryn Terfel 14 Mawrth, 7.30pm 14 March, 7.30pm




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Story, song and dance at Rhyl Pavilion Lost In The Rhythm, 28th March Strictly star Amy Dowden, her partner Ben Jones and Strictly finalist Colin Jackson bring a new show to the stage featuring all your Latin and ballroom favourites. 7.30pm. Tickets £30. The Wizard Of Oz, 9th10th April Starring panto favourites Basil Brush, Ryan ‘Wally’ Greaves and dame

Phylip ‘Dolly’ Harries, this all-singing, all-dancing show is not to be missed. Times vary. Tickets from £14.50. Michael Starring Ben, 11th April Take a journey back in time to remember Michael Jackson – the man, the music and the magic. Featuring a live band, dazzling costumes, the performer’s dance routines and his greatest hits. The ultimate

Shows at Galeri Caernarfon

Celebrate spring with RSPB Conwy

Pete Whittaker: Solo & Free, 25th March One of the top big wall solo climbers. 7.30pm. £16.

Celebrate Mother’s Day at RSPB Conwy on 22nd March and find out how nature is full of hardworking mums. The event, aimed at three- to six-year-olds, takes place from 2pm to 3.30pm and costs £3 for members and £4 for non-members. Get busy with the Easter Holiday Quiz Trail every day during the school holidays at a cost of £1 per sheet. And on 12th April see if you can find all the eggs hidden on the reserve. Call 01492 581025.

Gimme ABBA, 27th March Much-loved UK tribute act. 7.30pm. £18. Calan, 3rd April Award-winning Welsh band. 7.30pm. £15. The Amazing Bubble Man, 25th April Louis Pearl returns. 6.30pm. £12. www.galeri

Run for fun in Denbighshire Get active on 8th March at the Denbighshire 5k and 10k race. The popular event has something for everyone, whether you’re a novice or a serious runner. There’s even a one-mile run for the whole family. The fun run starts at 9am, the 5k at 9.30am and the 10k at 9.45am. Entrants to the 5k race must be 11 years old or over, and entrants to the 10k race must be 15 or over. See www.bespokefitnessand for details.

21st April, Tales From The Plant Hunters, Springfield Hotel, Holywell The HPS Clwyd Group invites you to an evening with Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Crûg Farm Plants. The talk encompasses the diversity of plants they collected in Vietnam. 7.30pm. £5. To book, call 01352 375385. www.

Michael Jackson tribute show. 7.30pm. Tickets £26. Rob Brydon: Songs & Stories, 26th April Join the celebrated comedian, singer, actor, presenter and impressionist for a very special evening of toe-tapping tunes and side-splitting laughter. Accompanied by a live band. 7.30pm. Tickets £39.50.

25th April, Afternoon Tea & Downton Abbey, The Stiwt Wrexham Enjoy a genteel afternoon watching the Downton Abbey film while enjoying a delicious afternoon tea. 1pm. £8.

Classical masterpieces at Bangor’s Pontio BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 20th March NOW’s leader Lesley Hatfield directs a programme of works for strings including Mozart and Tchaikovsky. 7.30pm. £15. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, 3rd April Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony and more. 7.30pm. £20.

25th-26th April, Mountain Skills Course, Snowdonia Learn basic skills including navigation and map reading, weather and emergency procedures. www.snowdonia

Bangor University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, 5th April An allMozart programme. 7.30pm. £15.

26th April, Gardener’s Market, RSPB Conwy, Llandudno Junction A variety of plants produced by local nurseries, plus free advice and information from the growers. 10am-4pm. Normal fees apply.

Grand opening for Wrexham’s cat centre A new adoption centre in Bradley Road, Wrexham, has opened its doors to unwanted cats, offering state-of-the art facilities to ensure their hopefully short stays are as comfortable as possible. The grand opening is on 3rd April and everyone is invited to go along and see for themselves how Cats Protection care for these beautiful animals – and maybe fall in love with a feline! Cats Protection has had a presence in Wrexham since 1998, when the old adoption centre in Madeira Hill first opened. It took

several years of planning and building to get this centre up and running, as architects, builders and the charity worked together to ensure the facilities provided the best possible temporary home for the cats that came through its doors. For more information, visit

26th April, Mold Sprint Triathlon Perfect for novice and experienced triathletes alike. Swim 400m, cycle 26km, run 5km. 8.30am at from Mold Sports Centre.

26th April, Venue Cymru Wedding Fayre, Llandudno North Wales’s largest wedding fair, with a range of local suppliers, catwalk shows, live performances, samples, goodie bags and special offers. 11am-4pm. Free entry.

26th April, Volunteer Recruitment Day, Bala Lake Railway Find out what’s working on a narrow gauge steam railway involves. Call 01678 540666.

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RUTHIN GAOL The only purpose-built Pentonville style prison open as a heritage attraction in Wales. People can spend time exploring its nooks and crannies and learn about life in the Victorian prison system. See how the prisoners lived their daily lives: what they ate, how they worked, and the punishments they suffered.

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NANTCLWYD Y DRE Take a trip through the seven ages of Nantclwyd y Dre, Wales’s oldest dated timbered town house. The house was started in 1435 and has been added to, updated and upgraded throughout the centuries, and now has been beautifully restored. Visit the house and gardens.

Opening times April to September Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 11am to 5pm

Steam trains in southern Snowdonia Beautiful lake and mountain views

Family friendly attraction – dog friendly too! Open most days from 28th March

Easter Egg Hunt - 10th to 13th April

Can you find the Easter Eggs cunningly hidden on the railway to solve the puzzle and win a prize?

Great fun for all the family! Bala Model Railway Show – 23rd & 24th May

Open for general visits April-September Pre-booked visits available year round

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He may be best known as everybody’s favourite pub landlord Alfie Moon in EastEnders, but Shane Richie has enjoyed a varied television and entertainment career. He’s currently starring in the smash hit stage show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – and looking forward to bringing it to Llandudno


wife was like, “Seriously, if the Tesco delivery man comes you’re not t’s fair to say Shane Richie is something of a national treasure. He answering the door in high heels!” but I walked everywhere in them.’ has been a familiar face for decades and kept us entertained on stage and screen as a performer, chat show host and soap superstar. But he’s never afraid of a challenge, and joining the cast of hit musical The right message Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was an opportunity too good to miss Shane is looking forward to taking the show around the country, – even though he wasn’t looking for a new role when it came his way. delivering what he considers to be an important message of ‘I’d just come out of EastEnders and I was happy to have a break,’ inclusivity and acceptance. ‘I want every kid in the country to see it. It is such a great message for them! It’s about unconditional Shane says, ‘but then the show’s producer got in touch about joining the cast. I’d heard a couple of tracks love of parents, support from friends, beating prejudice and from it and I liked them, so I went living your life the best way for you. It’s so relevant.’ to see it and was like, “Oh my God, Being away from his family is not easy for Shane, but he I just love this show!” They said, understands the importance of touring a show like this. ‘Getting “We’d like you to play to London to see a show is so expensive – we’re taking a Sheffield drag queen” it to the people. It must be 20 years since I last played ‘I want every and because it was so the Venue Cymru so I’m looking forward to going back, kid in the different I just thought although funnily enough I’ve just done a documentary about country to it was something caravanning and one of the places we went to was Rhyl!’ see it. It is I needed to do!’ such a great Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is at Venue message Dressing Cymru, Llandudno, from 5th to 9th May. for them’ Visit to impress Shane plays Hugo/ Loco – a role that required a fair bit of practice when it came to costume, but one Shane was perfectly at home with. ‘My dad used to run clubs in London so from age 10 I was used to seeing men in drag,’ he says. ‘I knew drag queens, I grew up with them, and I knew Danny La Rue. It’s funny now, if you’d have said to me 30-odd years ago that drag would be mainstream I’d have said “Don’t be stupid” - but drag is mainstream now and quite rightly so.’ There were some challenges. ‘Getting the hang of high heels was another thing. I had a nightmare. My left calf muscle – even when I just talk about putting on the heels I can feel it twingeing! It’s one thing standing in 5in heels, it’s another thing to walk in them and another thing entirely to dance in them. Layton Williams and the other drag queens in the show helped me and I’d do the school run, then come home, put the heels on and walk around the kitchen. My March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 17

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Wrexham Exploring Wrexham’s wonders Enjoy an adventure in the north Wales countryside with the two-day Wrexham Wonder itinerary, which takes in a grand National Trust house, a scenic walking trail and much more. Travel blogger Jamie Edwards offers his guide to the trip all mines and attractions are open all year, but visiting during the quieter winter season can provide a great opportunity to immerse yourself in nature without distraction.

Wrexham Museum

Day one

Introduction to Wrexham at Wrexham Museum The Wrexham Wonder itinerary begins at Wrexham Museum (free entry) which introduces you to local history and points of interest like Holt Castle and the Minera Lead Mines. One of the highlights is the Brymbo Man, the remains of a man from the early Bronze Age (that’s around 1600 BC). Modern technology has allowed us to see what Brymbo Man Llyndir Hall Hotel may have looked like, and this is revealed by the press of a button inside the exhibit. There’s a cafe inside the museum for lunch, or you may prefer to pack a picnic for the next part of the itinerary.

Staying at Llyndir Hall Hotel A rural fiveacre retreat by Hallmark Hotels, Llyndir Hall has its own pool and spa to unwind in before another day of sightseeing. Night owls may prefer a stay at the Lemon Tree, which is closer to Wrexham’s bars and restaurants.

Day two

The Ceiriog Valley Trail While admiring the pictures you took on day one over a hearty Welsh breakfast, download the Ceiriog Valley Trail app. This is an interactive map that provides you with photos and information about the trail so you can choose the sites you’d like to see. If you’re short on time, the top pick is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a World Heritage Site that stands 100ft (30m) high. You can walk across the aqueduct for stunning views over the valley or hop on a narrowboat to experience the Llangollen Canal.

Holt Castle and Church of All Saints, Gresford The inner courtyard is all that remains of Holt Castle, but Clywedog trail walk the artist’s impressions reveal a This trail takes you on a spectacular fortress comprising journey back to Wrexham’s five round towers with a moat industrial origins. Starting and drawbridge. Holt Castle was at the Bersham Iron Works built in a strategic position near the Museum, you’ll head through river Dee by Edward I to reinforce Nant Mill Woods along the his control over north Wales. The nearby Farnham Bridge river to the Visitor Centre is the ‘Gateway to Wales’ – (a former Corn Mill) and on to Minera Lead Mines. Not Walk among the mines and also provides the perfect

selfie moment or ‘cover shot’ of your Wrexham adventure. The distinct tone of the melodic Gresford Bells makes it one of the seven wonders of Wales, as you’ll agree if you arrive at the Church of All Saints during a wedding service. Erddig An 18th-century National Trust property on the outskirts of Wrexham, Erddig hold seasonal events throughout the year. In autumn, for example, you can see the annual apple harvest in which up to 180 varieties are picked from the gardens. In spring you can walk the Treemendous Trail. DID YOU You can also explore KNOW? Pontcysyllte is inside Erddig Hall, a the highest canal family home that’s been aqueduct in the run by the National world Trust in 1973. To end your trip on a sweet note, head to Erddig’s restaurant for a pot of tea and slice of bara brith.

Explore Erddig For more information about the Wrexham Wonder itinerary, visit Jamie Edwards runs the travel blog Explore With Ed. Visit

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Discover new adventures, a World Heritage Site, two National Trust properties, a thriving town centre and make memories by visiting Wrexham County in 2020. To plan your visit and see our new itineraries, visit


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1st March, Dragon Making, Coed-yBrenin Visitor Centre, Dolgellau Celebrate St David’s Day by making your own clay dragon! Ages 4-10. 11am-12.30pm. £5. Booking essential.

7th March, Mixed Media Art Workshop, The Crafty Pixies Art Studio, Welshpool Use your art to decorate gift tags and a greetings card, with the added option of purchasing a notebook or box frame to. 1pm-4pm. £20. Call Alwyn on 07879 547575 or Helen on 07896 488008.

7th March, Artisan Market, Victorian Market Hall, Brecon Join artisan makers at this annual event, part of the two-week Brecon Women’s Festival. There will be a children’s workshop area and the event raises money for local charities. 10am-4pm.

7th March, Mid Wales Winter Show, Celaeron Equestrian Centre, Llanarth A prestigious show including BSPS, NPS and TSR Ridden qualifiers. A perfect show for novices and seasoned pros alike.

7th, 14th & 21st March, Wildlife Digital Photography, Aberystwyth University A new hands-on course teaching you how to apply existing photography skills to wildlife, with a focus on taking images of specific wildlife subjects in the field (insects, birds or flowers), combining fieldcraft and camera skills. 10am-5pm. £120. Lifelong Learning Level 1, NQF Level 4. www.aber.

On stage at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Jack Dee: Off The Telly, 5th March ‘In these difficult and uncertain times people need hope – a ray of sunshine to brighten their day. And that’s very much where I come in,’ says Jack, star of TV sitcoms Bad Move, Lead Balloon and Josh. 8pm. Tickets £23. Third Angel: Department Of Distractions, 6th-7th March The Department of Distractions is a clandestine organisation whose job is to plant stories in the world. Third Angel brings you a conspiracy-theory documentary-exposé detective story for the 21st century. 7.30pm. Tickets £13-£16. Rich Hall’s Hoedown Deluxe, 17th March Rich’s combination of acerbic stand-up combined

Get planting those apples and pears! Learn how to grow apples, pears and soft fruits in a special course at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth from 7th to 8th March. Many people would love to have thriving fruit trees in their gardens, but are daunted by the practices of propagation and pruning. This course unlocks the mysteries by looking at the science behind fruit growing, and putting the theory into practice with hands-on sessions. Each student will even get to graft and take home an apple tree! The course costs £60 without accommodation, including tuition and materials. Full board accommodation is available for a further £70. For more information, visit

8th March, International Women’s Day, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth An afternoon of craft, poetry and information including a recital from the all-women choir Arising, who will perform songs that celebrate women’s lives and experience. 3pm–6pm. Free entry (donations welcome). www.

Can you outrun the devil? Take on a devilish challenge in the inaugural Trailhead Get Jerky Devil’s Staircase Ultra Trail Race on 4th April. The race, which covers 50km and ascents and descents of 1,741m, is an extreme running challenge that is sure to test your endurance and reward you with a memorable experience. Most of the race is off-road with some short road sections, including the steep ascent (25%) of the Devil’s Staircase. The route also includes the Abergwesyn Valley, Soar-y-Mynydd and the head of the dam at Llyn Brianne. The race starts at 9am in Llanwrtyd Wells, and entry costs £45.

with spit-and-sawdust alt-country lyricism has won over crowds across the UK. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2009 Jack Dee published a memoir entitled Thanks For Nothing

Milkshake! Live, 12th April Learn the amazing songs and dances of your favourite Milkshake! friends, including Fireman Sam, Noddy, Shimmer & Shine, Digby Dragon, and the Floogals. Noon & 3.30pm. Tickets £14-£16. Mark Bruce Company: Return To Heaven, 28th-29th April Intricately choreographed dance theatre that draws on the mythology of ancient Egypt. Visceral, poignant and laced with dark humour. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.

Spooky Silver Mountain Spend a night like no other with Paranormal Investigations at the Silver Mountain Experience, Aberystwyth, on 25th April, with Ethereal Wales on hand to provide guidance, equipment and knowledge. From 8pm to 2am you’ll have exclusive access to all areas including the historic buildings, two underground mines and the woods, with the team using scientific methods and attuned senses to try to discover whether the rumours are true and ghosts really do reside within the mines. The event is for over-15s only; under18s must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets £24.95.

Bringing stories to life at Ceredigion Museum Discover the power of a story well told with Milly Jackdaw, who will be running Speaking Stones storytelling sessions at Ceredigion Museum on 7th March and 18th April. Travel through time, legends and myths, and discover new tales that you’ve never heard told before. Listen to tales of trolls in a selection of traditional Norwegian folktales on 7th March, and on 18th April discover the story of chocolate, with legends and myths from the ancient Mayans. The sessions are complemented by the One More Day Less art and storytelling workshop on 14th March led by Milly Jackdaw and artist Beth Marsden.

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10th March, Seaweed Forage, Aberystwyth Take a walk to Aberystwyth beach at low tide to identify and gather a selection of tasty, edible seaweed. As well as foraging, participants will discuss sustainable harvesting and methods of preparation to make the most of these seasonal plants. 1pm-4.30pm. £45.

Eclectic live music at the Globe, Hay Katy Hurt, 13th March A leading light on the UK country-Americana scene, Katy was nominated in the Best Country/Folk Act category at the 2018 Unsigned Music Awards. 8pm. Tickets £5. Evening Jazz with The Jukes, 21st March This classic jazz group bring you music from the

era of black and white movies. Expect bebop and classic American songbook. 8pm. Free. True Strays, 28th March The blues-fuelled, dirty rock ’n’ roll band perform a joyous hoedown of bass-driven riffs, howling resonator guitars, cacophonous drums and soaring Hammond organ. 8pm. Tickets £8.

Crinkle Cuts, 11th April Tantric funk, smooth reggae and new-wave Latin ska are woven together with good vibes for an eccentric and exotic live performance. This Bristol seven-piece have built a strong reputation for getting crowds dancing through the night. 8pm. Tickets £8.

15th March, Big Bike Forestry Rides, Llanidloes Head off-road on your big bike in Tarennig and forests with the Sweet Lamb Adventure Bike Academy. Enjoy exclusive access to the Sweet Lamb tracks and trails and use the numerous hill climbs, descents, switchbacks and singletrack. Open to all levels. 9am. £98. To book email sweetlambnavigation@gmail. com or call 07972 310482.

Classical concerts in Hay Solem String Quartet, 5th March Amy Tress and William Newell on violin, Alistair Vennart on viola and Stephanie Tress on cello perform Beethoven’s Quartet in F major, Op 18, No 1 and John Luther Adams’s The Wind In High Places. 7pm. Lore Lixenberg and Bartosz Glowacki, 3rd April Mezzo-soprano Lore Lixenburg has performed in opera, concert repertory and

On track for Easter at Talyllyn Railway The Easter Bunny will be on the platform at Tywyn Wharf station on 12th April (Easter Sunday), waving the trains off all day. Come along and meet the Easter Bunny, who’ll be handing out Easter treats, and keep your eyes out on the train for the Easter Bunny Treasure Hunt. Talyllyn Railway will be running seven steam engine trips a day over the Easter weekend, and there are free activities for children too.

music theatre, and Bartosz Glowacki is one of the leading lights in the new generation of accordionists. Their programme includes Bach, Purcell, Eccles and Acquaviva. 7.30pm. Both concerts take place at St Mary’s Church, Hay. Tickets cost £12.50 for adults and £6 for students from Richard Booth’s Bookshop or on the door.

Spot signs of spring with Iolo Williams Join wildlife presenter and conservationist Iolo Williams for a special guided walk on 22nd April. Iolo will be visiting RSPB YnysHir to celebrate the site’s 50th anniversary and help visitors spot some of the wonders of spring, including redstarts, pied flycatchers and red kites. Join Iolo from 8am for the gentle walk. There will be coffee and croissants served in the visitor centre afterwards. The event costs £30 per person (£25 for RSPB members) and booking is essential. To book please call 01654 700222.

Start your engines Get behind the wheel at the Slip & Grip Automotive Spring Touge In The Valleys on 25th and 26th April, at the Mid Wales Activity Centre in Ystrad Meurig. Whether you drive a rally car, sprint car, hill climb car, drift car or trackday car, the event provides an awesome atmosphere and some awesome driving. Onsite camping is available and there will be a burger van serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. A single day costs £90 per driver and two days costs £170. www.

18th March, Bird Group Talk, Welshpool Methodist Hall The Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust hosts its latest evening for bird enthusiasts, with a talk on skydancers (harriers) with Keith Offord. 7.30pm. £2.50 including tea/coffee. Call 01938 552023.

21st March, Canal Trip, Welshpool Canoe Club Come and join a trip led by qualified and experienced river leaders and coaches. Kayaks and canoes are available to hire from the club. 10am-4pm. Email info@

22nd March, Pasta Making Class, The Bakers’ Table, Talgarth Learn how to make traditional handmade pasta. Nonna Caterina Italian Food will be in residence at The Bakers’ Table dedicated teaching space, making three types of egg pasta which you will take home with you. The class finishes with a traditional antipasto and pasta lunch and a glass of wine. 11am. £70.

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25th March, Needle Felt A Dragon, The Makers, Crickhowell Create your very own dragon using wonderful wool and barbed needles! The workshop takes place in the gallery above LatteDa Café and includes a delicious two-course lunch, morning and afternoon coffees, and all materials. £70. To book email

26th March, Buildings Of Delight, Royal Oak Hotel, Welshpool Roger Mitchell gives the March lecture of the Arts Society Mid Wales & Borders. 2.30pm. Call 01938 555574.

Music and passion in Builth Wells ROH Live: Fidelio, 17th March A live broadcast of Beethoven’s masterpiece from the Royal Opera House, London, starring Jonas Kaufmann as the political prisoner Florestan and Lise Davidsen as his wife Leonore, who daringly sets out in disguise as Fidelio to rescue him. 7.15pm. Tickets £17. An Evening Of Stories & Songs From Mal Pope, 28th March Mal tells stories about

Have some fun at the Hafren

27th March, Dungeons & Dragons Night, Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth There is space for new participants or you can bring your own group and play your own campaign. 6pm-9pm. Free. Ages 16 and over.

Ian Waite & Vincent Simone: Act Two, 21st March The Ballroom Boys, Ian Waite and Vincent Simone, return with another wonderful evening of old-fashioned variety – dance, comedy and song! Enjoy a night of beautiful costumes, gorgeous lighting and world-class routines, including the Viennese waltz, foxtrot, rhumba and Argentine tango. 7.30pm. Tickets £35.

27th March, Seonaid Aitken, Dragon Theatre, Barmouth The award-winning Scottish violinist and vocalist plays with the Andy Mackenzie Trio. £10. Email reservations@

Footloose, 2nd-4th April Full of recognisable hits like ‘Let’s Hear It For The Boy’, ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ and the classic ‘Footloose,’ this show will have you dancing in the aisles! Times vary. Tickets £13.50-£16.

27th-29th March, Yoga & Mindfulness Weekend, Tyddyn Retreat, Caersws Mindfulness, yoga, meditation, massage, walking and plantbased food. £295. www.

Lambing live at Lake Vyrnwy

28th March, Canyoning Open Adventure, Brecon Beacons Explore Afon Mellte from a perspective that most people never see, traversing waterfalls, swimming down rapids and jumping into plunge pools. 10am-1pm. www.

28th March, Nant yr Arian Silver Trail Half Marathon A varied mix of field, moorland, track and trail, plus junior races. 10.30am.

29th March, Spring Wedding Fayre, Maesmawr Hall Hotel, nr Newtown Meet some of the best suppliers to the wedding industry. 11am-3pm. Free entry.

his years spent touring with the likes of Art Garfunkel and Belinda Carlisle, as well as sharing what it was like to produce and write the music for the film Jack To A King. This intimate performance will feature songs Mal has written for artists including Cliff Richard and the Hollies, and duets he has recorded with Bonnie Tyler and Aled Jones. You might even get a chance to ask Mal some questions

Experience a miracle in action with Lambing Live at Lake Vyrnwy from 4th to 25th April. It’s not often you see a lamb being born, and Lambing Live is a great opportunity for children and parents alike to share this unique experience. RSPB Lake Vyrnwy offers guided tours of the ‘maternity wing’ on 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th April and you may even be able to get hands-on! Visitors are advised to wrap up warm and wear wellies. Tickets £8 for adult RSPB members (£10 non-members) and £4 for children (£5 non-members). To book call 01691 870278 or email

about the stories behind the songs. 7.30pm. Tickets £15. In Search Of Haydn, 31st March Phil Grabsky’s eagerly awaited documentary is a biographical account of Joseph Haydn’s life. The visual and aural extravaganza includes breathtaking performances by some of the world’s most celebrated musicians. 7.30pm. Tickets £12.50.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, 17th April A brand new musical comedy show that takes a no-holds-barred comic romp through everything life throws at a modern day woman. Join the refreshingly honest and uninhibited girls on a riotous evening of laugh-out-loud sketches and classic pop anthems. 7.30pm. Tickets £26. Newtown & District Male voice Choir, 25th April A night of traditional and popular songs, as once again the choir brings its annual concert to the Hafren. This year, it will be joined by soprano Shân Cothi and tenor Rhodri Prys Jones, both of whom will be accompanied by Jeffrey Howard. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.

Literary world of Paul Peter Piech

Celebrate stories at Powis Castle

An exhibition at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, delves into the literary world of internationally acclaimed graphic artist, printmaker and publisher Paul Peter Piech. Piech spent the last decade of his life in Porthcawl, producing prints heavily influenced by the Welsh culture and language. The Literary World Of Paul Peter Piech is a celebration of this work and the writers he portrayed, and featured works include Harri Webb’s poem ‘Colli Iaith’ (Losing Language). The exhibition runs until 23rd January 2021. The library is open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 5pm on Saturdays.

To mark World Book Day, Powis Castle & Gardens is holding a special book-themed weekend from 7th to 8th March. Dress up as your favourite story character and enjoy either free entry or a free cookie in the restaurant. You can also get busy completing the World Book Day Trail while exploring the beautiful castle and gardens, and exchange your £1 book token for one of the World Book Day Books in the shop. 11am-4pm. powis-castle-and-garden

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Winner of Mid Wales Tourism Awards Best Event 2019/2020

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th April Sat 10am - 5.30pm Sun 10am - 4.30pm Tickets £10.00, Under 16’s FOC FREE Parking

Gŵyl Tyddyn a Chefn Gwlad Smallholding & Countryside Festival 16 & 17 Mai / May 2020



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Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, Powys LD2 3SY Tel: 01938 820495

Dathliad o dyddynnu a bywyd gwledig A celebration of smallholding and rural life #GŵylTyddyn #SmallholdingFestival


S T E A M T R A I N S & S T U N N I N G S C E N E RY !e6025 Petersens RWAS Spring Smallholding Festival 140x97mm (2).indd See the countryside change as you travel through wide open fields and meadows, woodland and rugged mountain scenery. The narrow track gauge allows the railway to follow the contours of the terrain with many sharp curves and steep gradients which add to the railway’s charm. Listen to the sound of a powerful narrow gauge steam locomotive working hard to climb 700ft (200m) during the 12 miles from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge.


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Lle i Ddarganfod ... A Place to Discover ...

Oriau Agor Llun - Gwener 09:00 - 18:00 Sadwrn 09:30 - 17:00 Opening Hours Monday - Friday 09:00 - 18:00 Saturday 09:30 - 17:00

... treftadaeth a diwylliant Cymru a chenhedloedd Celtaidd.

• Regular services during the year • Free Parking • Group Rates • Workshop Tours • Accessibility Please contact us to discuss your booking requirements

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Tel: 01970 625 819 or visit

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• Mynediad am ddim i’r Ystafelloedd Darllen ac adnoddau • Arddangosfeydd am ddim • Rhaglen amrywiol o ddigwyddiadau a gweithgareddau • Caffi Pen Dinas yn gweini bwyd cartref • Siop yn gwerthu nwyddau Cymreig

... the heritage and culture of Wales and the Celtic nations. • Free admission to the Reading Rooms and resources • Free exhibitions • A diverse programme of events and activities • Caffi Pen Dinas serving home cooked food • Shop selling Welsh products

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BU 01970 632800

@LLGCymru | @NLWales



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World Book Day Sunday 8th March

Escape to the countryside between Welshpool and Newtown. Some of the fantastic places of interest within 35 mile radius: Chirk Castle, Lake Vrynwy RSPB, Coed y Dinas, Powis Castle, Hafren Forest, Ynyshir RSPB, Devils Bridge, Elan Valley, Abbey Cwm Hir, Whittington Castle, Stiperstones, Long Mynd, Clun Castle.

Mothering Sunday Sunday 17th May

Why not treat your Mother or loved one on this special day – Three Courses followed by Coffee & Mints, £25.95

Time2Run Hill Events Saturday 11th April Choose your distance and take on a challenge at Gregynog Hall on 11th April. With 10k, half marathon, marathon and ultra distances to choose from.

Experience the new Oakdale Premier luxury 6 berth holiday home complete with sun deck!

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Entry costs £16-£42 and all finishers receive a bespoke Gregynog Hall medal.

EASTER WEEKEND Good Friday 10th April Bank Holiday Monday 13th April

Gregynog Young Musician Competition


Sunday 17th May

Saturday 25th April

Take the Ferry from Barmouth Harbour & join the Railway to enjoy the magnificent views as you ride to Fairbourne Kids r g o fo


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Until 3rd April – open Friday/ Saturday/Sunday (10am – 4pm) From 3rd April – open Tuesday to Sunday (10am – last orders 4.30pm) plus Bank and School holidays

21/02/2020 15:34


Great nights at Pavilion Mid Wales The Elvis Years: The Story Of The King, 21st March Featuring nostalgic film footage and over 12 costume changes, this glittering two-hour stage musical production features classic Elvis Presley hits including ‘Suspicious Minds’, ‘It’s Now Or Never’, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Love Me Tender’ and many more! 7.30pm. Tickets £24.65.


Disco Bingo, 9th April Disco Bingo is exactly what it says on the tin – a full night of disco and bingo with a hilarious modern twist. Throughout the night, certain bingo numbers trigger disco classics to get the whole room up and dancing. Once the bingo is over the night continues with a full-on funky disco until the small hours. 8pm. Tickets £11.

A new 10k in Welshpool Be part of the first ever Welshpool 10k on 29th March. The brand-new event starts and finishes on the high street, taking in stunning views of Powis Castle and the surrounding deer estate. The route, on closed roads throughout, is an undulating and challenging one-lap race that’s perfect for all 10k runners, from nervous firsttimers through to experienced competitors. Runners should arrive at 8am, with the warm-up beginning at 8.45am and the race starting at 9am. All finishers will receive a medal and goodie bag. Entry costs £21.50 and there’s lots of fundraising support for those wishing to run in aid of Hope House, the official charity partner. Visit www.adrenalinesportingevents. or

OPERA ON TOUR ACROSS THE REGION Don’t miss Mid Wales Opera’s latest production, The Marriage Of Figaro, as it continues its tour at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon on 4th March, Theatr Clwyd in Mold on 8th March and Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 10th March. MWO brings a fresh approach to Mozart’s masterpiece for its 2020 spring tour, presenting a romp filled with revenge, disguise, love, trickery and a wedding thrown in for good measure! Join Figaro and Susanna on their marriage merry-go-round in a whirlwind comedy full of mistaken identity where servants outwit their masters, women outwit their men and true love triumphs against the odds. For full details of performance times and ticket prices, visit

An Audience with Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham, 18th April Join TV’s most experienced, highest-ranking, most decorated SAS leader and sniper Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham for an exciting evening of inspirational stories. The evening will include a question and answer session with a chance to meet Billy himself. 7.30pm. Tickets £26.75.

Hunt for eggs at Llanerchaeron

29th March, Jack Frost Enduro, Saintswell Practice Track and Race Centre, Rhayader Rhayader Motor Club hosts the first round of the Rhayader Enduro Super Series and the second round of the Welsh Enduro Championship. 10am.

1st-5th April, The Pirates Of Penzance, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth Showtime Singers presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s hilarious farce of sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dim-witted young lovers and an eccentric Major-General! 7.30pm Wed-Sat, 2pm Sunday. £10 on the door, £8 in advance.

Bring the whole family together this Easter for a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at Llanerchaeron. There are chocolate treats in store for everyone who visits the country house near Aberaeron in Ceredigion between 10th and 13th April. Become a nature detective, look out for signs of spring and solve the clues around the Llanerchaeron estate to claim your Cadbury’s chocolate prize. The Egg Hunt is on from 11am to 3.30pm and costs £2 per child. Normal admission charges also apply. For further details, visit

4th April, Raw Food: Savoury Dishes, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter Learn that raw food can be not only healthy but totally delicious with this creative short course with Peggy Beer from Eldertree. 10.30am-1.30pm. £25.

4th April, Cycle Jumble, Cefnllys School, Llandrindod Wells In aid of the National Cycle Museum charity. 8.30amnoon. Surplus stores cycles for auction at 11am. Stalls available – call 07740 923630.

Stories of refuge and renewal A new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Machynlleth examines the impact refugee artists have had on British art. The exhibition, which opens on 14th March and runs until 6th June, is entitled Refuge & Renewal: Migration & British Art, focusing on émigrés from Nazi Europe and some of the British artists they influenced, as well as present-day artists from the Middle East. Running concurrently, artist Daniel Trivedy presents Welsh Emergency Blanket, an ongoing series of work that responds to the proposal for Wales to become the first Nation of Sanctuary. It draws on the distinctive pattern of Welsh blankets as well as the emergency blankets that are often seen in refugee camps.

4th-5th April, British Mountain Unicycle Weekend, Coed-y-Brenin A fun weekend taking in the trails of Coedy-Brenin on Saturday and tackling Mount Snowdon on Sunday. See Facebook for further details

8th April, Easter Discovery Workshop, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth Discover the secrets of the museum’s collection in this interactive art workshop for families. 11am-1pm. Free (donations welcome).

9th April, Basic Map Reading Skills Training, Plas Dolerw, Newtown A course by Ramblers Cymru on basic map-reading skills, signs and symbols. £20 (free for members of Ramblers Cymru). 10.30am.

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DID YOU KNOW? Wonderwool courses include Kantha stitch and Tunisian intarsia

•10th April, Stations At Stations, Talyllyn Railway

The Right Rev Barry Morgan, Archbishop Emeritus of Wales, joins Talyllyn Railway to lead a spiritual pilgrimage on Good Friday. Biblical readings and prayers will be read at each station along the railway, following the traditional pattern for Stations of the Cross. 4pm8.30pm. Call 01654 710472 or email

12th-13th April, Easter Fun, Corris Railway Follow the Easter Egg Trail as the train goes to and from Maespoeth Junction. All children who complete the trail will receive a small prize.

18th April, Earth Oven Building, Centre For Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how to build a cob oven from scratch on this hands-on day course. Learn where to site your oven and how to access the raw materials, and discuss how to look after it in winter. 9.30am4.30pm. £70.

Wonderful workshops at Wonderwool Wales Fantastic fibre workshops come high on the list of must-dos at Wonderwool Wales 2020 – the award-winning annual extravaganza that celebrates all that’s great about wool and natural fibres. Held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells over the weekend of 25th and 26th April, the show brings fibre fans flocking from all over the UK and abroad. In recognition, it won an award for best event at the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards ceremony. Show visitors are ever eager to stock up on raw products, supplies and luxury handmade items, and

Fantastic folk in Aberystwyth Clwb Gwerin Aberystwyth Folk Club hosts two concerts at Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth Alden Patterson & Dashwood, 21st March Highly acclaimed folk trio Alden Patterson & Dashwood weave rich vocal harmonies, fiddle,

18th-19th April, FITASC Sporting British Grand Prix, Mid Wales Shooting Centre, Trefeglwys This event is the cut-off for the European Championship GB Team 2020 and includes 200 targets over eight layouts with competitors shooting four layouts each day. 8am5pm. Tickets at www.

21st April, Teifi 10-Mile Road Race, Lampeter A flat, fast and scenic certified-accurate 10-mile route taking runners along the River Teifi and through the university town of Lampeter. A perfect course for PBs. Noon. Email teulu.caerwenog@

many also grab the chance to attend a Woolschool workshop to learn or perfect their skills. Alongside a wealth of special exhibitions, daily demonstrations and have-a-go sessions, there’s also the ever-entertaining Sheepwalk (a woolly take on the catwalk) and the chance to admire work by Wonderwool Wales bursary award winners Jourdan Williams and Daisy Fay Ray, graduates from Carmarthen School of Art. For more, visit, like Wonderwool Wales Ltd on Facebook or follow on Twitter @wonderwoolwales.

guitar and dobro around beautiful original songs and melodies, taking influence from English folk traditions. Their uplifting instrumentals and self-penned songs depicting tales of travellers, sleepy seas and their affection for home.

George Nash & Guy, 24th April George Nash uses the full body of the guitar to create a rich multi-instrumental sound on just one instrument. He plays a range of genres and styles but his favourites are folk, rock, Celtic and groove. www.

How far will you go?

A delicious treat for Mother’s Day

Cycle away the winter blues

Choose your distance and take on a challenge at Gregynog Hall on 11th April, with 10k, half marathon, marathon and ultra distances to choose from. The race starts and finishes outside the spectacular entrance of Gregynog Hall near Newtown, and the undulating road race is fully marked and marshalled. Runners complete 10k laps, with additional laps at the start of the marathon and half marathon routes. The ultra race and 10k begin at 9am, the marathon at 10.30am and the half marathon at 10.45am.

Treat the special woman in your life to a sumptuous afternoon tea in the ballroom at the Grade II listed Garthmyl Hall in Berriew, followed by a walk around the spectacular gardens on 22nd March. Afternoon tea sittings take place at 1pm and 2pm, and guests are encouraged to take a walk around the gardens and grounds of the impressive hall during their visit. Prices are £25 per adult and £9.50 per child. For more information and bookings, email

Wave goodbye to the winter chills at the Fox Antifreeze, a mountain bike endurance challenge at Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park near Dolgellau. The non-competitive, multi-lap, chip-timed challenge has a staggered start format. Riders can choose mid-ride whether to complete one, two or three laps of the 12km circuit, which offers a mix of riding on the forest’s finest trails. The junior Antifreeze event runs from 10am to noon on 14th March, with the adult event from 10am to 11.15am on 15th March. www.dyfievents. com/events/antifreeze

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Recordings wi

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Chris Evans’ ‘Car-Fest’


01686 614 555


METAL POLES FROM £17.99 VENETIAN, VERTICAL AND ROLLER BLINDS We stock the largest selection of readymade curtains in the area.


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What’s On February to May 2020 Half-term St ea

m Saturday 15th - Sunday 23rd February Buy a Rover Tic ket and hop on and off all day


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th March Photograthph Wednesday 18

-time Railway in spring Monday 16 loveliness of the Photograph the uired) (pre-booking req Local Residents’ Weekend

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd March Travel for just a Pound with your Local Resident’s Discount Card

eats Easter Tr Stations th ril - Stations at

the Bonnet Making, th April - Easter Friday 10 Ap EGGS! th & Sunday 12 wn the line and do and up nt Saturday 11 cial ter Treasure Hu nday Market Spe .00 rer & Mo.00 Easter Bunny,thEas ril - Cader Explo Ap 13 ay Mond

Duration Child Adult 1 Hour £5 £ 10 Quarryman .00’s Expe Thur rienc 16 £e 8.00 A2fulHour y & Saturday l day experience sday 7£ Ma 23

• Free tiled or laminate floor with all conservatories • PLEASE ASK FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTATION

Daily trips from New Quay, Brick Madness - a ‘LEGO’ Extravaganza Ceredigion, SA45 9NW Sunday 24 to Sunday 31 Wales, May A week of LEGO activities on the railway Dogs welcome Please see our website for full detailsAsk of these and Group discounts for details



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LEGO is a trademark of the LEGO Group, who do not own, endorse or sponsor this event

other exciting events throughout the year




Visit our large lifestyle showrooms in Mold or Caernarfon: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Sat & Sun 10am-4pm. Caernarfon closed Sun.

Mold: 01352 758812 Caernarfon: 01286 672935 Chester: 01244 879818

01654 710472 | Gorsaf Wharf Station, Tywyn LL36 9EY

MOLD: Bromfield Industrial Estate, Mold Flintshire CH7 1HA

All photographs taken by our skippers during PART OF THE WALL-LAGrecent trips GROUP OF COMPANIES

CAERNARFON: Crown Street, Caernarfon LL55 1SY

Photography ©Barbara Fuller ©Andrew Young


Dolphin Spotting

Tel 01545 560 800 / 375 Email


ON 01545US560 800/375




1 Hour 2 Hour

£10 £16

£5 £8


Daily trips from New Quay, Ceredigion, Wales SA45 9NW


Dogs Welcome


Group discounts (ask for details)

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“Working to improve the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises in British and Irish waters”



21/02/2020 15:41



21st April, Willow Sculpture Workshop, Myddfai Community Hall & Visitor Centre Have a go at making a small sculpture such as a pheasant, hare, chicken or pig using a variety of willow. No experience required. £50 including all materials. 10.30am-4.30pm.

Action for all ages at Theatr Brycheiniog The Tiger Who Came To Tea, 24th-25th March For the first time ever, Judith Kerr’s muchloved children’s tale is brought to life on stage in a show packed with oodles of magic, singalong songs and clumsy chaos. Expect to be surprised! Times vary. Tickets £14. Fagin, 2nd April Join Fagin as he reviews his situation during his final night in prison before being hanged and is ‘visited’ by some old acquaintances. Find out who he really was and how he ended up as one of the best-known of Dickens’ characters. Written and directed by Simon Downing. 7.30pm. Tickets £12.50/£10.50.

Walk the beautiful Black Mountains Enjoy nine days of fabulous guided walks in and around the Black Mountains from 7th to 15th March with the Crickhowell Walking Festival. The festival consists of a number of guided walks of various grades, led by local experienced guides. There’s something for every level of walker, whether you are happy trekking all day across the tops of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons or would rather keep to paths and the lower slopes. The programme also has a range of supporting events such as talks and courses in map reading and navigation. There will also be time to relax and listen to live music and even dance, if you still have enough energy left!

Race around the lake Take on a challenge surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in Wales at the Rhayader Round The Lakes on 21st March. You have the option of running either 30km or five miles. The demanding 30km race starts a short distance from the Leisure Centre in Rhayader, taking you around the Elan Valley reservoirs and finishing at the Smithfield in Rhayader. The fivemile race starts from Nantgwyllt car park in Elan Valley and finishes in Rhayader. The five-mile race costs £8 (£10 unattached)and the 30km race costs £23 (£25 unattached).

What The Floyd?, 3rd April The Pink Floyd tribute act combine the latest technology, a mindwarping light and laser show and some of the finest musicians in the business to perform the ultimate Floyd set list. 7.30pm. Tickets £22.50. Morgan & West: Unbelievable Science, 4th April Magicians, time travellers and all-round spiffing chaps Morgan & West have a secret past – they are bona fide, legitimately qualified scientists, and are bringing their love of enlightenment to the stage! Expect explosive thrills, chemical spills and a risk assessment that gives their stage manager chills, all backed up by the duo’s trademark wit, charm and detailed knowledge. 2pm. Tickets £14.50/£12.50.

Local gardens open for spring Two spectacular gardens are opening their doors to the public through the National Garden Scheme this April. Gorsty House in Montgomery will be open from 1.30pm to 5pm on 4th and 5th April, showcasing daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs. Admission is £4 for adults and free for children. Homemade teas will also be available. Little House in Llandinam, Powys, will be open from 1pm to 5pm on 26th April to reveal its auriculas, winter heathers and hellebores. Admission costs £3.50 for adults and is free for children. Again, homemade teas will be served.

Outstanding musical talent in Machynlleth Some of the most talented young musicians in the country will showcase their talents in two Showcasing Youth concerts at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Machynlleth. Three talented winners of the 2019 Gregynog Young Musician Competition will perform on 2nd April: cellist Danushka Edirisinghe, pianist Avishka Edirisinghe and tenor Simon Brown. On 17th April, the overall winner of Gregynog’s Young Musician 2019, Llandudno’s Ellis Thomas, will be perform a special solo concert. Both concerts begin at 7.30pm and cost £12 (under-18s are free).

24th-26th April, Bird Identification: An Introduction, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how to identify a wide range of birds, from warblers to waders and everything in between. 10am. £120.

25th-26th April, Introduction To Weaving On A Rigid Heddle Loom, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter This fun workshop will introduce you to weaving on the simple rigid heddle or knitter’s loom. The loom is easy to use but the possibilities of experimenting and creating amazing designs are limitless. £90.

25th April, Dyfi X Half and Full Trail Marathon A full or half trail marathon along coast, trail, hill, river and forest in the Dyfi valley, taking in stunning views of the Dyfi estuary, Happy Valley, the Cambrian mountains, and the Welsh coastal path. The full marathon is two laps with 1,550m height gain; the half is one lap with height gain 775m.

29th April, Revealing The Archaeology Of Ceredigion & Mid Wales, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth Join Dr Toby Driver for a talk on the prehistoric, Roman and medieval discoveries from the drought summer of 2018, and what they reveal about the archaeology of Ceredigion and mid Wales. 1pm. Free entry.

29th April, Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac, Aberystwyth Arts Centre New show celebrating the very best of Fleetwood Mac, including a special blues set paying tribute to the band’s legendary Peter Green era. 8pm-11pm.

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CHESHIRE WHAT’S ON Steve Ullathorn


DID YOU KNOW? Fascinating Aïda were formed in 1983 by Dillie Keane

Throughout March and April, Curious About Chester Walk Take a self-guided tour with a treasure hunt theme, looping around the city’s better-known sights, as well as some of the more unusual and quirky ones that make Chester such a fabulous place to explore. Guides from £7.49. Download from

Until 15th March, Made In Chester: Art by Nicky Thompson, Grosvenor Museum, Chester A new series of 1930s-style art pieces featuring iconic Chester views. Chesterbased artist Nicky Thompson, of Lemondrop Creative, evokes the golden age of travel in these original holiday posters designed to entice and inspire the exploration of Britain. 10.30am–5pm. Free admission (suggested donation £3).

7th & 28th March and 25th April, Chester Antiques, Collectors’ & Vintage Fair, Northgate Arena, Chester With up to 120 tables, this fair is bound to have the perfect pieces to complement your home, collection or wardrobe. 9am–3.30pm. £2 adults, £1.50 concessions, free for children. £1.50 car parking.

An Irish spectacular at Storyhouse Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show, 8th & 15th March This new show, filmed at the 3Arena in Dublin where the phenomenon began and shown on the big screen at Storyhouse, catapults Riverdance into the 21st century. Be immersed in the extraordinary and elemental power of the music and dance. 7pm on the 8th and 2.30pm on the 15th. Tickets £13.50 adults, £11 under-26s. Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Empathy Pains, 28th March Award-winning comedian Kiri thinks we live in a time where empathy is seen as a weakness, but why is that? See her make the impossible hilarious – or possibly get arrested. 8pm. Tickets £12.50 adults, £10.50 under-26s.

Specialist Tour: Behind Closed Doors, 2nd March The house at Lyme has many secrets from throughout the centuries. See what lies behind hidden cupboards, doors and cabinets. Lunch in the cosy surrounds of the Salting Room is included. Suitable for children over 12 years. 10.30am–11.30am. Tickets £25. Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea, 21st & 22nd March Celebrate Mother’s Day with afternoon tea including a glass of bubbly, sandwiches, soup and a selection of sweet treats. 11am–3pm. £24.95 per person. Booking essential; call 01663 761400.

•10th March, Cheshire Wildlife Trust Volunteer Induction Day, Holly Bank House, Thornton Le Moors Learn more about the work at the trust and find out where you can provide a helping hand. 12.30pm-3pm. Free event.

English Touring Opera: St John Passion, 9th April ETO presents an immersive and semi-staged performance. Professional soloists perform with more than 30 choirs from across the country as well as period orchestra, the Old Street Band, for these distinctive and reimagined performances. 7.30pm. Tickets from £20.50 (plus a limited number of £5 tickets available for under-26s).

Spring events at Lyme Park

7th March, Farmers’ Market, Rode Hall & Gardens, Scholar Green Over 60 stalls featuring local artisans, food producers and crafts. There’s also live music and a free craft activity for children. 9am-1.30pm. Free entry. •7th March, The Ladies Laughter Lunch, The Chester Grosvenor Hotel A fundraising event for the Countess Charity, where guests will be welcomed with a glass of Taittinger and enjoy a two-course lunch and coffee. Resident TV paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram will host a charity auction. Noon-4pm. £40.

Fascinating Aïda, 5th April Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman present a selection of old favourites, songs you haven’t heard before and some you’ll wish you’d never heard in the first place. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.

Pride & Prejudice: A Promenade Performance, 31st March Students from the Royal Northern College of Music perform scenes from Jane Austen’s classic

novel around the house at Lyme. 11am– 4pm. Free event but normal admission applies (£9.50 adults, £4.75 children). Lyme Experience Walk, 26th April Discover the history of Lyme and how it is maintained by rangers and volunteers. Enjoy dramatic views as you hear about landscape, conservation and natural history, plus many listed structures and deer herds. 11am–1.30pm. Free event but normal admission applies (£9.50 adults, £4.75 children).

Inspiring art on show at Sicily Oak Farm A visit to the British Art Portfolio Spring exhibition at Sicily Oak Gallery in Cholmondeley from 24th April to 3rd May is a must for Cheshire art lovers. Paintings and sculptures from established and up-and-coming artists will be on display at the gallery between Tarporley and Whitchurch, in aid of the Joshua

Tree (helping families affected by childhood cancers) and the Tarporley War Memorial Hospital. The gallery is open daily from 10am to 6pm and admission is free. Email judybd@ for details.

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Cool down at the Ice Cream Farm


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Em Stryker

There’s plenty happening at the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall this spring, with events planned throughout March and April. Autism-friendly sessions take place from 9am to 11am on 7th March and from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on 4th April. Mums can enjoy a free ice cream on Mother’s Day, 22nd March, with a free single cone for every mum who enters the site. The following

weekend, 28th and 29th March, is Superhero Weekend when guests can meet their favourite superhero and villains. And don’t forget the Easter bunny, who will be in attendance from 4th to 19th April for an Easter egg hunt and Great Eggscape. The farm is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free but there is a charge for some attractions.

Roll up for fun with Circus Funtasia Circus Funtasia presents a new production packed with worldclass talent in venues across Cheshire from 1st to 19th April. The phenomenal live show proves that the circus isn’t just for kids. Hear the roar of motorbike engines, feel the heat of the firebreathers’ flames, see aerialists and powerful performers on the Wheel of Death, dance to the beat of the Argentinian bolas,

Wildlife work Practical Conservation, Cleaver Heath Nature Reserve, Heswall, 1st March Help with tasks such as birch and bracken control, cleaning bird boxes and path work. Sturdy footwear and a packed lunch essential. 10am3pm. Free – just turn up! Apple Grafting, New Ferry Butterfly Park, Cheshire, 8th March David Elwand of Wirral Tree Wardens will talk about local Cheshire varieties of apples and other fruits. 10am-2pm. Free session but donations welcome. British Wildlife Talk, Nantwich Methodist Church, 18th March A talk on hedgehogs and the WildAid Foundation Trust. 8pm. £3.

Live music at its best in Chester There’s plenty to keep you entertained at the Live Rooms Chester. The Springsteen Sessions on 6th March cover over four decades of The Boss, the Lancashire Hotpots bring another night of madcap music on 21st March and the Bryan Adams Experience celebrate the man himself on 25th April.

laugh out loud at the comedian the Geek, and smell the delicious popcorn (or even have a tipple) as you enter the heated big top. Performances take place at the Verdin Exchange, Winsford, from 1st to 5th April, and Orford Park in Warrington from 8th to 19th April. Tickets cost from £6.99, with under-twos free. Show times vary. For details, visit

Chester Boat spring highlights Step back in time with the 60s 70s 80s Rewind Cruise on 21st March, and treat Mum on a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea Cruise on 22nd March, with delicious homemade scones, cakes, and sandwiches (plus a glass of prosecco). There’s a Mamma Mia Cruise on 11th April, when you can celebrate all things Abba. And don’t forget the half-hour City Cruises that sail every day, and the two-hour Iron Bridge Cruises over Easter weekend (10th-13th April).

10th March, Wine Dinner: Tour of Spain, ABode, Chester An exclusive, fivecourse menu and paired wine flight. Sip your way around the shores of Spain and explore some of the country’s lesser-known wine regions. Discover the finest wines Spain has to offer, including an elegant, gently sparkling cava and a crisp and refreshing albariño. 7pm-10pm. £49.

11th March, Chester Music Society: Ben Goldschneider (French horn), St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester At the age of 18, Ben was a Concerto Finalist in the BBC Young Musician Competition, and performing with the BBC Symphony Orchestra when he made his debut at the BBC Proms in 2018. His first album was released to critical acclaim. 7.30pm. £16.

13th-15th March, Craft & Gift Fair, Gordale Garden & Home Centre, Burton Visit the craft marquee, where there will be a wide selection of quality crafts and gifts including ceramics, card, woodwork, glass, artwork, women’s clothing, handmade candles, jewellery and more. 9.30am–5pm Fri & Sat; 11am4.30pm Sun. Free entry.

14th March, American Wrestling, Northwich Memorial Court, Northwich See the stars live in action in this family spectacular, which promises to be a gigantic red-hot rumble. This action-packed show provides two hours of nonstop entertainment. 7.30pm. £13 adults, £11 children.

15th March, Cheshire Foraging Course, Marbury Country Park, Northwich A two-hour walk around the park, teaching you how to identify different edible and poisonous plants and mushrooms. Stop en route for a seasonal homemade refreshment and end the day with a tasty wild food lunch based on what you have found and some pre-prepared homemade treats. Noon– 3.30pm. £50 adults, £25 under-16s, free for under-12s.

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Theatrical delights at the Brindley Theatre, Runcorn •15th March, Wedding Fair, Holiday Inn, Ellesmere

Port Enjoy an afternoon of wedding shopping and planning. Chat with up to 40 wedding suppliers along with the friendly hotel staff about your wedding ideas and requirements. Noon–4pm. Free entry.

22nd March, A Taste of Chester Walking Tour Try many culinary delights guaranteed to get your taste buds tingling on this three-hour guided food tour. There will be seven food and drink stops led by an experienced local guide. A maximum of eight people per tour and you’ll take home a mystery gift. 9am. £60.

Barnum: The Untold Story, 6th March How accurate were the portrayals of PT Barnum in the musical Barnum and, more recently, The Greatest Showman? This two-hour presentation reveals all. 7.30pm. Tickets £15. The Elvis Years, 20th March Join Mario Kombou, an all-star band and award-winning singers for an unforgettable journey through more than 50 golden greats. With film footage. 7.30pm. Tickets £25. Peter Pan, 6th-8th April A swashbuckling family pantomime, with pirates, Indians and lots of fairy dust. Starring Steven Arnold (Coronation Street)

29th March & 26th April, Treacle Market, Macclesfield Browse the 160 stalls of unique crafts, lovingly produced food, drink and vintage finds. Many local shops, galleries and cafes are also open on the day. 10am–3.30pm

DID YOU KNOW? Elvis Presley paid $4 to record his first song, a gift for his mum

Exciting Science, 16th April An educational show that will amaze all ages from four years upwards. With fun and fact-filled experiments, watch in amazement as they recreate a volcanic eruption, turn a vacuum cleaner into a missile launcher or take aim at you with their smoke blaster. 2pm. Tickets £12.

Easter experience at Capesthorne Hall

22nd March & 26th April Afternoon Tea & River Cruise, Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich Enjoy a thrilling trip on the magnificent boat lift, combined with a journey on the River Weaver. Back on dry land, it’s time to enjoy your deluxe afternoon tea in the Lift View Marquee. 12.15pm3.30pm on 22nd March; 12.45pm-4.15pm on 26th April. £25.99 adults and children 10-plus, £20 children ages three to 10), free for underthrees (ticket still required). 25th March, Sandbach Concert Series: Chris Acquavella & Lauren Scott, St Mary’s Church Hall, Sandbach Leading US classical mandolinist Chris Acquavella joins forces with local harpist Lauren Scott. Together they present a mix of baroque, romantic and accessible contemporary classical music on the first stop of a whistlestop tour of the UK. 7pm. £10 adults, £9 concessions, £21 families, £3 schoolchildren.

as Captain Hook and panto favourite Andrew Curphey as Peter Pan. 2.30pm & 7pm. Tickets from £14.50.

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on 12th April for a family theatre show through a magical Easter egg trail at Capesthorne Hall near Siddington, Macclesfield. Follow the story through the arboretum, joining in with singing, dancing and fun games. Meet Flo and Mo, join Benji Bunny on an adventure and discover what naughty squirrels Nutty and Timmy Toptoes are up to.

The show lasts an hour and all children receive a chocolate egg. Slots are available from 9.30am to 3.45pm, and tickets cost £9.95 for children and £7.50 for adults; under-twos are free. www.

Classical music at Chester Cathedral

The history of gin

Chester Philharmonic Orchestra presents An Evening Of Russian Fantasy on 7th March, with music demonstrating the talent from St Petersburg and illustrating the theme of ‘fable and fantasy’. This will be followed by Chester Music Society’s choir presenting Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis on 21st March. The dramatic mass is one of the Beethoven’s supreme achievements, and is thought to be one of the most significant mass settings. Both performances run from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. For full details, visit

Discover the origins of gin on Saturdays from 7th to 28th March at Brewhouse & Kitchen Chester. On Burger Mondays, all burgers are two for one and on Wings Wednesdays, a pint of beer and a portion of wings is just £6.95. www.

Live shows at the Forum Theatre Dancing In The Wings, 20th21st March Based on writer Philippa Davies’s struggles with stillbirth and child loss. 7.45pm. From £10. The Importance Of Being Earnest, 31st March – 4th April Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. From £7.

Boom Bang A Bang, 22nd-25th April Play set on the eve of the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. From £7. www.chester

Underwater adventures Blue Planet Aquarium in Chester is home to more than 100 living displays, as well as one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks. Open 10am to 5pm (6pm on weekends). Tickets from £17.10 for adults and £12.15 for children. www.blueplanet

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Discover Arley in 2020 Arley is a short drive from Northwich and Knutsford; a magical place just waiting to be discovered... Historic stately home Award-winning gardens Café serving meals and snacks Dogs welcome on a lead Film location including Peaky Blinders Children’s Adventure PlayZone Grade II* listed chapel Woodland Walk Plant nursery Wedding and corporate venue Open all year round Arley Hall & Gardens, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6NA 01565 777353


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Plus: Interactive exhibits and displays, 35 acres of gardens and arboretum, Planet Pavilion Cafe and gift shop, playground and picnic areas, year-round events and activities

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WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF John Millar, Vicki Johnson, Andrew Butler


Spring garden highlights at Dunham Massey The gardens at the National Trust’s Dunham Massey is full of blossom during the spring, especially from magnolias, cherry and crab apple trees., and you can epect to see them blossom from late February or early March. The bluebell mound in the Winter Garden is another spring highlight, with a vivid carpet of flowers covering the floor from late April. The gardeners have planted thousands of tulips within the gardens and are hopeful for a large display in April. Guided garden tours and the free Gardener’s Notebook have a focus on these tulips. Spring bulbs are also available to buy from

the shop, so visitors are able to take a little bit of Dunham’s gardens home with them. This spring, visitors can also share in 50 years of Judith Kerr’s remarkable creation, Mog. From 18th April to 20th May you can explore the Mog The Forgetful Cat Trail, the first in a series of trails and activities that will be based on the loved children’s character. The trail is free to follow – just pick up a map at the kiosk and get exploring. Dunham Massey gardens are open from 10.30am to 5pm. Entrance costs £11 for adults and £5.50 for children (free for members).

Easter fun at Blakemere Village

Spring fair and gardens at Arley Open Hall, 5th March – 27th October (Tuesdays and Sundays only) View the elaborate ceilings and oak panelling, impressive fireplaces, intricate stained glass and beautiful contents that make Arley Hall so special. 10am-3pm. Tickets £9 adults, £3 children.

Mary Ann Cameron

Spring Plant Fair, 19th April Browse the specialist plant

nurseries selling unusual plants and bulbs, and gather great ideas for your garden. The Gardener’s Kitchen café is open for meals or tea and cake. 10am-4pm. Entrance £2 adults (£1.50 if booked in advance online). Free parking. Entry to the hall and gardens is additional. www.

Easter Bunny Trail, 4th-19th April Help the Easter Bunny find his friends and collect a prize. Maps £3. 10am-4pm. Suitable for children aged three to 11 years.

Be spooked in Chester

Perfectly formed plays at Chester Little Theatre

Take night-time journey into the haunted streets of Chester on Fridays and Saturdays in March and Saturdays in April. Your tour guide will take you to visit the eerie haunts of Chester’s mysterious and murky past, where you’ll hear spine-chilling tales of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. Tours depart at 7.30pm from the town hall and last 90 minutes. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £25 for families. www. chesterghost

The Ladykillers, 7th-14th March A classic black comedy. 7.30pm. Tickets from £8.

4th April, Pelléas Ensemble, Holmes Chapel Leisure Centre Be prepared for the captivating vitality of the Pelléas Ensemble (flute, viola and harp) performing works by Rameau, Robert Peate, Jolivet, Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. 8pm. £17 adults, £1 concessions and under-16s.

The Next Doctor Cosmos, 23rd-25th April Alice Knight is a woman with a secret… 7.30pm. Tickets from £8.

Live performances at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday, 15th March Featuring CBeebies characters. 1.30pm & 4pm. From £11.

2nd-9th April, Lambing Week at the Farm, Tatton Park, Knutsford Will you be lucky enough to see the lambs being born? This year the farm has synchronised the ewes to lamb within a 10-day period. Informative talks on the imminent signs of lambing by the farm staff are also provided. Noon–5pm. Normal farm admission applies: £7 adults, £5 children. Halfprice entry for National Trust members on production of a valid NT card. £7 parking. 3rd April, An Evening of Paloma Faith, Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa, Pulford The nation’s most faithful tribute to Paloma Faith will captivate audiences with her uncanny ode to the queen of contemporary kooky. Her live performance will include hits such as ‘Upside Down’, ‘Make Your Own Kind Of Music’ and ‘Can’t Rely On You’, blended with classic covers that Paloma has made her own throughout her career. 7.30pm. £35.

Sunday Car Boot, 26th April On the front events field, with plenty of bargains. Gates open at 7am and entry is free.

The Lonesome West, 21st March The story of the inhabitants of the small Irish town. 7.30pm. Tickets from £8.

1st-30th April, Stretton Water Mill, Stretton Step back in time to visit an historic working corn mill in beautiful rural Cheshire. Weekends and bank holiday Monday, 1pm-5pm. £3.50 adults, £1.80 children, including guided tour.

Ben Hart: Wonder, 17th April The Britain’s Got Talent finalist, West End star and award-winning magician 7.30pm. Tickets from £15.

5th April, Plant Hunters’ Fair, Bramall Hall, Stockport Bringing you some of the country’s most highly respected specialist nurseries, including RHS medallists, each with a brilliant range of plants. 10am–4pm. £2. Includes free entry to the 70-acre parkland surrounding Bramall Hall.

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Restaurant racing at Chester Racecourse •

9th-13th April, Camperfest, Chester Racecourse A great Easter camping weekend running alongside the Chester Food & Drink Festival. Availability strictly limited so booking essential. Pitches from £30.

12th & 13th April, Plant Hunters’ Fair, Dorothy Clive Gardens, Market Drayton The gardens opens its gates for what has become one of the best-loved garden events in the region. Explore the gardens, sit and relax in the many seating areas, and enjoy the tearoom’s home-baked goods on the terrace lawn, while taking in the lovely views of the surrounding countryside. 10am-5pm. £4.

13th April, Antiques, Vintage & Collectors’ Fair, Wilmslow Leisure Centre Offering up to 80 quality and varied tables, this is a fantastic day out and the ideal opportunity for you to find something perfect to complement your home or collection. 9.30am–4pm. £2 adults, £1.50 concessions, free for under-16s.

18th & 19th April, Sandbach Transport Festival In addition to the variety of vehicles on display from vintage to modern day, SpareParts will be returning on the Sunday only for the TruckTown Arts Festival. There will be plenty on offer for everybody – from car enthusiast dads to the excited children who want to play and the mums who would like to listen to some music. 10am-5pm. Free entry.

Cheltenham Cup, 1539 Restaurant & Bar and The White Horse, 10th-13th March Watch live action from the Cheltenham Festival at 1539, plus a three-course lunch and table service betting facilities with Chester BET. From £37.50 per person. A similar service is on offer at the course’s gastropub, The White Horse, on 13th March. £30 per person, including a three-course lunch, £5 betting voucher and table service betting. Mother’s Day, 1539 Restaurant & Bar, 22nd March Treat Mum to a delicious menu, along with stunning views of the racecourse, and a special gift. £35 per person.

Scientific wonders at zoo To celebrate British Science Week, experts at Chester Zoo will be running a series of events from 9th to 14th March. Find a zoo ranger throughout the week between 10.30am and 2pm and find out how scientists monitor animals in the wild. From 4.15pm on 11th March in Bembe Coffee Shop, 15- to 18-year olds can meet the scientists working to help prevent extinction, and find out about their job roles and career pathways. Entry costs £5, incuding a drink and cake. The Woodland Adventure Club, for ages eight to 11, takes place every Sunday until 29th March with sessions at 10am and 2pm.

18th-25th April, Cheshire Residents’ Festival, various venues To mark English Tourism Week, residents of Cheshire can explore what’s on their doorstop for free for one week only. Several attractions will be offering free and discounted entry, free tours and other opportunities for residents to discover more about the county. Vouchers are required for entry to events.

DID YOU KNOW? You can enjoy race days at Restaurant 1539 with views of the Roodee

Grand National, 1539 Restaurant & Bar and The White Horse, 4th April Enjoy live on-course action from the most esteemed steeplechase in the world while enjoying a three-course lunch and table service betting at 1539 Restaurant & Bar. £42.50 per person. You can also enjoy a three-course lunch, £5 betting voucher and in-house betting facilities at The White Horse – plus kids eat free. £30 per person. For more information and to book, visit or

Fairground fun at Gulliver’s World Resort

Mums go free on 21st and 22nd March at Gulliver’s World Resort in Warrington when accompanied by one paying person. Gully and the gang will be on hand to help you create some magical memories that Mum can treasure. The park also hosts a Easter Extravaganza from 11th to 13th April, with special appearances from the Easter Bunny. There will be games and competitions, entertainment on the main stage, an Easter bonnet parade and the Big Bunny Bounce.

Easter boat gathering

Chester’s food and drink festival

A floral flotilla of boats will be moored across the National Waterways Museum’s sevenacre site at Ellesmere Port from 10th to 13th April for the Easter Boat Gathering. Museum visitors can stroll along the waterside, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a rare chance to get up close to historic vessels, lovingly restored by dedicated owners. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm. Tickets cost £9.75 for adults and £6 for children and allow entry for one year. www.

A stellar line-up of celebrity chefs will feature at the 2020 Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Festival at Chester Racecourse from 11th to 13th April, including MasterChef host John Torode and Ready Steady Cook star Paul Rankin. www.

Stock your garden at Cholmondeley Plant Hunters’ Fair will be held in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle on 26th April offering an opportunity to purchase some rare and unusual plants as well as classic favourites. The £4 entry price includes access to the fair and gardens. Gates open at 10am.

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Theatre and dance at Crewe Lyceum Wasteland, 3rd & 4th March A company of exceptional dancers, a community cast of singers, brass musicians, archive film footage, a powerful rave soundtrack and unique artwork by Jimmy Cauty. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10. The Woman In Black, 9th-14th March Susan Hill’s ghost story comes dramatically alive in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation that is a study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets from £10.50.

By The Waters Of Liverpool, 25th & 26th March Period drama set in the 1930s, adapted from Helen Forrester’s million-selling book. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets from £24. Educating Rita, 30th March – 4th April When married hairdresser Rita enrols on a university course to expand her horizons, little does she realise where the journey will take her. Directed by Max Roberts of Live Theatre. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets from £14.50.

Fabulous line-up at Parr Hall Ryan Giggs is at Parr Hall, Warrington on 6th March for an exclusive interview. On 13th March get ready to rock with What’s Love Got To Do With It?, a joyous tribute to the incredible Tina Turner. If the Madchester era was more your thing, join Shaun Ryder on 25th April for a fascinating

interview about his years in the Happy Mondays and Black Grape. For more information, visit parrhall.

Live jazz at the Cornerhouse Hear live jazz from Chester’s Jazz Kings on 3rd March and 7th April, at the Cornerhouse. The independent bar in Chester’s thriving Canal Quarter serves carefully selected wines, gins and cask ales, along with platters of cheese, charcuterie and mezze. There will also be a raffle, good fun, great atmosphere and, of course, plenty of jazz music.

Egg-citing times at Little Moreton Hall National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Complete the nature-themed trail at Little Moreton Hall from 4th to 19th April and you’ll receive a Cadbury’s Easter egg. The trail is open from 11am to 4pm. Tickets cost £2.50, plus the usual admission charge.

Girls and science at Jodrell Bank Girls’ Night Out returns to Jodrell Bank on 8th March, with guest speakers, hands-on activities and experiments. From 14th to 15th March you can find out about the important moments in the site’s history. www.jodrell

Find what’s lost at Quarry Bank Reawaken nature’s disappearing words with a trail and events inspired by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris’ spell book The Lost Words at Quarry Bank, Wilmslow, from 4th April to 31st July. An Easter egg trail will also run from 4th to 19th April. www. national

Jazz in Nantwich The 24th Nantwich Jazz, Blues & Music Festival from 9th to 13th April includes headline acts Big Country, Sari Schorr, Stereo MCs, Ruby Turner, FM, NOasis, The Blockheads, Jeremiah Ferrari and Suburban Symphony. Tickets from £8. Advance booking is recommended.

25th-26th April, The Cheshire Outdoor Wedding Show, Ashley Hall Showground, Altrincham Cheshire’s newest and biggest outdoor wedding extravaganza, showcasing over 80 wedding specialists. The first 100 couples through the door will receive an exclusive goody bag filled with the latest special offers and discounts, as well as a copy of the latest bridal magazine. 10am-4pm. Free entry.

25th April, GP Originals Round One, Oulton Park, Little Budworth Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of this post-classic racing era. The GP Originals 2020 season kicks off at Oulton Park with Wirral 100. 9am–6pm. Membership from £8.

26th April, Cheshire Wedding Fayre, Manley Mere, Frodsham Not only a venue for sailing, watersports and adventures, Manley Mere is also a unique lakeside wedding venue. At this event you can meet up to 30 local and friendly wedding businesses with years of experience within the industry. Noon–3pm. Free entry.

28th April – 2nd May, Alderley Edge Festival of Music, Speech & Drama, Alderley Edge For well over 100 years this festival has been providing an annual platform for performers of all ages to showcase their skills as singers, musicians, actors and public speakers. Performance times and venues vary. £3 adults, free for children. Tickets give access to all daily classes. £10 for weekly tickets.

29th April, Sandbach Concert Series: Linda Richardson, St Mary’s Church Hall, Sandbach Sandbach’s very own leading lady of opera returns to the concert series to present another evening of opera classics with pianist Robin Humphreys. 7pm. £11 adults, £3.30 children.

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4th March, Kids Tie Dye Workshop, Concept Corner, New Brighton Learn the exciting art of tie dye. Spaces are limited to five children with a parent each. £5.

Fantastic folk at West Kirby Arts Centre Roving Crows, 21st March The Crows have been carving out a niche in the UK folk music scene since early 2009, pushing the boundaries of the Celtic folk genre. 7.30pm. Tickets £10. Luke Jackson, 27th March The singer-songwriter from Canterbury has developed a reputation for himself in the folk, roots, Americana and acoustic circuits, and has been nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Talent and the Young Folk categories. 7.30pm. Tickets £12. Alun Parry, 4th April The socially conscious storytelling songwriter performs hopeful, uplifting

Powerful prints Works by Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele are part an exhibition of German Revolution Expressionist prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight from 10th April. www.

Join mosaic artist Aleta Doran in her latest workshop and create your own unique work of art at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum on 14th March.

Giovanni Pernice: This Is Me, 9th March The Strictly Come Dancing favourite is back with a new show that pays homage to the music and dances that have inspired his career. 7.30pm. Tickets £37.75.

DID YOU KNOW? Roving Crows were formed in Worcestershire in 2009

Phil Chisnall & Split Level, 18th April A double helping of Phil, who will play a solo show featuring slide guitar blues and standards, then return to the stage with his Split Level partner Lynne Strange to perform folk, blues, Americana and more. 7.30pm. Tickets £5.

Learn to make a mosaic

Ballroom to belly laughs at the Floral Pavilion

The Russian State Opera: Aida, 10th March This brandnew production of Verdi’s classic opera is guaranteed to delight audiences with its sumptuous sets and splendid new costumes. Featuring an impressive cast and accompanied by a live orchestra numbering more than 30 musicians. 7.30pm. Tickets £33.50.

folk songs that tell inspiring stories of social and personal change. His music has been compared to Billy Bragg, Steve Earle and Christy Moore. 7.30pm. Tickets £8.

Egg-citing times at Church Farm Join the Easter Bunny at Church Farm in Thurstaston from 10th to 13th April. There’s an egg hunt, including a tractor ride into a magical forest. Tickets £9.50. www.

Kojo Anim: The Taxi Tour, 11th March With his infectious smile and winning routines, Kojo Anim wowed the judges and audiences on Britain’s Got Talent. 7.30pm. Tickets £21.25. Whitney: Queen Of The Night, 29th April Direct from the West End, experience the ultimate Whitney Houston tribute show. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.25.

14th March, Professional Wrestling, Floral Pavilion, New Brighton All Star Superslam Wrestling returns with an extravaganza of high-flying action. 6pm.

21st March, 80s Explosion, Village Hotel Club, Wirral Dance the night away and enjoy a blast from the past with this fantastic 1980s disco! A must for all ‘uptown guys and girls!’ Tickets include a three course meal, entertainment and disco. 7pm-1am.

29th March, Life Through The Lens: An Afternoon with Iolo Williams, Ness Botanic Gardens BBC’s Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams talks about his experiences working as a species officer for the RSPB. 2.30pm. £13.50 members, £5.50 non-members.

11th April, Pizza Run 2020, Birkenhead Park The region’s sauciest fun run follows a 5km course, and runners must devour a slice of pizza (crust too!) at the 2.5km and 5km marks to earned their medal! Registration 11.30am.

19th April, Mersey Tunnel 10k This fun 10km run starts on Blackstock Street in Liverpool and takes you through the Kingsway Tunnel before finishing on Ian Fraser Walk in New Brighton. £25.

24th April, Death Or Denial Murder Mystery, Leasowe Castle, Moreton A great night of murder, mystery and glorious food followed by dancing until midnight. 7pm. £28.95. Call 0151 6069191 or email cheryl roberts@leasowe

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1st March, Jacob & Drinkwater: This Old River Tour, Hermon Chapel Arts Centre, Oswestry Tobias Ben Jacob is an exquisite songwriter whose vocals soar above finger-style guitar, underpinned by Lukas Drinkwater’s nimble, percussive double bass and vocal harmonies. 7pm. £14. Call 01691 662196.

3rd March Emergency Poet Deb Alma, The Artshack, Shrewsbury This two-hour workshop is a gentle introduction into ‘writing the self’ through poetry with Deborah Alma, who teaches creative writing at Keele University, works as a writer in the community and, as the Emergency Poet, prescribes poetry from a vintage ambulance. No writing experience necessary. £20. 10am. Call 07751 362171.

6th March, Whitchurch Friday Market, Civic Centre & Market Hall The market takes place in Whitchurch every Friday from 7.30am12.30pm. Don’t miss the wide range of products on offer from fresh fruit and veg, meat and pies to books, watches, flowers, greetings cards and CDs.

6th-8th March, Circus Funtasia Telford, Legges Way Car Park, Madeley Circus Funtasia presents a brand new production packed with world-class talent, from aerialists to motorcyclists, from dancers to comedians – and not forgetting the death-defying fire-breathers. Tickets from £5.99. Call 07706 168507.

Let the Funtasia commence! Experience a circus extravaganza with a difference at Oswestry Showground from 13th to 22nd March. Circus Funtasia presents a new family production packed with world-class talent. Bear witness to some amazing feats; hear the roar of motorbike engines; feel the heat of the fire-breathers’ flames; see stunning aerialists and powerful performers on

Alpacas on show at Telford’s International Centre The premier alpaca event of the year comes to Telford’s International Centre from 27th to 29th March. The British Alpaca Society National Show boasts live judging of 600 alpacas from over 100 exhibitors in two rings, garments, homeware, toy and crafts; and dozens of trade stands. You can also enjoy an abundance of displays and talks regarding alpacas and their wool, and relax in the café area. Entry costs £2 per person, with funds for the Severn Hospice.

7th March, Celebrity Recital with Thomas Trotter, Shrewsbury Abbey Birmingham city organist on the 1911 Hill Organ. Noon. Free entry with voluntary collection.

8th March, The Disappearing Act, The Hive, Shrewsbury Blending new writing and visual physical theatre, this is the tale of magician’s assistant Edie Rose. On the eve of 60, Edie is finally hosting her own show. To assist she conjures up two younger versions of herself… Ages 12-plus. £12 adults, £6 children. 7.30pm. Call 01743 234970.

the Wheel of Death, dance to the beat of the Argentinian Bolas; laugh out loud at award-winning comedian The Geek; smell the delicious popcorn (or even have a tipple) as you enter the heated Big Top. It promises all the talent of a West End show, with irresistible circus magic. Tickets cost from £10.15, with undertwos free.

Wild for crafts at Attingham Park Try your hand at willow weaving as the Wild Craftist hosts two events at Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury. On 21st March you can create a willow obelisk for your garden or allotment, while on 25th April you can make willow platter and an egg basket. The garden workshop costs £45 and the kitchen workshop £60.50. Booking is essential. attingham-park

Civil War reenactment at Whittington Castle American history comes to life at Whittington Castle near Oswestry on 28th and 29th March as the American Civil War Society

All that jazz in Shropshire Don’t miss the jazz stylings of The Busquitos as they bring their Wicky Wacky Woo tour to various locations across Shropshire this March. The group play a catchy mix of tunes, accompanied by Louis Armstrong-like vocals and dazzling entertainment that will put a smile on everyone’s face. Catch the band at the Talbot Theatre, Whitchurch on 5th March, Silvester Horne

holds a training event at the castle. See the infantry, cavalry and artillery being put through their drill, wander through living history encampments, and listen for the crackle of muskets as you’re taken back to the 1860s. Entrance costs £3 for adults and is free for children.

Institute, Church Stretton on 6th March and Quatt Village Hall on 8th March. Times and ticket prices vary.

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Live at Festival Drayton Centre


La Voix, 13th March Expect side-splitting comedy, huge vocals, bucketfuls of energy and mesmerising impressions of the world’s biggest divas. 7.30pm. Tickets £18. Abel Selaocoe, 22nd March South African cellist Selaocoe is heavily influenced by his homeland and deeply rooted in classical music, combining virtuosic performance with improvisation and singing. 3pm. Tickets £10. James Phelan: Mindblown!, 4th April Viral sensation and star of the BBC’s radio magic show Trickster: Live, Phelan presents a unique magical prank show that is both jawdropping and laugh-out-loud funny. A roller coaster filled with mystery and hilarity from the nephew of the great Paul Daniels. 7.30pm. Tickets £14.50 (VIP tickets also available).

Gear up for 10th anniversary Ride Out Bike4Life Ride Out & Festival returns for its 10th anniversary on 26th April. Midlands Air Ambulance Charity event attracts nearly 10,000 bikers. Starting from Meole Brace in Shrewsbury, the Ride Out sees more than 3,000 bikers take a 23-mile route to RAF Cosford, home to the Bike4Life Festival. The festival is a family-friendly event with entertainment for everyone. There will be a children’s zone with a helicopter bouncy castle and decommissioned helicopter pod, and live biker demonstrations. The festival takes place from 11am-4pm at RAF Cosford. Ride out and festival admission is from £10, festival admission only from £5.

8th March, Zervas & Pepper, Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury Join cult folk-rock duo Zervas & Pepper on their welcome return to HTH, as they play new material laced with their epic, luminous harmonies and laidback sound. 8pm. £15.

ELO Again, 17th April The tribute band are back, celebrating the universal music of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. Their version of ‘Mr Blue Sky’ will have the whole auditorium on its feet. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.

12th March, Clark Tracey, Forge at The Wakes, Oakengates Clark is one of the UK’s premier jazz musicians with an international career as an outstanding composer, arranger and drummer. £15 including supper. Call 07966 591043.

The Fureys, 24th April The legends of Irish music have been entertaining audiences for 42 years with their songs including ‘I Will Love You’, ‘When You Were Sweet 16’ and ‘The Green Fields of France’. 7.30pm. Tickets £23.

12th March – 28th April, Photography competition and exhibition, Qube Gallery, Oswestry An exhibition of entries to this year’s photographic competition on the theme of ‘Lines’. There is a best-in-show prize and people’s choice award up for grabs. 10am-4pm. www.

Spring Plant Hunters’ Fair at Alderford Lake Alderford Lake, near Whitchurch, is offering gardeners a chance to visit dozens of specialist nurseries in one location on 8th March. The free Plant Hunters’ Fair offers the opportunity to visit many specialist nurseries at once to get your gardening season off to a great start. The plant fair has a brilliant line-up of nurseries with a great range of perennials, shrubs, trees, rare species and old heritage varieties. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea available. From 10am to 4pm.

18th March, The Yorkshire Shepherdess: An Evening with Amanda Owen, Lion Quays, near Oswestry Amanda Owen shares heartwarming tales and anecdotes from her farming and family life. 7.30pm. £15 (to include signed copy of her book).

Folk and fun at Birchmeadow Kids play at Telford festival Combining folk music and comedy, Richard Digance brings his enduringly original act to Birchmeadow Centre, Broseley, on 7th March. The Bafta-nominated comedian and folk singer from east London first came to the public’s attention during the mid-1980s with the TV show A Dabble Of Digance and various other variety shows, as well as support slots for Tom Jones and Steve Martin. He is also a regular performer at the annual Cropredy Festival. Tickets cost £11 and doors open 7.30pm. For more information, visit

Shropshire Kids Fest 2020 comes to Telford for a weekend of fun on 10th and 11th April at the Telford International Centre. What could be better than three huge halls filled with inflatables, Nerf shootouts, foam party, rollerdisco, hands-on arts and crafts, have-a-go music areas, toddler zones, messy play, sports zones, wipeouts and much more? The event is open from 10am to 5pm, with VIP access at 9am. Entry costs £4 for adults, £7 for toddlers (age one to three) and £15 for children child (over four), including all activities.

21st March, Shrewsbury Steampunk Spectacular Now in its third splendid year, the Steampunk Spectacular welcomes new faces and catches up with familiar ones too. Come along and join the growing Steampunk family – you will be very well looked after. 10am-11.30pm. From £4.

21st March, The Mersey Beatles, Whitchurch Civic Centre This Beatles tribute band was formed in 1999 by a group of childhood friends from Liverpool. 7.30pm. £22. For more details and to book tickets, visit www.

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21st March, Cirque Du Vulgar, Oswestry Showground A night of risqué entertainment, featuring striptease routines, electrifying daredevil stunts and filthy comedy. 8.30pm. £22.25. Call 07706 168507.

Seen on screen at Old Market Hall

21st March, Wildwood Jack, The Bull’s Head Inn, Chelmarsh Wildwood Jack are an acoustic guitar and ukulele duo from Kent with a heartwarming and adventurous spirit. Songwriting at its finest – melody-rich, hook-infused, lyrically sparkling, instantly attractive and wholly enduring. 9pm. Free entry.

In Search of Chopin, 1st March Chopin’s music continues to sell out concert halls worldwide. But who exactly was this man who was terrified of public performance, fled his Polish homeland for Paris, took up with unconventional writer George Sand and, despite a life of ill health, created some of the most powerful music ever written? Noon. Tickets £13.

•21st March, Bishop’s Castle Model Railway Exhibition, The

ROH Live: Fidelio, 17th March Beethoven’s only opera is a masterpiece, an uplifting story of risk and triumph. In this new production, conducted by Antonio Pappano, Jonas Kaufmann plays the political prisoner Florestan, and Lise Davidsen his wife Leonore who sets out to rescue him. In German with English subtitles. 7.15pm. Tickets £17.50.

Public Hall, Station Street The first model railway exhibition in Bishop’s Castle for over 30 years. You can expect 12 layouts, demonstrations and traders, and refreshments at this family-friendly exhibition. 10am-5pm. £4 adults, under16s free. Call 07553 010196.

Derwen College, near Oswestry, holds its annual sponsored 10k walk and fun run on 5th April. This year the college for young people with special educational needs and disabilities has ramped up the fun, with a focus on fancy dress. There are prizes for the best-dressed teams and individuals, and all entrants will receive complimentary home-made soup and a hot drink on finishing. The Garden Café will be open, serving breakfasts and snacks. Money raised from the event will be used to provide students with the extra experiences,

facilities and equipment they need to progress whilst at college. The minimum sponsorship/ donation is £20. The event starts at 11am. For more information or to register, visit www.derwen.

Pop in for an evening of hits

Striding into Kinky Boots

•26th March, Moishe’s Bagel, St Alkmund’s Church,

Shrewsbury A life-affirming mix of Eastern European dance music, Middle Eastern rhythms and virtuoso performances. Moishe’s Bagel combine the energy and passion of world folk with the excitement and soul of improvisation. 7.30pm. £15 adults, £7.50 under25s and £1 under-18s. www.

Exhibition on Screen: Easter In Art, 7th April The story of Christ’s death and resurrection has dominated Western culture for two millennia, particularly as depicted by history’s greatest artists. Shot on location in Jerusalem, the US and Europe, the film explores the different ways artists have depicted the Easter story through the ages. Noon. Tickets £13.

Taking steps to support Derwen College Charity

22nd March, Mothering Sunday at Attingham Park, Shrewsbury Enjoy a walk around the grounds and treat mum to lunch or a cream tea in the Carriage House Cafe, while enjoying everything Attingham has to offer. 9am-5pm. Normal admission prices apply. 25th March, Telford & Wrekin Fostering Service information evening, Ketley Community Centre, Telford Find out more about becoming a foster parent. 6pm-8pm.


ROH Live: Swan Lake, KNOW? 1st April Liam Scarlett’s Chopin’s final glorious 2018 production public concert of Swan Lake returns for its first revival. was in London While remaining faithful in 1848 to the text, Scarlett’s additional choreography and John Macfarlane’s magnificent designs breathe new life into arguably the best-known and most-loved classical ballet. 7.15pm. Tickets £17.50.

Back by popular demand after his last sell-out show, Dean Friedman returns to Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury, on 23rd April. Expect another evening of infectious pop songs including his US Top 20 hit single, ‘Ariel’, a quirkily irresistible pop song. Dean is probably best known for the now classic hit single, ‘Lucky Stars’. This magical duet, performed with singer Denise Marsa, zoomed into the UK top three, going instantly gold and paving the way for a slew of hits including ‘Lydia’, ‘Rocking Chair’ and ‘Woman of Mine’. 8pm. Tickets £25.

Award-winning musical Kinky Boots is screened at Kinokulture, Oswestry’s community cinema, on 8th and 9th April. Written by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and legendary playwright Harvey Fierstein and inspired by true events, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of a factory owner struggling to save his family business, and a fabulous entertainer with a wildly exciting idea. The show is filmed live at London’s Adelphi Theatre. Starts at 7.15pm on 8th April and 1.30pm on 9th April. Tickets £12.50 plus booking fee.

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On stage at Telford’s The Place Ed Byrne: If I’m Honest, 12th March Join Ed as he takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has any traits that are worth passing on to his children. 8pm. Tickets £26.50. Jim Davidson: Last Man Standing, 18th March The outrageous comedian embarks on his comedy campaign. Who will he upset this time? Which battles will he win, which will he lose? One thing’s for certain, Jim never retreats. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.50.

Shropshire’s got talent

Wenlock Olympian Live Arts Festival 2020 takes place on 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th March at Edge Arts Centre, William Brookes School, showcasing the talents of Britain’s young people. The festival will include competitions in music, dance and speech and drama, and creative writing. Entry is open to young people of school age from Reception to Year 13, from Shropshire and farther afield.

Francis Rossi: I Talk Too Much, 26th March The Status Quo singer shares the secrets of his 50-plus years in rock’n’roll when he takes to the stage for an intimate evening of chat and music. 7.30pm. Tickets from £30.

DID YOU KNOW? Ed Byrne wrote a regular column for hill walking magazine TGO

and the closing time of his local park. 8pm. Tickets £21.50.

Josh Widdicombe: Bit Much…, 31st March A show that will change your life and how you perceive your place in the world. Bit much? Fine, it’ll be a very funny night of grumbles and jokes in which Josh will talk about advent calendars, pesto

John Challis: Only Fools & Boycie, 30th April An evening with John Challis, best known as Boycie in Only Fools & Horses. In this one-off show he reveals secrets from the set with stories and anecdotes from his career. 7.30pm. Tickets £19.

Gala performance at Severn Valley Railway

More than words at Willow Gallery

The Spring Steam Gala opens the Severn Valley Railway’s 2020 season with four days of steam-powered action on the railway between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster from 16th to 19th April. Prepare to venture back in time and travel along the 16 miles of beautiful Shropshire countryside behind a cast of home-fleet engines and visiting locomotives from around the country. www.svr.

Enjoy the excitement of steeplechasing at Eyton Races, near Shrewsbury, on 13th April. This lovely rural spot provides views to the Wrekin and the Long Mynd. Enjoy a picnic or take the easy option with delicious produce from local food vendors.

Visit the famous Public Bar, meet the hounds and browse the trade stands selling a wide range of items. Or just sit on the Eyton Bank and enjoy the views. Gates open at 11am with the first race at 2pm. Tickets are £12.50 in advance and £15 on the day.

28th March, Easter Dog Walk, Bradeley Green All welcome, with or without dogs. Refreshments, Easter treats and a guided walk included. 9.30am. Call 01948 668100 or email

29th March, Foraging Courses in Shropshire, Dudmaston Estate, near Bridgnorth This beautiful Shropshire estate’s mixture of streams, pools, parkland and woodland allows for a diverse range of plants and mushrooms to grow throughout the year. Take a long walk around the forest, learning to identify the different edible and poisonous plants and mushrooms. Noon-3.30pm.

Oswestry’s Willow Gallery launches its Painting With Words 2020 exhibition on 14th March, running until 2nd May. Celebrating the influence of literature and language on the visual arts, the exhibition features work by artists including Judith Harrison, Sara Piper Heap, Bob Knowles and Maggie Furmanek. Open Monday to Saturday, from 9.30am to 5pm.

Gallop towards a great Eyton day

28th March, Winter Wilson: The Live & Unconventional Tour, Moreton Outwoods & Bromstead Millennium Community Centre, Newport Music from two of Great Britain’s most popular folk artists, Kip Winter and Dave Wilson. 7.30pm. £12.50. Call 01952 691222.

4th April, Plant Fair, Battlefield 1403, Shrewsbury Get your gardening season off to a great start with plants and expertise available to all. And visit Battlefield 1403’s excellent farm shop, deli and Sparrow’s Café. 9.30am-4pm. Free entry.

4th April, James McVinnie, Shrewsbury Abbey Celebrity recital on the Abbey’s 1911 Hill organ with James McVinnie from St Andrew’s church, Holborn. Noon. Free entry with voluntary collection.

4th April, Spring Wedding Fayre & Open Day, Barnutopia, near Oswestry Gorgeous views, outdoor ceremony areas, luxury glamping yurts and cabins. Great deals and offers available on the day. 11am-3pm. Free entry. Call 01691 791624.

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10th April, Good Friday Family Day & Artisan Market, Bailey Head, Oswestry Lots of family activities with games, rides, entertainment and face painting. 9am-3pm.

10th April, World Cinema: Wild Tales, Birchmeadow Centre, Broseley In the face of injustice and the stresses of life, will people cross the thin line that divides civilisation and barbarism? Cert 15. 8pm. £5.50.

10th April, Plant Hunters’ Fair, Whittington Castle, near Oswestry Find great value, top-quality, traditionally grown plants for every type of garden. Picturesque Whittington Castle is steeped in history, with tales of bitter border warfare, romance and legend. 10am4pm. Free entry (£1 parking).

10th April, Easter Lost Sheep Trail, Bailey Head, Oswestry Follow a trail through the indoor market. There’s a prize for all children, plus balloon art and themed crafts. 10am-1pm.

Something for everyone at Theatre Severn Ardal O’Hanlon: The Showing Off Must Go On, 6th March Where Ardal O’Hanlon comes from there is nothing worse than showing off. Yet he is a ‘professional show-off ’. Why does he do it? Find out in his acclaimed stand-up show. 8pm. Tickets £23.50. Rapunzel, 14th March Let your hair down and get tangled in a new musical adaptation of the classic tale performed by Immersion Theatre. 12.30pm, 3.30pm and 6.30pm. Tickets £12, children £10. Roald Dahl & The Imagination Seekers, 15th March Dahl’s words are disappearing – not only from books but children’s minds too! Only a secret organisation can save the stories – and they need your help. For ages six-plus. 12.30pm. Tickets £8.

Sign up for an embroidery workshop with a difference at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery on 6th March. Embroideries of the Corbet Bed is a day course where participants will have the opportunity to learn about the embroidery patterns, fabrics and silks of the Tudor period and create their own sample. From 10.30am to 3.30pm; £30. Call 01743 258881.

11th April, Dandy Duo: Black Country Humour & Song, Moreton Outwoods & Bromstead Millennium Community Centre, Newport, An uproarious evening of music and laughs with Glynnis and Allan Briscoe. 7pm. £12.50, including a fish and chip supper. Call 01952 691222.

19th April, Open Garden for NGS, Edge Villa, Yockleton Edge Villa has a self-sufficient vegetable plot, chickens in the orchard, large herbaceous borders and a dewpond surrounded by purple elder, irises, candelabra primulas and dieramas. There’s also a large selection of roses, teas in sheltered courtyard and a wendy house and teepee for children. 2pm-5pm. £5. Children free.

Cartoon capers Professional cartoonists from around the world will be at Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival on 24th and 25th April. The event includes live drawing of giant cartoons in the town square workshops for aspiring cartoonists and exhibitions of themed cartoons. It’s a brilliant day of cartoon fun. Visit www. shrewsburycartoonfestival.

Aida, 14th April The Russian State Opera presents Verdi’s timeless and emotional opera with breathtaking melodies, sumptuous sets and splendid new costumes. In Italian with English surtitles. 7.30pm. Tickets £31-£39. Ross Noble, 20th-21st April What happens when pure comedy takes human form? What happens when a creature is created and bred to do stand-up? Nobody knows because that isn’t a thing. However, comedian Ross Noble is doing a show, and it’s funny. 8pm. Tickets £27.50.

Sounds of Vienna in Shrewsbury

A stitch in time at Shrewsbury Museum

11th-12th April, Ludlow Racecourse Antiques Fair, Bromfield Everything from stunning jewellery to large furniture. Dealers from all over the country with items to suit all pockets. Disabled and dog friendly. 10am-5pm. £3.

Balletboyz, 9th April The innovative dance group thrill audiences by blending beautiful dance with music and film. 7.30pm. Tickets £18-£20.

Shropshire Music Trust hosts an evening with clarinettist Emma Johnson and friends with special guest John Suchet at United Reformed Church, Shrewsbury on 14th March. Tales From Vienna: The Music & The Magic offers an experience of Vienna in its exciting heyday with classic music of the era. 7.30pm. £20, under18s free.

Enjoy a wild Easter trail at RAF Cosford

Follow the Animal Easter Trail at RAF Cosford Museum from 4th to 19th April. The trail takes you around the museum hangars to find animal friends and once completed you will receive a delicious chocolatey prize. £3 per child.

Hot topic at Coalbrookdale Discover more about the humble kitchen fireplace at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron on 25th March at 2.30pm with an expert talk from David J Eveleigh, formerly of the museum and the Black Country Living Museum. There will be chance to chat to David and ask informal questions after the talk, which is in the Glass Classroom. Tickets £1, or free for members.

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WHAT’S ON in MAR & APR 20 Funny Beeseness Comedy Live at The Civic featuring Paul Sinha from ITV’s The Chase Saturday 7th March 2020 For tickets please visit:

The Wizard of Oz Easter Pantomime Friday 17th April 2020

at Whitchurch Civic Centre featuring an All-Star Cast.


Performances at 2pm & 6pm.

Saturday 21st March 2020 at the Civic Centre All seats: £22.00

Spring Fair at in the Civic Centre’s Main Hall Saturday 4th April from 10am – 2pm. A celebration of Easter & Springtime, free entry. Café onsite. For ticket enquiries please contact the Civic Centre directly on 01948 665761 or visit:

Award-winning Markets The Indoor Market is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the outdoor market every Wednesday and Saturday. Plus we hold the Artisan Market on the last Friday of every month. The new weekly street market has gone from strength to strength attracting some fantastic bespoke stalls. Good Friday Family Day & Artisan Market

10th April – 9am until 3pm Lots of family activities on the Bailey Head with games, rides, entertainment, face painting and Easter Hunt etc. Free prizes.

Youth Music Festival

26th February to 1st March Over 300 talented young performers compete in this respected competition aimed at encouraging musical development. There are a huge number of classes using various instruments. The performances are free to watch and are held in local venues concluding with the Sunday final at Christchurch.

Oswestry Produce Market

18th April - 9am until 3pm Handpicked Shropshire based food and craft producers selling the best the County has to offer in the town centre.

For further information call 01691 680222 or visit:

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Entertainment at Bridgnorth’s Theatre on the Steps Jo Harman, 7th March Don’t miss award-winning singer Jo Harman performing with a full band. Widely regarded as one of Europe’s finest ever soul/blues voices, Jo remains a genre-defying, independently minded artist of rare credibility. 8pm. Tickets £17. Shazia Mirza: Coconut, 14th March Strap in for a hilarious and uplifting joyride into the art of survival in a world of

crocodiles, coconuts, solitary confinement and alpha males. What’s going on? Why is everyone fighting? Who the hell is Alexa? And why are there no women left with real eyebrows? 7.30pm. Tickets £15. Patrick Monahan: Started From The Bottom, Now I’m Here, 28th March Smart and funny observations on a new-found middle-class lifestyle with ski holidays,

through the prism of poor, immigrant, living-in-a-caravan roots. As seen on TV’s The One Show, Fake Reaction and Celebrity Squares. 7.30pm. Tickets £13. Into The Shadows, 17th18th April Into The Shadows recreate the unique sound of the Shadows, including the numberone hit ‘Apache’ – one of the most iconic instrumental records of all time. 8pm. Tickets £15.

Easter egg-stravaganza at Park Hall The Easter bunny comes to Park Hall Countryside Experience, near Oswestry, from 4th to 19th April. It will be an Easter to remember at Park Hall, packed with fun and games. The Great Egg Hunt is back (at a small extra cost) with a delicious Creme Egg to win. You can also follow the bunny tracks to find out how many eggs the bunny has put in his warren. Crack

the code to get your own free chocolate egg! There’s also the opportunity to bottle feed some of the older lambs and take part in a host of animal activities.

From Wales to West Africa

Take in a lunchtime concert with kora player Josh Doughty at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury, on 2nd March. The kora is a 21-stringed instrument used extensively in West Africa, which Wales-born Josh learned to play under the master player Toumani Diabate. His style is both unique and impressively accomplished. Starts at 1pm; £6 adults, £3 under-25s and £1 under18s. www.josh

25th April, Painting The Light: A Day Retreat of Colour & Meditation, Stapleton Village Hall, near Shrewsbury Artist and meditator Lin Brown has been painting the light for more than 50 years. She shares her insights and encourages others to create some of those wonderful illusions. This is a perfect retreat to reflect the growing atmospheric light of spring. 9.45am-4.45pm.

including four large-scale outdoor sculptures and seven smaller indoor sculptures, known as maquettes. Twentyman was fascinated by texture, light and shade and natural form. He used bones, pebbles and water to inspire the shapes used in his sculpture. From 12.30pm to 4pm. Free event. Normal National Trust admission charges apply.

Cheese and wine or your just desserts The themed experiences at Ludlow Farm Shop’s Ludlow Kitchen are a foodie’s paradise. Enjoy some delicious cheeses while a wine expert takes you through five lesser-known wines, on 12th March from 7pm for £20. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a two-course dinner with a focus on the afters on 24th April for £25. Try up to six delicious puddings.

23rd April, Carducci String Quartet, STOP. cafe bar, Shrewsbury Museum An informal hour of relaxing 20th- and 21st-century pieces by Philip Glass, Peter Gregson, Joby Talbot, Arvo Part and more. 6.30pm. £14 adults, £7 under-25s and free for under18s. 24th-25th April, Malpas Fabric Arts Group Biannual Exhibition, Whitchurch Civic Centre All styles of textiles including both traditional and modern patchwork quilts are exhibited, both hand-stitched and machine-sewn. £3 including raffle entry (first prize is a quilt made by members). 10am-6pm Friday, 10am-4pm Saturday.

Explore Twentyman in 2020 Start the roaring 20s with a focus on the work of Wolverhampton artist Anthony Twentyman, whose work is exhibited at Dudmaston Hall, near Bridgnorth, from 1st to 30th April. There are 14 works by Twentyman at Dudmaston,

23rd April, From The Jam, The Buttermarket, Shrewsbury From The Jam features original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton as well as Russell Hastings (vocals/guitar) and Mark Brzezicki (drums). 7pm. £30.

Hunt out a bargain at Shrewsbury’s Showground

Don’t miss the Antiques & Collector Fair on 21st to 22nd March at Shrewsbury’s West Mid Showground. The fair features over 100 traders selling a vast selection of antiques, collectables, vintage and salvage, and is gaining a reputation as the place to find a unique addition to your home. 8.30am-3.30pm Saturday, 9am-3pm Sunday. £3.

26th April, Open Garden for NGS, Ruthall Manor, near Bridgnorth Offset by a mature collection of specimen trees, Ruthall’s garden is divided into intimate sections, carefully linked by winding paths. The front lawn flanked by striking borders, extends to a gravel, art garden and ha-ha. Try a homemade tea. £5, children free. 1pm-6pm. Call 01746 712608.

28th April, Open Garden for NGS, Brownhill House, Shrewsbury A unique two-acre hillside garden with many steps and levels. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of plants and styles from formal terraces to woodland paths. Try a homemade tea. £4, children free. 1.30pm-5pm. Call 01939 261121.

March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 51

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Church Stretton

Shropshire’s little slice of Switzerland

Church Stretton is an attractive, busy market town in Shropshire set in such scenic surroundings that it was once nicknamed Little Switzerland


he town of Church Stretton lays claim to being one of the most scenic parts of the county of Shropshire. It manages to be quaint, rural and surrounded by nature – while at the same time handy for bigger towns (Shrewsbury is just 13 miles to the north and Ludlow 15 miles to the south) with good road and rail inks too. No wonder it is regularly named as one of the best places to live in the area. Church Stretton has enjoyed a high level of popularity ever since the late Victorian and Edwardian period The bustling town centre when it became a firm favourite for its landscape, which includes some of the oldest rocks in England, and became a health resort.

Early adopters

People have lived in the region for thousands of years – an Iron Age hill fort on Caer Caradoc overlooks the town. The name ‘Stretton’ has ancient origins and is derived

from the Old English words stræt meaning Roman road and tun meaning settlement. Set in lovely rolling hills It was originally recorded as the three separate settlements of Little Stretton, Church Stretton and All Stretton in the These rolling hills, along with the style of Domesday Book of 1086, and the some of the town’s hillside-hugging houses, towns grew and merged. A inspired the Victorians to dub this part DID YOU charter was granted in 1214, of Shropshire Little Switzerland. They KNOW? when a regular market was enjoyed the area as a spa location and Church Stretton also established, before much inspired the town in 1901 the building now known as the of the town was destroyed by Long Mynd Hotel on Cunnery Road in Mary Webb’s The Golden fire in 1593. The rebuilding opened to cater for the visiting tourists. Arrow that followed included many of The tourist trade is still important for the half-timbered buildings that Church Stretton and investment has been form a striking feature of the town today. made to match the demand, ensuring a thriving centre, a good range of shops and a Thursday market, and some delightful Textile times nearby pubs and restaurants. Over the centuries Church Stretton became known for its textiles, with local THINGS TO SEE AND DO wool available in abundance. In the 18th century one of the industry’s most important Church Stretton Visitor Information Centre centres was established in what is still Church Street SY6 6DQ; 01694 722535 known today as the Carding Mill Valley. It thrived for many generations but eventually Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd the mill closed and it was demolished at Visitor Centre Carding Mill Valley SY6 6JG; the beginning of the 20th century. Now 01694 722631 the site is popular as a National Trust property and tourist attraction as well as a Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre Market Street, Craven Arms SY7 9RS; popular starting location for walkers, being 01588 676060 at the heart of the Long Mynd range.

52 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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20 QUESTIONS An icon of the small screen, Matthew Kelly has been a household favourite for decades, bringing us light entertainment classics such as Stars In Their Eyes. Now he’s taking to the stage and visiting Theatr Clwyd in Alan Bennett’s The Habit Of Art from 11th to 16th May

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What is your full name? Matthew Kelly. What is your current job title/role? Actor.

Describe your home life… I have one schnauzer called Gershwin and live in a two-room flat below my son in west London.


What has been your highlight of the past 12 months? Big: The Musical [he joined the cast in May 2019].


What was your worst moment of the past 12 months? Dancing on the giant piano in Big: The Musical and getting a hernia!


If you could come back as any animal, what would you be and why? A dog – all you have to do is sit, and you get fed and watered and have somewhere to live!


What’s the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery? Everything! I’m hopeless with money.


What is your dream job – other than your current role, of course? I already have the best job in the world.


If you were representing your country in the Olympics, which sport would you choose? Tiddlywinks!

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If you could have one superpower what would it be and why? To read people’s minds, although I wouldn’t necessarily want to know what they actually thought… Unless they were thinking to book a ticket to The Habit Of Art!

Who is your all-time hero and how have they inspired you? Michael Gambon, a fine actor who knows how to get the gag. Half the people in the world don’t know there is one!


What is your worst fear or phobia? Going on stage.

What is your favourite drink? Anything – I’ll drink petrol!

If you had to take part in a competitive reality TV show, which would you have the best chance of winning: Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off or I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!? Never would do one.

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What would be your desert island disc and why? Anything by Nina Simone or Dusty Springfield.

‘I’d come back as a do g– all you have to do is sit and you get fed and a place to live! ’

What is your guilty pleasure? Judge Judy.

When did you last laugh uncontrollably and why? Just now, at these questions!

You’re hosting a celebrity dinner party for four guests – who do you invite? Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Kimberley Walsh.

Where is your favourite place in the world and why? Home. I am hardly ever there!


What is your proudest achievement so far? Getting an Olivier award [Matthew won Best Actor in 2004 for playing Lennie in Of Mice & Men].

54 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Dewch i gwrdd â'r cathod a'n helpu i ddathlu agoriad ein canolfan fabwysiadu newydd yn Wrecsam Hoffem eich gwahodd i agoriad swyddogol ein Canolfan Mabwysiadu Wrecsam newydd. Rydym yn gyffrous iawn i fod yn dadorchuddio'r ganolfan hon gyda seremoni torri rhuban swyddogol, a fydd yn cael ei chynnal hanner dydd, Dydd Gwener 3 Ebrill 2020. Yn dilyn hyn bydd teithiau gyda'n tîm gwych o staff a gwirfoddolwyr o amgylch y Ganolfan, ynghyd â chyfle i gwrdd â rhai o'n preswylwyr feline sy'n barod ac yn aros i gwrdd â'u teulu nesaf a'u cartref am oes. Bydd lluniaeth ar gael ar y diwrnod. Rydym yn edrych ymlaen at eich gweld o hanner dydd yng Nghanolfan Mabwysiadu Amddiffyn Cathod Wrecsam, Bradley Road, Wrecsam, LL13 7TG

Meet the cats and help us celebrate the opening of our new Wrexham adoption centre We'd like to invite you to the official opening of our new Wrexham Adoption Centre. We are very excited to be unveiling this centre with an official ribbon cutting ceremony, which will take place from 12 noon on Friday 3rd April 2020. This will then be followed by tours with our wonderful team of staff and volunteers, as well as a chance to meet some of our feline residents who are ready and waiting to meet their next family and forever home. Refreshments will be available on the day. We look forward to seeing you from 12 noon at Wrexham Cats Protection Adoption Centre, Bradley Road, Wrexham, LL13 7TG


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Art and Social Change: The Disability Arts Movement, MAC Birmingham, until 22nd March These artist-activists paved the way for the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995. This exhibition presents some of the work that raised awareness and effected political change for disabled people.

St Patrick’s Day Parade, Digbeth, 17th March From noon, tens of thousands of onlookers will line Digbeth High Street to watch the St Patrick’s Day Parade. This vibrant celebration of multiculturalism will showcase Irish dancers, Caribbean dancers and both Welsh and Chinese dragons.

Easter Egg-stravaganza, Cadbury World, 4th-19th & 24th-26th April You’re in for a treat at Cadbury World this Easter with a new live stage show starring everyone’s favourite frog, Freddo. There are songs, games and dancing as guests help Freddo hunt for his hidden eggs.


Dick & Angel: Dare To Do It, St David’s Hall, 9th March Dick and Angel have entertained millions with their adventurous renovations in Channel 4’s Escape To The Chateau. On their first ever tour, you can find out who they are, where they’re from, how they met and why they dared to do it.

Boomtown Rats, Cardiff University, 18th April Garry Roberts and Simon Crowe are joined by bassist Pete Briquette and frontman Bob Geldof for the band’s full reunion. The Rats scored nine top 15 singles in the 1970s and 80s, including the smash hits ‘Rat Trap’ and ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’.

Disney On Ice, Motorpoint Arena, 23rd-26th April Get ready for the ultimate Disney experience as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 years of magic! See dozens of beloved characters and sing along to over 30 unforgettable songs, including ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’.


We Will Rock You, Empire, 30th March – 4th April The dazzling worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton returns. Guaranteed to blow your mind, it includes 24 of Queen’s greatest hits such as ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and, of course, ‘We Will Rock You’.

Ghost Stories, Playhouse, 31st March – 4th April Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s cult phenomenon offers a knee-knocking, nail-biting, edge-ofthe-seat experience. Expect your deepest fears and most disturbing thoughts to be reimagined live on stage. Just don’t bring the kids…

Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac, Philharmonic Hall, 24th-25th April Channelling the spirit of the hugeselling band, Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac offers a special experience for fans old and new. This 50th anniversary tour includes a blues set in tribute to the Peter Green era.



Riverdance 25, The Palace Theatre, 14th-15th March This 25th anniversary show is a powerful and stirring reinvention of this beloved family favourite. Composer Bill Whelan brings the amazing soundtrack back to life, with spectacular new lighting, staging and costume design.

Jamie Cullum, Bridgewater Hall, 25th March With album sales of 10 million and a successful BBC Radio 2 show, the critically acclaimed pianist returns to Bridgewater Hall to showcase his new album, Taller. His undeniable energy and stage presence will undoubtedly entertain.

The Crystal Maze Live Experience, Crystal Maze Studios, throughout March and April This immersive 3D team-based, family-friendly event based on the hit TV show offers all sorts of tricky challenges. Quests, puzzles and games will put your mental and physical ability to the test.

56 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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everyone to enjoy together and dev skills. There’s an on-site café se delicious food and cakes and vario available to develop further. With dedicated climbing areas fo kids and develops adults, Boulder off Climbing fitness,Hut confide everyone to enjoy together and problem solving skills all whilstd skills.lots There’s an on-site café having of fun. delicious food and cakes and var available to develop further. Boulder Hut, Unit 1 Olympic Park, Poole Hall Road, Ell Climbing develops fitness, 0151confi 305 686 problem solving skills all whils having lots of fun.

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Discover what Shire’s team thought of the concerts, live events and theatre they’ve seen over the past couple of months at local venues BEAUTY & THE BEAST SPECTACULAR, HOLROYD COMMUNITY THEATRE, OSWESTRY


Andrew Rawlinson Heath as Nurse Kitty Litter provided belly laughs with a hilarious turn full of puns and camp Good things come in small humour. Josephine McHugh packages and this certainly played the Wicked Queen rings true for Tip Top Productions’ Snow White at perfectly, showcasing the Forum. It was a smallher excellent voice. Ashley Sollars as scale production Prince Archie and compared with some ‘Children Bethan Fflint as Snow of the larger theatres, on stage to White had great but the intimate participate chemistry, creating setting meant in songs’ two lovable characters. lots of audience Rich Roberts as participation and Simple Simon was a everyone felt involved favourite with the children – the first two rows of with his slapstick comedy. seating were even set on the Adult humour, local same level as the stage. references and popular songs The interaction with such as Archie’s rendition of the cast involved water Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Someone You pistols, synthetic snow Loved’ kept things current. A falling from ceiling, children on stage to participate in great production providing a full two hours of comedy songs and cast members entertainment. AB running along the aisles.

KALEIDOSCOPE, MARKET DRAYTON FESTIVAL CENTRE The Kaleidoscope saxophone quartet made music that shone as brilliantly as their instruments. Their Festival Centre audience included lovers of classical chamber music, of jazz and of new music, reflecting the group’s embrace of all three genres. The sax, with its wide range of voices both soulful and full of colour, is quick to make friends when played as well as this. The quartet’s eclectic programme was built on the creative personalities of its members and it worked a treat. Arrangements of pieces by Dvořák, Clara Schumann and Debussy were accompanied by the quartet’s own arrangement of two preludes and fugues by JS

Bach. They more than justified the practice of ‘borrowing’ repertoire from before 1846, when the saxophone was invented. Bach would surely have shared our enjoyment. Contemporary pieces written for saxophone quartet wowed and enchanted. They included David Lancaster’s ‘Swan’, with its serene soprano voice floating above the tenor and baritone turmoil, and Jonathan Dove’s haunting close harmonies for four alto saxes in ‘Tuning In’, performed with entertaining theatricality. JH

Cogsworth. Each performer used excellent physicality to deliver a characterful performance. I particularly enjoyed Lumière’s Ahead of the performance, commitment to her character and comedic timing. I could feel the excitement The standout musical in the air. Not just for the production, but number had to be ‘Gaston’ in anticipation of how with nearly every member Oswestry’s new Holroyd of the cast on stage, singing and dancing. This Community Theatre song came to a would host all ‘The amount climax with the whole things artistic. Beauty & The Beast, of talent and cast performing an impressive softthe story of a reclusive enthusiasm shoe tap dance. prince and a young was girl who feels she It was such a incredible’ doesn’t fit in, proved pleasure seeing this Face2Face production to be a production at the Holroyd. The amount that packed a punch – and of talent and enthusiasm a sparkly one at that. Belle was played by Ella, who is on stage was incredible. Vocally it was superb and the definitely one to watch, with direction and choreography a clear, stunning voice full of on point, current and perfect texture. This, married with her excellent acting ability, for a large ensemble. I cannot wait to see what was wonderful to watch. Face2Face delivers next. As the show progressed With the Holroyd Community we met characters such as the chauvinistic Gaston, the Theatre as its home, I’m sure it will continue to raise Silly Girls and the people’s the bar. JW favourites, Lumière and


Curtains popped in to Llandudno last month to entertain the audiences there – and that is exactly what it did. It didn’t challenge, it didn’t provoke, it didn’t move anyone to tears or leave them rolling in the aisles. But as a piece of light-hearted, easy-going entertainment, it hit the nail on the head. A theatre company is putting on a lavish production (cue plenty of show-stopping song-and-dance routines with as much hamming and jazz hand displays as you could wish for) when murder strikes. Enter wannabe thespian turned detective Frank Cioffi (played by Jason Manford), who over a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours

reveals some flashes of theatrical genius, and rather more accidentally solves the crime. Manford dispelled any suspicion that he was there for his name and crowddrawing ability: the stand-up comedian was perfectly cast, perfectly capable and proved he can belt out a tune. On a cold night in Llandudno with plenty of laughs and some toetapping tunes to keep everybody moving, Curtains was a thoroughly enjoyable night out. KS

GET INhave TOUCH! If you a Ifshow you have a show in happening the Shire patch, we anywhere in Wales can a reviewer andsend the Borders, we –can andsend youra show can reviewer appear under thecan – and your show spotlight on these appear under the pages too!on Email the spotlight these details to editorial@ pages too! Email details to editorial@ We look forward to hearing from you!

March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 59

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The Girls! Here come

Our previous issue celebrated some of the talented and groundbreaking men who made their mark in Wales. Now, in honour of International Women’s Day on 8th March, it’s time for memorable, courageous Welsh women to take centre stage


hroughout the month of March, women are celebrated and lauded around the world – and Wales is no exception. Over the country’s history, there are scores of incredible women who helped shape Wales as we know it today. But the women of Wales have been something of a hidden powerhouse, with many going unappreciated despite their considerable accomplishments In 2019, the BBC dedicated a series to celebrating these hidden female legends as part of a campaign to give women the credit they are due. This was launched after journalist Caroline Hitt and Helen Molyneux, chair of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, publicised the fact that there were no public statues of Welsh women anywhere in the country. This culminated in a public vote to decide on one leading lady to be immortalised in sculpture, joining the many whimsical women, fairies, angels and imaginary characters recognised in public places.

DID YOU KNOW? Betty Campbell met Nelson Mandela during the South African president’s only visit to Wales

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The campaign offered five candidates – poet Sarah Jane Rees (aka Cranogwen), politician Lady Rhondda, activist Elizabeth Andrews, scientist and author Elaine Morgan and educator Betty Campbell – saw a huge response. Ultimately the public voted for Campbell to be the recipient of the sculptural honour, an installation outside the new BBC Wales headquarters in Cardiff ’s Central Square, due to be unveiled in the coming months. Betty Campbell was born into a working-class black family in Butetown in 1934, and was told at an early age that someone of her social standing would amount to nothing. Determined to prove her doubters wrong, Campbell was a brilliant academic and went on to become the first black headteacher in Wales. Her school became a pioneer for multicultural education, which she campaigned tirelessly to promote and encourage, and she was one of the team responsible for founding Black History Month. Campbell held positions as a local councillor, BBC board member, part of the Home Office’s race advisory committee, and a member of the Commission for Racial Equality before she passed away in 2017. Campbell is just one among many unsung female heroes of Wales. While we can’t promise a statue of every deserving woman, here Shire pays tribute to some of Wales’s leading ladies.

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Welsh WOMEN OF WONDER Apart from the five women the public voted for in the statue campaign, the history of Wales includes plenty of female characters who have helped shape the story of the country. And Shire has chosen a few of its favourites to celebrate on these pages – in no particular order…

LUCY THOMAS, 1781-1847 Known as ‘the mother of the Welsh steam coal trade’, Lucy Thomas was born into a simple family. She could neither read nor write but had a brilliant head for business, and took over the running of her husband Robert’s coal mine after his death in 1833. In those days it was extremely rare, and challenging, for a woman to take on such a role, but Thomas was determined to succeed in the male dominated world. When told that no woman was allowed to enter the Coal Exchange in Cardiff, she sent a male clerk in with a letter that read: ‘My coal is equal to any man’s – failure to grant entry will lead to my business lining another’s pockets.’ Even though her lack of academic skill meant many of the important documents she dealt with were signed with an X, Thomas grew the rich coal seam her husband had discovered into one of the most successful mines in Wales. She was also the first person to export steam coal from Wales.

BRIDGET BEVAN, 1698-1779 Bridget Bevan was a pioneering educational reformer and public benefactor, and played a huge part in introducing the ‘circulating school’ system alongside Rector Griffith Jones. The Circulating Welsh Charity School system moved from village to village to educate children and adults throughout Wales, in the Welsh language, at a time when little or no education was available to most. Bevan poured much of her own personal wealth – she was born into the wealthy family of philanthropist John Vaughan – into these schools, and also managed the entire project for 18 years after Jones’s death, demonstrating considerable business acumen and organisational skills. Under the circulating school system, between 1736 and 1776, 6,321 schools were founded and 304,475 pupils taught. This helped Wales achieve one of the highest literacy rates in Europe at the time.

BETSI CADWALADR, 1789-1860 Wales’s own Florence Nightingale, Betsi Cadwaladr worked as a nurse in the Crimean War alongside her fellow female medic. However, the two could not be described as friends: from different backgrounds (Nightingale had a privileged upbringing and Cadwaladr was born into a family of 16 children on a farm in Bala) and a generation apart in age, they fell out frequently. Cadwaladr was initially employed as a housemaid but at the age of 14 tied bedsheets together and escaped through a window to see the world instead. She travelled extensively before training as a nurse and joining the military nursing service when she was 65. She was known for sidestepping regulations to react more intuitively to the ever-changing needs of the injured soldiers, causing ructions with Nightingales who was a stickler for the rules. Finally, after falling ill with cholera and dysentery, Cadwaladr returned from the Crimea to the UK in 1855. Today her legacy lives on in the name of the largest health organisation in Wales, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

LADY RHONDDA, 1883-1958 Margaret Haig Thomas, who later became Margaret Haig Mackworth, 2nd Viscountess Rhondda, was a Welsh peeress, businesswomen and activist. She used her money and privilege to fight for what she believed in – whether rising to become chief controller of women’s recruitment during the First World War or spearheading the suffragette movement and bringing Emmeline Pankhurst herself to Wales. Lady Mackworth was daring and brave: she survived the sinking of the Lusitania when it was torpedoed during the war (claiming more than 1,100 lives), confronted Prime Minister Asquith by jumping on his car and set fire to a postbox, went to prison, went on hunger strike and never gave up fighting for equality. She was the greatest global businesswomen of her era and during her lifetime sat on the board of 33 companies, chairing seven of them, and oversaw an industrial empire of mines, shipping and newspapers. She also became the first, and to date only, female President of the Institute of Directors. She campaigned for female peers for 40 years and is arguably the reason women can sit in the House of Lords today – although the law allowing it, which she spent years fighting for, was passed only after she died.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2015, the annual Mackworth Lecture was launched by the Institute of Directors in honour of Lady Rhondda

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KATHERYN OF BERAIN, 1535-1591 Often referred to as Mam Cymru, or Mother of Wales, Katheryn was born in Denbighshire, a descendant of one of Henry VII’s illegitimate children. She has gone down in history for doing what a matriarch does best – producing descendants! Having clocked up four marriages, she is an ancestor of some of Wales’s most notable families, all of whom have played an important part in the country’s history. Her first husband was John Salusbury, a member of the family who first translated the Bible into Welsh, and their first son Thomas was executed for his involvement in plots to replace Elizabeth I with Mary, Queen of Scots. After John, she married Sir Richard Clough – a rich merchant and a spy for Elizabeth I – who is credited with building the first ever brick house in Wales. After Richard’s death, marriage to Maurice Wynn of the Wynns of Gwydir followed, and that family went on to hold important roles in the court of Charles I. Katheryn’s fourth and final husband was Edward Thelwall, and her extensive network of descendants have kept her name alive throughout Welsh history.

CHARLOTTE GUEST, 1812-1895 Born the daughter of the 9th Early of Lindsey, as a child Charlotte Guest developed a love of the outdoors, nature and above all languages. She taught herself Arabic, Hebrew and Persian as well as studying Latin, Greek, French and Italian with her brothers’ tutor. She also had a keen interest in politics. She married Welsh ironmaster Josiah John Guest, who ran the largest ironworks in the world at the time, but maintained her own interests, mainly in the areas of education and language. Her most significant translation work was the collection of classic Welsh stories that we now know as The Mabinogion, which she translated into English along with The Tale of Taliesin – an impressive feat when you consider she had to learn Middle Welsh from scratch to do this. Guest’s translation was the only English version of this Welsh prose masterpiece until the mid-20th century. The Mabinogion has long been considered a cornerstone of Welsh culture, identity and language – and the importance of Charlotte’s work in bringing it to a wider audience cannot be overstated.

DID YOU KNOW? Katheryn’s descendents included the writer and poet Hester Thrale and the explorer Sir John Salusbury, who co-founded Nova Scotia

EMMELINE LEWIS LLOYD, 1827-1913 A true trailblazer and pioneer, Emmeline Lewis Lloyd literally reached new heights as an adventurer, explorer and mountaineer. Born at the Nantgwyllt manor house in the Elan Valley, she was an independent child who loved walking, fishing and otter hunting. She ran a farm at Llandyfaelog Fach that bred mountain ponies, but rose to fame for her exploits in the Alps with her friend Isabella Straton. The pair were among the very few women who climbed mountains in both the Alps and Pyrenees in the 1860s and 70s, and in 1869 they also tackled the Matterhorn just four years after it was first scaled. They didn’t reach the peak, but were not discouraged and went on to become the first women to climb Monte Viso and make the first ascent of Aiguille du Moine. The summit is at an altitude of 3,412m (11,197ft) and it requires climbers to abseil on the descent – which these pioneering women managed in skirts. Lewis Lloyd is thought to be the second ever female alpine mountaineer in Europe, after Lucy Walker of Liverpool, and she was the eighth woman to climb Mont Blanc.


DID YOU KNOW? Charlotte Guest (above) supported schools in Dowlais, Llandaff and Swansea. The Guest Memorial Library still stands in Dowlais today

When Frances Hoggan decided on a career in medicine, nothing was going to stand in her way. Laws at the time barred women from sitting the necessary exams to qualify in Britain, so Hoggan headed for Switzerland where she successfully qualified in medicine in Zurich – completing the five-year course in just three years. She became the first British woman to receive a doctorate in medicine from any university in Europe and returned home to become the first female doctor to be registered in Britain. She married a fellow medic and they went on to open the first husband-and-wife medical practice in Britain. Despite her medical career, Hoggan found time to fight for the rights of women in education, becoming a campaigner and social reformer, and touring the USA lecturing – in particular on subjects involving racial issues, suffrage and civil rights. She was a speaker at the Universal Race Congress in London in 1911.

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SARAH JANE REES, 1839-1916 A Welsh teacher, poet, editor and temperance campaigner, Sarah Jane Rees – better known by her bardic name Cranogwen – was determined to defy convention from an early age. Her father was a sea captain and when her family tried to encourage her into dress-making, she begged to be allowed to go to sea instead. Going against expectations for Victorian ladies, she quickly gained her master mariner’s certificate – a qualification that allowed her to command a ship in any part of the world. For two years she worked as a sailor on cargo ships before coming home and establishing herself as a headteacher at the tender age of 21 – another groundbreaking role for a woman in that era. As well as children, she taught adult men about navigation. In her spare time she loved to write and made history once again when she became the first woman to win a major prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1865. Writing under the name of Cranogwen, her winning poem Y Fodrwy Briodasal (The Wedding Ring) was a satire of the married woman’s destiny. She went on to be one of the most popular poets in Wales, winning more eisteddfod prizes and exploring themes from Welsh patriotism to shipwrecks. In 1879, she became the first woman to edit a Welsh-language women’s magazine, Y Frythones, and she was also a great speaker, touring America as a lecturer, temperance campaigner and preacher.

LAURA ASHLEY, 1925-1985 Where would we be without the floral fancies of one of Britain’s best-known designers? Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Laura Ashley was raised in a civil service family as a Strict Baptist. At the age of 16, she left school and served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. She met engineer Bernard Ashley at a youth club and the pair married in 1949. Ashley became involved in the Women’s Institute and spent significant time quilting, relearning a craft she had originally enjoyed with her grandmother. She designed headscarves, napkins and table mats that Bernard then printed in the attic – and the rest is textile style history. Her husband soon left his job to print fabrics full-time as they flew off the shelves of high street stores including John Lewis. The business became an astonishing success, allowing the family to invest in yachts, private planes and foreign property while the iconic designs became household names as well as statement pieces. The name of Laura Ashley lives on in a thriving business that has become part of British culture.

LIVING legends As well as applauding the women who have had the biggest impact on the history of Wales, we wanted to celebrate the Welsh wonder women representing the country on the global stage today A trailblazer on the entertainment scene, Dame Shirley Bassey has long been one of Wales’s most well-known musical stars, with a singing career spanning more than seven decades. Her career began in the mid-1950s, and she is best known for her powerful voice and recording the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker. In January 1959 she became the first Welsh person to have a UK number one single, and in 2000 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the performing arts. A leading light of the sporting world, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson was born in July 1969 with spina bifida and is a wheelchair user who went on to become one of the most accomplished disabled athletes in British history. She won 11 gold medals for Great Britain during her Paralympic career as well as 13 world championship medals. Since retiring from sport she has taken up a parliamentary role in the House of Lords, spent time as a television presenter and has also been the Chancellor of Northumbria University since 2015. She may be better known on the other side of the world than she is here, but Julia Gillard – who became the first ever female Prime Minister of Australia in 2010 – was born in Barry to parents from Cwmgwrach. She has championed women’s rights through her career, overcoming gender barriers to become the first Australian Labour leader. Since retiring from politics in 2013 she has been a visiting university professor as well as releasing her political memoir, My Story. Gillard has been on the board of the mental health organisation Beyond Blue since December 2014 and was made an honorary fellow of Aberystwyth University in 2015. A true star of stage and screen, and a woman with fans around the world, is Swansea-born actress Catherine ZetaJones. She was always destined for stardom, dreaming of an acting career from a young age and taking to the West End stage while still a child in the musicals Annie and Bugsy Malone. She studied musical theatre at the Arts Educational Schools, but came to prominence when she was cast in the much-loved television series The Darling Buds Of May. Film roles followed, as did a relocation to Los Angeles and marriage to fellow actor Michael Douglas, and she collected an Academy Award and a Bafta for Chicago and a Tony Award for the Broadway show A Little Night Music. Zeta-Jones was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her film and humanitarian endeavours in 2010. March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 63

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The Rhyl deal Since Victorian times, Rhyl has drawn visitors from far and wide to its stunning coastal location – and its recent regeneration has made it better than ever


hyl has been a popular holiday spot ever since the Victorians found favour with the location and turned it into an elegant seaside resort. It has had ups and down since, and even, it’s fair to say, spent some time in serious decline, but regeneration and restoration have brought it DID YOU back into public popularity. KNOW? The town lies within The Rhyl Air Show, the historic boundaries featuring the Red of Flintshire, on the Arrows, takes north-east coast at place every the mouth of the River August Clwyd. Now part of Denbighshire, it is surrounded by other seaside towns: Kinmel Bay and Towyn to the west, Prestatyn to the east, and to the south Rhuddlan. Aside from visiting tourists, the town is home to a resident population of approximately 25,000, many of whom arrived from Liverpool and Manchester after the Second World War.

Beautiful buildings

Rhyl has several listed buildings and landmarks such as the Parish Church of St Thomas in Bath Street, a fine example of high Victorian Gothic, and others worthy of note include the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Sussex Street Baptist The Marble Church

Church, the town hall, the Swan public house, the war memorial and the Welsh Presbyterian Church in Clwyd Street, while the Grade II-listed Foryd Harbour Bridge, with its distinctive bowstring girders, links Rhyl with Kinmel Bay. Close by in Bodelwyddan is the most architecturally significant of all, the Church of St Margaret of Antioch (aka the Marble Church), which was built by Lady Margaret Willoughby de Broke in 1860. One of Britain’s finest Victorian

The view of the town from the beach

churches, it has an interior decorated with a rarely seen variety of marble.

Legacy restored

Although some of Rhyl’s most stunning features were lost during the 20th century – such as the Pavilion Theatre, an ornate building with five domes, which was demolished in 1974 – the town’s fortunes have changed recently. That’s thanks to several million pounds of European Union funding that was

The new Pavilion Theatre

secured by the Welsh government and spent on developing the seafront. This funding, alongside multiple other regeneration projects, has helped bring in major investment to the town. The results include the all-new Pavilion Theatre, featuring everything from local community shows to touring West End productions, as well as the stylish contemporary 1891 Restaurant and a five-screen cinema complex at the Sky Tower site – with multiple big retail and leisure names joining the revamped waterfront area. Add to the attractions the £15 million state-of-the-art SC2 (Sun Centre 2) swimming and leisure complex, the SeaQuariam aquatic life centre, the miniature railway, the museum and arts centre, the Marsh Tracks cycling centre and, of course, the beautiful beach, and the future is definitely looking bright for Rhyl. THINGS TO SEE AND DO Pavilion Theatre East Parade, Rhyl LL18 3AQ; 01745 330000 SC2 Leisure Centre West Parade, Rhyl LL18 1BF; 01745 777562 Rhyl Library, Museum & Arts Centre 11 Church Street, LL18 3AA; 01745 353814

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COSY COTTAGE COMFORTS A berdyfi is a popular village with holidaymakers in Wales – and for good reason. With an idyllic location and all the classic ingredients of a small, unhurried seaside village – family-friendly beach, picturesque stone harbour and jetty, yachts bobbing in the water, seafront pubs and bay-windowed houses in pastel shades – it’s hard to resist for tourists. ‘All the classic There are plenty ingredients of a of places to stay – small, unhurried and one good way seaside village’ of finding your ideal holiday spot is through Dyfi Cottages. This family-run self-catering letting and holiday home company was established in 2008 to help local cottage owners advertise their properties, and provides an easy-to-use website so those hunting for a holiday are able to book direct with the owners through a secure online system. The

Find the perfect place to stay in Aberdyfi

experts at Dyfi Cottages have built up strong relationships with property owners to ensure you enjoy a wonderful holiday, with a range of properties available for every size of group. Some of Wales’s greenest hillsides spill almost on to the rooftops of the town, while around the corner are the stunning Dyfi estuary and the wild Cambrian mountains. The area supports an extensive range of habitats including upland heath, woodland and grassland. So next time you’re planning a trip to this special place, find the perfect accommodation from which to explore the stunning area. Visit


et beside Hawk Lake in the grounds of Shropshire’s Hawkstone Park, Hawk Lake Caravan Park is great for a peaceful getaway. It’s close to the historic town of Shrewsbury, and ideally located for exploring Shropshire and mid Wales. There are five touring pitches, each with a hook-up and on hard standing, as well as 45 static caravan pitches, with 14 by the lake itself. These are privately owned but do occasionally come up for sale if you decide to make a more permanent move to Hawk Lake – just keep in touch with the team.

he Dyfi Valley opens wide as it approaches Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales and ends in sandy beaches and dunes. It cradles the westerly spur of Powys, southern Gwynedd, Ceredigion north of Aberystwyth, and the southern rim of Snowdonia National Park. This corner of Wales specialises in all things green – and not just because it’s home to the Centre for Alternative Technology: the beautiful mountains and fields contribute too. The Dyfi Valley Way is a 108-mile (164km) partly waymarked footpath that runs from Borth to Aberdyfi via Machynlleth. With a backdrop of rugged and unspoilt mountains, the path is highly varied in character and directs the walker along seldom walked routes. The valley provides the natural frontier between north and south Wales, with the Dyfi Valley Way winding through an area of outstanding natural beauty and taking in three wonderful attractions for visitors: the Dyfi forest, cultural centre Machynlleth and the charming beach resort of Aberdyfi.

The caravan park sits right on the banks of the lake, which is a popular spot with anglers, offering both day and season fishing. The lake has a selection of fish, from large carp (up to 30lb) and roach to perch, bream and pike. The 2020 season already has several events scheduled for those staying on site, including a hog roast on Saturday 27th June and a charity barbecue, silent auction and raffles on Sunday 30th August – all proceeds going to the Midlands Air Ambulance. Hawk Lake is a peaceful spot for a relaxing break, fishing trip, or long term holiday home investment. Visit A peaceful lakeside idyll March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 67

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Môr a Mynydd was designed to be familyfriendly with all modern comforts

Incredible views of Caernarfon Bay


the site is Môr a Mynydd (which means ‘sea and mountains’), a beautiful bespoke lodge designed by Aspire Leisure Homes for West Point, which boasts a roof terrace with f you’ve been considering a holiday home investment, 360° views of Caernarfon Bay and the Snowdonia mountain range for enjoying there is a particularly special spot with a beautiful the sunny days or starry nights. property available. West Point Beach Resort is a luxury ‘Set on its own As you enter the home, the large seafront caravan and family-friendly lounge leads into an opensecluded stretch plan kitchen and dining area, all with a lodge park of beach, a contemporary feel, including a smart in an ideal haven of calm’ modern kitchen with integrated appliances. destination The well-proportioned bedrooms offer class with enviable and comfort in spades. Gorgeous Europeandesigned bedroom furniture and stylish mountain header walls bestow every room with its own theme. The views, set on its bathroom and en suite deliver on all levels too, with floating own secluded stretch of vanity wall units and beautifully crafted taps and showers. From beginning to end, Môr a Mynydd’s discreet mellow beach, and is a contrasts and modern accents create a truly inspirational and haven of calm and tranquillity. peaceful setting to relax and enjoy a hard-earned rest with Currently on family and friends. Môr a Mynydd is on the market with an the market at asking price of £274,500. Visit


Contemporary kitchen and appliances



re you looking for some advice on where to go, what to do and when to visit this summer? Then why not get some holiday advice from the experts? While many of us use the internet to search out the best deals, it’s hard to beat a face-to-face chat with someone who can offer invaluable knowledge and insight when you are booking your next break. Helen Johnson and Philippa Wilcox had this firmly in mind when they set up Polka Dot Travel. Both aspired to be travel agents from a young age and saw their careers flourish, ‘Quality of becoming successful travel service is agency managers one of the at competing company’s high street travel most valuable agency chains. assets’ Over time the two formed a friendship based on a mutual respect – and as their families grew, they faced the same difficulties around the lack of flexible working, and ended up going in to business together. Polka Dot Philippa and Helen Travel was born, in partnership with

Advantage Travel Consortium, which gave Helen and Philippa the independence and choice of over 300 tour operators matched with the same buying power as their larger competitors. The Polka Dot Travel brand was created in Oswestry in 2013. Helen and Philippa ran the branch and opened Polka Dot Travel Wrexham shortly after. They now have 18 branches across the north-west, Wales, Shropshire and Staffordshire. Growth plans do not end there – they aim to have 30 18 branches across the region branches by the end of 2020. Polka Dot is one of the fastest-growing independent travel agents in the UK and has picked up several prestigious industry awards. Philippa and Helen believe that the quality of service received by their customers is the company’s most valuable asset, and that this women-led business will continue to buck the trend on the high street. Visit

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L K A K E HACW N A V P A A R R A K 30 T: 016

6 8 5 2 0 9 M : 0 78 6 0 8 4 3 3

www.haw klake.


We have 5 touring pitches each with a hook up and on hard standing, as well as 45 static caravan pitches.


Set beside Hawk Lake in the grounds of Hawkstone Park, this Caravan Park is great for a peaceful getaway. Close to the historic town of Shrewsbury, and in the heart of Shropshire, we are ideally located for exploring Shropshire and Mid Wales. We offer both Day and Season Fishing on Hawk Lake. The lake has a selection of fish, from big Carp up to 30lb, to Roach, Perch, Bream, Tench, Rudd and Pike.

Ask about available plots on

If it’s the Shropshire wildlife that you like, the lake is home to Kingfishers, Herons, Water Voles and Woodpeckers. Much of the lakeside is perfectly walkable, and there are places to sit and enjoy your surroundings in peace.


of Caravan Parks in North Wales & Cheshire

Hawk Lake Caravan Park, North Lodge, Hawkstone Park, Marchamley, Nr Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 5GE


River Dee River Dee •• Personalised Cards & Personalised Lovespoons • Welsh Greetings Cards Personalised Candles, Candles, Cards & Lovespoons Lovespoons Day Tickets Day Tickets Available ••• Welsh Crafts & Souvenirs • Jewellery • Café Candles • Welsh Crafts & Souvernirs • Jewellery Welsh Crafts & Souvenirs • Jewellery • Café Available ••• Wool Shop Fishing Tackle, Maggots & Café •Wool • Fishing Maggots & Worms Wool Shop ••Shop Fishing Tackle,Tackle, Maggots &Worms Worms

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Mon,Tues,Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10am ~~5pm Sun: 11am • Closed Wed Mon,Tues,Thurs, Fri,Sat: Sat:10am 10amto 5pm ••• Sun: Sun:11am 11am~to ~5pm 5pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, 5pm 5pm •• Closed Closed Wed Wed

Corwen Corwen Manor Manor 01490 01490 413196 413196 88 London London Rd, Rd, Corwen, Corwen, Denbighshire, Denbighshire, LL21 LL21 0DR 0DR T h e O l d U n i o n Wo r k h o u s e T h e O l d U n i o n Wo r k h o u s e

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Holiday Park


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Set in the Snowdonia National Park and only two miles from Conwy. Stunning sea and mountain views.

A Great Location to explore North Wales.

Trwyn yr Wylfa Caravan & Camping Site

Penmaenmawr, Conwy ,North Wales LL346YF 01492650672 email:

Luxurious glamping pods set in a peaceful setting on a working farm in the South Cheshire countryside.

Kiln Dried Hardwood or Softwood from £60 Large Bulk Bags from £50 Kiln Dried Jumbo Bulk Bag From only £125 Kindling sticks and coal Tel: 01948 780690 Mob: 07864 602 455 FREE DELIVERY WITHIN APPROX. 15-20 MILES

Bryn Bowlio Caravan Park Bryn Bowlio Caravan Park is a quiet country Caravan Park

It is set in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ at the foot of Moel Famau. Our accommodation includes two holiday cottages which are available for hire. We have 10 spaces for touring caravans, all with super pitches. There are site toilets, showers and a laundry room with a washing machine and dryer. Free Wifi available.

All the pods are en-suite with shower, fully heated, fitted with a kitchenette, double bed with bed linen & towels provided. Each pod has a private patio area with BBQ. We are an adult only site and open all year. A five-pitch certified location caravan site is also available.

Please find us at Email: Telephone: 07902 968783 Facebook:

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Seasoned Hardwood or Softwood from £50

Come and pay us a visit - discover this hidden gem for yourself. . David & Jill Fernyhough, Bryn Bowlio, Tafarn-Y-Gelyn, Llanferres, Denbighshire CH7 5SQ

t: 01352 810484

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S Northfield Holiday Park celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2020



elebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Northfield Holiday Park is a small self-catering holiday park in the scenic coastal village of Borth, near Aberystwyth, mid Wales. The family-run park is set in stunning gardens that have been thoughtfully landscaped with both indigenous and tropical plants, making Northfield a hive of activity for wildlife that’s a pleasure to be surrounded by. The 13 comfortable, fully equipped caravans and two spacious timber chalets all have a ‘The park is small garden area set in stunning and picnic bench, gardens that plus a TV and DVD player for have been rainy days. On-site thoughtfully facilities include landscaped’ a launderette, games and books to borrow, along with buckets, spades and nets. There is also a play area for younger children. Walk for five minutes from the accommodation and you’ll find yourself in a quiet cove to snorkel or fish, or

on the main beach. There are several public footpaths in the area, including the coastal path through Clarach to Aberystwyth and through pastureland to neighbouring villages. Opposite Northfield is a path leading to a sheltered

Enjoy the comforts of a Northfield holiday

cove with steps leading up to a war memorial on the cliff, providing wonderful views across the bay to Bardsey Island. The team at Northfield Holiday Park will do everything possible to give you an enjoyable holiday. Visit

et in 100 acres of Shropshire parkland, the Hawkstone Follies is a range of dramatic and rugged natural sandstone hills that were developed to include gullies, caves, towers and bridges, becoming one of the most visited landscapes in Britain during the 19th century. Today the park consists of landscaped parkland and rocky outcrops, based around the ruins of the medieval Red Castle. The park was created as the gardens for Hawkstone Hall, built by Richard Hill of Hawkstone around 1707, while the follies, estate and reputation were mainly established by his nephew and heir Sir Rowland Hill in the 18th century. The park then fell foul of a century of neglect and decay until a programme of restoration was started in 1990, enabling it to be reopened in 1993. It is now Grade 1 listed on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It takes a two and a half hour hiking tour to see each folly and their landscapes (a reasonable level of physical fitness and mobility is required and there are many steps, ascents and descents). Attractions include the Monument, standing over 100ft high, that commemorates Sir Rowland (who was the first Protestant Mayor of London), the Cleft which is spanned by the Swiss Bridge, the Grotto which may have originated as a fifth-century copper mine, and the Arch atop Grotto Hill. There are also various caves and tunnels through the rock, as well as walkways, viewpoints and trails winding through rhododendron plantations.

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DaysOut UP THE WALL Indoor climbing has taken the country by storm in recent years. Here we round up a few of the local centres where you can reach new heights

THE BOARDROOM, QUEENSFERRY, DEESIDE One of the UK’s best indoor climbing gyms can be found 15 minutes from Chester, just off the Queensferry junction on the A55/M56 gateway to Wales. With a Google rating of 4.9 from nearly 700 reviews, many of which mention the friendly staff, there’s no better place to start. The Boardroom offers climbing courses for adults, children’s birthday parties and kids’ climbing clubs, along with a climbing shop, café and free WiFi. For adults, the Introduction to Climbing course (£15 for one hour) gives you a taster of all the climbing on offer, from bouldering to climbing the higher walls with safety ropes and trying the psicobloc (pronounced see-koh-blok) – free solo climbing above a large foam mat. If you get the climbing bug, follow-up courses Rope Safety and Bouldering Intro will give you the skills to safely use the centre seven days a week. For younger climbers, Fun Clubs run at weekends and cost £10.50 for children aged five to seven and £14 for those aged seven and over. Afterschool Climbing Clubs are for more serious young climbers and offer coaching to a national level. The Boardroom also does kids’ birthday parties at weekends, with climbing and games followed by food from the café. Open 10am to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to 8pm on weekends.

BOATHOUSE CLIMBING CENTRE, LLANDUDNO Llandudno’s fun, family-run climbing centre, situated in the Old Lifeboat Station, offers a variety of activities for all levels. Experienced climbers can challenge themselves on a 4.5-metre bouldering wall, and 8-metre top roping, vertical and double overhang lead walls (there are still routes that haven’t been completed!). Private tuition sessions offer a flexible and personal approach to help you progress on your climbing journey. Party packages are designed to help you celebrate your special occasion. There are also instructor-led taster sessions during the school holidays, ‘Climb, crawl and which are great for those who are new to the sport and are suitable for scramble family members to do as an activity together. Second activity top-ups can through the be added for those wanting to do more in one visit, including a 24-metre building’ Human Rat Run caving system, Leap of Faith and abseiling. The Boathouse prides itself on providing a personal and unique experience for every person, making any visit one to remember. So, go along and climb, crawl and scramble your way through the 100-year-old building! Opens at 10am daily and closes at 5pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 9.30pm on Mondays and Fridays, and 10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

DID YOU KNOW? Rock climbing first appeared as a sport in the 1880s

BOULDER HUT, ELLESMERE PORT, CHESHIRE Featuring more than 1,000 sq metres of great climbing for every age and ability from toddlers to GB athletes , Boulder Hut is another great climbing venue. Novices can start with a 30-minute induction, including a tour of Boulder Hut, a safety briefing with an instructor, a crash course in techniques, chalk and shoe hire and unlimited climb time for the day. Boulder Play is a dedicated space where the under-fives can take their first steps in climbing, with a play tunnel and wall covered in colourful, tactile holds. From ages two to 10 there’s the bouldering area, with extra thick matting and specially designed bouldering challenges for kids to explore. Over-11s can tackle the main walls, with climbing routes and ‘problems’ graded for difficulty using colour-coded holds. This helps everyone find the right level and utilise the whole wall space. With everything from day passes and climbing courses to membership, birthday parties and events on offer, Boulder Hut is great fun for all the family. There is even a café serving snacks and meals to suit every taste, including vegan and vegetarian dishes. Open 10am to 10pm on weekdays, and 9am to 8pm on weekends.

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Essential CICERONE guides

NORTH & MID WALES AND SHROPSHIRE We encourage a friendly and respectful environment where all climbers can challenge themselves, from beginners through to experienced and advanced climbers. We offer instructor led holiday activities for all ages, so come and try our Climbing Taster Sessions, Human Rat Run Cave System or take a Leap of Faith with us. Entrance to our Bouldering Wall and Climbing Tower is in accordance with registration, equipment is available to hire. Old Lifeboat Station, Lloyd Street, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2YG

01492 353535 Parking is available directly outside the centre. A Balcony seating area and drinks / snacks are available for spectators with free public wifi also.

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E N J O Y 0300 300 3112 Caernarfon LL551UE

Situated on the Banks of the Menai Strait, and a stones throw from the Snowdonia National Park, we're ideally situated to unleash your next adventure in the great outdoors. Activities and courses vary so please see website for dates and timings.

Activity sessions for friends and family to try something new together

Open all year round |No experience required

We are all about making the outdoors accessible to discover new adventures

Youth activity sessions to get them hooked on outdoor adventures


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Join a course, from beginner, intermediate to advanced

Enjoy the great outdoors safely with everything you need provided


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HOOPING IT UP Looking for a new way to get outside and keep active? You may not have considered croquet – but here’s why you should, says John Dawson, secretary of Chester Croquet Club


lawns by enthusiasts varying from local roquet? Didn’t that disappear club players up to world champions. sometime around the time of The 2020 Golf Croquet World Team Lewis Carroll? In fact, modern croquet is alive and well and played in over Championship will take place in England 220 clubs across England and Wales in July, if you get the bug! All croquet clubs are – and it’s a great way to get out, DID YOU friendly and welcoming, get active and meet new people. KNOW? England’s Robert and run courses for In the Shire region, you can play Fulford has been croquet everywhere, from the suburbs beginners of either Association Croquet of Manchester to the coast code. Women and men world champion often compete on equal of north Wales. It is played five times terms (Nottingham’s on smooth short grass Rachel Rowe won the 2019 where the balls run freely English GC championship). (unlike our rough-andMany players come to the sport in ready garden lawns!) with retirement but there are also plenty high-tech mallets and solid of players under 30. Experience but tight hoops. There are two versions of the sport, of other ball sports may help but many start from scratch. Both Association and Golf, and codes of croquet play within a both are played on club Mallets are hi-tech

handicap system which means that very quickly you can get a good game at any level. (I am a reasonable club player; last summer I played for Cheshire partnering a top English player, the next week I was put in my place by a high handicapper in a local club match.) Clubs provide equipment; all you need are flat shoes and weather appropriate clothing. So where can you play? If you live near Manchester, head for Bowdon, where you’ll find a long-established and friendly club with over 100 members including JP Moberly, captain of the England golf croquet team. There are two clubs in Cheshire: a four-lawned club in Chester’s public Westminster Park, and a more rural small club in Tattenhall. In north Wales try Craig-y-Don and Llanfairfechan, while on the west coast there is a new club at Aberdyfi. You don’t have to be a local resident – you can drop in and play when you are

Players of all ages

on holiday! In Shropshire there are clubs in Shrewsbury, Church Stretton and Ludlow. Details of all clubs can be found via the Croquet Association website at



Clive Williams heads to the precipice of Foel Cynwch above Dolgellau for a walk among the old mines


ith the dark winter days behind us we can look forward to walking in warmer weather, seeing buds on the trees and the fresh smell of spring in the air. With that in mind I suggest a walk with a difference, high above Dolgellau, where, yes… there is gold in them there hills! This is a walk with breathtaking views, in an area known as the Dolgellau gold belt – it was the ‘The gold setting of the Welsh gold rush of mines give 1862. Copper has been extracted the walk there too, and the whole area an air of is littered with disused mine romance’ workings and hidden history to be explored. This gives the walk an air of romance and adds some excitement. While it starts high up and there are no mountains to climb, it follows a route along the very steep hillside of Foel Cynwch, so it’s one for adventurous walkers, not vertigo sufferers. Not long after the starting point, you round a bend on Foel Cynwch and are presented with a

The view from Foel Cynwch

stunning panoramic view of the mountains and the river below, right down to the Mawddach estuary and Irish Sea beyond (pictured above). As you follow the precipice walk you remain 850ft (260m) above sea level. Start the walk from Coed-y-Groes (postcode LL40 2NG), where the car park is free and there are public toilets and a small picnic area nearby. Take care on the approach, which is down a very narrow lane, located on the Dolgellau-Llanfachreth road a mile south of Llanfachreth. From the car park the circular route is clearly marked out on finger posts. The walk also incorporates a lakeside section with an abundance of wildlife and is a great location for photography. Take extra care if the weather is wet – I highly recommend going on a dry day, and sensible footwear is advisable. Visit and search ‘precipice walk Dolgellau’.

Walking The Snowdonia Way This guidebook describes the Snowdonia Way, a long-distance route through Snowdonia National Park from Machynlleth to Conwy. A low-level route of 97 miles (in six stages of between 13 and 21 miles) passes through the heart of Snowdonia’s stunning scenery and includes Pass of Aberglaslyn, Ogwen Valley and Aber Falls. It is suitable for walkers of average fitness and stamina. A more challenging mountain route covers 122 miles in nine stages of 12 to 18 miles, giving a spectacular journey over Cadair Idris and Snowdon. Price £13.46 Great Mountain Days In Snowdonia A guide to 40 great mountain walks and scrambles ranging right across the Snowdonia National Park. The book covers eight regions: Snowdon and Moel Eilio, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Eifionydd, Siabod and the Moelwynion, Rhinogydd (the Harlech Dome), Migneint and the Arans and Cadair Idris and the Tarrens. Price £17.06 For more information, visit

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Youyou areeat what


The food we consume on a daily basis has come a long way since we were confined by what we could grow or catch. Today there are so many diet plans available that choosing your nutritional path is something of a minefield. Shire is here to help…

DID YOU KNOW? Only 29 per cent of adults in the UK eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, with women more likely to do so than men

uman beings are omnivores, designed to consume a mix of foods from plant and animal sources for optimum health. For several centuries we did just that. Hunters gathered protein-packed meats, foragers found fruits and plants, and harvesters picked the grains that would supplement our basic dietary requirements. But we evolved. And with evolution, we developed the ability to be more choosy. It didn’t take us long to start deciding which meats worked best, and learn how to rear and farm the flavours we liked rather than chasing them through the wilderness. We taught ourselves to grow the vegetables and grains that made the best meals, and it wasn’t long before we discovered recipes that would transform them into palatable dinners. Trial and error helped us work out which basic nutrients were necessary and what purely added flavour – as well as which foods could prove fatal if they weren’t cooked or prepared a certain way. Yet we have continued to push the dietary boundaries so we can choose to eat almost whatever we like and still maintain a relatively healthy disposition.

FOOD SCIENCE Once humans worked out that we could find protein in sources other than meat and that vitamins were in more than just vegetables, the world was our oyster in terms of balance. Vegetarianism, once confined to hippy and alternative lifestyles, became a mainstream choice and medics began to identify those who were intolerant to specific food groups. Today even the most extreme allergies can be catered for and those who avoid dairy or gluten are commonplace. Developments in science have allowed us to identify just how much of which elements we really need and more often than not we can adapt our diet to suit. But diets have also attracted negative press, with the more extreme examples being condemned as downright dangerous. It’s important to note here that there are some people who should rarely, if ever, adopt a change in diet without proper medical advice, such as children, diabetics and pregnant women. For the rest of us, however, there are a multitude of meal plans that we can try – whether we want to lose a few pounds, develop more muscle, improve our general wellbeing or even save the world. Over the next few pages, we look at some of these in more detail.

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Going green Veganism – cutting out all animal products from your life – is enjoying a surge in popularity, but the practice of avoiding meat and more has been around for centuries


ccording to the Vegan Society, people have been avoiding meat since the Greek academic Pythagoras in 500BC. Avoiding eggs and other animal by-products grew in popularity after the Second World War – perhaps because many had got used to not having certain foods readily available due to rationing – and there are now thought to be 600,000 vegans in the UK. Many converts first taste the vegan lifestyle during Veganuary, the annual pledge to adopt a plant-based diet in the first month of the year. More and more people who try it decide to stick with it, and the benefits are much discussed – but what does it actually involve? The Vegan Society defines veganism as more of a lifestyle choice than a diet: ‘Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.’ Followers avoid all animal-related foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey, as well as avoiding animal-derived materials, products tested on animals and places that use animals for entertainment.


Pick your plan

There are hundreds of diet plans available, some more extreme than others. Here we round up some of the popular choices, with pros and cons from the British Dietetic Association

The Paleo diet

Also known as the caveman diet, this consists of foods that can be hunted and fished – such as meat and seafood – or gathered, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. It’s based on the supposed eating habits of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, so cereal grains (such as wheat), dairy, refined sugar and potatoes – as well as anything processed or with added salt – are off the menu. It’s generally a low-carb, high-protein diet that advocates say can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other health problems. PROS: The Paleo diet encourages you to eat fewer processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods – such as cakes, biscuits, crisps – and more fruit and vegetables. Reducing your consumption of these often calorific foods can help you lose weight. CONS: There are no accurate records of the diet of our Stone Age ancestors, so the diet is based on educated guesses and its health claims lack scientific evidence. Most versions encourage eating a lot of meat, which goes against current health advice.

The Dukan diet

A low-carb, high-protein diet. There’s no limit to how much you can eat during the plan as long as you stick to the rules. Phase one is a strict lean-protein diet of reasonably low-fat, protein-rich foods such as chicken, turkey, eggs, fish and fatfree dairy, normally for five days to achieve quick weight loss. Carbs are off-limits. The next three phases see the gradual reintroduction of fruit, veg and carbs, and eventually all foods.

Preventing the exploitation of animals is one of the main reasons people choose to go vegan, believing that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. But the lifestyle is also acknowledged as a generally healthy one, associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. A vegan lifestyle also forces you to learn more about nutrition and cooking, while getting your nutrients from plant foods encourages you to increase the amount of wholegrains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables in your diet, all of which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals. Many people adopt the lifestyle for environmental reasons, too, as one of the most effective ways in which an individual can lower their carbon footprint is to avoid animal products. A plant-based diet requires only one-third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet, and the lower quantities of crops and water required to sustain a vegan diet make switching to veganism one of the most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

PROS: You can lose weight very quickly, which can be motivating. It’s a very strict and prescriptive diet, which some people like. It’s also easy to follow, and you don’t need to weigh food or count calories.


PROS: As with the Dukan diet, you can lose weight very quickly, which can be motivating. The diet also encourages people to cut out most processed carbs and alcohol.

There are several vital nutrients that are harder to consume in sufficient quantities in a vegan diet. Vitamins D3 and A are only found in animal products such as egg yolks, cod liver oil and dairy products from grass-grazing animals. Leaving these out of your diet also means you consume less vitamin B12 and iron, but such gaps can be filled by plant-based replacements, or supplements if necessary.

CONS: At the start, you may experience side effects such as bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia and nausea from cutting out carbs. The lack of wholegrains, fruit and veg in the early stages could cause problems such as constipation.

The Atkins diet

The theory behind Atkins is that by starving yourself of carbohydrates, your body will start burning fat for energy. During the first phase, designed for rapid weight loss, you’re on a protein-rich diet, with no restrictions on fat and a daily carb allowance of 20 to 25g. After this, weight loss is likely to be more gradual, and regular exercise is encouraged.

CONS: Initial side effects can include bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation from cutting out carbs, and potential for lower fibre intake. The high intake of saturated fat may increase your risk of heart disease, and there are concerns about the recommendation to add salt. March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77

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Cut the carbs Often touted as an effective way to lose weight, ditching carbohydrates isn’t a decision to be taken lightly


elebration of some extreme diet plans in the media has left many people with the belief that carbohydrates are bad for you. But not all carbohydrates are created equal, and some are in fact an important part of our diet. Carbohydrates are one of the three main components of our food – the other two being fat and protein – and there are three main types of carb: sugar, starch and fibre. Sugars are either are added to foods, such as biscuits and fizzy drinks, or found naturally in things such as honey and fruit juices. Starch is found in foods that come from plants, such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, and provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day. Fibre is found in the cell walls of foods that come from plants, such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, wholewheat pasta and pulses. Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. They’re broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into your blood for fuel and the rest is converted to glycogen, which is found in the liver and muscles. If you take in too much, it is converted to fat, but not as easily as an excess of fat and sugar would be.

THE CASE FOR CUTTING Eliminating carbs from your diet entirely is rarely a good idea, but there is evidence that low-carb diets are safe and effective in the

DID YOU KNOW? The government’s Eatwell Guide illustrates what amounts of which food groups should make up a healthy diet, and can be downloaded from

short term for most people with type 2 diabetes. They help with weight loss, diabetes control and reducing risk of complications.

THE CASE AGAINST Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. In their absence, your body will use protein and fat for energy and it may be hard to get enough fibre. It’s also important to be aware of possible side effects of a low-carb diet, such as low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). Healthy sources of carbohydrates are also an important source of nutrients, such as calcium, iron and B vitamins, so cutting them out could potentially lead to health problems, while replacing them with fats and higher fat sources of protein could increase your intake of saturated fat, which can raise the amount of cholesterol in your blood – a risk factor for heart disease.

Where’s the wheat? For those with an intolerance to gluten, eliminating it from their diet is a necessity. But there are those who do so for non-medical reasons


ost supermarkets now have an aisle of gluten-free foods – a blessing for anyone forced to follow this diet for medical reasons. The most common health condition that makes this a necessity is coeliac disease – a potentially serious problem in which gluten triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to problems such as osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage and seizures. The good news is that with support from doctors and dieticians, most people with coeliac disease can adapt what they

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The 5:2 diet

This regime is based on a principle known as intermittent fasting (IF), where you eat normally for five days a week and fast on the other two. It is quite effective for a lot of people, with a reduction in body fat generally achieved. PROS: Sticking to a regimen for just two days a week can be more achievable than seven days, so you may be more likely to persevere with it. Even just two days a week on a restricted diet can lead to greater reductions in body fat, insulin resistance and other chronic diseases. CONS: Non-restricted days don’t mean unlimited feasting. While you don’t need to be as strict about your calorie consumption on these days, you still need to make healthy choices and be physically active. There is also a risk that your restricted eating days may not be nutritionally balanced. DID YOU KNOW? It can take at least six months and up to five years, or in some cases even longer, for the gut damage caused by eating gluten to fully heal in those with coeliac disease

eat to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. However, based on little more than testimonials in the media, some people have switched to gluten-free diets to lose weight, boost energy and generally feel healthier, not a choice that is either simple or recommended. A gluten-free diet doesn’t contain any foods or drinks made using gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The obvious culprits are bread, cake, biscuits, pasta, breakfast cereals and beer, but even seemingly innocuous items such as stock cubes can contain gluten. Oats are often a good alternative, as they are naturally gluten free, but these can be contaminated with other glutencontaining cereals during the production stage so must be checked. Luckily there are lots of foods that don’t contain any gluten. Meat, fruit and vegetables, rice, dairy foods, eggs, pulses and fruit juices are all naturally gluten-free, and many producers have also created gluten-free alternatives to their standard products. Even so, it’s a diet that deserves proper consideration before you make the switch.

THE CASE FOR Those with coeliac disease must adopt a gluten-free diet for the sake of their health. Any other reason to cut out wheat is a bit tenuous. Some claim it has helped them lose weight, but this is more likely due to the reduction of carb-rich foods like bread and pasta. It’s also often touted as a good way to improve wellbeing, but this is likely to be thanks to the addition of fresh fruits and vegetables.

THE CASE AGAINST Wholewheat is a major source of fibre which our bowels need to work properly. It’s possible to get this fibre from other grains, (such as brown rice), fruits, vegetables and beans, but you need to make a determined effort, as those with coeliac disease do. Those people, around one per cent of the UK population, have to follow a gluten-free diet because the tiniest intake of gluten can trigger debilitating gastrointestinal discomfort. It’s time-consuming, expensive and restrictive – they are unlikely to welcome those adopting the diet as a lifestyle choice.

Slimming World/ WeightWatchers

These organisations bring people together to help them lose weight through peer encouragement and by sharing expertise. Both use a system of points or allowances and ‘free foods’, with treats allowed and allocated. PROS: You get support from fellow slimmers at weekly group meetings and follow an exercise plan to become more active. You can also join an online programme. No foods are banned, so meals offer balance and variety, and are family-friendly. CONS: Both programmes advocate eating plenty of lowenergy and filling foods, but you can choose to eat more lean protein and starchy carbohydrate foods than recommended because these are unrestricted, which would limit any weight loss if you went over your daily calorie requirements.

Meal replacement diets

Low-calorie meal-replacement plans are normally restricted to those with a BMI of 25 and over who need to reduce their weight for health reasons. They tend to use a range of shakes and soups to replace two meals a day, with the third being a normal dish from a list of healthy options. PROS: Meal-replacement diets can help some people lose weight and keep it off. The plan is convenient, as the products take the guesswork out of portion control and calorie counting. CONS: On their own, meal-replacement diets do little to educate people about their eating habits and change their behaviour. They can be expensive and it may be hard to get your five portions of fruit and veg a day without careful planning.

Sugar-free diet

As its name suggests, this diet involves avoiding most, if not all, types of sugar. Plans usually require you to cut out food and drink high in free sugars, such as fizzy drinks, breakfast cereals, flavoured yoghurts and biscuits. PROS: Cutting down on free sugars (the sugar added in foods) is a good idea because, as a nation, we consume unhealthy amounts of sugar. Getting used to understanding the sugar in foods and checking labels can be helpful. CONS: Going completely sugar-free is almost impossible, as it would also mean cutting out sugars in milk and milk products, fruit and vegetables, which would not be a balanced approach. March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 79

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GREAT VALUE WINTER WARMER SPECIALS A small country pub in a small village in a picturesque part of North Wales. Built over 200 years ago it still keeps its old world charm. “A good welcome is always received and there is a very good selection of drinks including at least three cask ales. With excellent pub food served every night except Wednesdays with special deals on certain nights and best of all the prices are very competitive. Winter Warmer Special, Monday and Tuesday nights 2 courses £10.95 Sunday Lunches 2 courses £12.00, 3 courses £14.75

Warm, friendly & welcoming

• Set in stunning rural countryside, ideally suited for Snowdonia

• A traditional, family-run

• Open all day

inn with home-cooked food, real ales and roaring fires

Food served Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 6pm - 9pm Sunday 1pm - 4.30pm

The Fox Inn, Ysceifiog, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 8NJ

01352 720241

• Function room available • Dogs welcome too • Free wi-fi

• Food served 12 noon to 3 pm & 6 pm to 9 pm, and all day Sundays LLANDDERFEL, BALA, GWYNEDD, LL23 7RA Tel: 01678 530 205

Opening times: (Monday to Saturday 11am to 10pm Closed Sunday) 18A Oswald Road, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 1RE T: 01691 659965 E:

A family restaurant All of our food is homemade, including fresh egg pasta and pizza dough. Join us and enjoy the culture of real Italian cooking.

If you are looking for traditional authentic Italian cuisine look no further. We know that delicious food should be at the heart of life – and we settle for nothing less. Made from the freshest ingredients we will prepare the most tantalising choice from our menu to delight your taste buds. Our chefs prepare each dish using only authentic recipes and skills, fresh for you each day.


Set in the splendour of a renovated Presbyterian church in the heart of the picturesque market town of Oswestry, Lepone’s is the perfect location to celebrate your wedding. Our bespoke wedding package options cater for every type of wedding from small intimate occasions or grand and extravagant – we have it covered.

Cocktails • Afternoon teas • Live music events Fresh produce available from the restaurant. Available for private functions and outside catering

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Food&Drink FRESH FACE FOR FOOD Shire has a new expert chef: Gareth Jones, development chef at Iscoyd Park, one of Shropshire’s leading private country house wedding and events venues. Here he shares one of his favourite dishes


areth Jones is a Michelintrained chef with an impressive background who recently took on a new role at Iscoyd, direct from the kitchens of the Chester Grosvenor. Formerly head chef at La Brasserie at the Grosvenor, he has 20 years’ experience of working in some of the best restaurants and hotels in the North West. Gareth worked his way up from demi chef de partie to sous chef over seven years before moving to his first head chef role at the 3 AA Rosette Bodysgallen Hall Hotel & Spa in Llandudno. As well as being an excellent chef, Gareth has extensive knowledge in strategic menu development and a love of good food. He has shared his recipe for delicious pork belly,

SLOW COOKED PORK BELLY, CELERIAC, BLACK PUDDING AND LENTIL JUS For the pork belly (serves 6) 100g rock salt 10g pink salt 1.5kg boneless pork belly with scored skin 7g coriander seeds 2 star anise 1/ 2 cinnamon stick Zest of 1 orange 10 sage leaves 14g sugar

Blend together the salts to form a fine mixture. Rub on the pork belly and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge, gently rinse the salt from the pork and pat dry. Rub a little salt into the skin, place on a cooking wire in a roasting tray and cook for three hours at 150°C/gas mark 2. When the pork is cooked through, gently pull the crackling off and press the belly until chilled. Remove any fat from the crackling and roughly chop for later. When cold, cut the belly into six neat portions

For the celeriac Gareth Jones

right, with Shire to mark his first appearance in the magazine. ‘Pork belly is one of those dishes you can never go wrong with – tender on the inside with a delicious crispy skin,’ says Gareth. ‘Slow cooking the meat for three hours perfectly tenderises it while creating the best crispy crackling – something we all love! ‘Our pork at Iscoyd Park is locally sourced and we use only use the best-quality fresh ingredients in our dishes. I like to serve pork belly with creamed celeriac, black pudding and lentil jus, topped with crispy kale for an extra crunch. The textures work perfectly together and the flavours are forever complementing each other.’

2 small celeriac 50g butter 1 shallot, sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 200ml double cream Peel and roughly dice the celeriac. In a large pan, melt the butter and add the shallot and garlic. Gently cook until they start to soften, then add the celeriac. Cover with a lid and stir occasionally until soft. Stir in the cream and cook until the cream has reduced and starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and blend in a food processor until smooth. Pass through a sieve and cool.

For the lentil jus

350ml reduced veal or beef stock 9tbsp cooked puy lentils Small knob of butter Warm the stock. Add the lentils and butter just before serving.

For the apple purée 2 Bramley apples 50ml apple juice Pinch of salt 50g caster sugar

Bake the apples in the oven until charred. Blitz in a food processor until smooth. Season with the apple juice, sugar and salt.

To serve

6 fingers or rounds of good-quality black pudding, about half the size of the pork belly portion 200g kale, washed Pan-fry the pork belly skin side down, then place in the oven with the black pudding until piping hot. Warm the creamed celeriac in a small pan and do the same with the jus. Cook the kale in salted boiling water, drain and season. Place the belly and the black pudding in the middle of the plate and spoon the celeriac in between. Top the celeriac with a pile of the kale, scatter the chopped pork crackling and spoon the lentil sauce over the pork belly. Place a neat blob of the apple purée on the black pudding and the pork belly, and serve. Pork belly with celeriac, black pudding and lentil jus March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 81

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GRAPE EXPECTATIONS Pip Gale of Gale’s Wine Bar in Llangollen dispels some common myths surrounding grapes and their influence on wine colour


s part of the Wine 101 course I run, I like to run through some common myths, miscomprehensions and fun facts about wine-making. The one that’s always the greatest eye-opener is this: red and white are the same. If you peeled a red grape and crushed it, you would get white wine. In fact, most champagnes are made with mostly red grapes – namely, pinot noir grapes that are so lightly pressed they make white wine. The red colour comes from the skins, how much you crush them and how long you leave the juice on the skins. As well as the colour, the tannins and other flavours of red wine come from the skins too. This fact can give you a great insight into the decisions a winemaker can take.

DID YOU KNOW? Tannins add bitterness, astringency and complexity

The white stuff

When you make a white wine with white grapes, the juice is lightly pressed and the skins are removed. Without the extra flavours of the skins, you get a clean, fresh, acidic wine that is extra refreshing. However, a winemaker can choose to leave the skins on when making the wine, as is the case in ‘orange wine’, the new star of trendy wine shops. Although technically white, these wines have a tannic structure and a deep orange colour. While white wines made from red grapes are rare – with the expection of White grapes are lightly pressed champagne – a few cases do exist! White pinot noir is mostly found in Alsace, but California has a few examples too. However, it’s more likely that a light pressing will be used to make rosé, which leads me to the next ah-ha! moment: rosé isn’t made from mixing red and white together but is actually a deep red wine, lightly pressed. (Some rosés are made from blending,

New garden café opens D

orothy Clive Garden near Market Drayton has a opened its newly refurbished tearoom and gift shop with help from a local resident. Dorothy Webb has been visiting the gardens with her family since the 1950s. Having just turned 100, The garden opens daily from 14 March Dorothy was asked to officially open the new tearoom. ‘The Dorothy Clive Garden is a place we return to time and time again,’ says Dorothy’s daughter, Elizabeth. ‘There have been family reunions and birthdays celebrated here, and her grandchildren were brought to explore and grow to love it too.’ When asked why she visits the gardens every weekend, Dorothy explains that there is always something new to see and smell. So

but these are almost as rare as white pinot noir.) That’s why there are so many shades of rosé available in supermarket – each winemaker decides how long to leave the skins to macerate with the wine. Spanish rosados, for example, tend to be deep in colour while Provence rosés are at the lighter end of the spectrum.

Flavour favourites

This idea can also explain why you might like Chilean merlots but not those from Bordeaux’s St Emilion. The main differences between the two are the climate, the soil and the fact that the Chilean merlot is an older version of the grape owing to a bug outbreak in the rest of the world – plus the fact that Bordeaux producers do more extraction on the skins to make their wines more age-worthy. As a result, the Chilean is more plummy and ripe while the French is more likely to be big and earthy. So what are we saying here? Wine is a fantastic discovery of different tastes, and sometimes we should look past Skins give wine colour the grape and ask what the winemaker is doing to them. How they treat the skins is one factor that can change the character so much you might not even recognise it. I won’t be recommending any wines this time round… mainly because white pinot noir and Blanc de Noir champagne are crazy expensive! where else would her family choose to have her 100th birthday lunch than in the pavilion, complete with a surprise birthday cake courtesy of the staff? Dorothy was delighted, and enjoyed a walk up to the bluebell wood with all four generations of her family. Choices on offer in the new tearoom include homemade soup, a selection of fresh sandwiches, quiche, jacket potatoes and traditional ploughman’s with a selection of three counties cheese. Homemade scones are also available, alongside deliciously indulgent cakes and a selection of teas, freshly filtered coffee and other soft drinks. Dorothy Clive Garden tearoom is open from 10am to 5pm daily from April until the end of September, and 10am to 3.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from October until the end of March. www. The refurbished tearoom

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Mother’s Day To Start

Butternut Squash, Red Pepper and Chilli Soup served with a sourdough wedge Traditional Prawn Cocktail served with house salad Garlic Button Mushrooms served on a toasted ciabatta topped with stilton Duo of Filo Parcels (Fig and Goats Cheese & Mango and Brie) Duck and Orange Chicken Liver Pate served with welsh onion marmalade with Melba toast and house salad

Main Course

Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce!

Roasted Topside of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding Welsh Roast leg of Lamb served with mint jelly Butter and Thyme Glazed Turkey with stuffing & pigs in blankets Paprika Salmon Fillet on a sautéed vegetable medley with a lemon, red onion and dill cream sauce

Call in and ‘meat’ our friendly butchers and see what delights are on offer

All of the above are served with roasted potatoes, honey roasted parsnip & carrot and seasonal vegetables


Chef’s Eton Mess with fresh berries, meringue and fresh cream Baileys Chocolate Mousse served with whipped cream and chocolate shavings American-style Pancakes with chocolate sauce and honeycomb ice cream and pieces Apple Crumble Tart served with custard

1 Course £14.95

2 Courses £17.95

Unit 1, St Mary’s Precinct, Church Street, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5HX T: 01691 772602

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OUT OF THE DARKNESS Our friends from the Campaign for Real Ale raise a glass to the start of the apple-growing season


ollowing the darkness and cold of the end of the year, most orchards are now preparing to burst into life. Spring in the orchard is a lovely time, when the trees start to wake and the buds start to turn to blossom. For many the wassail ceremonies will have hopefully banished the evil spirits from the orchard and minds will be turning to managing the growth and pruning what is needed to be taken back. The Welsh Perry & Cider Society is set for a busy 2020. At the beginning of February, the heritage orchard in Llanarth,

Orchards spring back to life

Usk, hosted its first wassail in a while, and it is organising a road trip to a number of producers in south Wales this March. That will be followed by a hectic summer, which will include the annual Welsh Perry & Cider Festival in Caldicot from 22nd to 25th May, and the Royal Welsh Show from 20th to 23rd July.

Time to explore

Perry & Cider Festival in Caldicot starts 22nd May

These shows give the public a chance to try some of the varieties of Welsh cider and perry that are available. There are now more than 60 producers in Wales, with many of them carrying award-winning credentials.

With the turn in weather, the variety of dishes that go with cider starts to expand, from succulent spring chicken dishes through to ‘There are now the more varied more than 60 creamy asparagus cider and perry pasta. Cider sits producers in well with many of Wales, many of the dishes that you them awardwill be cooking at winning’ home or indeed be eating down your local pub. Take a lead from the trees in the orchard and jump into spring with a cider this year. Cheers!


Discover how one local company is going from strength to strength selling pure spring water bottled at a family farm in Powys


adnor Hills, one of the UK’s leading soft drinks manufacturers and based in mid Wales, has launched a canned spring water to add to its extensive range. Its pure spring water is sourced from the company’s family farm in Powys, where it takes just seven minutes to filter from the ground into a can. The new canning line is the result of a £3.5m investment and is capable of filling still, sparkling and infused products with a direct feed from the farm’s boreholes. In keeping with the company’s green credentials, the new packaging is sourced from within 65 miles of Radnor Hills HQ at Heartsease Farm. The new canned range

Radnor Hills water is bottled in mid Wales

‘Installing our first ever canning line has been an exciting new adventure for us as a business, and we are so pleased to be able to offer our customers yet another format for their spring water and other products,’ says William Watkins, owner and managing director of Radnor Hills. Radnor Hills was founded in 1990 by Watkins, with the help of a Welsh government match-funding grant for farm diversification and a £20,000 family investment. Early customers included McDonald’s and a number of airlines, and the business has since grown into an international range of soft drinks and water products. The Watkins family have farmed the land at Heartsease since 1903, and all the spring water for the company’s products is sourced from 12 boreholes on their land. Today the company employs 170 people and is a £47m business.

March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 85

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Made to Measure Curtains & Roman Blinds Roller, Venetian & Vertical Blinds Shutters & Awnings Curtain Poles & Tracks Wallpaper & Paint Measuring & Fitting Service

This year is already looking like an exciting time in property, whether you’re buying or selling, says Shropshire estate agent Russell Griffin

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ike early snowdrops, Behind this energy are several property buyers have years of pent-up demand. Those begun poking their heads above who could wait to make a move ground after a long period of or who were nervous did wait. slumber. In fact, in some parts But now the waiting is over, of the UK, there are significant and demand is rocketing. and spectacular bursts of This is exciting, but we should snowdrops. Is this because of not get too carried away. In the time of year? Partly, but property confidence can soon more likely because we are give way to over-confidence, emerging from an extended with sellers often eager to set uncertain period of lifelessness higher asking prices. We don’t in the property market. want to see all those snowdrops It may be a reaction to droop under an ill-considered the stability of a majority layer of expectation. government or the relief of Prudence and guidance are Brexit being done, but February critical factors in sustaining this saw a definite surge in the excellent start to 2020. As always, market with markedly more before embarking on selling or interest and buying a property, activity. All over we advise seeking the the country wisdom and counsel numbers of of an experienced registrations, local independent viewings, offers estate agent. We’d and sales are up on love to help and the previous two advise you. or three years . The timing of Russell Griffin is the December director of Samuel general election Wood, with branches A great time to buy was perfect for in Shrewsbury, the property market. With the Ludlow, Craven Arms and will-we/won’t-we Brexit issue Church Stretton. If you are settled, a cloud of uncertainty considering buying, selling was lifted and those who or letting property, contact were sitting on their hands Russell on 01743 272710 or have jumped into action. visit

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86 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Decorating with wallpaper is enjoying a huge revival at the moment. Shire columnist Suzanne Mercer, from Kettle Design in Heswall, explains how to get the most from yours


allpaper is an extremely useful and popular product. It can completely change the feel of a room, and it is an easy fix to add life and change the mood. Used properly, wallpaper can also work against the main weakness of a room or space. The correct wallpaper can improve the proportions, link uncoordinated spaces and rationalise rooms.

Sparkle motion

Paper with a sparkle will catch the light and help illuminate a darker space. More subtle tones work well in rooms with low ceilings and help prevent the room feeling top-heavy. Strong patterns should be balanced with plain walls. Current trends have brought some wonderful, detailed papers which not only work on the walls, but also can be used to great effect to add impact and colour to furniture. Often we overlook places where wallpaper can be used – on ceilings, for example. Wallpaper can add detail and interest to a large flat ceiling. You can also wallpaper flat wardrobes, kitchen or drawer panels – all these areas can take bold designs.

Clever covering

In the past wallpaper was often treated as a repeated pattern to decorate walls – but in the 21st century it has decidedly moved on from this. The increasing popularity of wallpaper murals enables us all to turn our walls into

There’s a huge range of beautiful patterns available

‘Paper with a sparkle will catch the light’

large works of art. The right print or photographic paper can enable you to create something inspirational in your own home at a considerably lower cost than investing in a piece of bespoke artwork! At Kettle Design we have a comprehensive selection of wallpapers and the expert knowledge to help you use them. For more information and inspiration visit March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 87

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HOW YOUR HOME CAN HELP YOUR HEART AND YOUR HEAD The environments we spend time in affect our overall wellbeing, so it’s vital that we ensure our homes have a positive impact on our lives. Jo Dyson, renovation and interiors expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show, explains how Lighting

‘Above all I really recommend taking time to think about how you will get natural light your home,’ says Jo. ‘Exposure to daylight has been linked to improvements in wellbeing and mood. Try to get as much natural light into your home as possible by removing walls, adding windows or skylights, making hallways and openings between rooms wider, or making any partitions glazed to allow light through. ‘Home layouts such as open-plan or broken-plan, which incorporate structural elements including glass screening or dividing shelves, allow daylight to travel through the home and make the living areas feel bright. Additionally, given the pivotal role of a good night’s sleep in health and wellbeing, think about fitting blackout blinds or shutters in bedrooms to avoid waking up too early in the summer.’ DID YOU

KNOW? ds Jo recommen ith w ng ni ee gr ferns peace lilies, and palms


‘I prefer natural plants to fake ones in the home for their air purifying, visually inviting and calming effects,’ says Jo. ‘The “greening” of main living areas makes me feel good just looking at them. I like to “bring the outside in” by ensuring that the flooring that links a living space to a garden or roof terrace is the same or similar when doors are open, using a similar colour Plants have a calming effect palette to create this feeling

Choose the right colour to improve mood

of a continual space. I have also included bee-friendly plants on my roof terrace, such as lavender and rosemary.’


‘Colour impacts mood: darker, richer shades make a dramatic impact and might be best used in a cosy snug room or bedroom to make us feel warm and cosy, whereas paler colours might make us feel more awake. Greens can bring tranquillity and harmony, while cool colours such as blue are associated with peace, balance and order. Consider painting the ceiling as well as the walls in a darker shade to help that feeling of cosiness, or paint the woodwork in a darker shade than the walls, rather than opting for conventional white woodwork.’


‘If you have neighbours close by, being able to block out noise will help create a calm, productive and happy living space,’ says Jo. Natural light is important ‘Having lived with noisy neighbours in the flat below me for a few years, I know all too well the importance of making sure floors are properly soundinsulated. If you’re doing a loft conversion and have a party wall with a neighbour, ensure you put the best sound insulation in.’ For more visit

‘Alexa, open my blinds’


otorised blinds offer a winning combination of simplicity and security. And with the prices of motorisation tumbling, the choice to go motorised is within reach of most people. At Lewis & Holmes in Oswestry, you will find motors for all types of blinds. The most popular option is motorised roller blinds – they’re seriously easy to use and can operate for up to six months on a single charge. Screen roller blinds are also popular for those large bifold doors, allowing you to admire the view while reducing the heat gain and solar glare on the inside. Combining screen blinds and blackout blinds on one window can give you the ultimate flexibility with a fashionable minimalist look. For 2020 there is a huge range of new fabrics suitable for wide windows – three-metre fabrics are now a common option. The collaboration between Disney and Louvolite has allowed

Motorised blinds are safe, simple and affordable

Lewis & Holmes to offer a fabulous blackout collection featuring characters and designs from Star Wars, Marvel Comics and other Disney classics – which, of course, can also be motorised, removing the need for hanging chains and cords and making the blinds child-safe. If you would like to discuss blinds or curtains – motorised or manual – pop into Lewis & Holmes, 100 Castle Street, Oswestry SY11 1LA – opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm – or see a selection of products at

88 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Are your home appliances safe?

A recent survey from British Gas has revealed safety concerns that could cause serious problems


n 2019, British Gas commissioned a customer survey and sent its engineers to carry out safety checks on homes across Britain. The results are worrying. They found 26,000 unsafe or dangerous gas and electric appliances over seven-month period, with hazardous appliances detected in one in 20 of the homes visited – the most common being boilers and old cookers. Meanwhile, the survey of 3,050 adults found that a 10th say they would probably still use an appliance if they saw it ‘spark’. ‘We have so many gadgets in the house nowadays that it can be difficult to keep on top of them all, but it’s important to keep an eye on whether they’re working as they should be,’ says Lauren Vazquez, engineer and safety expert for British Gas. ‘Every day our engineers are checking that customers’ electricity is safely wired and testing all gas appliances to make sure they’re safe. Some of the unsafe appliances we’ve come across could have had a devastating effect on our customers’ health and safety.’

Silent but deadly

The survey also indicated that more than two-thirds of UK householders actively

Monitor energy use for safety

worry about the safety of the appliances in their home, but more than half do not test their household gadgets as often as they’re advised to by the manufacturer, and almost two-thirds of respondents admit they have used an appliance despite it being faulty. The survey also found 54 per cent were unaware that monitoring their energy use is a good way to look after appliances. Using a smart meter can help identify changes in energy consumption that could be attributed to faulty devices. ‘Carbon monoxide Get your boiler serviced annually kills around 30 people a year.’ says Lauren. ‘You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, but fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home. Signs of a leak include sooty stains on your cooker, a gas fire that has become difficult to light, and the flame on your boiler burning yellow or orange instead of blue. Get your boiler checked once a year and have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted – and call an engineer if you have any concerns.’

Looking for a new garden room?


n orangery is an elegant extension to a home, allowing in light from the lantern roof and tall windows. They are more substantial than conservatories, with side elevations constructed from traditional building materials, and can be a stunning edition

Elegant orangeries

to your home. Another garden room option is replacing your existing conservatory roof with a solid roof system. Snowdonia Windows & Doors offers beautifully bespoke orangeries, garden rooms and conservatory roofs. Visit the showrooms on Bromfield Industrial Estate, Mold, to see how it can transform your house, using energy-efficient, top-quality windows and doors. For further information or a free no-obligation quote, call 01352 758812 or email reception@ snowdonia

Transform your conservatory with a new roof March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 91

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New Homes

Reduce your energy use with one of these striking homes



pliant, and looks and e’re all trying to be more eco-friendly, and one major smells fantastic. way to do that is with a more environmentally conscious LC’s prefabricated home. LC Ecohomes supplies highly engineered, framed homebuild packages, consisting of multi-layer wall construction and walls achieve thermal usually incorporating ‘post-and-beam’ roof systems, which performance of 50 to 64 per cent, allow spacious open-plan designs and soaring vaulted ceilings. which is higher than Internally the homes building regulations use plastered walls with require, while the feature timbering, with company major beams also offers and posts left double-and exposed – all ‘Western triple-glazed complemented Red Cedar windows with tophas a right up to quality internal Choose from a range of external finishes powerful ‘Passivhaus’ timber doors natural standards, as well as a raft of standard items to improve and millwork. resistance Externally the efficiency and airtightness of your property. to decay’ This is all very technical, and it can be difficult there are a wide to visualise your dream home in an actual variety of finishes: design. This is where CAD 3D systems can be of great masonry, render, timber or modern proprietary help. LC’s system allows you to view the home with your choice of finish, not only in the traditional plan materials. Among the and elevation format, but also as 3D photo images. most popular is Western Red Cedar, a highly LC Ecohomes has supplied environmentally friendly resilient cladding material homes across north Wales and the north-west, from that has a powerful Anglesey to Lancashire. For further details, visit or find the HOUZZ project site natural resistance to decay, is stable and at (search in ‘Find Professionals’). Use a template or design your own

DEVELOPER CLINCHES A SHARE OF £500 MILLION BUILDING CONTRACT A north Wales developer is celebrating after clinching a share of a lucrative 10-year construction contract with a top social housing provider


renig Construction is now the approved contractor for all Wales & West Housing schemes in north Wales worth up to £2.5 million, as part of WWH’s commitment to building 6,000 new affordable homes in Wales in the next decade. The expanding developer, based in Mochdre, near Colwyn Bay, employs 70 staff, 15 per cent of them apprentices and trainees. It has already provided a £445,000 scheme for three new homes in Ruabon, near Wrexham, and is well advanced on a £1.28 million project to build 12 one- and two-bedroom apartments in Earl Street, Flint.

Local team

The company was launched in 2012 by Mark Parry and Howard Vaughan, former youth club pals from Glan Conwy, who are now joint managing directors. One of Wales’s fastest-growing construction companies over the past three years, Brenig’s expertise covers maintenance, social housing, commercial housing and

Howard Vaughan (centre) and Mark Parry (right) set up Brenig in 2012

plant hire. ‘We’re delighted to have signed this partnership with Wales & West Housing,’ says Mark. ‘This will help us continue to provide jobs and apprenticeships as well as developing skills. The sub-contractors we use take on apprentices from the area and use local supply chains so that major developments like this involve, invest in and benefit the local economy and community.’ March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 93

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‘Our home selection service offers customers the chance to view doors from our display in the home. This ensures we get it right every time’


look like in your home,’ he says. ‘Our popular and unique home hoosing the right interior decor for your home is so important. This is especially true of internal doors: the average property has selection service offers customers the chance to view doors from our display in the home. This ensures we get it right every time.’ between 10 and 15, so they make up a big part of the overall look of your home. James and Gary, the experts at Rhyl-based North Wales North Wales Doors also has its own on-site spray shop, which means customers can be offered pre-finished painted doors Doors, can offer plenty of advice. With over 30 years’ experience in and beautiful lacquer-finished natural timber with a professional the industry between them, they know a thing or two high-quality finish. about making an entrance. ‘A lot of our clients are Getting a grip surprised at the vast range of Door furniture can make or break the look. ‘It is important doors available now, not only by the quantity but also the styles, to take the style of the door and the period look that you want colours and finishes,’ says James. into account when choosing ‘We have selected over 300 handles and accessories.’ says doors for our display, meeting James. ‘Our 1930s-style doors our stringent quality and design standards, from ivory to black look fantastic with our ebony beehive style doorknobs, while and timeless timber – and grey A huge range of options the more contemporary doors is very en vogue at the moment!’ Pick the right style James believes it’s important to see the look sleek with our range of Italian designer lever handles. With hundreds doors close up and in real life. ‘It’s too of styles in store we offer something for everyone, easy nowadays to look at a tiny picture of something on our phone or tablet and then be even our commercial and architectural contracts.’ disappointed when it isn’t what you expected.’ The company’s showroom is in Rhyl but the Gary highlights a unique service the company covers the whole of north Wales and company offers to help their clients make Cheshire. With such a huge choice, as well as the the right choice. ‘Each property and project unique home selection, finishing and full installation is different, and sometimes it’s difficult services, North Wales Doors can cater for any home. See it for real at the showroom For more visit to visualise what the finished article will

MOVE TO A LOVELY NEW HOME IN LLANGOLLEN Plenty of choice in a new development in the picturesque town in north-east Wales


f you’re looking for a family home in a picturesque area, Llangollen strikes a great balance between bustling and sleepy. Living here, you benefit from small-town life with easy access to larger towns and cities – what more could you ask for? Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Llangollen has it all, and it’s the perfect places to buy a new family home! A busy town centre provides all the local shops you need day to day, and the local schools are all close Beautifully designed new homes

Enjoy all the benefits of Llangollen life

by. There are plenty of activities on your doorstep too: Llangollen is surrounded by outstanding beautiful countryside and heritage. There is an excellent sense of community with so much to do, from Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, a trip on the famous steam railway, a horse-drawn boat trip on the canal, white-water rafting on the River Dee for the more adventurous, or simply relaxing and sampling the excellent local produce in one of the many eateries. Award-winning SG Estates is offering beautifully designed two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom family homes in Maes Helyg, a prestigious new development in Llangollen. For more information, call 01978 263169 or visit

94 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Gate Expectations Inwood (Cymru) Ltd

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Huts & Stuff Our Shepherds Huts are Perfect for Spare Rooms, Model railways, Craft & Hobby rooms, Garden Retreats, Glamping, or just because you love them. We have been building bespoke Shepherds Huts, Wagons and stuff in mid Wales for over 15 years. Prices start from £6,995. Nationwide & European Delivery Visitors welcome by appointment To order or discuss your requirements Contact David and John on 01588 620132 Mob: 07300 013032 Email:

Orders now being taken for Spring 2020 Delivery

If you are looking to build a unique eco conscious home, look no further than LC Ecohomes. Right across North Wales and the North West, Geraint Jones Joinery can build you one of these beautiful homes designed specially for you. With features such as very high insulation levels; bespoke design and a wide choice of specification and finishes, find out from us just how affordable these homes are.



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Discover something too beautiful to leave behind...

There’s a new look for the new year at Wilstone House & Gardens. A stunning shop refurbishment transports you to Indian markets where you can purchase unusual treasures, gifts and beautiful furniture for the home or garden. JOIN US for our launch party in April!

The family firm that looks after you Rix Oakleys is the local firm with local knowledge on our side to make sure that your heating oil arrives quickly from a team you can rely on all year round. Why not upgrade to premium heating oil this winter to keep your oil-fired boiler running as efficiently as possible. Call our friendly team today to find out more and get a quote.

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F A I R O A K ‘Having an excellent reputation for designing and fitting high-quality products is something that we are incredibly proud of here at Fairoak. Come and visit our showroom to see our work first hand and find out more.’ Mark, founder of Fairoak

B E S P O K E H A N D M A D E K I T C H E N S & J O I N E RY

Committed to providing customers with the highest quality of kitchen available. From conception to completion your project will be managed by our designer using the latest design technology. Our experienced craftsmen will deliver and fit your customdesigned and meticulously built bespoke furniture. Every one of the cupboards and drawers that make up our bespoke kitchen designs is an entirely hand-built piece of furniture, made by the experienced and highly skille craftsmen in our workshop. We also manufacture other projects such as utility rooms, vanity rooms, boot rooms, dressing rooms and office rooms. ‘At Fairoak we love getting creative, and we have an excellent reputation for designing and fitting special projects, such as bespoke cafe and eateries, roadshow trailers and many other unique spaces.’

T: 01978 758963 M: 07811 359353 E: Unit 12 A and B, Clwyd Court 2, Rhosddu Industrial Estate, Wrexham, LL11 4YL

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FAIROAK KITCHENS We visit Di and Dave near Cholmondeley to take a tour of the brand-new kitchen designed and installed by Mark and his team at Fairoak Kitchens in Wrexham


e bought Yew Tree Farm five years ago,’ says Di. ‘The farm was built in 1880, and the kitchen was originally a single-storey room. It was slightly odd that this middle section The large island meant there was no need for a table was lower than the rest of the farmhouse, and it seemed a good idea to build higher, so we knocked it down granite from a place in Cheshire, and we were told that the island and rebuilt it with a bigger footprint, and added another storey is as big as you can get as one complete piece. We also visited the above for the master bedroom and en-suite bathroom.’ So Di and Fairoak workshop as Mark and his team were building the cabinets Dave had a blank canvas on which to plan their new kitchen. – when we saw the size ‘By the time we broke ground on the building work , we already of the island cabinet knew the general layout of the kitchen from the architect’s drawings,’ we were amazed by says Di. ‘We wanted an island in the middle, lots of cupboard space, how big it looked! big drawers, and a hot tap for boiling water on the island. We also ‘Dave does all the wanted a larder cupboard, and somewhere to hide a microwave cooking and I deal and fridge freezer. Mark sourced a hot tap where the water comes with the dishes, so the out boiling, while we sourced the fridge freezer and passed on the layout is terrific – we specifications so Fairoak never get in each other’s Di says you can feel the quality could build doors to fit. way! There is so much The great thing about space around the island you can have the drawers open and still move Fairoak is that they around easily. We enquired with a few companies to build the kitchen designed the for us and had drawings and quotes done, and even visited kitchen around another workshop, ‘Everything our unique but Mark’s drawings just feels requirements. were much better so robust ‘We like the than anyone else’s. A and well open space – friend of ours had used made’ the original Fairoak and showed architect’s us the finished work, drawings also had a and we could see the quality of dining table, but we felt craftsmanship and the beautiful that was unnecessary finish. Everything just feels so with such a big island robust and well made. We’re which has barstools on so pleased with the kitchen one side and comfortably that Mark and his great seats four. We chose the team have made for us.’ Appliances are cleverly hidden

Mark says: ‘When I came to see Di and Dave, this room was still being built! They gave me their wish list and I created some design options using a 3D CAD drawing system, which gives a good idea of the space and light in the room. ‘Everything we do at Fairoak is made bespoke in our workshop, and the only components we buy in are the ironmongery, drawer runners and the magnet fasteners from our trusted suppliers. We don’t believe in cutting corners, and we’re confident in our craftsmanship and the high-quality finish of our products. ‘We work very closely with our customers from design to completion, and the colour Di chose for this kitchen is a Farrow & Ball

colour. We initially applied the primer in our workshop; then our specialist painter applied the colour when the kitchen was installed – the smooth finish he achieves is excellent. ‘Many of our customers come to us through recommendations and we’re proud of having an excellent reputation for designing and fitting high-quality products. It gives us great pleasure in knowing that we have created Di and Dave’s dream kitchen.’

A beautiful finish

CONTACT DETAILS Fairoak Bespoke Handmade Kitchens The company also makes offices, bathrooms and more. Find Fairoak on Facebook or visit the showroom: Unit 12 A and B Clwyd Court 2 Rhosddu Industrial Estate Wrexham LL11 4YL

March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 97

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Extensive Range of Wallpapers, Paints and all Decorating Materials. Paint Mixing Service available • Colour Matching


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Luscious living spaces 1









8 11




Bring the outside in with leafy plants, natural textures and beautiful botanical prints

1. Yasuni Lush Green wallpaper, £40 per roll, Graham & Brown;

6. Jenny Murray ceramic cups, from £25, Mostyn shop, Llandudno;

Limelight Matt, £105 per metre, RN Williams & Sons, St Asaph, Denbighshire;

2. Retro-style pineapple vases, from £18, Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre, Mold;

7. Vlaze heatshield (pictured behind the Charnwood wood-burning stove), from £350, RN Williams & Sons, St Asaph, Denbighshire;

11. James Barker botanical leaf cushion, £48, Wolf & Badger;

3. Faux succulents in stone planter, £13.99, Stokers Furniture, Chester; 4. Malmesbury Appledore chair, £219, Hafren Furnishers, Llanidloes; 5. Sass & Belle Frida planter, £19.95, Mostyn shop, Llandudno;

8. LED botanical garland string light, £3.99, The Range; 9. Floral enamelware, £4-£32, Wilstone, Leebotwood, Shropshire; 10. Villeroy & Boch large format tiles (600mm x 1200mm) in

12. Fern botanical pendant lampshade, from £30, QuirkLighting; 13. Emma Willis Maldives duvet cover and pillowcase set, from £50, Dunelm; 14. Tropical palm print in gold tone frame, £118, Stokers Furniture, Chester;

March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 99

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HOLLY FARM is a family run

garden centre and traditional growing nursery in North Shropshire, offering a wide selection of plants, coffee shop and friendly advice.

Glyndwr Plants We have plants for every type of gardener!

Spring time...

We have an enormous selection of fantastic plants for bedding and baskets, plus wonderful ready-filled baskets and pots too. There’s also a fine selection of unusual perennials. Relax in our coffee shop or on the patio and enjoy a selection of our scrumptious homemade cakes and scones. Choose from our menu of delicious light lunches, freshly ground coffees and various teas too.

Tel: 01948 840630 OPEN

Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm Sunday: 10am to 4pm

Coffee shop 01490 413 688 I Garden Centre 01490 413 313

Whitchurch Road (A49), Prees, Shropshire SY13 2DD • Holly Farm Garden Centre

The Centre is on the A5104, half a mile out of Corwen





Tel: 01691 652853 Mob: 07951 838494 Email:

A Garden for all seasons.

With a Winter garden, laburnum arch, alpine scree with pool, rose walk, AGM border, edible woodland, seasonal borders and rhododendron filled woodland with waterfall and Botanical Glasshouse the Dorothy Clive Garden is a 12acre plantsman’s paradise. Newly refurbished Tearoom and Gift room now open.

Free Entry to Fair

Whitchurch SY1 3 3JQ 1 0am-4pm

1 0am-4pm Fair: £1 .00 (gardens optional)

nr Chester CH64 4AY

See our website for more information including seasonal opening times Tel: 01630 647237 Willoughbridge, Market Drayton, Shropshire TF9 4EU Willoughbridge Trust Charity No 522695

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Plants&Gardens National Trust

SEASON’S BEGINNINGS It’s the time of year when gardens large and small open their doors for visitors to explore. So take the opportunity to enjoy some of the magnificent National Trust sites in the Shire region and put a real spring in your step Benthall Hall, Shropshire

Benthall may be a small estate, but it’s packed full of things to do. Visit the house, stroll around the gardens, get tea and cake in the tearoom, then work it off on a walk through the park and woods. In the house you can discover more about the Benthall family, how the house was lost out of the family line but eventually bought back. Outside you can wander hidden paths and sit in the rose garden, taking in the heady scent and listening to the bees buzzing. The park is full of wildflowers, including crocuses and orchids, and the woodland is also packed full of rare flora.

Don’t miss!

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts at Benthall Hall gardens on 11th, 12th and 13th April, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.

Hare Hill, Macclesfield, Cheshire

Hare Hill’s tranquil wooded garden, historic parkland and delightful walled garden make it a perfect spring visit for all the family. Plant lovers will want to explore every corner of the garden – from rare and exotic rhododendrons and azaleas in spring, to more recent additions such as unusual foxgloves, bulbs and of course the perennial summer borders in the walled garden. Birdwatchers can head for the bird hide and spot blue tits, tree creepers and even a woodpecker from time to time. Look out for unusual varieties of iris, poppy, echinacea, lupin and phlox, and admire the incredible equestrian wire sculptures. Take a peek inside the greenhouse to see what’s growing, check out the home-grown plants for sale, take a seat on one of the benches, enjoy a book and listen to the birdsong.


S Benthall Hall

Don’t miss!

Nestled away inside The Form at Hare Hill is a second-hand bookshop. All money raised goes into maintaining the garden.

Penrhyn Castle & Gardens, Bangor, Gwynedd

The castle and gardens face Snowdonia with beautiful views of the Carneddau. Wandering the grounds is a great way to while away a spring day with family and friends – dogs are welcome throughout the year, including in the walled garden, and Penrhyn is the perfect mix of open lawns and woodland trails for dog walking. You can follow a longer walk around the edges of the grounds Hare Hill or just wander at your own pace. There is a hide and natural play area on the banks of the Ogwen river, or explore the monstrous Gunnera plants.

Don’t miss!

Penrhyn Castle hosts a parkrun at 9am every Saturday. Run 5km, take in some stunning views, meet new people and have fun!

pring is in the air and it’s time to get out in the garden and get planning and planting for the year ahead. And where better to get inspiration – and some brilliant plants – than at a Plant Hunters’ Fair in the area? The plants are lovingly grown by small specialist nurseries and enthusiastic plants people are on hand to give honest, straightforward advice on choosing and growing the right plants for your garden. The mix of nurseries ensures there’s something for every gardener, from the most experienced to the newest. At this time of year, expect plenty of flowering bulbs, early flowering perennials, shrubs and trees to provide instant colour, as well as lots of later flowering plants for colour into the summer. See the full calendar of fairs at 8th March Alderford Lake, Whitchurch SY13 3JQ 10am-4pm, free entry 15th March Ness Botanic Gardens, Wirral CH64 4AY 10am-4pm, £1 entry 4th April Battlefield 1403, Shrewsbury SY4 3DB 9.30am-4pm, free entry 10th April (Good Friday) Whittington Castle, Oswestry SY11 4DF 10am-4pm, £1 per car 12th & 13th April (Easter Sun & Mon) Dorothy Clive Garden, Market Drayton TF9 4EU 10am-5pm, £4 (gardens and fair) 26th April Cholmondeley Castle, Malpas SY14 8AH 10am-5pm, £4 (gardens and fair) 2nd & 3rd May Weston Park, Shifnal TF11 8LE 10am-5pm, £4 (gardens and fair)

Penrhyn Castle March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 101

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ward-winning Goldstone Hall, a country house hotel near Market Drayton, Shropshire, has been selected by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as RHS Partner Garden for 2020. The award-winning five-acre garden will join the select list of only 200 national and international gardens that partner the RHS. Gardens are chosen for their high standards of design and planting, and their commitment to delivering an inspirational and stimulating experience for enthusiasts and visitors. ‘We are thrilled to have been selected as an RHS Partner Garden for 2020,’ says John Cushing, owner of Goldstone Hall. ‘To collaborate with the UK’s leading gardening charity and to be able to share our love and passion for plants, flowers, trees and wildlife with RHS members is a joy and a privilege. We are particularly excited to introduce RHS members to our one-acre productive kitchen garden – one of the largest of its kind in the UK – with its unique herbal walkway, which supplies fresh, seasonal produce to our hotel restaurant.’ ‘The garden Visitors can also enjoy features such as the has been double-tiered herbaceous borders, including seasonal designed for perennial planting schemes; an early flowering relaxation and enjoyment’ walled garden with nurturing micro-climate; immaculate rose garden and rose-lined walkway; a sweeping lawn fringed with mature trees and shaded seating; a stunning laburnum arch; and the kitchen garden with raised beds and herbal walkway. An area of 140 sq m under an old cherry tree has recently been cultivated with wild flowers to complement the colour scheme in the double-tiered herbaceous borders. The garden has been designed for relaxation and enjoyment and is the perfect setting for admiring the landscaping followed by a tranquil afternoon tea, game of croquet or perhaps a special celebration.

Goldstone Hall and its glorious garden

Garden opening times For visitors to the garden, the opening times are March to October, Monday to Thursday from 10am to 5pm, excluding bank holiday Mondays and private events (see Entry costs £6 for adults, and is free for children. The garden is also open for the National Gardens Scheme two days a month between May and September, from 2pm to 5pm. The exception is Thursday 9th July, when the garden is open from 4pm to 8pm with £10 admission including a glass of wine. RHS members have free access when the garden is open, excluding bank holidays, private event days and NGS charity days, when all admission fees are donated to the NGS charities. Private garden tours are available for groups of 10 to 40. Booking in advance is essential. Please check for further details by calling 01630 661202 or emailing

Loosely dig over the soil to a fork’s depth. Add well-decayed organic matter to the top 6in (15cm) of soil to improve aeration, structure and drainage, and encourage root growth. Rake the patch level and firm by lightly treading, then rake lightly again.


GET GROWING It’s the perfect time to get your vegetable patch going. Harry Delaney, RHS Master of Horticulture and a consultant at Reaseheath College, explains how to grow potatoes and peas


here’s nothing more satisfying than picking fresh, healthy food from your own garden and benefiting pollinating insects at the same time. Even the smallest patch can be productive – try growing vegetables using containers such as patio pots, window boxes, plastic bins, half barrels and built-up tyres. Here’s how to grow two of my favourite crops.


Harry Delaney

You’re aiming for warmth, moisture and fertility. Choose a south-facing site, ideally in the sun for at least part of the day. A screen or wall is ideal for shelter but a hedge can also do the job provided it’s set back as it will compete for moisture.


Plant potatoes in April and they’ll be ready to harvest in KNOW? late September. Try a general-purpose variety such as Peas prefer cooler King Edward or Maris Piper, bought as a certificated weather and seed potato from a reputable source. grow well in cool springs Make a 4in (10cm) V-shaped trench with an angled spade. Draw a hoe along the bottom to clear excess soil and place the seed potatoes in the trench 12-15in (30-38cm) apart. Cover with soil, being careful not to damage any growing shoots. Rows should be a metre apart. Draw up soil over the plants when the top growth reaches 6in (15cm) and then at least once more before harvesting to increase yield.


Dig out a flat bottom drill 2in (5cm) deep and slightly wider than a spade’s width. Position three staggered rows of seeds on the bottom of the drill, about 2in (5cm) apart. Carefully refill the drill with the soil, tamp down with the back of a rake and rake smooth. Once the plants produce a couple of leaves, provide support such as birch twigs or chicken wire stretched between two stakes. Continue sowing in small batches from April to June. For information about Reaseheath horticulture courses, visit

102 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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We carry and install year round an extensive range of containerised stock covering two acres and are particularly strong in large trees and shrubs. We are available to carry out surveys and advise on your planting requirements.

The Bigger Plant Company Ltd. Orchard Nurseries, Fornalls Green Lane, Meols, Wirral CH47 9RL TEL: 0151 632 3532 EMAIL:

Open 9.00am - 4.30pm 6 days a week closed Mondays inc bank holidays (and Sundays in Nov/Dec/Jan) ALSO AVAILABLE IN SMALLER SIZES

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Offering a Professional Quality Service • Over 30 years experience • Heating and Plumbing Installation • Energy Efficient System Upgrades • Boiler Installation • Boiler Service and Repair • System Powerflushing • Oil Tank Replacement • Free Quotations • All Work Guaranteed Gas Safety FINANCE AVAILABLE • Landlord Records to 10 years guarantee • Up on Worcester Boilers

Paul Nelson

07918 631 263 01978 710 897

Specialists in Water Boreholes and Ground Source Heating

Dragon Drilling is the largest environmental drilling company in the UK and specialises in water and ground source heating borehole installations.

Their services are ideal for most applications, including rural homes, new build, retro-fit homes, leisure facilities, care homes, caravan parks and farms. A water borehole enables you to become independent of mains water, whilst ground source heating is a sustainable energy which allows your property to have a constant heat whilst earning money from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. If you have high water or energy bills why not contact Dragon Drilling today for a free site assessment to see how they can start saving you money!

Visit our website to see our online shop and collection of pumps, pipework and fittings. For more information about our services, please contact us on 01824 707 777 or or visit our website at

Renewable specialist

Air Source Heat Pumps Ground Source Heat Pumps Underflooring Heating The RHI is due to end on 31 March 2021

The government has not announced how it will encourage low carbon heating after 31st March 2021

2020 EVENTS Come & see us at

Shropshire County Show 23rd May The Royal Cheshire County Show 16-17th June Oswestry Show 1st August

Contact details: 01691 238180

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21/02/2020 16:43

GreenLiving T p marks for green energy experts A north Wales green energy company has triumphed at the UK’s biggest annual green industry awards


afod Renewables, based in the Vale of Clwyd, was presented with the award by actor James Nesbitt at the Energy Efficiency Awards at the NEC in Birmingham, compered by TV’s Dan Walker. The business – founded in 2010 by former Holywell High School pupil David Jones, 34 – was shortlisted in two categories at the prestigious event, and was named a winner in the best renewable heating installer category alongside the Perth-based McDermott Group, a major construction and maintenance company, and Clima-Tech Services from Suffolk. In 2019 David oversaw Hafod’s move from Denbigh to new, larger premises in Tremeirchion, complete with renewable energy systems and vehicle charging points, and success at the national

DID YOU KNOW? A ground source heat pump has a longer life than any combustion boiler

awards was the icing on the cake. ‘It was the third time in a row that we’ve reached the national finals and the second time in succession we’ve been top three so we’re delighted,’ David says. ‘This is the industry “Oscars” so you’re up against the best in the renewables business from across the UK. They’re all experts in their field and most of them are much bigger than we are, so to be able to compete with them is a real feather in our cap.’

Feel the heat

Hafod’s successful award submission was based on a record of installing over 100 heating systems in a year, including more than 70 air source heat pumps and more than 30 ground source heat systems, including one 300ft below the surface to heat a North Wales Wildlife Trust property on Anglesey. Hafod Renewables now employs 11 staff and has become a key player in north Wales in the installation of solar and non-solar systems, having fitted more than 10,000 solar panels and more than 300 bespoke renewable heating systems.

G electric and go further Electric car owners could get more than 1,000 miles of free driving per year thanks to a supermarket’s new scheme to provide a groundbreaking car-charging network DID YOU KNOW? Tesco stores with charging points in place include Congleton and Wirral


ales of pure electric vehicles (EVs) grew by 125 per cent in the UK in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. With this trend set to continue as more people opt to buy electric cars, live greener and help improve pollution, Tesco has decided to join the environmental fight. The supermarket has been rolling out a car charging point scheme with the aim of allowing drivers and shoppers to benefit from free charging points across the country. Tesco partnered with car manufacturer Volkswagen to test and launch the initiative, which will ultimately see around 2,400 charging points installed at 600 stores across the UK, and 100 stores are already offering shoppers the chance to charge their batteries for free while they shop.

Drive of your life

Tesco studies found the average Brit spends 50 minutes a week in the supermarket. During this time, electric car owners could get around 22.5 miles of charging from the 7kW points. Over a year this works out at 1,170 miles, the equivalent of driving from Chester to Vienna – for free! Not only that, but the energy supplied by Tesco is also all from renewable sources so it’s a double environmental win for drivers. ‘Providing customers with charging points offers them a sustainable choice,’ says Jason Tarry, CEO of Tesco UK and Ireland. ‘Giving them the opportunity to charge their car for free while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.’ March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 105

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On your marks, get set,

GROW! The days are getting longer and warmer, so it’s time to get planting! Here’s some inspiration for your spring garden

Cast iron wall manger £26.99, Crocus;

Marford hexagonal planters £64.99, The Woodworks Garden Centre, Mold;

Home Etc plant stand £36.99, Wayfair;

Kent & Stowe border spade £22.50, Shawbury Garden Centre, Shrewsbury;

Lindsey Kennedy mosaic garden stakes £19-£49, Mostyn, Llandudno;

Southlands Deluxe hay feederstyle garden planter £129.99, British Ironwork Centre, Oswestry;

Moroccan-inspired triple wall planter with hand-thrown clay pots £32, Kadai, Leebotwood, Shropshire;

VegTrug medium classic planter £179.95, Cuckooland;

Coming up roses

Handcrafted lily plant supports £19 for three, Kadai, Leebotwood, Shropshire;

Kent & Stowe Garden Life hand trowel £5.99, Shawbury Garden Centre, Shrewsbury;



Spring is the perfect time to plant roses, so why not choose one of these gorgeous varieties or treat Mum to the perfect gift for Mother’s Day? They’re all available from and Black Birches Garden Centre, Hadnall (

Peace, hybrid tea rose

Special Mum, floribunda rose

My Lovely Mum, hybrid tea rose

A Shropshire Lad, climbing rose

Gorgeous, hybrid tea rose

106 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Freeflow Drainage Ltd specialise in waste disposal and drainage services in and around Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Cheshire, the West Midlands and Mid Wales.




Septic tank emptying, monitoring and maintenance.

Interceptors emptied, cleaned and serviced.


High pressure jets are used to clean your gullies, to clear and prevent blockages.


Drain CCTV surveying to check for structural issues, root ingress or blockages.


Emergency 24 hour call outs in Shrewsbury, Shropshire and the West Midlands

Sewer cleaning to clear and prevent blockages.

SECTORS COVERED Free Flow moves into new premises near Shrewsbury. After 14 years in the industry, Scott Overton, the founder of Freeflow Drainage, became his own boss and has moved into new premises. Start-up business Freeflow Drainage has taken a 1,840 sq ft unit at Morris Property’s Centurion Park in Shrewsbury, which is one of 24 new units and part of a £3.5 million redevelopment scheme. Scott says: “I felt the time was right to branch out on my own. I needed an operational base and Centurion Park was ideal. It’s in a great location for the areas I serve and will also give me room to grow. I acted as soon as I could as the new units were being quickly snapped up. I have friends with businesses on the older part of the site, so I know it works well.” Freeflow Drainage carries out work in the domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors, from emptying tanks to clearing blocked drains and CCTV drain surveying. All drainage and waste disposal work carried out to high standards with regards to health and safety and environmental regulations.


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AGRICULTURAL Farm assistance Animal sheds Chicken farms Culvert cleaning & jetting INDUSTRIAL Warehousing New developments Manufacturing lines Storage yards Airports Gullies Interceptors Catchpits COMMERCIAL Shops, Supermarkets Restaurants, Hotels Petrol stations New housing developments Gullies, Roads & drains Carwash holding tanks DOMESTIC Social housing Domestic blockages / houses Driveway washing Downspouts & pot drains / gullies Toilet blockages

ALSO - FLOOD ASSISTANCE AND BLOCKED DRAINS All drainage and waste disposal work carried out to high standards with regards to health and safety and environmental regulations.

21/02/2020 16:45








Visit our award winning showrooms for inspirational ideas and advice for the most important rooms in your home. Displaying quality items from exclusive brands you can trust, all at competitive prices and with help from our experienced team.

Chester Street, St Asaph, LL17 0RE 108_SHIRE_MA2020.indd 1


01745 582254

| 21/02/2020 16:47




In 2020, RSPB Conwy marks 25 years of protecting wildlife and educating the public at its fascinating reserve on the banks of the Conwy estuary


SPB Conwy’s 50-hectare site is home Starling Visit to a vast array of wildlife, including in winter to some nationally and internationally witness a true important species of wading birds. spectacle! See Circular walks take you through reedbed, thousands of these young woodland, grassland and scrub, birds dancing while the dominant features are the two at dusk as their lagoons, in which islands have been murmurations created for roosting and nesting birds. fill the skies. There are wetlands to explore as well Sedge warbler The reserve was created as the chance to discover frogs, These migrants during the A55 tunnel works DID YOU dragonflies and butterflies arrive from KNOW? in summer, or marvel at Africa in April and fill the reedbeds Little egrets breed with noise throughout summer. See if thousands of waterbirds in a heronry in on the estuary in winter. you can spot one sitting atop a reed. nearby Benarth There are quizzes, trails with Emperor dragonfly Britain’s bulkiest Woods viewpoints and dragonfly patrols the edges hides, and plenty of the lagoons in summer. of information Look out for sky-blue males to explain what and bright green females. you’re watching. Stoat These charismatic With views across mammals are often spotted the Carneddau frolicking among the rocks on Mountains, the the estuary track in spring. coffee shop is a prime Bee orchid This flower The peaceful lagoons disguises itself as a female bee location to spot water rail, shoveler, in order to attract males. wigeon and other wildfowl while enjoying a Kingfisher These colourful birds, a firm light lunch or afternoon tea. There are also favourite with visitors, can sometimes be seen plenty of activities to diving for fish along the edges of the lagoons. keep even the youngest Oystercatcher In winter, several hundred visitors entertained, and roost on the lagoons at high tide along with an outdoor play area with flocks of redshank, dunlin and other waders. things to climb, build Little egret These elegant members and hide in. Here are of the heron family can be seen just a few of the species feeding in the lagoons and on the Family fun to look out for… estuary throughout the year.

Cats Protection’s exciting new adoption centre opens in April


ats Protection has had a presence in Wrexham since 1998, but now it has a brand new adoption centre on the side of the former fire station in Bradley Road. The result of several years of planning and building, it’s a facility that provides the best possible temporary home for furry felines. ‘Cats who find themselves homeless deserve to have a safe and secure place to live while they await a new family, and we are delighted that we can offer that here in the heart of Wrexham,’ says Suzan Kennedy, manager of the centre. ‘We offer state-of-the art facilities to ensure their hopefully short stays are as comfortable as possible.’ The centre’s grand opening takes place on 3rd April and the public are welcome. ‘Everyone is invited to come along and see for themselves how we care for these beautiful animals – and maybe fall in love with a feline!’ says Suzan. ‘We have space for up to 45 cats, who are housed in heated pens set around landscaped gardens. There is also an isolation wing, where we can safely look after and treat sick cats.’ Suzan Kennedy

March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 109

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Beer boost for birds

Coleg Cambria has teamed up with a North Wales wildlife charity to reverse the alarming decline in the region’s hedgehog population


Manager Lauren Howell pulls a pint of Turtle Dove for the RSPB’s Martin Clift at the Dove Rhyl

he Animal Care team at Coleg to help, and great experience for the learners Cambria’s Llysfasi site and Hedgehog in working with British wild animals.’ Help Prestatyn (HHP) are working hard to Recent figures revealed hedgehog save the prickly creatures. They have created numbers have fallen by up to 50 per cent a facility that can provide warmth, shelter in the past 20 years. The statistics suggest and regular meals for eight hedgehogs at the creatures are disappearing more rapidly a time. Kath Roberts, an instructor at the in the countryside, as hedgerows and field college, says level 3 animal management margins are lost to intensive farming. students have been monitoring and feeding Prickly partners the animals, weighing and assessing them before they can Tracy Pierce, founder of HHP, ‘They be released back into the wild. thanked the college for its support. can be ‘Hedgehog Help Prestatyn ‘We’ve had our busiest year since returned brings them to us to be fattened we began in 2016, with more than to their natural up, treated, cleaned and looked 60 hedgehogs in care at any one habitat’ after,’ says Kath. ‘It’s rewarding for time,’ she says. ‘We could not have the learners and Coleg Cambria managed without foster carers and our Llysfasi to be play a small new link with Llysfasi. We work part in trying to rehabilitate closely together, with daily weight and help increase their reports and microscopy, to monitor chances of survival, as the health of the hedgehogs. numbers continue to Hedgehogs are declining rapidly dwindle, especially when so it’s fantastic that they are temperatures drop. They now part of the Small Animal are kept in a quiet, warm Care course, and the partnership part of the building in will continue to develop.’ individual carriers while we monitor their progress and For more information, or if you build them back up to the find a hedgehog in need of care, right weight, so they can call Hedgehog Help Prestatyn on 01745 856181 or visit www. be returned to their natural habitat. It’s good to be able Building up the animals’ weight

A new beer is raising funds to keep endangered birds safe


Denbigh microbrewery has launched a special beer to raise money to protect other endangered species. Awardwinning microbrewery Dovecote Brewery released its Turtle Dove tipple in honour of the bird, which is no longer found in Wales. Brewers Richard and Sue Green hope that donating some of the proceeds from every pint of Turtle Dove to the RSPB will help other rare species like the curlew and the black grouse, and may even encourage the turtle dove’s return. The beer is on sale at the Greens’ pub in Tremeirchion, the Salusbury Arms, and at the Dove micropubs in Rhyl and Prestatyn, as well as the taproom at the brewery and at the Hoptimist chain of micropubs in Abergele, Rhuddlan and Llangollen. It was Dove Rhyl manager Lauren Howell who came up with the idea. Local RSPB conservation officer Martin Clift says, ‘We’re delighted that Dovecote Brewery has come to the rescue of our under-threat species. It is one of the most important areas in Wales for the curlew and the black grouse, which are both at risk.’


Collie-Dalmatian brothers Skip & Sasha

The Mullocks’ dogs, fed up with the rain

Border Collie Todd watching over his flock

Julianne Babe

Eight-year-old Charly, rescued from Spain

WE WANT YOUR PETS! Send us a photo of your pet for inclusion in Shire! Just email the picture, with the name of your pet, to editorial@

110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Tues to Sat: 9am-4.30pm


COUNTRYSTORE Poultry & Livestock Specialists • Quality P.O.L Hens, Ducks & Geese n

Point of Lay Hens from £10

• Pygmy Goats, n PygmyAlpacas, Goat Kids Ouessant Sheep n Ouessant & JassentPigs Lambs & Miniature n

Alpacas & Miniature piglets

• Housing, Runs of & Housing Enclosures n Manufacturers


£5 per person (Under 18’s free). Includes: l Refreshments l Easter treats l A guided walk


A £5 Bradeley Green Voucher that can be redeemed on the day

Saturday 28th March 9.30am arrival - 10am start

Peckers Tearoom n

‘Weird and wonderful experience for the whole family’

Wednesday 15th April

Easter Dog Walk


11.30-12.30, 1.30-2.30

Serving light lunches, cakes, ice cream & hot and cold refreshments. Open daily. Afternoon teas from £8pp booking is essential.

Open Tuesday - Saturday Booking essential, 9.00am - 4.30pm £10 per child Hope-Under-Dinmore, Leominster, HR6 0PX

Unit 2, Upper Buskwood Farm, Hope under Dinmore, Leominster HR6 0PX (Off the A49 through Hope Under Dinmore Village centre then follow the signs.) Tel: 01568 797314 wynnesofdinmore WynnesOfDinmore

Please note that this walk will involve the crossing of styles & uneven terrain which may be unsuitable for wheelchairs, prams & pushchairs. Dogs must be kept on leads at all times.

Call 01948 668100 or email: Open Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm Bradeley Green, Whitchurch, SY13 4HD (Just off the A49)


Welcome to the go-to place for families who love nature. Kids will love getting hands-on with our activities or running wild in the outdoor play area.


It’s one of the most beautiful and accessible places in North Wales to enjoy a stroll along circular walks discovering frogs, dragonflies and butterflies in summer, or thousands of waterbirds on the estuary in winter. Our coffee shop is a great place for a light lunch and our shop is bursting with fantastic gifts. 01492 584091 LL31 9XZ  @RSPBNorthWales

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830-2289-19-20: Llun/Photo: Laura Kudelska (RSPB Cymru), Tom Simone ( Mae’r RSPB yn elusen gofrestredig yn Lloegr a Chymru 207076, yn Yr Alban SC037654. The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654


Sign up now!

21/02/2020 16:48


Natural talent

Ben Waddams has the ability to capture the beauty and exquisite detail of nature and bring it to life in his paintings


it. I speak to and ildlife artist Ben study the work of Waddams has had a wildlife cameramen nomadic life: originally from and professional Buckinghamshire, he lived in photographers. All the USA for many years and this happens before I also travelled across Central even think of picking America and Africa in search up a paintbrush. of exotic wildlife. Now he Far too many artists has returned to the UK and jump straight to the painting stage without bothering to settled in Shropshire. research their subject fully enough, whether it be portraiture, ‘I’ve been lucky enough landscape, architecture, sculpture or wildlife.’ to live in and travel through Animal magic some truly ‘I try my very Ben’s work focuses on what he describes as ‘moments in mesmerising best to study the nature’, scenes where the viewer normally plays no active areas of species in the wild. role. His paintings are concerned primarily with animal the world and this is where I find inspiration,’ I speak to experts, behaviour and potential energy – and he captures that says Ben. ‘An appreciation of wildlife, gained read books, visit moment perfectly. ‘My aim is that they invoke a stirring in through a description or portrait of the animal, its environment… the minds of their audience,’ he says, ‘and in turn my hope encourages people to change their lifestyles with all before I even is that the the aim to conserve the species on this planet… think of picking audience which I think we all have a moral duty to do. This up a paintbrush’ will be is why I paint, write and photograph nature.’ inspired Picture perfect to seek out and help protect Ben firmly believes that everyone can paint, but acknowledges that the species in my for a person to evolve from a competent artist into a very good one, paintings and of this they must have a passion planet. Personally, for their subject. He says, I get great pleasure ‘This is particularly true from looking at and of wildlife art. I feel I studying the natural must know my subject world, whether with intimately. I try my very a pair of binoculars best to study the species or a paintbrush. If in the wild. I research its I can communicate habitat, speak to experts, that pleasure to others read books, study maps, through my paintings, try to understand its that is a tremendous reinforcement of that satisfaction for me.’ natural history, visit its environment, sketch For more about Ben’s work visit it and photograph

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Three’s the magic number

Events at Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre in Flintshire over the coming months 5th March, Weaving with Trevor Blackburn Trevor will be busy making his wonderful scarves, from wool, silk and alpaca, and he can also demonstrate weaving sticks and lucet cord makings. 12th & 13th March, Huw Vaughan Jones Using pen and ink, Huw draws animals, transport and places of interest, and he can also take commissions. 17th March, Crafty Sisters Cymru The ladies will be busy with their handcrafted resin, fused glass, gemstone and braided jewellery, plus some handmade cards.

at Ruthin

21st & 22nd March, Liz at Femme Fatale For Mother’s Day, a chance to see Liz’s wonderful handmade day and evening bags, many of them embellished with glamorous sparkles, as well as scarves and accessories.

Ruthin’s beautiful Craft Centre is an attraction in itself – but the thought-provoking artwork by a trio of homegrown artists on display in its galleries is drawing crowds of visitors as well

28th & 29th March, Jackie at Jewels Jackie makes lovely jewellery, available in matching sets, from various beads and stones.


3rd, 4th & 5th April, local artist Gill Benjamin Another opportunity to see Gill’s wonderful paintings.

he exhibitions featured at Ruthin Craft from metallic pill packets, illustrate the issues Centre invariably showcase work that is that Susie and Liz feel should be addressed. delicate, complex and intricate. It is work that In Gallery 2, Martin Smith’s Little Machines deserves a lengthy contemplation – as does the displays the artist’s mechanical sculptures which are 12-year-old building’s beautifully serene and exhibited worldwide considered structure. In keeping with this tradition, and collected by three very different but equally thoughtful artists the likes of Sir Paul are currently showing until the end of March, Smith and the late and each one is a must-see. actress Carrie WOWI+ is a retrospective Fisher. Martin, ‘Susie of work by Susie Freeman in a Huddersfield Freeman’s Gallery 1. A graduate from artist-engineer, Pharmacopoeia the Manchester School of Art, makes all his expresses with postgraduate studies at the work entirely by social concerns Royal College of Art, Susie is a hand – even the around health’ textile artist who has attracted nuts and bolts a loyal following thanks to both used are made her talent and the ethical concerns that feed from scratch. into her work. Her association with Dr Liz Lee In Gallery 3, Jane was born from a shared concern about society’s Adam’s exhibition increasing dependence on medicines. The resulting Never The Same River collaboration, features a selection of Pharmacopoeia, archive pieces of Jane’s uses innovative jewellery over the last artistic imagery 35 years, alongside to express new work in precious social concerns metals and in dyed around health. anodised aluminium. Huge suits All three artists of armour will at the very least and flowing make you think and garments, reflect – the beautiful constructed work is a bonus.

7th April, local Illustrator Natalie Griffiths Natalie works mainly around characterbased imagery and hand lettering, and is also able to paint wooden signs suitable for indoor or outdoor use. 8th & 9th April, Eco Silver Jewellery by Sandra Roberts Cheshire-based Sandra creates beautiful jewellery in her own studio, using Eco silver and various pretty stones. 10th, 11th & 12th April, local artist Thelma Evans At Easter you can visit and see Thelma paint flowers and landscapes on canvas, in her delicate style. 14th & 15th April, Marie at Earth Deva Marie has many fascinating items in her collection of mythical themed statues, wall plaques and bowls, as well as some limited-edition prints. 29th & 30th April, Elaine at Cherry Bea Elaine makes pretty jewellery, using an assortment of different beads stones and crystals.

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7th March – 19th April, Between Man & Earth, Oriel Ynys Môn, Anglesey Lisa Eurgain Taylor’s alluring and hopeful imaginary landscapes allow the viewer to escape to an another world, one that is much purer and quieter than today’s. Its aim is to remind us not to take our beautiful planet for granted. Free entry. 10am to 5pm. 7th March – 9th May, Being There, MOMA Machynlleth, Heol Pen’rallt, Machynlleth David Woodford is exhibiting works at MOMA under the title Being There. For 50 years he has painted and drawn the elemental and wild landscape, mainly in Snowdonia. He always paints on location whatever the weather or season. Free entry. Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm.


What weird and wonderful weather you have managed to capture for this edition’s photo competition! Once again we have been hugely impressed by the high standard of entries that arrived in the Shire inbox. We’ve published as many of our favourites as we could fit in here, but please don’t despair if your shot hasn’t made it into print… we have another competition for you, as always! For the next edition we’d like you to submit photographs on the topic of Marvellous Machines. This can be big or small items, details or complex creations – the brief, as usual, is entirely open to your interpretation. Send your entries to us at and good luck!

Sunset over Llyn peninsula from Barmouth by Ken Lawrence by Susan Rushworth by Dave Thornton

by Arfon Williams

by Sam Hatter

11th March – 2nd April, Peter Prendergast, Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff Royal Cambrian Academian Peter Prendergast (1946-2007) was one of Britain’s foremost landscape painters. His bold expressionist paintings, inspired by the surroundings of his Snowdonia home, are noted for their vigour and energy. Taught by Frank Auerbach, he exhibited widely in Britain and abroad with increasing success. Mon-Thurs, 10am-6pm.

by Paul Lewis

Fiery dawn in Halkyn by Ken Lawrence

by Kathryn Hall

by Daniel Neilson Rising mist on the Towy by Ken Lawrence

Snow and sunshine at Betws-y-Coed by Sam Hulse

4th-18th April, 20:20 Visions, Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes Welsh Heritage Quilters’ biannual exhibition explores themes ranging from traditional wholecloth designs to the Jazz Age and Sashiko. There will be a varied range of exhibits and demonstrations by members of the group throughout the exhibition. Doughty’s of Hereford will have a range of its fabric available to buy. Free entry. Open daily, 10am-4pm.

Rainbow near Abergavenny by Ken Lawrence by John Kendrick by John Kendrick

by Kathryn Hall by Roger Fox

by Rebecca Sayle

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Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Susie Freeman

Martin Smith

WOWI+ In association with Royal College of General Practitioners

Gallery 3

Little Machines In association with Harley Gallery

In association with Bluecoat Display Centre

Exhibitions at Ruthin Craft Centre 18 January – 29 March 2020 Ruthin Craft Centre Galleries / Retail Gallery / Studios / Learning / Café

Ruthin Craft Centre, The Centre for the Applied Arts, Park Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire, Wales UK, LL15 1BB. Tel: +44 (0)1824 704774 FREE admission. FREE on-site parking. Open daily 10.00am – 5.30pm.

Susie Freeman: Infection, photo Pharmacopoeia. Martin Smith: Applause Machine, photo Martin Smith. Jane Adam: Adjustable Leaf Pendant, photo Joel Degen.

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Speak to one of our Agents today about your insurance needs 12 Salop Road, Oswestry, SY11 2NU

01691 652120

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perfect venue

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for a perfect day

Plas Isaf


Plas Isaf, Isaf Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0EW Tel: 01490 412 486 Mob: 07891 501 833

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WEDDINGS DID YOU KNOW? Plas Isaf has open days on 19th March and 19th April

Elegance & ambience A

re you looking for elegant surroundings with a warm ambience for your special day? Plas Isaf, near Llangollen, is a 17th-century listed barn with spectacular views of the Dee Valley. The venue can be adapted to suit your needs, with the versatility to host an intimate gathering or a celebratory party from 30 to 300 guests. All the original features of the barn have been retained to create a unique atmosphere. The barn is steeped in history and character, with the main hall and bar area retaining the large oak trusses and beams and can cater for up to 120 seated guests. You have the choice of hosting your wedding breakfast in the main hall of the barn or in the marquee positioned next to the barn, which overlooks the open countryside and can cater to larger parties of up to 300. With superb chandeliers and white linings, it is the perfect plain backdrop for your theme. Plas Isaf is an approved venue for the solemnising of marriages and civil partnerships, so couples may hold their wedding ceremony in the barn (capacity 150). As part of the facilities at Plas Isaf, you and your guests will have exclusive use of the grounds of the barn and the garden with arches and colourful borders. The impressive water fountain makes an ideal backdrop for photographs. The team at Plas Isaf is able to provide you with everything you need for the perfect day. With an impressive catering offering, including an experienced chef, as well as a four-poster bridal room for your wedding night and accommodation for your guests too, Plas Isaf takes care of every aspect of your big day.

Add a dash of Italian passion to your big day et in the splendour of a renovated Methodist church in the heart of Oswestry, Lepone’s is the perfect location to celebrate your wedding. Lepone’s brings you a taste of the true Italy served with flair. The team here know that delicious food should be at the heart of life – and settle for nothing less. The restaurant offers bespoke wedding packages catering for every type of wedding, from the intimate to the grand and extravagant. The packages cover all the essentials needed to ensure you and your guests have a day to remember, and can provide you with a bespoke personal menu and drinks packages, a buffet for guests joining you later, a cake stand and knife, name cards and table plan, and a guarantee of professional service for the duration. As well as this, the Lepone’s team is happy to provide recommendations for great local florists, hotels, entertainers, room dressers and more. The goal is to ensure you have the most enjoyable and memorable day possible. Call 01691 659965 or visit

Glorious Glyngynwydd W

hether you want a wedding with rustic charm or one that’s flamboyant and breathtaking, Glyngynwydd Wedding Barn in Llanidloes can offer you what you want. This venue, situated in the heart of Wales, provides a blank canvas that can be adapted to suit any budget and taste – festival, vintage or something just a little different. The venue has a choice of three ceremony rooms for numbers from 30 to 180. The catering possibilities are almost endless, from hog roasts and pizzas to


street food to a formal three-course silver service. Got your own ideas? Talk to the team – they enjoy the challenge of doing something completely different! Glyngynwydd Wedding Barn is a familyrun business offering a relaxed, hands-off approach, giving you the flexibility to tailor every part of your day, your way. It was someone saying ‘yes’ that started off the wedding journey, so it’s something the team at Glyngynwydd say a lot! You want fire-eaters? Yes. Owl ring bearer?

DID YOU KNOW? Glyngynwydd also has five self-catering cottages

Yes. Run your own bar? Yep. No corkage? No problem. Fire pit in the evening? Of course. Stop the stream because there will be children around? Yes, yes, yes! If you want attention to detail, everything to run smoothly and all your guests to have maximum fun, you know who to call – and you know what they’ll say. At Glyngynwydd, providing the perfect backdrop to your unique day is what they do best. Call 01686 413854, email or visit March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 117

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Whether it’s the challenge of picking the perfect spot to tie the knot, or finding the ideal outfit for the mother of the bride, our listing of local businesses has some great starting points…

Dolly Blue Bridal Studios in Shrewsbury is different because every bride is different. If you want a unique wedding dress that’s as individual as you are, then this is a great place to start, and maybe finish, your search. Dolly Blue works with amazing designers to always be fresh, relevant and on trend.

Out of Town should be top of your list when searching for the perfect outfit for the mother of the bride or groom. Customers will find a dress for any occasion, casual or formal, or an array of separates for a complete mix-and-match look., as well as an extensive stand shoe and handbag department.

Plas Maenan is a beautiful, privately owned country house near Llanrwst that you can have all to yourself on your wedding day. Every wedding is personally supervised on the day and you also have the support of a wedding planner, helping you to plan every detail for your perfect day.

Chester Racecourse’s manicured lawns, picturesque setting, rich heritage and over 30 acres of green space make it the perfect wedding backdrop. Whether you’re looking for an intimate service or a grand celebration, you’ll find the perfect space for your special day.

Gregynog Hall near Newtown is an impressively grand building where Renoirs, Monets and Picassos once hung and Rodin’s sculptures still stand. The most romantic of wedding locations, it’s laced with cultural significance and symbolism from the earliest times of the Princes of Wales.

The Old Rectory on the outskirts of the market town of Wem is a handsome Georgian hotel that radiates comfort and style. A unique wedding venue, it’s licensed for civil ceremonies, offering luxury bedrooms, wonderful food and personal attention from a dedicated team to make your day truly special.

The Grosvenor Pulford is an award-winning wedding venue in Chester, with settings and packages tailored to your requirements. It can offer everything from intimate candlelit ceremonies to romantic outdoor nuptials in the lakeside gazebo, with many wonderful settings for photographs.

Rossett Hall Hotel in the quiet and picturesque village of Rossett, north Wales, is accessible yet rural and idyllic. The hotel offers a secluded location with a tranquil atmosphere, combining the grandeur and charm of a delightful Georgian hall, with the amenities and comfort of a modern hotel.

Holt Lodge Hotel is nestled in the borderlands of north Wales, and enjoys far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside. A sanctuary of peace and tranquillity, with picturesque gardens and beautifully appointed function suites, Holt Lodge is the perfect setting for weddings and family celebrations.

The Hand Hotel in Chirk, on the edge of the picturesque Ceiriog Valley, is one of the oldest hotels in north-east Wales. From initial planning through to the day itself, the Hand Hotel team pride themselves on attention to detail and will ensure that your wedding is a truly memorable occasion.

The Wild Pheasant Hotel is situated in magnificent scenery in the Vale of Llangollen, and combines traditional 19th-century charm with the contemporary chic of a new luxury wing and spa facilities. The team’s expertise will make your wedding a truly spectacular occasion.

Tyn Dwr Hall, set in seven acres of idyllic woodland, promises a tranquil country escape for your special occasion. With five-star accommodation for up to 66 guests, stained glass windows and romantic waterfalls surrounded by breathtaking scenery, your private country estate awaits.

Portmeirion is a wedding venue like no other! Spend your wedding day surrounded by colourful buildings, miles of sandy beaches and acres of winding woodland. Choose between three unique locations for your ceremony including a Jacobean oak-panelled hall dating from 1603.

Whittington Castle near Oswestry offers a supremely romantic location complete with a fairytale castle, ivy-clad ruined walls, medieval moat with majestic swans and a twin-towered gatehouse entrance allowing you to walk up the drawbridge to your dream wedding.

Thornton Manor is a luxury venue on the Wirral accommodating weddings from 20 to 1000 guests within a 120-acre countryside estate. The Manor House is steeped in history as the former home of Lord Leverhulme, and there are beautifully manicured gardens and immaculate lawn areas.

Chateau Rhianfa epitomises romance with spectacular surroundings that ignite the sparks of passion! The five-star Anglesey hotel offers a range of wedding packages for couples looking to take advantage of its fairytale setting on their special day. Discover a place like nowhere else.

118 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Step in Style Limousines Family run business

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How to wear florals It’s the biggest trend for 2020, so here’s some advice on picking the right piece from fashion retailer Olivia May


e are officially into spring and it’s time to start planning those spring and summer looks. And if one thing says ‘new season’, it’s florals. Blooms and prints were all over the catwalks as designers unveiled their 2020 looks. From delicate midi dresses to printed tops, there’s something for every style and shape. Australian-based Alquema is a new designer to Olivia May, offering modern techniques and distinctive, timeless silhouettes. Take inspiration from Alquema’s delicate lightweight pieces that are perfect for layering up and making a statement this spring. The key to styling is to find the colour that works for you and teaming it with barely-there footwear. If you’re ready to go full feminine this spring, the new collection from Rhum Raisin is the one for you. Soft-hue floral prints adorn floaty maxi dresses and peplum shirts in the highest-quality soft cottons. We love the classic pretty prints and sleeve detailing for a soft and gentle impact. Layer them, mix them and choose bright primary colours against pastel tones and denim. It’s a relaxed and easy way to wear florals this spring and summer.

Alquema New Panelo dress in pink leotard, £185

Academic excellence in a caring environment Why choose us? • Wide choice of subjects – A Level and BTEC • Excellent pastoral care • Extensive bus routes and train links • Outstanding post-18 advice and guidance • Fantastic facilities in a rural setting • Set within a 30-acre campus • Supervised study hub sessions • Daily access to a tutor • Great range of enrichment activities • Full and weekly boarding available • Adams House - state boarding • A home away from home

Rhum Raisin maxi dress in Calanques, £102

Come and take a look for yourself individual tours can be arranged Telephone: 01939 237000 or email:

The Thomas Adams School, Sixth Form and Boarding, Lowe Hill, Wem, Shropshire, SY4 5UB

At So Chic you can shop for timeless, elegant, wearable designer clothing and accessories for all occasions. We make shopping an enjoyable experience in a relaxed environment, with friendly service and professional advice.

Alquema Smash 3/4 sleeve pocket dress in silver flower spot, £185 Alquema Lara dress in indigo flower spot, £169


• • • • • •

Rhum Raisin peplum shirt in Les Goudes, £97


Rhum Raisin maxi dress in La Guarrigue, £110


Opening times: Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 9.30m - 5pm Evening appointments also available

Shop SS20 collections in-store at the Cheshire showroom and online with free delivery. Cheshire Showroom The Barns, Lane End Farm, Kelsall Road, Ashton Hayes, CH3 8BH Tel. 01829 751600 Showroom opening hours Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

01248 372283


154 High Street, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1NU

120 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Petal power


From ditsy daisies to big bold blooms, florals are never out of fashion in the springtime. Get ready to blossom with these beautiful outfits and accessories




1. Printed shirt, £24.99, Zara;



2. Zibi London maxi dress, £39, SilkFred; 3. Joseph Ribkoff blouse, So Chic, Bangor; 4. ‘Flowers Always’ necklace, £19.50, Bonbi Forest; 5. Jacket, £625 Abi Fisher, Willington, Cheshire; 6. Ditsy hobo bag, £34.99, Brakeburn; 7. Robell floral print trouser, £69, and ruched top, £45, Out of Town, Oswestry, Shropshire; www.


8. Leolani Tencel trousers, £54.90, Thought;


9. Michaela Louisa dress, £139, Out of Town, Oswestry, Shropshire; 10. ChloBo Moon Flower necklace, £95, Mococo UK, Chester;


11. Jazzin Flower Frenzy trainer, £45, Rocket Dog;



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GUT HEALTH IS GOOD HEALTH In this edition of Shire we look at some popular food theories. You may not have heard of a microbiome, but everyone has one and it’s important to keep it healthy with the right diet. Emily Porter, a student dietitian at the University of Chester, explains…


ou may have noticed that the Current thinking is that the microbiome shelves of health food shops and functions as a kind of ecosystem, and supermarkets now feature lots of foods many studies suggest that a more such as sourdough bread, kefir (fermented diverse microbiome is desirable. That milk), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) way if one species of bacteria dies out, and kombucha (fermented tea). And you there is another to replace it. And may wonder: why are these suddenly the way to ensure your microbiome so popular? Well, they are all hailed as is diverse enough is through diet. being great sources of probiotics, or ‘good bacteria’, which can improve gut health. Go with your gut Confusingly, there’s As well as fermented DID YOU another similar term to do foods like kefir, one of KNOW? with gut health, prebiotics. the most important Another guthealthy food The two play different nutrients for the is tempeh – roles for your health. diversity of your fermented soy Probiotics are the beneficial microbiome is fibre. beans bacteria, while prebiotics Some types of fibre have are food for these bacteria. prebiotic activities, so they Both help your gut provide nutrients for the good bacteria and encourage them to increase in number. Sourdough bread microbiome stay healthy. The gut microbiome Increased fibre intake has been linked to is made up of 100 trillion bacteria, fungi greater microbiota diversity and increased and viruses in the human gastrointestinal production of some fatty acids, which tract that live in harmony with the human can help regulate the immune system body. It’s often thought of as an organ in and reduce the risk of conditions such as the body, with some referring to it as the colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. second brain. The food we eat provides fuel However, while the recommended daily for our gut microbiome and, in return, the intake of fibre is 30g, the average intake bacteria produce things that can be used by in the UK is currently only around 18g. So, to ensure you’re eating for a the body, many of which have been healthy gut, make sure you have lots shown to have health benefits. of fibre-rich foods such as fruit, A recent scientific review highlighted over 20 clinical veg and wholegrains, and also consider your probiotic intake. conditions for which probiotics My top tip: natural yoghurt is a were shown to be beneficial, much cheaper starting point than ranging from allergies to the costly alternatives mentioned diabetes and even mental health at the start of this article. disorders such as depression. Kefir is a healthy probiotic



WHAT Tai chi is a martial art practised for its self-defence aspects, for its health benefits and to encourage meditation. It derives from the term taiji, a Chinese cosmological concept that refers to the flux of yin and yang. The practice combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements. WHERE Tai chi’s origins involve ancient Chinese dynasties as well as Taoist and Buddhist monks, although many theories about its history are little more than legendary tales. Today there are varying styles, but most of them can be traced back to the Chen style, which had been passed down as a family secret for generations. The Chen family chronicles record Chen Wangting, of the family’s ninth generation, as the inventor of what is known today as tai chi in the 17th century. WHO Tai chi is suitable for everyone but is particularly ideal for inactive older people who want to raise their activity levels gently and gradually. Studies have shown that it can help people aged 65 and over to reduce stress, improve posture, balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs. Some research suggests tai chi can reduce the risk of falls among older adults who are at increased risk. HOW Tai chi training involves five elements: taolu (solo hand and weapons routines and forms), neigong and qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation), tuishou (response drills) and sanshou (selfdefence techniques). By learning routines that combine these elements with breathing and specific movements, practitioners can achieve an inner calm and graceful strength.

122 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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Come and see our wonderful Junior School for girls aged 2-11


Junior School Tours Monday 23 March 2020, 9.00am–11.30am Register online at

Gemma (centre, with glasses) with members of the Oswestry team

NFU Mutual specialises in providing insurance in rural communities. Gemma Henman, an agent at NFU Mutual in Oswestry, explains its origins and the local support it provides


FU Mutual was established have a no-quibble approach over a century ago, to claims, which means that when seven farmers from the you can claim with confidence Midlands set out to attract new should you need to. union members in 1910. The business has grown to become Personal and professional a leading UK insurer, offering The NFU Mutual Oswestry an extensive range of covers agency is here to take case of with professional expertise the insurance needs of both for all your insurance needs. the farming and non-farming The local offices, like ours in community in the town and Oswestry, can offer a personal surrounding area. We provide service to tailor the kind of quote a personal, professional and that is not available friendly local service from price comparison to our customers. The ‘We offer sites. Our customers Oswestry office is in a personal are at the heart of the heart of the town so service everything we do, and you can pop in any time to tailor a their needs are of great (Monday to Friday, 9am quote’ importance to us. We to 5pm) to discuss your are recognised for the insurance needs. I lead the high standards of customer team, as an NFU Mutual Agent, service we deliver and many of and I have worked for the our general insurance products agency for more than 20 years. have received a maximum Alternatively you can also five-star rating from Defaqto, a call us on 01691 652120 financial information business. or raise an inquiry through Our local presence, heritage the NFU Mutual website and mutuality set us apart from our competitors. We are agent-offices/oswestry and one of our customer service proud not to charge extra for team will contact you. direct debit payments, and we

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Retirement Living The best time of your life to travel Many of us want to explore the world but wait until we have enough time on our hands – and a recent poll has revealed that older people are far more willing to immerse themselves in local culture than younger travellers


eople over 50 are more likely to socialise with the locals, communicate in the native language and go off the beaten track when travelling, according to a survey carried out by holiday firm TUI. Around seven in 10 are happy going for walks away from the resort, compared with just 54 per cent of those aged 30 and under. And 41 per cent of the over-50s will happily make new friends when abroad, while only a third of younger adults said the same. In contrast, younger holidaymakers are far more likely to travel for a suntan – 22 per cent compared with 15 per cent of older travellers. Those under 30 are also almost three times more

Older people are keen to visit far-flung destinations

likely to feel nervous about experiencing local cultures and customs when abroad. ‘This research shows a real thirst for travelling to more unknown and unusual countries,’ said TUI Tours, which has launched a new programme offering local experiences in far-flung destinations like Borneo and Uzbekistan. ‘Those aged 50 and above definitely have an adventurous side, and more than that, a desire to understand and experience local cultures and customs. They want more from their travels than just a beach flop.’ Soak up local culture

Pack your bags

The survey showed that those nearing or in retirement like to travel three times a year to far-flung

destinations, and that those in their 50s and 60s are far more likely to opt for multi-destination holidays – breaks where they take in several locations and experience many sites – than the younger generation. Older holidaymakers are also happy to undertake activities like driving and shopping while abroad. When it comes to a destination wish list, Japan, New Zealand and the Arctic circle are among the places the UK’s over-50s want to visit, in addition to countries closer to home such as Italy and Spain. Canada, Australia and Egypt had each been visited by 10 per cent of respondents, while one in 20 of those polled (via OnePoll) had visited India and 26 per cent had experienced America. More than one in 10 have a number of countries they want to tick off their bucket list.

First of its kind in care A new care consultancy is being launched in north Wales, providing a unique blend of strategic and operational support to help the industry succeed With this in mind, Sue Jones, Helen Butler and Tina Chapman have a new business, The three women aim to help care providers reach their potential Raising the Bar in Care. Describing it as ‘the only business of ith an ageing population and increasing demand on services for its kind’ in the UK, the trio say there is huge older people, there is a growing need for demand for guidance on future-proofing health and social care organisations new ways to deal with the care we might all need as we age. The and services as the industry ‘There continues to grow significantly. Office for National Statistics is huge (ONS) recently revealed the UK demand for population is set to rise by three New strategy for sector guidance’ ‘Our passion is to professionalise million in the next decade, and the charity Age UK last year reported the care sector, not just raising the that almost 1,000 elderly people bar in quality and standards but a day were being admitted to hospital in leadership and business development,’ needlessly due to the crisis in social care. said Sue, from Penrhyn Bay, who has 20


years’ experience in the financial services and care arenas. ‘For too long it’s been an industry where you don’t need a high level of qualification to do the job, and the wages are not commensurate with the very valuable role professional care workers undertake. ‘Care is expensive, and professionalism should reflect that. There are some incredible private and public sector groups doing an amazing job, but there are still a lot that need help and support to reach their potential and provide outstanding outcomes for clients.’ The team will operate from north Wales and Lincolnshire, and hope to open a Cheshire office soon. Working with franchises and independent care businesses, they will focus on strategy and innovation to help businesses reach their full potential. Visit

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Come & visit us Our visitors love to see the alpacas on the fields while they browse in our shop for: • Alpaca socks • Luxurious Alpaca Duvets and pillows • Exclusive knitted and felted alpaca items traceable to our alpacas • Exclusive Alpaca Yarn produced from our herd. Our Farm Shop is open every Saturday from 10.00 until 4.00 or by appointment at other times - just call us.

SAVINGS AND LOANS IN THE HEART OF YOUR COMMUNITY Ann Francis, general manger of Cambrian Credit Union, explains the benefits of becoming a member and how, as a cooperative, its success helps local people and businesses


ambrian Credit Union is We grant loans from £50 up a not-for-profit, memberto £15,000. You can apply in owned, community savings person or online, and we aim and loans provider. While to give you a decision and the we offer similar financial money in just one working day. services, we are proud not The interest rate you see to be a high street bank. advertised with Cambrian Cambrian is a cooperative, is the one you will receive which means that whether you if your loan is approved. As become a saver or a borrower, we believe in being fair to you also become a member our members, interest is only and have a say in how we’re charged on the reducing run. One member, one vote. balance, plus we can usually As a credit union, Cambrian include free life insurance. is an ethical alternative to high If you are employed with one street banks and of our 40 payroll partners doorstep lenders, across north Wales and ‘Our and our emphasis is Powys, you can also emphasis always on providing save, or repay a loan, is on the the best service – direct from your salary. best service putting members Being a financial – putting ahead of profits. mutual – owned by its members Your savings are members – means it before safe and secure, makes sense for Cambrian profits’ and guaranteed up to put people’s financial to £85,000, just needs first. Our staff ’s like they would be in a bank primary objective is to help or building society. With members with their savings Cambrian your money stays in goals. They know that people the communities of north Wales need credit, because sometimes and Powys, helping people in costs need to be spread – and your area access fair credit. that this process should be fair, Should you need a loan, manageable and transparent. you will find our staff are That’s what you’ll get from financially sympathetic and Cambrian Credit Union. take the time to understand For more information, visit your individual circumstances – not just your credit score.

Groups of up to 16 are welcome - please contact us for details. We also sell good quality alpacas as: Pets, Guard animals and Starter herds Please contact us for details Mulberry Grange, Red Hall Lane, Higher Penley, Wrexham, LL13 ONA Tel: 07713 639 447 Email: We’re 4 miles north of Ellesmere

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Finance ‘Often people don’t realise the size of the pension fund they need to maintain their lifestyle. We can show them how to get there’ Mark Evans, managing director of Beaumont Wealth, gives his expert advice for managing your money for the best results even in turbulent times


What is your investment approach when markets are going through turbulent times?

We review our portfolios every quarter and make adjustments where necessary. We have a strategic overview and monitor what is going on globally that will affect the markets. If something unexpected happens, and we think the markets are volatile, we can switch up to 20 per cent of a client’s equity to cash straight away – our clients sign over this discretionary safety policy, which is designed to minimise losses in the event of a global downturn. The are two types of downturn: the short term, where the market has been spooked (typically by an unforeseen event) but is not fundamentally overvalued, so will correct itself; and a cyclical downturn, when there is a global resetting of the markets value – as we saw in 2000 and 2007. It is difficult to know initially what type of downturn it is and where the bottom of the market is in either scenario, so close monitoring and active risk control are essential.


Pensions are a hot topic. When should you start retirement planning?

The earlier you start the better – pensions are a long-term investment, and the longer you stay in the market the better. One fact that’s worth thinking about is every seven years you wait to start a pension, the monthly payments will need to double to achieve the same monthly pension when you retire. When people come to us for retirement plans, the first step is fact-finding on all their savings and investments, including property. We then assess all outgoings and what the required retirement income will be. We’re then able to calculate what the current shortfall is, and plan how to achieve the required savings. Very often people don’t realise the size of the pension fund they need to maintain their current lifestyle, but we can show them how to get there.


Do pension investments change throughout the investment period?

It makes sense to pursue a higherrisk strategy at the beginning of the investment period. However, as people approach retirement, we always advise taking a more cautious

approach – you would not want to lose a significant percentage in your final year because there happened to be a downturn. When we set up a plan for a client, we assess their attitude to risk. Everyone is different: some people take a long-term approach, whereas others will regard a downturn of £2,000 on a £300k portfolio as a disaster! We use a questionnaire to help with this, but we also have a conversation and find out how the client feels about risk, and what their investment experience is. Everyone wants a minimum downside, but you have to accept that risk and reward go hand in hand. Our guiding aim is always to maximise their return for a level of risk that is acceptable to them. We have three main portfolio types, which are all risk-graded: standard, ethical and preservation – the last is for highly riskaverse clients, or those approaching retirement. They have a stoploss mechanism that limits any losses in the event of a downturn.


Brexit, and the uncertainty surrounding it, had an impact on the economy. Has it affected your clients?

Yes, it had an impact last year because individuals and businesses didn’t know what was going to happen. Markets do not like uncertainty. However, these investment portfolios trade in the global markets, and the UK is a relatively small player when you consider the scale of the US or China economies. The potential trade war between these two economies would have had a definite effect globally, but this seems to have calmed down. We’re also currently experiencing a long period of very low interest rates, and this has to change at some point (but not just yet).


Have there been recent developments at Beaumont to help your clients?

We’ll soon launch our own app for clients to give them access at home to their information, which will give them daily updates on their portfolios. It’s a great way for clients to stay in touch with their investments. We also have our new Knutsford office opening.

Beaumont Wealth Oswestry Office Chester Office Shrewsbury Office Knutsford Office

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Top of the Class Princess Royal to visit Hands Free Farm




er Royal Highness The Princess Royal will visit Shropshire’s Harper Adams University near Newport this March to learn about the technology being used in its world-first Hands Free Farm. HRH The Princess Royal, who has been the university’s chancellor since 2013, will visit the campus on 27th March. The farm is an expansion of the Hands Free Hectare project, through which university researchers used automated machines to grow crops remotely. The Hands Free Farm is initially a three-year project, running in partnership with Harper Adams, Precision Decisions and the UK division of Australian precision agriculture specialist Farmscan AG. The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) is providing the team with development space and project management support at its Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, also located on the university’s campus. ‘We will be delighted to welcome the chancellor back to the university,’ says the university’s vice-chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn. ‘Not only will we be able to show her our latest research, but some of our students will have the chance to share

Prep pupils making a packet


he Firs Prep School in Chester has joined the UK’s largest crisp packet recycling scheme in aid of Chester Zoo’s Never Forget campaign. The Walkers recycling scheme accepts all brands and is the largest and fastest-growing scheme of its type


Will Locket, headmaster at Abberley Hall, shares his thoughts on boarding


ver the past couple of years, certain events at Abberley Hall have hammered home to me the intrinsic value of a boarding education. Time and again, I see the extent to which our boarders mature into impressive individuals, especially during Years 7 and 8, which is when the majority become full boarders. I don’t think this is a coincidence. The step change that occurs coincides with the physical maturity that comes with their age, but I believe the key factor is their context and

HRH The Princess Royal and Harper Adams University’s vice-chancellor Dr David Llewellyn

their experience of studying at Harper Adams and their plans for the future. ‘There is much to consider as we face new support arrangements for UK agriculture, and the challenge of supplying the nation’s food while we protect the environment. The chancellor’s visit will provide a timely opportunity to discuss these important issues, and the university’s contribution by working with industry to addressing them through its research, education and knowledge-exchange activities.’ in the UK. The packets are made into plastic pellets and given a new life as everyday items such as outdoor furniture and trays. experience gained as boarders. They turn from children into young people equipped for the step into their next schools. Boarding means being part of something, for better for worse. Living together, eating together, working together, relaxing together, having fun, being part of the highs and the lows – it all brings them closer. The naysayers will ask, what’s so good about being bound together? We like individuals, the scope to be yourself and express your identity, not to be moulded and cloned. Ironically, one of the complaints I have never heard about boarding is that it stymies individuality. Quite the opposite – the individual is valued for their personality and what it brings to the whole. One learns how everyone has a part to play, how a boarding school is a rich casserole made up of multiple ingredients, cooked slowly and to great effect. Boarding certainly isn’t what it used to be. Boarding houses are far more homely, and

Project MVP, a national fitness testing and data analytics company, visited Abbey Gate College in Chester in February to put 50 of its most gifted athletes through hi-tech fitness tests. The tests looked at the pupils’ speed, strength, agility, aerobic fitness and power and included pro-agility tests, yo-yo intermittent recovery tests and vertical jumps. Feedback enabled the pupils to decide if they’re competing in the sport best suited to them and how to continue to perform at their best. A personal profile was provided to each pupil to help them reach their potential and to the college’s PE department to enable them to spot sports stars of the future.

STUDENTS HEAR POWERFUL PERSONAL PRESENTATION Students and teachers from Bedstone College recently listened to a moving testimony from Holocaust survivor Tomi Komoly as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET). The testimony was followed by a Q&A session to enable Head Wendy Martin students to better understand the nature of the Holocaust and to explore its lessons in more depth. The visit was part of HET’s Outreach Programme, available to schools across the UK. ‘It was a privilege for us to welcome Tomi Komoly,’ says Wendy Martin, head of Bedstone College. ‘His testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced.’

boarders can see their parents far more often than they used to. There is often the option to go home at weekends. Boarding is not a test of endurance any more. However, if I’m quite honest, I don’t think it is these moves to modernise that are the essential factors in shaping character. Rather, it is those parts that have not changed that imbue a certain mentality, an ability to adapt, a sense of proportion and understanding of human nature – that is to say living together, following the same rhythms and patterns, eating meals together, the million small moments that make up a day, learning to get by, cooperate, prioritise, support, lead, avoid and, of course, learn. The paradox is, that what most certainly is not ‘the real world’ – ie, a boarding school – prepares children better than almost anything Abberley Hall for the ‘real world’.

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SCHOOL NEWS SALON STYLING FOR TRAINEE TRIMMERS Coleg Cambria’s new dog-grooming salon and training academy, The Collar & Comb, at the college’s Llysfasi site has been formally unveiled with a seminar by Julie Harris, cofounder of The Groomer’s Spotlight website. With more than 35 years’ experience in the sector, Julie is one of the most respected names in the world of dog grooming. According to Wendy Murray, a dog grooming lecturer at Cambria, transforming the former grooming space into a working salon will provide learners with valuable experience. ‘The salon and training academy will give students the best of both worlds,’ says Wendy. ‘There will be classroom theory, and time spent in the salon will enable understanding of real-life situations that develop the skills and knowledge essential for working as a professional dog groomer. ‘To have Julie Harris deliver a seminar at the opening was a huge honour,’ Wendy adds. ‘She is one of my inspirations and extremely knowledgeable in all things grooming.’ The Collar & Comb is already attracting customers and is well equipped with the latest technology, providing a first-class service in a warm, welcoming Treat your pooch environment.

CALL FOR GOVERNORS Holy Trinity School and Sixth Form Centre in Kidderminster is inviting business professionals to become school governors. ‘Governors with no prior association with the school bring much to the table,’ says headteacher Pamela Leek-Wright. ‘Their board-level knowledge Pamela Leek-Wright and experience help us plan and shape the strategic direction of the school’s educational offer and provision. School governors contribute significantly to students’ education, opportunities and their futures.’ Holy Trinity School became a government free school in 2014 and has been educating children from its Birmingham Road location for over 100 years. It is well known for its academic excellence, pastoral care and its emphasis on aspiration for all pupils. ‘I’d invite anyone interested in the future direction of local education to apply,’ says Leek-Wright.

OLD GIRLS REACH NEW HEIGHTS Old Moretonians Selina Schoelles (2017) and Georgina Lang (2018) have been made Oxford scholars following their first year at the university. Selina and Georgina are quick to attribute their success in part to their education at Moreton Hall. Selina, left, and Georgina ‘Embarking on a degree containing two subjects I had never formally studied felt slightly daunting, but I quickly realised I was more than prepared for the challenges,’ says Georgina. Scholarships at Oxford are awarded to those achieving the highest academic success. ‘Winning a scholarship came as a total shock,’ says Selina. Georgina also completed her first year on a high. ‘I feel incredibly honoured to be able to call myself an Oxford scholar,’ she says.



he next stage of a multi-million pound scheme at Coleg Cambria Yale in Wrexham has been completed, with the Grove Park Road site due to be finished in July and open this September for the 2020/21 academic year. Improved facilities include a new-look kitchen and restaurant, a sports complex, cutting-edge study spaces, IT suites and a 200-seat conference hall. Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction is ahead of schedule on the project and much of the 96,000 sq ft building has been completed. The next stage will involve a crane lifting plant equipment on to the roof, solar panels being installed and the new Chester Road entrance taking shape. Cambria chief executive Yana Williams is looking forward to unveiling the building and further enhancing the student experience. ‘The revamped Yale site will impact on learners in Wrexham for generations to come,’ she says. ‘Coleg Cambria has invested tens of millions in new buildings across north-east Wales – notably Bersham Road in Wrexham, Deeside Sixth Form Centre and Cambria Business School in Northop – and there is more to come at our land-

based education campus in Llysfasi, where a rural education hub is under construction. ‘It’s an exciting time for the college, and while the facilities are important this commitment to providing highquality, modern and innovative study environments shows our students, their families and the local community they are our number one priority. ‘I am delighted swift progress has been made and the new Yale building will be ready ahead of the next academic year. Our young people can be inspired and challenged to meet their potential here and progress to the best university courses, apprenticeships and employment. We can’t wait to see the completed project and open its doors this September.’

The new site will be ready for the next academic year



he home of science in north Wales is to getting a new identity, as Techniquest Glyndwr makes its move to Wrexham town centre. Following months of consultation, the new name has now been revealed as Xplore! Several groups had their say on the new name, including many who aren’t engaged with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. A list of over 200 names was whittled down to three during the latter stages of 2019, with Xplore! voted the overwhelming favourite across several demographics. North Wales Science, the educational charity behind Xplore!, will continue to trade

The new branding

as Techniquest Glyndwr while at its current site on the Plas Coch campus of Wrexham Glyndwr University but will become Xplore! as soon as the move to Henblas Street is completed later in 2020. This is also an opportunity for Wrexham Glyndwr University to enhance its presence within the community, with North Wales Science being an important part of the wider university group, and an opportunity to play a part in the regeneration of Wrexham town centre. The £2.8 million project includes £1.75 million grant funding awarded by the Inspiring Science Fund and £750,000 from Welsh Government’s Targeted Regeneration Investment programme. ‘We’re really pleased to be able to reveal our new name to the general public, who have had a huge part to play in this process,’ says Scot Owen, centre manager at Techniquest Glyndwr. ‘This ties in perfectly with our move to Henblas Street and we can’t wait for everything to be pieced together. This is set to be our biggest year yet with lots of exciting changes, not only for our organisation but the town centre community.’ ‘It won’t be long until our new name will be seen within the heart of Wrexham,’ says marketing and communications coordinator Ollie Williams, ‘so keep an eye out!’

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oreton Hall students are celebrating the start of the hockey season with a series of triumphs following their first place victory in the Shropshire County Championships, held at Shrewsbury School. Moreton Hall U16s were crowned champions winning all five of their games, ending with a 1-0 victory against Wrekin College in the final. Moreton Hall U14s played the best schools in Shropshire and also finished champions, showing great composure under pressure and beating Shrewsbury School in the final. Moreton Hall U18s were ranked second on goal difference after finishing equal on points with the eventual competition winners. The school’s recent successes are attributed ‘The girls have to the enhanced coaching the students have been working received in the past year from Moreton Hall’s incredibly hard head of hockey Chris Prosser, a member of on and off the the England Hockey Performance Centre. pitch and it is ‘I am delighted to see the strength in depth really starting of the girls playing hockey here at Moreton,’ to pay off ’ says Chris. ‘It is a fantastic achievement for

Moreton Hall celebrates its successful hockey teams

the school to become Shropshire hockey champions at U14 and U16 while coming second at U18 by the narrowest of margins. The girls have been working incredibly hard on and off the pitch this term, and it is really starting to pay off as these results show.’



latest technology on their courses – with new degrees, such as our group of Ellesmere College pupils spent an enjoyable and beneficial creative media taster day at Wrexham recent BSc (Hons) in Visual Effects, being added all the time,’ says Karen McGowan, Glyndwr’s recruitment and liaison officer. Glyndwr University. The Year 10 pupils from the Shropshire school were given the chance to sample some of the technology ‘This visit was a chance for Ellesmere College’s media students to get a taste of some of those experiences themselves – and to hear available to students studying creative media courses at more about some of the ways our students get to use their studies Glyndwr – and to use it to make their own productions. in careers in film, television and more. We hope they The group were given an introduction to had a great day, and we look forward to working with the world of visual effects by lecturer Steve the college to help develop their pupils’ interest in Jarvis, who showed them how television studying towards a career in the creative industries.’ and film productions are being transformed ‘We were grateful to the Glyndwr teaching through the use of technology. They were staff, who really inspired our students to think also given the chance to use Glyndwr’s about the career possibilities offered by the BBC-standard television production suite creative industries, and who made the workshops under the guidance of lecturer Steffan fun and informative,’ says Margaret Hutchings, Owens, who helped the pupils film head of media studies at Ellesmere College. and edit interviews with their teachers ‘It was an invaluable experience for them to experience to demonstrate the use of the facility’s the excellent production facilities offered by the cameras, production desk and more. university, and it has certainly given them an insight into ‘Students on Glyndwr’s creative Learning media production at Glyndwr media courses get to use some of the the possibilities for higher level study in this sector.’

THE HEAD’S COLUMN Charlie Minogue, headmaster of Moor Park, on the importance of building character


hat is our job as a school? This is a pretty fundamental question but one that is easy to overlook in the race for ever more impressive results with one eye on the league tables. As important as exams are, the purpose of education is surely to equip children with the tools to be successful and happy adults – and building character is an essential part of realising this aim. Back in the bad old days, in schools of all types, building character was often (though not always) something that happened on the back of harsh discipline, tough

conditions and a laissez-faire attitude to bullying. The school of hard knocks, it was felt, enabled the toughest to thrive and the weakest to learn from the experience. Character is formed from adversity, and any school or parent who shelters children from failure is actually failing them in the long run. What’s important is helping them to cope with and learn from failure. I believe that, in the 21st century, schools and parents can aim to deliberately develop character rather than leaving it to fate. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order, as to how we all might go about this. • Praise effort over results. If they can look at themselves and say that they gave everything, that’s what matters. • Avoid over-praising. This is actually more damaging in the long run than giving feedback that is too harsh. • Present them with challenges that are difficult but not impossible. We all need

challenge in our lives to feel fulfilled and children are no different. • Ensure that children know right Praise effort over results from wrong. Children look to all adults in their lives for an example and consistency is key. • Be kind. Nothing matters more. If we can create kind adults, we are winning. • Find something that every child can be good at. Having a triumph, of any kind, breeds confidence. Children who have all of this are more likely to show integrity, form positive relationships and, in short, have character. In a world increasingly dominated by computers and artificial intelligence, what could be more important than that?

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SCHOOL NEWS QUEEN’S REIGN IN HOCKEY COMPETITIONS Pupils at The Queen’s School in Chester are celebrating a clean sweep in the Chester and District and County Indoor Hockey competitions, winning across all age groups, something that has never been done before. The U16 team was particularly successful, having been crowned champions of Cheshire, the North West and the North. ‘To have achieved such a high level of success across all the age groups is a phenomenal achievement and is testament to the hard work, resilience and determination these girls display at training and in matches,’ says head of hockey Mrs Green. ‘I am so proud of their development – such a high level of success deserves to be celebrated. Well done girls!’

The Queen’s School’s hockey heroes

FLYING HIGH IN GYMNASTICS A pupil at The Queen’s School has gained the status of Elite British Gymnast and will compete in the British Championships in April. Evelyn Kilikita, who is in Year 9, will take part in the Evelyn Kilikita junior category at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. The opportunity follows her success at the National Challenge Cup in November, where she was awarded a gold medal on asymmetric bars, and her allaround score qualified her for this prestigious competition. ‘Competing at the British Championships has been a goal of mine since I started gymnastics aged five,’ says Evelyn. ‘I have watched every year and will hopefully meet some of the senior GB gymnasts who are competing for a place at the Tokyo Olympics.’

THE HEAD’S COLUMN Sue WallaceWoodroffe, head of The Queen’s School, on mud pies


s a parent, you want your child to succeed and be happy. So do we. That’s why at The Queen’s School, we promise to nurture your daughter in a supportive environment specifically designed for girls to help her reach her potential. From day one, we teach our girls that they will succeed, helping them to develop a growth mindset, the advantages of which include increased perseverance, positive wellbeing and self-regulation and reduced stress. We give pupils self-belief and the opportunities to explore and try new things.


ritish composer and choir director Philip Stopford visited Abbey Gate College in early 2020 to hold a choral masterclass with the Chapel Choir. The 63 members of the choir had the amazing experience of meeting the New York-based composer in person and performing his beautiful choral music to him. Pieces included ‘In My Father’s House’ and ‘Lully, Lulla, Lullay’, with a solo by Maisie Watkins of Year 10. Stopford, who is well known as an engaging and meticulous choir trainer, gave encouragement and constructive feedback as well as explaining his compositional intent to the choir during the masterclass. Sixth form music students were then treated to a workshop with Stopford, where he explained his own personal process of musical composition and critiqued the students’ work. Three of Stopford’s works appeared in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2014.

Stopford with the Abbey Gate Chapel Choir

Head of music James Andrews says: ‘It was incredibly inspiring to have Philip here again. His insightful comments and sensitive interpretations of the music left everyone amazed and enthusiastic about music.’



icola Smillie will start as the headmistress of Alderley Edge School for Girls in September 2020. She will be the fourth head to lead the School in its 21-year history since the amalgamation Nicola Smillie of St Hilary’s and Mount Carmel schools in 1999. Nicola, a Hispanic studies and French graduate who is originally from the northwest, is currently headmistress of St Martin’s School in Solihull. Nicola believes that all

girls should be inspired to achieve high academic standards while developing their confidence and self-esteem through proactive and supportive pastoral care, and feels that her philosophy ‘I am excited of education is well matched to the ethos about at Alderley Edge. She joining is an ISI inspector and such an has extensive experience outstanding school’ in GSA schools, including Westholme School, Blackburn. ‘I am incredibly excited about joining such an outstanding and award-winning school for girls,’ says Nicola, ‘and I look forward to meeting pupils, parents and staff and being a part of the Alderley family.’

So where do mud pies come in? Well, experience and research have taught us that being outside, connecting with nature and having practical experiences enhances learning and brings a host of benefits. That’s why The Queen’s School enables children to maximise their exploration of and interaction with insects, wildlife, plants, trees, soil, water, sunshine, wind and rain. We give our pupils the opportunity to reconnect with the outdoor world beyond the classroom, boosting environmental stewardship, academic learning and personal development. Our Forest activities and Beach programme help children develop many skills that are hard to teach in the classroom. They encourage children to be active, assess situations, take risks and make decisions, with lots of activities to develop both fine and gross motor skills. Pupils learn to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves, boosting their confidence and self-esteem.

Through trial and error they learn to deal with failure and develop the resilience: a skill critical in and outside the classroom. All of this takes place in a caring environment where no one gets lost or slips through the net thanks to our closeknit school community. As a smaller school, we can offer a level of pastoral and academic support that is second to none. Simply put, we educate your daughter for the future, and enhance learning through a wide range of extracurricular activities. Individually tailoring our approach to each child enables them to achieve outstanding academic results while developing the skills and mindset to thrive in a changing world. The result: happy, confident learners who want to make a difference to the world in which they live. Outdoor opportunities galore

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TOP 20 UNIVERSITY The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020









Discover careers you might never have heard of, on your doorstep



No. 1




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IN THE UK FOR STUDENT SUPPORT AND JOB PROSPECTS Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019 Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB

There’s still time to apply for 2020 entry - come and speak to us about your options 137_SHIRE_MA2020.indd 1

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MEET THE EXPERT Elen Mai Nefydd of Wrexham Glyndwr University tells all about acting courses and careers What subject do you specialise in?

I am programme leader for the Theatre, Television and Performance BA Hons degree here at Wrexham Glyndwr University. My area of expertise is directing for theatre, which means I direct every large-scale production we put on as part of the degree! I also specialise in community drama, including theatre in education – such as productions for local schools – and applied theatre. That’s where theatre is used in a particular setting, and actors work to create realistic scenarios for other professional organisations such as doctors or the police following a client’s brief.

How did you get into this career?

I trained in drama at undergraduate level, followed by a master’s degree, and my early career was as an actress working across Wales. I also worked as a television presenter on S4C, and started to teach while I was performing. ‘We immerse I was a programme leader for a performing the students arts course at a college in Dolgellau, and then in a variety I came to work in north-east Wales at Theatr of skills and Clwyd. That role resulted in a post here at scenarios’ Glyndwr, where I’ve been teaching since 2007.

What is required to get on the course?

The most important thing is that we like the person, they like the course and they are keen to get on. We interview prospective students to find out where their performing strengths are. It is about us working with them and looking at the student and their skills as a package, as a person who can apply themselves to a project, who can work with others in a team and who has an interest in and passion for their subject. We do look for a particular standard of academic achievement, but it’s not just about what UCAS points you have – it’s about making sure that the student and the course complement each other.

What does the course entail?

It’s varied, as you might expect. In the first year we start with a series of introductory modulews. We don’t just specialise in one area of performance, so we continue to immerse the students in a variety of skills and scenarios as the degree progresses. That can be all kinds of things, including – but not limited to – acting for stage, television and film, radio and voiceover work, movement skills and choreography, directing, and community drama and applied theatre. Students learn a variety of skills

We also make sure we look at entrepreneurial skills and career development. Being an actor is not just about the work itself, but also about how you build your career and how you demonstrate your skills to potential employers. All of our lecturers have real-world experience – they’re not only teaching in the lecture theatre, they’re out there applying them in everything from music videos to Oscar-nominated films! Being able to impart that knowledge and knowing what it’s like out there on the studio floor is very important.

What practical work can students get involved with?

Students are always working on real-world DID YOU deadlines for real clients. KNOW? Each project varies but Learn how to forge a career You can also study that real-life, paying client broadcasting and TV production at aspect is what drives them – whether it’s making an Glyndwr advert to run on Heart FM, an educational production for a local nursery, or a piece of applied theatre where they act as patients for medics training to be GPs. Each of those are actual projects we’ve carried out in recent months and that variety helps develop our students as they progress.

What career opportunities can completing your course lead to?

Because the course doesn’t specialise in one particular area at the expense of others, our students leave with a broad skill set. Glyndwr students have graduated to become actors, voiceover artists, drama therapy facilitators, drama teachers, directors – and all other kinds of jobs in the arts and business sectors. Some have even gone on to apply their learning in different areas and become police officers or social workers, but they still draw on the skills which they have developed here at Glyndwr.

Why should people choose Wrexham Glyndwr University? We are a very friendly and inclusive university, and we put teaching and learning at the heart of what we do – we have many years’ experience in tailoring our programmes to each student’s individual needs. Our location helps too – we are a Welsh institution, but one which is close to the border with England – and that provides students with a gateway to work in both England and Wales. This is reflected by the experiences our students gain on their course and the jobs they go on to secure!

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Books&Poetry IT’S ALL ABOUT MEEE, MEEE, MEEE A new self-help guide from a leading business expert offers 60-second tips on how to cope with the demands of modern working life


id Madge has given talks to some of the world’s leading companies, as well as visiting schools, prisons and community groups to help combat mental health issues, improve wellbeing and mindfulness, and explore better ways to cope with the stresses and strains of an increasingly challenging professional landscape. So who better to gather

up that knowledge and put together a self-help book for modern life? Meee In A Work Minute follows the successful Meee In A Minute, which was released last autumn. Based in north Wales, the Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) programme has helped transform the lives of thousands of people in the last five years via a series of career clinics, think tanks and workshops. Meee In A Work Minute is a collection of short tips, exercises, insights and ‘hacks’ on how to find

balance and fall back in love with your job, after a recent study found that 85 per cent of employees feel disengaged and lack motivation.

All inclusive

Sid, who is from Deganwy, believes everyone should have access to crucial support and advice like that in the book. ‘The book is for everyone, especially those who do not have the means to capitalise on life and business coaching sessions,’ says Sid, who has worked with global giants including Shell, Kellogg’s, GSK, John Lewis, Visa and Tesco. ‘When I was a brand strategist in London, we worked with some of the top creative agencies and I became frustrated at the ethos of making lots of money for huge companies and forgetting what’s important – the people. ‘The Meee project is about inclusion and accessibility. It appeals to every type of person and many different sectors and organisations because we all have one thing in common, and that’s a lack of time. Every chapter is based on a minute, and what we can do quickly and easily to make a difference. I’ve used these techniques in my own life and they can be applied professionally, from psychology and neuroscience to education and sociology.

Sometimes we need a shift in our mindset and to look from the outside in. With short, snappy messages and exercises it’s simpler to achieve.’ Sid believes his time-saving philosophy can work for anyone in the world. ‘We are all different, but to have a tool ‘The Meee project that’s accessible appeals to every and can appeal type of person to all is vital. because we all For company have one thing owners and HR in common, teams, just a and that’s a few pounds gets lack of time’ you a resource that can be used by anyone.’ Sid’s own experiences with overcoming challenges inform his system. ‘I’m dyslexic so I find it difficult spending days writing words down, which is why this works for me. The reviews have been incredible, we’ve had a brilliant response.’ He adds: ‘The most important thing I’m trying to get across is that whether you’re in a high-powered profession, at school or in what you believe is a mundane job, your mental health is a priority, it’s everything. If you combine that with resilience and mindfulness, everyone can achieve positive results.’ For more on Meee, visit www.meee. global or

B O O K E VE NTS Welsh Language Day Course: Writing The Monologue, 7th March, Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth This Welsh-language writing course is hosted by Aled Jones Williams, the playwright, writer and poet who caused a stir in 2008 with his play Iesu! that depicted Jesus as female. 11am. £35 per person. www. tynewydd. wales

The Yorkshire Shepherdess: An Evening with Amanda Owen, 18th March, Lion Quays Hotel, Oswestry Booka Bookshop is thrilled to present an evening with the Yorkshire Shepherdess, as Amanda Owen shares heartwarming tales and honest anecdotes from her remarkable farming and family life in North Yorkshire – one ruled by animals, children (she has nine) and the four

seasons! 7.30pm. Tickets £15, including a signed copy of the book. To find out more visit

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As always our friends at Linghams Bookshop in Heswall have a great recommended read for us – and this one’s a real page-turner…

Creatures Of The Night by Edna Crosby

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd Debut author Sam Lloyd’s The Memory Wood is a real rollercoaster of a read. Chilling and unputdownable, it grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. Elissa has only just arrived, and she will do anything and everything she can to escape. When Elijah stumbles across Elissa in the woods, hidden by her abductor, he refuses to alert the police. Because in 12 years Elijah has never had a proper friend and he doesn’t want Elissa to leave. Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found in the Memory Wood. As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their game of deception and betrayal will determine whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood…


If you’re interested in your local area, our round-up should hold plenty that appeals Ships Of The Chester River by Richard Martin The rich history of shipbuilding on the River Dee in the 19th century and beyond is explored in this new book. Ships Of The Chester River delves into the industrial development on the Dee Estuary, from Chester to the Point of Ayr, with more than 800 seagoing vessels built on the river. Richard Martin gives an insight into shipbuilding activity from 1800 to 1940,

Afraid of creatures of the night? Not me! I don’t take fright at feather-soft wings and fat, furry bodies fluttering, seeking the light. Some of them cling to the window but I won’t throw the covers aside and let them in – this is my space and I’m alone. Is someone there? I didn’t hear a tread on the stair. Nor do I shrink from little buzzy, stingy chaps but I’ll stop their bite with a swat or a swipe. I turn my head, sense a slight denting near the foot of my bed; blurry edges like an Impressionist’s stroke. Do I hear a breathy sigh? Maybe it’s my mind that spoke? Or maybe it’s just a brief visit; a final goodbye. Lonely And isolated Jo Young Did my phone ring? Was there a gift that someone would bring? No? I continued to look at my toe I could go out; go shopping, join a group or just go to the pub

But what can I do, I feel a fat, useless tub. I need help to show the real me I have knowledge, experience and skills I didn’t just work the supermarket tills. Help me please… I want to be part of something I want that phone to constantly ring And if it doesn’t ring and I don’t answer It will mean I am out with my new friends – or even being the group’s bouncer! STAR by Norman Marshall Twinkle, twinkle little star, I wonder what mass you are. Far out in the expanding sky, Way beyond where comets rush by, Each night, on duty, peering up there I observe your resonance – that certain flair – To puzzle, an astronomical intrigue, That is mysterious and vague! What is your distant world Where character is not easily unfurled? You leave your mysteries for another day When questioning man may come your way. Until then we wonder at a chemical signature, That extra-galactic overture!

We want your poems! Please email

focusing on Chester and Connah’s Quay, using extensive research and interviews, and examining the vessels that traded to every corner of the world. Learn about the 19th-century Liverpool merchants who ordered vessels and how shipbuilding kept Chester alive as a port. The Slow Tourist In Flintshire by Sarah Lewis Flintshire is often described as the gateway to Wales. People zoom through on their way to the drama of Snowdonia or the cosy coves of Anglesey. Sarah Lewis is keen to promote the area she lives in. ‘I’m writing a series of Slow Tourist books to encourage readers to experience places in a different way: to stop, sniff, relax, notice,’ she says. ‘They’re not traditional guidebooks, they’re more like “how to be” in the place you’re

visiting. I want people to stop, lean on the gate, see what’s on the other side. Being a Slow Tourist is being in the moment, enjoying where you are.’ Lost Shrewsbury by David Trumper Shrewsbury was an important centre of the medieval wool trade and its prosperity continued until the Industrial Revolution, when it was the home of railway locomotive manufacturer Sentinel. Lost Shrewsbury presents a portrait of a town and a way of life that has radically changed or disappeared, showing the industries and buildings that have gone, but also street scenes, popular places of entertainment and much more. This fascinating photographic history will appeal to all those who know Shrewsbury – in modern times or in previous decades.

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Charities&Volunteering £3K BOOST FOR DYNAMIC CHARITY A Wrexham charity for disabled children received a wonderful Christmas gift from shoppers


t Eagles Meadow shopping centre, an array of Christmas activities – including a free Santa’s grotto – drew donations from shoppers over the festive period. The money

Dynamic’s Laura Williams and Amy Lynch (centre) with the Eagles Meadow team

was pledged to Dynamic, a local centre for children and young people with disabilities. The total raised was a whopping £3,141.56. According to Oana Mocanasu, marketing manager for Eagles Meadow, the shopping centre team was touched by the community’s support. ‘We are pleased so many families were able to enjoy it with us and thank them for their kind donations,’ she says. Amy Lynch, deputy manager of Dynamic, says the charity was bowled over by the generosity of the community. ‘It has been a heartwarming experience for the Dynamic team and our families,’ she says, ‘and gave us a valuable opportunity to let more people know about what we do.’ The charity, which was set up in 1995 and is partially funded by Wrexham Council, provides out-of-school care and training for young people between eight and 19, living with a range of disabilities and physical and emotional impairments.

Great step forward for canal restoration project


see the canal reopened to Crickheath he Montgomery Basin, leaving two miles of dry canal Waterway in Shropshire. Schoolhouse Bridge Restoration Trust has received permission is on this section and is the last road for the reconstruction blockage before the Welsh border. ‘We would like to recruit of Schoolhouse Bridge, near ‘Volunteers local volunteers to assist with would be supervision and carry out other Oswestry. The Montgomery Canal playing a was abandoned in 1944 and the essential tasks to maintain valuable old canal bridge on Long Lane was progress,’ says Michael Limbrey, part’ chairman of the Montgomery demolished. The canal’s restoration Waterway Restoration Trust. started 50 years ago with a major work party in Welshpool drawn from local ‘Members of this team would be playing a valuable part in restoring this vital link on residents and canal enthusiasts from the Shropshire Union Canal Society and what the canal, something to be proud of. We is now the Waterway Recovery Group. could arrange any necessary training.’ Visit Current restoration, supported by the to volunteer or find out more. National Lottery Heritage Fund, will

Hitting the high notes

A Wrexham copy firm helped a singing group create a heartwarming song about human kindness


group of schoolchildren and adults with learning difficulties have been singing the praises of Rawson Digital, which sponsored a workshop where they created a new song called ‘Inner Beauty’. The session, run by Chester charity AmaSing, saw the fledgling choir – made

up of pupils from St Werburgh’s and St Columba’s Primary School, Hoole, and adults who attend Lightfoot Lodge day centre – put together the lyrics, on the theme of diversity and togetherness, with help from musician and composer Andrew Smith. Rawson Digital’s Jo and Millie Rawson were treated to a sneak preview of the new song at Lightfoot Lodge, which is run by Vivo Care Choices. ‘It’s impossible not to have your spirits lifted by this,’ says Jo. ‘The words have such a positive message about the need for us all to come together and support each other, no matter what our circumstances or backgrounds. We were genuinely moved.’ To hear the song and for more information about the concerts AmaSing is staging across the region over the coming months, visit


Hays Travel’s Steve Payne with Daniel


teve Payne, who runs the new Hays Travel in Shrewsbury, has nominated the Friends of Severndale Academy as the shop’s charity partner for the next year. Steve made the choice after striking up a special friendship with the family of Severndale pupil Daniel O’Leary. The fundraising drive was launched by Daniel’s family and Shrewsbury Mayor Phil Gillam at the store’s official opening. Steve, 53, who has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years, met Daniel when his parents booked the family’s first holiday abroad to Euro Disney in Paris. Daniel, who was diagnosed with autism as a threeyear-old, was involved in every aspect of the booking process and became firm friends with Steve. Now Daniel loves to pop in and say hello during his regular Saturday trips into town. Severndale Academy in Shrewsbury provides specialist education for up to 400 young people aged from two to 19 with moderate, severe, complex and profound learning difficulties, autism, complex medical conditions, and physical, behavioural and mobility difficulties.



ambrian Credit Union has set up a new collection point for a Rhyl foodbank to help address food poverty in the north Wales town. The King’s Storehouse foodbank supports people in and around Rhyl. ‘We have been amazed and inspired by the generosity of our members and staff in donating items,’ says Rob Jones, community engagement officer for CCU. ‘Having spent time with the team at King’s Storehouse, we know how in demand its services are, and how much every donation – big or small – means to them and the people who visit the foodbank.’

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hank you as always for keeping in touch with us and letting us know about the things that are important to you. We love getting your correspondence and are always touched when you share your stories and experiences with us. Do keep them coming, and if you can include a picture too so much the better. Get in touch via email at If you have missed a copy – which can happen as Shire flies off the shelves pretty quickly! – we’re happy to send one out

to you. Just send us an SAE for £1.60, letting us know which issue you’re after, to: Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 1FR. If you don’t want to risk missing another issue in the future, why not subscribe to the magazine? See page 128 for details on how to do this. You can also keep up to date with all things Shire through our social media channels. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and be first to hear about local events, great competitions and everything that’s going on across the patch.

Tree-mendous effort I wanted to share with Shire readers the results of Chester Cathedral’s 2019 Christmas Tree Festival – the entries from Special Needs Care and Girl Guiding Cheshire Forest scooped the top prizes this year. The festival ran from November to January and featured more than 50 trees decorated by schools and businesses from across Chester and Cheshire. Chester Cathedral welcomed over 37,000 visitors during the festival, and more than 3,000 votes were cast in the ballot to find the favourite tree. The winners were presented with an engraved trophy and received passes for the Chester Cathedral falconry and nature gardens. The festival raised over £9,000 for chosen charities, Stick ’n’ Step and Adoption Matters, and brings the total raised by the festival to date to £52,700. Schools and businesses wishing to reserve a tree for 2020 should contact me, Sue Petranca, at Chester Cathedral on 01244 500961 or sue.petranca@ Sue Petranca

The winners with their trophies

READER F E E D B AC K We really enjoyed reading the January/ February issue of Shire magazine. We really enjoy finding out about all the local events and have had some great days out as a result of hearing about them through your magazine. Best wishes for 2020 and happy New Year! Leila Hodgson & family

Fabulous fundraising facial hair

Hospital heroes I wanted your readers to see this photo to celebrate the incredible efforts made by staff at Shropshire’s specialist orthopaedic hospital who let their moustaches run wild throughout Movember – to raise money and awareness. The team of 11 physiotherapists at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry – dubbed the RJAH Physimo – pledged their support for the charity and have raised a staggering £1,200 as a result. Movember is the leading charity for changing the face of men’s health, supporting a number of causes such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health, including suicide prevention. The idea to take part in Movember came from Noel Harding, who recruited his colleagues to join in. Everyone at RJAH is very proud of Noel and all the gents who joined him in this great fundraising feat. Name supplied

May we compliment you again on the lovely Shire magazine, which serves our north Wales community well. Pam & Barry Lewis I really enjoyed the last issue of Shire magazine, which I collected and in fact read in the supermarket while my wife did the weekly shop! What a great find – I will be making a point of picking it up from now on. Steven Entwhistle, Chester

Help needed for talking papers

Fun and friendly group

I’m hoping Shire’s readers may be interested to find more about what goes on at Oswestry Talking Newspaper (OTN) and even volunteer a little time to support us. Talking Newspapers is a national organisation that provides news in audio format for the sight impaired. The service is free for those who are eligible and is delivered through the post. At OTN, we record items from the Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer, plus what is Can you spread the news in Oswestry? taking place in the area and articles from various magazines. We also include some historical features on the area and information from the Infosound website, which includes items of interest for vision-impaired people such as new aids to help independence, new medical advances and legal matters. The recordings are done at our studio in the Guildhall in Oswestry. We have several helpers assisting with distribution, sorting, reading and technical support. The whole thing is done on a Thursday but volunteers don’t necessarily have to be on call every week. We’re happy to discuss volunteering with anyone who may be interested. We get more people willing to read than to do any of the other jobs, but it would be nice if we could get some people who are prepared to do a little maintenance on the equipment or even look at our website. Anyone interested can contact me by email at Helen Sharman

We wanted to remind your readers that the Garth & Trevor Over50s Group continues to meet between 2pm Come for lovely cake! and 4pm at the warm, bright Garth & Trevor Community Centre on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Over the last few weeks we have enjoyed card making, flower arranging, quizzes, indoor bowling, chats, tea and lovely cake! The next few sessions planned will include more quizzes and table-top games, as well as Easter egg bingo and a visit to Erddig Hall. This is a friendly, informal group that makes everyone welcome. Pam Lewis March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 143

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What’s in your stars? Aries

20th March – 20th April It’s all about how you balance your relationships this spring, so avoiding arguments is necessary. Don’t let petty irritation get the better of you because if it does full-blown animosity will be expressed. You also need to get a move on with appointments otherwise the March Hare will be telling you, ‘You’re late! You’re late for a very important date.’


21st June – 23rd July The spring equinox is here and with it comes the move of Saturn off your opposite sign of Capricorn, lightening the load for you and making life just a little easier. A conflict of interests has certainly been testing you and it doesn’t end just yet – but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so just follow its beam!


23rd September – 22nd October Your chart shows Uranus in a zone where joint finances, responsibilities or shares require change. This could be uncomfortable but any shift will create a more stable structure. Doing things differently may not please some and may upset the status quo, but sometimes things are outside our control for a good reason. Carpe diem!


21st December – 20th January The great French philosopher Blaise Pascal once said, ‘Through space the universe grasps me and swallows me up like a speck, through thought I grasp it’. You’re a deep thinker and now need to air your views over fragments of dissatisfaction. Remain silent and issues will be unresolved; speak up and those thoughts will find their place in an important conversation.


20th April – 21st May March brings four planets travelling through the serious sign of Capricorn, which like you veers towards being cautious. This bodes well for you because with Venus and Uranus in Taurus, you may be inclined to throw caution to the wind. It may make the earth move for you, but end in a quake that will disrupt everything!


23rd July – 23rd August A tug between head and heart’s giving a personal issue some serious consideration. In Ancient Egypt the lion guarded the gateway to the temples; you too have to guard your sanctuary, whether that’s your home, your relationship or both. It’s where head and heart must combine to find solutions to a complicated but solvable problem.


23rd October – 22nd November You’re known as the most powerful sign in the Zodiac and how you use that power now is significant to outcomes. Act wisely, because relationships are under fluctuating energies. Things may not stem from you – they may be aimed at you – but whichever way conflicts spin, power can destroy or create. There’s a choice to be made here.


20th January – 19th February The cosmic clock never stops ticking; Saturn’s time in Capricorn is over for the next 28 years and enters your sign in March for the next three years, so expect obstacles at the start. What this means only you’ll know, but you’ll be required to jump a few hurdles. This takes energy, so make sure you have some in reserve.


21st May – 21st June Algol is a white variable star in the constellation of Perseus, which symbolises the eye in Medusa’s head. That may be a myth that’s unknown to you; another unknown until now is that a new moon in Aries in your 10th solar house this March encourages you to take a step towards a goal you’ve had your eye on.


23rd August – 23rd September Sometimes we spend aeons waiting for something wonderful to happen, but this old saying still rings true: the flower doesn’t dream of the bee, it blossoms and the bee comes forth. The full moon’s beam in Virgo in early March puts the spotlight on your best qualities: reliability, practicality and diligence. Modest virtues but nevertheless attractive in their unpretentious way.


22nd November – 21st December ‘Don’t tell me how to live my life’ is something you may have thought but not expressed. Anyone who knows you well observes how you distance yourself from labels, but there’s a label you need to own and that’s being blunt. Don’t confuse being blunt with being honest. A little diplomacy now will keep your honour intact and the atmosphere sweet!


19th February – 20th March Spring is a good time for you, as if you’ve come out of hibernation to find a wonderful productive life. The spring equinox in the northern hemisphere is a starting point for abundance or a-bundance – Pisces rules the feet! Use your imagination and plan your garden/holiday/ leisure time/creative project – you’re part of this fruitful expanse stretching ahead of you.

Gloria Mans studied astrology and astronomy over an intensive two-year period at the Faculty Of Astrological Studies in London 27 years ago. She has since written for many publications, appeared numerous times on television and has an impressive client list. The legendary Fay Weldon calls her ‘magic’ and the BBC icon Valerie Singleton calls her ‘sensitive’. You can reach her at or via her website, 144 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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You have to be in it to win it. Go on, enter today!

Another edition of Shire, another chance to win some of our fabulous prizes, including a day at the races and a stunningly scenic river cruise! Good luck…


It’s hard to beat the glamour and exhilaration of a day out at Chester Races. This issue, Shire has teamed up with the world’s oldest racecourse to offer two lucky winners tickets to the equine event of the season. We have two pairs of Tattersalls tickets up for grabs for City Day on 5th May, which celebrates the first day of the 2020 season and the beginning of Boodles May Festival. The tickets will give the winners access to both sides of the track, including the Paddock with close-up viewing of the horses in the Parade Ring. City Day promises fantastic track action, with topclass contenders from trainers like Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden going head to head to compete at Epsom later in the season. Our competition winners can expect high-calibre racing and plenty of thrills. For your chance to win this amazing prize, fill in the entry form below and send it to Shire at the address shown by 18th April. WIN! Four tickets for a ChesterBoat Fish & Chip Cruise Setting sail at 7pm on the

WIN! Two tickets to Wrexham Symphony Orchestra’s Mahler Charitable Concert See WSO

first Friday of the month, from May to September, this two-hour cruise takes in Chester’s riverside homes and tranquil Cheshire countryside. Enjoy a delicious fish supper, and a game of bingo. CLOSING DATE: 18th April

perform of Mahler’s Symphony No8 – Symphony Of A Thousand – at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on 20th June. The prize includes transport to and from Manchester and a Gustav Mahler Society event. CLOSING DATE: 18th April

WIN! A family day out at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s Smallholding & Countryside Festival This event

WIN! A family ticket for the Vale of Rheidol Railway Step

aboard one of the restored steam trains for a stunning journey along the Rheidol Valley. Since the railway opened in 1902, millions have enjoyed the scenic trip through the ancient woodlands to Devil’s Bridge, home of the famous waterfalls. CLOSING DATE: 18th April

on 16th and 17th May is packed with interesting things to see, delicious food and drink, live music and displays. We have two tickets up for grabs (children go free). CLOSING DATE: 18th April

to our lucky winners from Winners Congratulations the issue of Shire! January/February

Ann, Saltney, Circus Funtasia

Elizabeth, Shrewsbury, Venue Cymru

Jennifer, Welshpool, indoor climbing

Kath, Abergele, WSO concert, Wrexham

John, Tilstock, The Hafren

WIN! Two £15 tickets to any concert during Whittington Music Festival’s Folklassical

Between 12th and 17th May, Folklassical offers six concerts by world-class folk and classical artists. For the programme, see www. CLOSING DATE: 18th April

HOW TO ENTER Fill in the form with your answer circled (you’ll need to read the magazine to find it!) and include your name, address, email and daytime contact number. Send it by the closing date to Competitions, Shire magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR

RULES OF THE COMPETITIONS The promoter of these competitions is Shire magazine, Superstar Publishing, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. The competitions are open to all readers of our magazine and viewers of our websites except employees of the prize providers. The winner(s) will be the first person or persons drawn after the closing date who has completed the correct answer. No cash alternative is available. The winners’ names can be obtained by writing to the competition address with a self-addressed envelope after the closing date. The winner agrees to participate in any follow-up publicity and must provide a photograph to be published in the following issue to claim their prize. Superstar Publishing may print the name only of entrants to this competition in subsequent issue(s) of Shire magazine. This is to enable competition entrants to fairly claim a promotional offer, for competition entrants only. By entering this competition you are giving permission for Shire magazine to print your name only. No personal information will be printed. No purchase necessary, answers on a postcard are accepted. For full details of our Privacy Policy, please go to DATA PROTECTION NOTICE Superstar Publishing Ltd will use your information for administration and analysis purposes and may contact you from time to time with relevant offers, information or for research purposes. Your details will not be passed on to third parties except the sponsors of these competitions. Please tick the relevant box if you wish to be contacted.

Q: When was Chopin’s final public concert?

Name Address

a) 1855 b) 1840 c) 1848 CHESTER RACES CHESTERBOAT



Daytime contact number


Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire March/April 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 145

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COMING NEXT ISSUE Your next edition of Shire magazine will, hopefully, arrive alongside a bit of early summer sun! Our May and June issue will have all the usual regulars you’ve come to expect, and more special features besides, so make sure you pick up your copy so you are ready to shine…


As the warmer weather arrives, we’ll help you get set for the summer season! Our health and beauty experts will guide you in your vital preparations and make sure those bits of body that have been under wraps are ready for unveiling, while our fashion and style guides will makes sure you know what’s hot for when it gets hot!

SNAP HAPPY We meet a photographer who is about to publish a book on his amazing experiences exploring the natural world, both in the UK and in far-flung destinations. Mike Potts has visited the four corners of the globe to capture photographs of animals in their natural habitats, and his book will inspire animal lovers and environmentalists.

Clocking off We take an in-depth look at retirement – a good read for anyone who is nearing the golden age themselves, has retired parents or just whiles away their days dreaming of finally clocking off for good! We talk to experts about the financial implications, home considerations and the importance of routine and finding something to fill your days.

GARDEN GLORY The green-fingered among you will enjoy our round-up of places to go and admire other people’s gardens – as well as finding out how to make sure your own outdoor area is set for the coming summer months! From garden chores to style and shopping, we’ll help you get the garden of your dreams.



If you haven’t already booked your break, don’t panic! Our next issue will include a full holiday guide that gives you the lowdown on the best holiday parks, canal boats and even motorhome hire in the region, so you can make your getaway a great one.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS Our homes and interiors section will be packed with the usual top style advice as well as practical solutions to heating and general home care. Not only that, we’ll have more interior design inspiration for those who are considering a new look, and news from the housebuilding industry covering the latest local developments.

SHOW REVIEWS As usual, the dedicated and hard-working Shire team will do their best to make sure they’ve seen as many shows and events as possible and provide full reports…

D O N ’ T F O R G E T…

Don’t go anywhere until you’ve checked our What’s On guide for May and June, including all the half-term and early summer outdoors events you’ll need to know about before you plan anything. The next edition of Shire will include our usual 60-page guide to all the events and activities going on across the region.

GET IN TOUCH Shire wants to hear from you!


As usual we’ll have an offering from a top local chef to tempt your taste buds. We’ll also celebrate a local producer who is championing the area’s food offerings and – of course – catch up with our resident beer and wine experts from across the Shire patch.

1. Tell us about your upcoming events We work in advance, so 1st April is the deadline to let us know about events for our May/June 2020 issue. 2. Share your reader stories Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We would love to share it with our readers. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two! 3. Contribute to one of our pages Send all your submissions and pictures by email to or call 01691 661270. You can also get in touch via social media – just search for ‘Shire magazine’ on Facebook or Instagram.

146 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2020

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