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Reasons to go rural

There’s no better time to enjoy life in the countryside

It’s a dog’s life

The ultimate guide to getting a canine companion

Home sweet home

Make sure your pad is perfect, inside and out



Pets that alpaca punch Unusual animals and their adorable antics Ready for a break Have a holiday in mind to leave lockdown behind On song Meet the Fron male voice choir Get into the gardens As National Trust properties open their gates


Ready to go

Olly Murs is talking tours with Shire

WIN a makeover and shopping spree with Olivia May worth £1,000 Turn to page 113


Prestatyn – a perfect seaside spot Telford – the town with a bright future


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Managing Director Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Chief Subeditor Jo Williams Staff Writers Eluned Watson Helen Gordon Adele Barry Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Subeditor Chris Miller Advertising Design Sarah Norman Sales & Marketing Pauline Jones Claire Duffy Distribution Manager Paul Howard Finance & Accounts David Kynaston Nicky Kynaston Jane Osman Contributors John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, P Parker, Clive Williams, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney, Bob Hickman, Lisa Whelan, Adam Gaunt-Evans


pring is definitely in the air and we’re feeling full of positivity and promise in this edition of Shire. Not only are the days getting longer, warmer and brighter, the flowers are beginning to bloom and finally it looks like we’ll soon be able to start living a slightly more normal life. The combination of the vaccine roll-out and easing of restrictions is just the tonic we need to look forward to a spring and summer when we can get out and about a bit more and catch up with sorely missed friends and families. With our home lives under the lens more than ever before, maybe it’s time to follow the current trend and leave the towns and cities behind in favour of a slower pace of life in the countryside? What’s not to like about open spaces, nature, peace, quiet and community in one of the many gorgeous villages across the Shire region? Check out our feature on moving to the country before you go any further. More time spent at home has also prompted many families to get a puppy. What better way to enjoy your daily walk than with a bundle of energy and excitement at your heels? In this issue, we look at the reasons this can be a great idea, as well as some of the things you need to consider in case it’s not really the best move for you. We’ve also got art, books and poetry, loads of yummy food and recipes, photos, fashion, gardens, homes, style and an amazing competition packed into the following pages, so sit back, relax and get ready to spring into Shire! Enjoy!


Email Shire magazine editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk

The good life Discover why so many people are leaving the cities behind on page 36

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270 SUBSCRIPTION RATES ONE YEAR – £19.95 TWO YEARS – £34.95

Puppy love

Considering adding a pet to your household? Turn to page 72 for our top tips

www.shiremagazine.co.uk 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 shiremagazine.co.uk © 2021 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188.

What’s on The events – both online and off – happening near you this March and April, from page 6

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 you’d like to feature in our May/June issue.



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 109 for more.

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 88.

Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along

A free copy of Shire delivered to your home! To help readers during this difficult time, if you’re having trouble getting to the supermarket and would prefer a copy delivered to you at home, please just send us an A4 SAE with £1.83 postage to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. We will send you the latest issue by return.

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 77 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 www.shiremagazine.co.uk and send submissions and information by email to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

TURN TO PAGE 110 for our fantastic subscription offer! March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3

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There has never been a more important time to have something to look forward to • Save or Borrow with your community credit union • Loans from £50, with rates from 5.9%, and never higher than 42.6%

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Contact us

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Cambrian Savings & Loans is a trading style of Cambrian Credit Union Limited. Registered Office: 144 Conway Road, Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9ND. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority Registration No: 213672 Loan APR subject to loan value, term and status, T&C apply 26/02/2021 13:42

Contents MA R C H /A P R I L 2 02 1

PAG E 7 0 Garden accessories


PAG E 3 5 Olly Murs returns

Local events

6 What’s On Check out the events happening near you in north and mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral and Shropshire

76 Active How to make the most of wild swimming, plus searching for red squirrels in Denbighshire

12 Prestatyn We visit the seaside favourite that offers long, sandy shores and so much more

77 Pets & Wildlife A couple of alpaca owners share their advice on raising the unusual animals, plus the best of your pet pictures

13 20 Questions Members of one of Wales’s oldest male voice choirs answer our pressing queries 34 Telford Take a closer look at one of the UK’s fastest-growing towns 35 Olly Murs We talk to the reality show success story as he heads our way on tour this summer

PAG E 5 6

COVER FEATURE 36 Living The Dream As working habits change and focus moves to quality of life, we take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of moving to the country, and speak to some of those already living the good life

Home comforts

45 Homes & Interiors Doing a spot of spring cleaning? Refreshing your home inside and out? We’re here to help

PAG E 3 6

56 Sunshine After The Storm Bring a touch of sun to your decor with sensational yellows paired with pale greys

PAG E 9 4

Life in the slow lane

Men’s fashion

59 Food & Drink A delicious seasonal tart from local chef Adam GauntEvans, plus top tips on picking the perfect corkscrew 65 Gardening Planting tips and horticultural hints from the experts, as well as top local National Trusts sites to visit for ideas and inspiration

PAG E 5 9 PAG E 9 1

Local producers

68 Health & Beauty News on an initiative to help boost our mental health and wellbeing following the pandemic, plus we bust those myths about vaccines 69 Green Living Is your money doing all it could to help save the planet? Plus how Wales is leading the way when it comes to green energy

Women’s fashion

70 Get Growing Breathe new life into your garden with some gorgeous accessories and practical yet stylish essentials

PAG E 7 2

COVER FEATURE 72 It’s A Dog’s Life Thinking of getting a puppy? We ask the experts and current dog owners for their advice on the reasons you should take the plunge – or not

81 Holidays Now is the time to plan a longawaited getaway or invest in a holiday home of your own 86 Arts & Crafts We talk to an artist who uses her creativity for a great cause, plus your entries to our regular photography competition 91 Wild Thing Make a statement by adding animal prints to your wardrobe 93 Weddings Discover the country hall in the Welsh countryside that’s the perfect venue for nuptials 94 Get Out There Walk the countryside in style with these men’s fashions 95 Motoring Bob Hickman test drives the Land Rover Discovery Sport 96 Charities & Volunteering The limited-edition watch launched for charity, plus the people raising millions to help save Chester Zoo 99 Schools As children finally return to school, we round up the latest news from educational institutions across the area 105 Meet The Expert Want to study product design? Steve Jarvis has some advice 106 Retirement Meet the amazing centenarian who has lived through two global pandemics 108 Books & Poetry The latest releases, local authors and your fantastic poetry, plus the Oswestry-born team who have worked together on a new children’s book 111 Letters To The Editor An selection of the lovely letters you’ve sent us once again 112 What’s In Your Stars Check out what’s coming your way with our horoscope forecast by Gloria Mans 113 Competition Find out how you could win a fantastic fashion and style makeover from Olivia May, worth £1,000

Paws for thought

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2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th March, Dance For Parkinson’s, online National Dance Company Wales is launching new dance classes via Zoom. The classes, which take place every Tuesday, are creative, build confidence and strength and promote feelings of freedom from the physical and social constraints of Parkinson’s. 10am. Free. www.pontio.co.uk

5th March, Keeping People Safe Online Learn how to protect yourself from online scams and keep your identity safe with this free webinar from DVSC Denbighshire and Digital Communities Wales. 10am-11am. Free. www.eventbrite.co.uk

5th-7th March, OutFit Fitness Weekender, Anglesey Enjoy a wide range of activities and fitness sessions at OutFit’s base at Anglesey Outdoors. With activities such as trail running, hiking, pilates, beach workouts, orienteering, navigation and Hillfit, there is plenty to do for all abilities. Accommodation options include glamping pods, yurts, log cabins, family dorms and camping. £50£80. www.out-fit.co.uk

6th, 20th & 27th March, Story Circle online, Venue Cymru Are you between seven and 12 years old? Do you love telling stories, acting, playing games and having fun? Venue Cymru looks forward to welcoming you to Story Circle via Zoom, where you can explore stories with a range of games and fun activities. 11.30am. Free. To register email youngcreatives@ venuecymru.co.uk.

10th March, Nature Connection for Wellbeing, online Reconnect with the earth and awaken your inner hunter-gatherer in this live workshop led by author Glennie Kindred, and nature therapist and mindfulness practitioner Lea Kendall. 7.30pm8.30pm. £11. www.woodland classroom.com

Murder most foul at Caerphilly Castle This spring, Cadw is enabling you to travel back to 2017, and view a live performance of Macbeth performed at Caerphilly Castle. Four years after its original performance, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is releasing its award-winning production as part of the Theatr Gen Eto programme for 2021. The production, which featured a new translation by the late Gwyn Thomas, starred

On stage at Galeri Caernarfon

Into the woods Head to Erddig, Wrexham, on 18th April to explore the world of edible plants, fungi and wild game. The one-day course looks at some of the best and tastiest ways to enjoy wild food from a base camp set in the ancient woodland at the National Trust estate. The course costs £60. www.woodlandclassroom.com

Flower power Whether you’re a keen gardener or just love seeing blooms on display, don’t miss Dibleys Virtual Flower Show on 17th and 18th April. The show, run by Dibleys Nurseries in Ruthin, sees gold-medal-winning nurseries host interactive floral halls, nursery tours, Q&As and more. www. virtual flower show.uk

Richard Lynch, Ffion Dafis, Llion Williams and Phylip Harries and provided an opportunity to see Caerphilly’s splendid castle in a way in which it had never been seen before. The performance is available to view online completely free of charge, with closed captions in both English and Welsh available. To find out more visit www.cadw.gov.wales.

Dean Friedman, 23rd April An evening of powerful, poignant and hilarious songs. 8pm. Tickets £25. George Egg: Moveable Feast, 24th April A new show from the award-winning stand-up who makes real gourmet food live on stage. 7.30pm. Tickets £12. www.galericaernarfon.com


Can you beat the train?

This year’s Bangor Music Festival takes place online on 12th and 13th March. Artists include Mared Emlyn, the Solem Quartet (pictured), singers Caryl Hughes and Paul Carey Jones and pianist Wyn Davies. www. bangormusic festival.org.uk

See if you can beat the train on Bala Lake Railway by paddling the length of the lake on a stand-up paddleboard or boat on 17th April. Spectators are invited to follow the four-mile race from the train, which leaves at 5pm. www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk

A special message from Shire Once more this issue we’ve made every effort to bring you the most up-to-date details of the fabulous, fun activities you can do across the Shire region. At the time of writing, all the events listed over the following pages are still scheduled to take place unless stated otherwise, but please check with the venue by phone or on the web before travelling for the most recent updates. And of course, when attending any of these great events in our wonderful local area, please ensure you follow the latest government guidance to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

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Music and more at Rhyl Pavilion


The Wizard Of Oz, 3rd & 4th April Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion as they travel through Oz to meet the Wizard and defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. 2pm and 6pm. Tickets £16.

10cc, 10th April – POSTPONED until 8th October 2022 10cc are back on tour, marking the anniversary of their mega-hit “I’m Not In Love”. 7.30pm. Tickets £39.50.

One Night In Dublin, 9th April Join The Wild Murphys for a night of music from the Emerald Isle, with songs by The Dubliners, The Pogues, Van Morrison and more. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.

Psychic Sally, 29th April – POSTPONED until 3rd March 2022 The nation’s favourite psychic is back, bringing mediumship into the 21st century. 7.30pm. Tickets £24. www.rhylpavilion.co.uk

Take on the challenge CELEBRATING WORDS ONLINE

Wrexham’s Carnival of Words returns from 17th to 24th April on YouTube. Guests include authors Matt Hilton, Neil Spring, Amanda Prowse and Clare Mackintosh. There are also workshops, a poetry event and more. Tickets cost £15. www. wrexhamcarnivalofwords.com

The Snowdonia Trail Running Challenge is back on 3rd April, this year on the shores of Llyn Cwellyn. The tough course will take you close to the summit of Snowdon before leading you towards the mountain ranges and forestry to the west. A variety of distances are available. www.trailevents.co

FOLLOW THE ALE TRAIL IN WREXHAM Rediscover the charm of authentic Welsh pubs and unique real ales on Wrexham’s bus-based Real Ale Trail on 24th April. Travel from the urban centre into the countryside to visit great rural pubs. There will be at least three real ales in each pub. www.realaletrail.co.uk

12th-14th March, Silent Retreat with Meditation, Llyn Padarn Lake, Llanberis Submerge yourself in the tranquillity of nature with this all-inclusive retreat in the heart of Snowdonia. Replenish your spirit with three meditation classes each day and space to do your own practice. Delicious vegan and vegetarian meals are included. £222. www. thenaturalartsassociation.com

28th March, An Introduction To Glass Painting, Wernog Wood, Ruthin Learn the traditional art of glass painting on this one-day beginner’s course with artist Verity Pulford. You’ll learn how to mix, apply and layer paints using the sgraffito technique. £120 plus £25 for materials. 9am-5pm. www.wernogwood.co.uk

2nd-5th April, Easter Egg Hunt, Bala Lake Railway See if you can find all the Easter eggs hidden along the line and around the stations. There’s a yummy prize for every child, and you might even get to meet the White Rabbit! www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk

A great walk round the Great Orme Challenge yourself to a 10- or 20-mile walk around Great Orme near Llandudno on 27th March. Both options are accompanied by a team of professionals, who will look after you from start to finish. The route takes you round the Great Orme to West Shore beach (twice for the 20-milers) and finishes with a celebration, including a well-earned glass of fizz and cake! www.breeseadventures.co.uk

Walk for good Stride into spring with a 10mile walk along Llangollen Canal on 28th March. The Llangollen Canal Walk, in aid of Hope House, takes in beautiful local scenery and incorporates the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Registration is £10 per adult and £5 per child. www.hope house. org.uk

History comes to life Multi-period living history event No Man’s Land takes place on 17th and 18th April at Bodrhyddan Hall, Rhuddlan. There will be plenty to see and do across the weekend including firing displays, trade stalls and live music as well as the chance to chat to the re-enactors. 10am to 4pm. Email admin@axisallied.co.uk.

Swim, bike and run in Harlech The Harlech Sprint Triathlon returns on 18th April, with a 400-metre swim, a 21km cycle and an impressive 6km run that finishes at the castle. To book your place, visit www. alwaysaimhighevents.com.

3rd April, Llandudno Easter 5k Promenade Dash, Llandudno A quick and flat 5km that’s ideal for beginners and experienced runners after a fast time. There is also a 1km children’s race. 10.30am. £14 (£3 fun run). www.letsdothis.com

10th April, The World’s Strongest Half Marathon, Froncysyllte Watch strongman Chris Burman-Day attempt to pull the 18-ton Lady Winifred narrowboat from Froncysyllte across the aqueduct to Llangollen marina and back again, a distance of about half a marathon. In aid of the Vale of Llangollen Canal Boat Trust. 8am. uk.gofund me.com

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10th April, 5km & 10km Trails, Loggerheads, Denbighshire The popular trail races are back, alongside a separate canicross event, offering a great variety of terrain and scenery. Start and finish at Loggerheads Country Park visitor centre. 10am (5km) and 10.30am (10km). www.out-fit.co.uk

14th April, National Open Garden Scheme, Aberclwyd Manor, Corwen Take a stroll through the four-acre garden overlooking the Upper Clwyd Valley. See many mature trees underplanted with snowdrops, fritillaries and cyclamen, and an abundance of spring flowers. 10am-4pm. £3.50 (free for children). www.ngs.org.uk

17th April, The World’s Steepest Street Race, Harlech With a 37.45% maximum gradient, Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech is the World’s Steepest Street. Have you got what it takes to take it on as part of this 6.2km race? 5pm. From £18. www.alwaysaimhighevents.com

18th April, Family Walking Day, Moss Valley, Wrexham A fun walk led by Bill Stephens, with storytelling by Jacqui Blore and Jude Lennon. 11am. Free, but please confirm your place at www. wrexhamcarnivalofwords.com.

•21st April, Viva Voce, Wrexham A bilingual spoken-

word event celebrating the Welsh and English languages. Presented by poet and author Paul Clifton. 7pm. £15. www. wrexhamcarnivalofwords.com

24th April, Introduction To Basic Skateboard Skills, Rhyl Skatepark A fast-track lesson that will teach you balance and coordination skills in preparation for a further six-week block of lessons. 9amnoon. Free. radexcoaching @gmail.com

Funny business at William Aston Hall Josh Widdicombe: Bit Much, 28th March The guy everyone can do an impression of is back with a brand new stand-up tour. This is a show that will change your life and how you perceive your place in the world. Bit much? Fine, it will be a very funny night of grumbles and jokes in which Josh will finally tackle

the hot comedy topics of advent calendars, pesto and the closing time of his local park. 7.30pm. Tickets £22 Friends! The Musical Parody, 25th April Join Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Monica and Chandler in Friends! The Musical Parody, which takes a hilarious look at the TV

FANCY A TIPPLE? Enjoy a glass (or two) at the annual Wales Prosecco, Gin & Rum Festival, which returns to Brynkinalt Hall in Chirk on 17th April. Tickle those taste buds with authentic Italian street food, over 50 types of prosecco, gin and rum and a fantastic line-up of live music. Sessions run from either noon or 6pm and tickets cost from £16.64. Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk to find out more.

phenomenon that ruled the 1990s and became a cultural institution. This uncensored, hilarious, fast-paced, musicfilled production is guaranteed to make your your day, your week, your month, or even your year! 7.30pm. Tickets from £30.24. www.ents24.com/ wrexham-events/williamaston-hall-glyndwr-university

Get set for wedding bells If you’re dreaming of your big day, don’t miss the North Wales Wedding Fayre at Coleg Cambria, Deeside. The event, which was to take place on 18th April has moved to 24th October. Officially the biggest wedding show in north Wales, it will bring together over 90 wedding specialists, from stylish florists to mouthwatering catering options and live music. Entry is free if you register at www.bouquetandbells. com or £2 on the door. VIP access costs £7, including a free drink.

Haunted happenings at Ruthin Castle Are you brave enough to join the Weekend Sleepover at Ruthin Castle with Karl Beattie and Stuart Torevell, stars of TV’s Most Haunted? The sleepover, which takes place from 26th to 27th March, gives you the chance to explore the castle, sample the paranormal activity and stay the night in a haunted bedrooms. The ghost hunt takes place from 8pm to 1pm, after which

Stunning running in Llangollen Head for the hills and enjoy some stunning scenery in the Llangollen Fell Race on 18th April. The 17-mile race takes in around 3,000ft of elevation and follows a well-marked and marshalled course. The race begins at 9am and is run under WFRA conditions, meaning full kit needs to be carried. www.llangollenfellrace.co.uk

guests can retire to the lounge for a night cap and ghost stories. Then it’s time to head to your bedroom – if you dare! Tickets cost £150 per person per night; ghost hunt tickets are available for £55. www.mosthauntedexperience.com

Opera for all Welsh National Opera is determined to keep music alive during the pandemic. Its new opera, A Song For The Future, centres on refugee Zana and is told through song, music and spoken word. See www.wno. org.uk until 30th May.

Race into the night

Take on the Llyn Brenig Day to Night Race on 20th March and tackle a 9.5-mile lakeside run along the shores of Llyn Brenig. The race begins at dusk, and you’ll soon be switching your headtorch on as darkness sets in and the stars begin to shine. The race begins at 5.30pm with a canicross event at 6pm. Both events cost £19.50 to enter. www. out-fit.co.uk

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Changing the way you see the world Henblas Street, Wrexham










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Back – and bigger and better than ever Xplore! is the new home of science discovery in north Wales and beyond, brought to you by the rebranded Techniquest Glyndwr, in the heart of Wrexham. The centre has only been able to open for a limited time since its launch last October, but those who’ve already experienced hours of exciting discovery will be happy to hear that even more fantastic exhibits have now been added. New attractions have arrived from across the world, crafted by the world’s best engineers of science engagement and fun. You can now send your voice from one side of the room to the other with just a whisper, create mist and send smoke rings flying through the air! You can even learn about water with an enthralling new exhibit courtesy of key sponsor Hafren Dyfrdwy, highlighting the importance of good water management. There are more than 100 activities for you to get stuck into, while science communicators are on hand to showcase the very best we have to offer.

Xplore! is a vital resource not just for Wrexham but for the whole the area, and aims to inspire curious minds with the wonders of science. It hopes to provide inspiration for the country’s future doctors, engineers, researchers, teachers and more. Once restrictions ease, head to Xplore! Science Discovery on Henblas Street in Wrexham for hours of fun and exciting exhibits from just £7.50. The fantastic staff are on hand to guarantee a fantastic afternoon for kids and adults alike! To find out more about reopening plans, visit www.xplorescience.co.uk.


Afonwen North Wales


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Find open gardens to explore

Plas Llwynonn, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey, 17th April See snowdrops, wild garlic, bluebells and daffodils in the four acres of garden surrounded by woodland. 11am-4pm. Tickets £4. Maenan Hall, Llanrwst, Conwy, 25th April Explore sweeping lawns and ornamental ponds,

Danger! High voltage!

Join TV scientist Marty Jopson as he takes a sparky journey through the story of electricity from the Ancient Greeks to Faraday’s genius. The show, which is staged by Wrexham’s Carnival of Words Festival in conjunction with the Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, takes place online on 21st April at 1pm. Tickets cost £15. Book in advance at www.wrexham carnivalofwords.com.

plus a bluebell-carpeted woodland dell. 10.30am-5pm. Tickets £4. Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, 28th April With waterfalls, a large ornamental walled garden and early pit house. Noon-5pm. Tickets £8. www.ngs.org.uk

Go camping, indoors or out Put up a tent and go camping over the Easter weekend with the St David’s Hospice Great Indoor/Outdoor Camp. The hospice has put together an activity pack that includes five days of pre-camp duties, as well as lots of recipes, games and activities. Get yours at www.stdavidshospice.org.uk/events_calendar.

Cutting-edge culture

Can you run from sea to summit? The only way is up with the Sea to Summit half marathon, marathon and ultra distance races along the Offa’s Dyke footpath on 25th April. There are feed stations along the route, transport to the start and a medal for all finishers. Entry from £22.50. www. out-fit.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW? Maenan Hall dates back to the 15th century

Get moving with Pontio Enjoy some gentle movement with dance practitioner Sarah Mumford in a series of online workshops run by Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor. The Heb Ffiniau sessions, held every other Thursday at 11am, will encourage you to relax, move and exercise from the comfort of your home. The sessions cost £3 or £15 for six. www.pontio.co.uk

Watch a new production of The Picture Of Dorian Gray from the comfort of your sofa from 16th to 31st March. The online presentation, brought to you by Theatr Clwyd, brings Oscar Wilde’s tale into the world of Instagram, Facebook and dating apps. Tickets cost £12. To book visit www.pictureofdoriangray. com or www.theatrclwyd.com.

A little taste of Little Mix

A taste of the good life

Sing along to your favourite Little Mix hits at Woman Like Me: The Little Mix Show at The Stiwt in Wrexham on 13th April. You’ll hear all the hits from the award-winning girl-band, including including “Black Magic”, “Power”, “Shoutout To My Ex” and “Woman Like Me”. The show also includes arrangements from artists including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £12 for concessions and £48 for families. www.stiwt.com

The Good Life Experience at Hawarden Castle Estate near Buckley from 29th April to 2nd May is a festival like no other. Known for its intimate size and family-friendly atmosphere, the festival features great food, axe throwing, comedy, abseiling, a 1930s fairground, poetry and more. Eat food cooked over a campfire, listen to music curated by BBC 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews and reconnect with nature on the Hawarden Estate. www.thegood lifeexperience.co.uk

24th April, Ghost Hunt, Gwrych Castle, Abergele Encounter some paranormal activity with a ghost tour of this 19th-century country house. Guides will use a range of paranormal equipment including dowsing rods and K2 meters, and guests will have the opportunity to take part in table tipping. 8pm-1.30am. £30. www.gwrychcastle.co.uk/ghosts

24th25th April, Blacksmithing: An Introduction To The Forge, Wernog Wood, Ruthin Awardwinning Rich Jones from Heat & Beat will guide you through the ancient skills of blacksmithing, teaching you the elementary techniques needed to form and forge steel. Using hammers, traditional hand tools and a forge, you’ll learn about upsetting your metal and drawing it down, chiselling, doming and using the horn of your anvil to forge your very own door knocker and door pull. £245 plus £30 for materials. www.wernogwood.co.uk

25th April, Snowdon Sunrise Guided Walk, Llanberis Trek to the highest point in the British Isles south of Scotland and see the sun rise over the mountains of Snowdonia. This guided walk starts by headtorch at 1.30am, and you’ll be able to see some fantastic views over Llanberis Pass and the Glyderau mountain range as the sun rises. £35. www.mgoutdoors.com

25th April, Open Water Swimming Skills & Drills, Llyn Padarn, Llanberis A session designed for confident pool swimmers making their first strokes into open-water swimming in a safe controlled manner takes place from 10am to noon. There is also an intermediate session for those with some experience of open-water swimming looking to improve their endurance and technique from 1pm to 3pm. £35 per session. Email h2open coaching@ gmail.com or call 07599 611649 to book your place.

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Sands of plenty The popular seaside town of Prestatyn in north Denbighshire is the perfect spot whether you want to stay on the beach or explore the area on foot

Take a walk along the picturesque coastline


erched on the north Wales coast just off the main road between Colwyn Bay and Chester, Prestatyn is often overlooked in favour of its bigger neighbour Rhyl. But the town of approximately 19,000 residents deserves acknowledgement in its own right as both a permanent place to call home and a great choice of seaside holiday destination. The area has certainly been attracting people for a very long time. Prehistoric tools were found in nearby caves, and the Romans spent time here too: a Roman bathhouse found near the main road from Chester to Caernarfon is believed to have formed part of an ancient fort. The town was also mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was called Prestetone, thought to have derived from the Old English preosta meaning “priests” and tun, meaning “town”.

Holiday haven

At one time Prestatyn boasted its own castle, built by Robert de Banastre in about 1157 but destroyed by the Welsh under Owain Gwynedd in 1167. Now the only

evidence is an earth mound, visible in fields to the east of the railway station. Prestatyn then remained a quiet fishing village for several hundred years, until the DID YOU arrival of the KNOW? Prestatyn holiday railways in the 19th century, bringing camps housed soldiers during holidaymakers the Second and new residents. World War The crowds were drawn to its beach, clean seas and promenade entertainers, while Victorian city-dwellers chose it as a regular spot for coming to “take the waters”. Later holiday camps arrived, some of which are still popular today. In recent years, the coast has once again played an important part in the fortunes of Prestatyn. In 2003, the North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm became the UK’s first major offshore wind farm when it opened five miles off the coast in Liverpool Bay. It is home to 30 turbines with a combined maximum capacity of 60 megawatts – enough to power 40,000 homes.

Attractions old and new

Prestatyn remains fundamentally a resort town, with sites such as Pontins Prestatyn Sands attracting families throughout the year. But like many other seaside locations, it has also had to diversify in recent years. Its location at the end of the Offa’s Dyke Path makes the town a popular spot for walkers setting out on the route as well as those tackling the nearby North Wales Path and

Clwydian way. Rail enthusiasts also come to appreciate Prestatyn station, which forms part of the North Wales Coast Line, linking Chester to Holyhead. Visitors and residents alike will enjoy the recent £4.4 million transformation of the old lido – complete with outdoor swimming pool and ballroom – into a complex that also offers a bar, restaurant, gym and children’s play facilities. With its annual flower show, classic car event and carnival, there’s always plenty to see in Prestatyn. Or for those who prefer to do very little, the original draw of the unspoilt coast and sprawling beach is worth a wander on its own.

Offa’s Dyke Path starts on the promenade THINGS TO SEE AND DO Scala Cinema & Arts Centre 47 High Street, Prestatyn LL19 9AH; 01745 850197 Bridlewood Riding Centre Maes-y-Coes Farm, Ty’n-y-Morfa CH8 9JN; 01745 888922 The Roman Bathhouse Melyd Avenue, Prestatyn LL19 8RT Gronant Dunes Site of Special Scientific Interest Prestatyn LL19 7HU

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QUESTIONS Formed in the village of Froncysyllte near Llangollen 70 years ago, the Fron Male Voice Choir is one of the biggest-selling and most revered choirs in the world. On the release of its sixth studio album, Voices Of The Valley: Echoes, we put our probing questions to some of its members


What are your full names? David Lucas Jones, Roger Williams and Leigh Alexandra Mason.


What is your current job title/role? David Compère for the Fron Choir. Roger Vice-chair of the Fron Choir. Leigh Musical director of the Fron Choir.


Describe your home life… David I live in Newtown with my partner, Chris. Roger Married with three sons, one grandson, one labrador. Leigh I live with a partner, two children and a Jack Russell.


What has been your highlight of the past 12 months? Leigh Having time with my children was lovely, especially as the summer weather was so lovely, and releasing the first single from the choir’s album.


If you were representing your country in the Olympics, which sport would you choose? David Catching the javelin? Roger Commentating – I’m hopeless at physical sports. Leigh You clearly haven’t met me!

14 15




If you could come back as any animal, what would you be and why? Roger A labrador. I have labrador appetites: a see-food diet – I see food and eat it!

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What would be your desert island disc and why? Leigh Elgar’s Nimrod. It stirs my soul and always has. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? David To be able to fly – public transport is so unreliable! Who is your all-time hero and how have they inspired you? David My father – a very confident singer and speaker. What is your worst fear or phobia? Roger Losing my voice and not being able to sing.

What’s the first thing you’d buy if you won the lottery? Roger An electric car. David Whatever Chris most desired! Leigh A gorgeous country house.


What is your dream job – other than your current role, of course? David Football commentator Roger Songwriter Leigh A professional conductor

What is your favourite drink? Roger A cup of tea, milk, no sugar – thank you!

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!? Leigh I love baking but I wouldn’t stand a chance on Bake Off. I could do the jungle – or the castle! – but the eating things wouldn’t be good for me or the spiders! So I suppose that leaves Strictly – I do like to dance.


Worst moment of the last 12 months? Roger Not being able to sing together, rehearse and support fellow choristers, some of whom were going through Covid-19 infections and other health problems.

“The worst moment of 2020? Not being a ble to sing toge ther or rehearse, and support ing members go ing through Cov id”

What is your guilty pleasure? David Watching comedy re-runs. Roger My wife’s fruit cake! Leigh Binge-watching boxsets and eating! When did you last laugh uncontrollably and why? Roger When my three-year-old grandson did something unmentionable to his poor dad!


Who would you invite to a celebrity dinner party? David Dylan Thomas, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Eric Morecambe. Roger Randy Newman, Dame Maggie Smith, Robert Llewellyn and Jacinda Ardern. Leigh Graham Norton, Dawn French, Elaine Paige and Victoria Coren Mitchell.


Where is your favourite place in the world and why do you love it so much? Roger Home. I travel all over the world with my job and have been to some beautiful places, but home is always in my heart – close to the Welsh border, glorious countryside and, of course, the Fron Choir.


What is your proudest achievement so far? David The births of my three children! Roger Apart from fatherhood, being a part of bringing Voices Of The Valley: Echoes to fruition. Leigh Other than raising my children, when we won the Male Voice Choir award at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen in 2018. March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 13

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Family fun with Hafren at Home

DID YOU KNOW? Before he was Mr Tumble, Justin Fletcher was Jake in Tweenies

Enjoy some family fun with Pongo’s Party, an online children’s theatre show featuring the voice of Justin Fletcher, which is available until 31st March. With a colourful farmyard and host of loveable puppet characters, Pongo’s Party is particularly

suitable for two- to seven-year-olds. There are lots of songs and laughter, so dress in your party clothes and help make it a day to remember! Tickets cost £9.99 per household for up to 28 days’ streaming. www.thehafren.co.uk

Tame the beast of the Beacons

Follow the treasure trail

Challenge yourself to tame a beastly 20- or 40-mile trail race in the Brecon Beacons on 17th April. The Beast Of The Beacons attracts a range of runners from beginners to elite athletes, with generous cut-off times of eight hours for 20 miles and 16 hours for 40 miles. Entry costs £45 or £65. www.limitlesstrails.co.uk

If you’re looking for a fun day out with the kids in Aberdyfi, explore the town with The Lost Bells Treasure Hunt Trail. The self-guided treasure trail leads you on a lovely circular walk through the town while solving clues to discover the location of the buried treasure. Maps cost £9.99 and can be sent in the post or downloaded. www.treasuretrails.co.uk

THE NATIONAL OPEN GARDENS SCHEME IS BACK Gorsty House, Montgomery, 4th April A quintessential country garden, abundantly planted with cottage garden perennials that follow the seasons. The two-acre garden boasts wonderful views, deep borders, a pond, a young orchard with wildflowers, an acre of flowering hay meadow and thousands of daffodils. 1.30pm5.30pm. Entry £5 for adults (children free).

Bryngwyn Hall, Llanfyllin, 7th April A stunning nine-acre garden surrounded by 60 acres of parkland. Visit the Poison Garden, view the unusual trees and shrubs, stroll through the woodland garden and view the thousands of daffodils, camassias and fritillaries beside the serpentine lake. 10am-4pm. Entry £6 for adults (children free). www.ngs.org.uk


Time out on a running retreat

Carry out your very own Paranormal Investigation at the Silver Mountain Experience in Aberystwyth on 24th April. The night, which runs from 8pm to 2am, will give you access to historic buildings, two underground mines and the woods and is suitable for over-15s only. Tickets cost £24.95. www. silvermountainexperience. co.uk/paranormal

Hit the hills of the Brecon Beacons National Park with a three-day Trail Running Retreat from 30th April to 3rd May. The retreat offers three nights’ accommodation, meals, curated guided trails, strength and rejuvenation classes and trail running off the beaten track. Tickets cost £485. www.nomadicrunningcompany.com

3rd March, Hafren at Home: Home is Where the Art Is, Online Rediscover the joys of pen and paper, watercolour and acrylic with these free weekly art classes from Hafren Theatr and local artist Zoe Mach. A live, paint-along tutorial suitable for all ages and abilities. 5pm. Free. To request your Zoom link email zoemach@gmail.com.

10th March, Building with Nature in Mind webinar, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how we can make our homes and buildings more wildlifefriendly, and the role of the architecture and building industry in helping nature thrive in this free one-hour webinar. 7.30pm. www.cat.org.uk

12th March, Hand Stitching with Suzi Stitch, Make It In Wales, Cardigan A one-day workshop teaching hand embroidery techniques with Make It In Wales founder Suzi Park. 10.30am-4.30pm. £72, including all materials. www.makeitinwales.co.uk

13th March, Brecon Waterfalls Walk, Brecon Open to a range of abilities, this guided walk takes in some of the stunning waterfalls of the Brecon Beacons. Run by Made A Mark, a charity supporting bereaved children, and JT Expeditions. Noon. www.facebook.com/ MadeAMarkCharity

20th March, The Mach Run, Machynlleth Take a scenic drive with fellow car enthusiasts on a 106-mile loop, starting from Machynlleth. The drive, which is organised by Mach Run Driving Events, starts at 9.30am and follows a scenic route through north Wales, stopping for food at Gwesty Tynycornel, where you’ll also find an incredible lake with stunning views. £7. www.machrun.co.uk

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27th March, Soupa Saturday Bakery Bara-nanza, ECO Food Sharing Hub, Aberystwyth Aber Food Surplus is fighting food waste one loaf at a time! Take whatever bread or rolls you will eat; surplus soup will also be available. Just bring a bowl, flask and cutlery! Donations welcome. 10.15am-1.30pm.

28th March, Pen Y Fan Sunrise Walk, Brecon Climb to the top of south Wales’s tallest mountain to watch the sunrise. The walk takes approximately five hours and is led by a qualified mountain leader. 5am. £45. www.outdooramore.co.uk

28th March, Coptic Bookbinding with Carole King, Make It In Wales, Cardigan Learn to make a gorgeous memory book with envelopes and pockets, covered in beautiful paper. 10am-4.30pm. £84, including materials. www.makeitinwales.co.uk

29th-30th March, Introduction to Stone Carving, Caffi Clywedog, Lanidloes Learn the process of stone carving on this two-day course with tutor Glenn Morris. Materials and tools are provided. £150. To book your place, email pam@radiatearts.co.uk.

7th April, Macramé Plant Hangers, Caffi Clywedog, Llanidloes Join this hourlong workshop for children and adults and take away a beautiful natural plant hanger. This workshop gives you a short introduction to the tools and techniques you will need, and then guides you through the process of creation. Perfect for children and families. 11am. £10. To book your place, email pam@radiatearts.co.uk.

Take on a marathon challenge The Dyfi X half and full marathons on 24th April takes in stunning views of the Dyfi estuary, Happy Valley, the Cambrian Mountains and the Welsh Coastal Path. The full marathon, which costs £42.55

CAT at home

Whether you’re keen to learn more about solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergency or are looking for fun wildlife activities to keep the family connected to nature, the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth has lots of online resources to help. Visit www.cat.org.uk.

to enter, includes 1,550m of ascent, while the half marathon, which costs £31.91, gains 775m. Both races offer runners well-marked courses, check points with nutrition and water, Webscorer timing

and professional photos. There’s also a free guided recce of the half marathon route led by race director Mike on 27th March. To find out more email mike@weswimrun.org or visit www.weswimrun.org.

Look to the stars

Get up and dance!

Lift your eyes to the skies on a stargazing weekend in Staylittle from 16th to 18th April, organised by Dark Sky Wales. Accommodation comprises six deluxe cabins sleeping up to four adults or a family of five, and astronomy sessions run late into the night. www. darkskywales training services. co.uk

Boost your mood, fitness and wellbeing with dance classes courtesy Impelo. The Llandrindod Wells dance studio has put together a timetable of virtual dance lessons to keep you moving and feeling good. Choose from funky movement sessions to fitness sessions for the over-50s and more. www.impelo.org.uk

Birdwatching with Iolo Williams


Join Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams for a full day’s birdwatching on 30th April. The event takes place at YnysHir RSPB Reserve, where you can see pied flycatcher, wood warbler and lesser spotted woodpecker as well as early spring flowers. Tickets cost £150, including transport and a twocourse lunch. www.raptorexperiencewales.co.uk

Join the giant Easter Bunny on its daily hunt for eggs at Cantref Farm Park in Brecon from 27th March to 12th April. The farm has lots of things to keep the kids busy over Easter, including bottlefeeding the lambs, tractor rides and more. The park is open every day from 10.30am to 5.30pm. www.cantref.com

Get inspired at Aberystwyth Arts Centre The Picture Of Dorian Gray, 16th-31st March Enjoy a new online adaptation that brings Oscar Wilde’s Faustian tale kicking and screaming into a world of Instagram, Facebook and dating apps. Influencer Dorian Grey makes a deal for his social star never to fade, but as his mental health declines, the cost of his deal will soon need to be met. Tickets £12.

The Shires, 22nd April The UK’s best-selling country act comes to Aberystwyth as part of their UK tour coinciding with their new album Good Years. The release follows two gold-certified albums and three top 10 singles, firmly cementing their status as two of country music’s most prominent voices. 8pm. Tickets £33.50. www. aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

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Take time to get creative on paper


Create your own array of beautiful marbled papers and marble a small terracotta pot with a day-long introduction to the heritage craft of paper marbling on 20th March. The course, led by Jude Riley, will teach you about the history of this ancient art and guide you as you begin producing designs of your own. By the end of the day you will have many sheets of beautiful A4 paper to take home, along with your own marbled small terracotta pot. You’ll also have acquired enough knowledge to be able to continue experimenting at home using basic equipment. The course, which runs from 10am to 4.30pm at Make It In Wales in Cardigan, costs £95 per person including all equipment. To find out more visit www.makeitinwales.co.uk.

MOMA Machynlleth goes virtual

Paranormal activity in Presteigne

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Machynlleth has a new 360° virtual tour available, allowing you to navigate around the galleries from the safety of your own home. You can see all the latest exhibitions, including David Ware, the Society of Wood Engravers and the Young Welsh Artists. moma.machynlleth.org.uk

Are you brave enough to take on a ghost hunt at the Judge’s Lodging in Presteigne on 24th April? The intriguing building is rarely investigated, yet it makes for a fascinating spooky experience. Your hunt will see you exploring all areas of the building, experiencing glass divination, table tipping, a human pendulum and ouija boards. You can even brave a lone vigil and spend some time alone with the spirits! The Ghost Hunting Evening costs £39. www.haunted-houses.co.uk

CALLING YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHERS Looking for a reason to get outside? Why not take part in the Knighton & District Rotary Club’s Young Photographer competition? The theme of this year’s competition is “Nature On Your Doorstep” and entry is free to anyone aged six to 18 living in north Herefordshire, south Shropshire and Powys. Photos can be taken using a phone or camera but shouldn’t be digitally edited. Only one entry will be accepted per person, so you will need to decide which photograph best shows your skill and imagination. The competition closes on 22nd March and gift vouchers will be awarded to the best three entries in each age group. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/knightonrotaryclub.

Hit the Goldrush Trail Taking place on some of Coed y Brenin’s best trails, the Goldrush Trail race has received rave reviews from those who’ve embarked on its challenging 8.5-mile circuit. Taking place on 17th April at 1pm, the race also incorporates one of the best canicross events on the calendar. Entry costs £18 and includes a Goldrush Trail mug for all finishers, free parking, a fully marked and marshalled route and a well-stocked feed station, with £2 of every entry fee donated to the South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team. To register, go to www.runcoedybrenin.com.

9th-10th April, Pirates Ahoy! Aberaeron Harbour Take a trip on tall ship Vilma for some pirate fun. £50. www.facebook. com/AberaeronTallShips

17th-18th April, Build A Tiny Garden, Centre For Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how to make your garden into a healthy, biodiverse and food-producing space, no matter what the size. £200. www.cat.org.uk

18th April, Open Garden, Hill House Farm, Knighton Take a stroll around this five-acre south-facing garden developed over 50 years. There are 11 sculptures and many benches around the peaceful space that has mown paths leading through shrubs, roses and trees to the half-acre Oak Pool. 11am-5pm. £5. www.ngs.org.uk

20th March, Sangha Morning online Join the West Wales Buddhist Group for an online Sangha meeting looking at what the Buddha had to say about insight practice. The session will look at ways in which we can move towards directly realising the nature of reality, bringing ease, liberation and freedom of heart and mind. 10.30am-1pm. www. westwalesbuddhistgroup.co.uk

30th April – 2nd May, Beltane Mandala Retreat, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter Welcome summer in beautiful west Wales with a very special Beltane Mandala Retreat with Anne Thomas. The Denmark Farm Mandala Retreat will include song, meditation, mandala painting and a ceremonial labyrinth, in the setting of a beautiful 40-acre nature reserve. Prices start at £250, including meals, art materials, accommodation and tuition. www. denmarkfarm.org.uk

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Chester’s food and drink festival

DID YOU KNOW? Paul Rankin was the first chef from Northern Ireland to get a Michelin star

A stellar line-up of chefs will feature at the Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Festival at Chester Racecourse from 3rd to 5th April. MasterChef host John Torode, Eat Well For Less star Chris Bavin and Ready Steady Cook’s Paul Rankin will provide free cooking demonstrations. There will also be more than 150 food and drink exhibitors and free cooking classes, plus children’s cookery workshops and live music. The festival is open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, and 10am to 5pm on Monday. Tickets cost from £7 and entry for under-12s is free. www.chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk


ONLINE CONCERTS WITH SANDBACH CONCERT SERIES Sandbach Concert Series continues online during March and April, giving audiences the chance to hear world-class artists perform live in the town. From 6.30pm. To register for a place, visit www.sandbach-concert-series.co.uk.

A captivating world is waiting for you at Blue Planet Aquarium in Chester during April. Home to more than 100 living displays, the aquarium offers plenty of marine life to marvel at. Open 10am to 5pm. Online tickets £17.10 for adults and £12.15 for children. www.blueplanet aquarium.com

11th March, The Business Network, Chester Join the monthly online business networking event, for business owners, directors and senior decision makers from across Cheshire and north Wales. With an ethos that is about building long-term relationships. Noon-2pm. £19.99. www. businessnetworkchester.co.uk

Spring events at Capesthorne Hall

The Cheshire Outdoor Wedding Show takes place at Ashley Hall Showground on the Tatton Estate from 24th to 25th April. The show will feature themed tents including marquees, tipis, stretch tents and glamping pods, filled with wedding specialists and luxury caterers. The show is open from 10am to 4pm and entry is free. VIP tickets are available for £5. www.bouquetandbells.com

Enjoy underwater adventures

7th March, Wedding Fair, Mere Court Hotel, Knutsford Local wedding suppliers will be on hand to offer advice, and there will be a chance to win a hen spa package. 11am-3pm. Free entry. www.merecourt.co.uk

Plant Hunters’ Fair, 28th March Stock up on floral treats. 10am-4pm.

This spring, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre & Museum, Widnes The centre reopens its doors this spring. Catalyst is a great science-based family attraction with an excellent educational focus. Open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10am to 5pm; Thursday and Friday, 10am to 7pm, and weekends 10am to 5pm. Tickets cost £7.95 for adults, £5.95 for children and concessions and £21.95 for a family of four. Entry is free for the underthrees. www.catalyst.org.uk

Discover Tree Climbing, 11th April Ascend into the canopy of a magnificent oak. 10am-5pm. Cheshire Classic Car & Motorcycle Show, 25th April A display of rare vehicles. 10am-4pm. www.capesthorne.com

JAZZ AND BLUES WEEKEND The 24th Nantwich Jazz, Blues & Music Festival takes place from 1st to 5th April. This year’s acts include Big Country, The Stereo MCs, Ruby Turner, FM, Noasis, The Blockheads, Jeremiah Ferrari and Suburban Symphony. Tickets and times for headline acts vary, and advance booking is recommended. www.nantwichjazz.com

Craft at Carriage Beer Heroes hosts Chester’s third Craft Beer Festival at The Carriage Shed on 24th April. More than 15 breweries serving over 100 beers will be taking over for two sessions of awesome craft beer. Tickets cost £10. www.beerheroes.com.

23rd March – 30th June, Grosvenor Museum, Chester The Grosvenor Museum has provided a range of fun craft ideas to print out and make at home. Instructions to make a variety of craft projects, from salt dough creations to model masks, are available on the museum’s website. grosvenormuseum. westcheshiremuseums.co.uk

ChesterBoat cruises Themed cruises, 20th March Bring your neon accessories for the Sounds of the 70s and 80s. 7.15pm-10.30pm. £33.50.

Fish & Chip Friday, 2nd April Head upstream to the Aldford Iron Bridge while enjoying a fish and chip supper. 7pm-9pm. £20 adults, £10 children. For further details, visit www. chester boat.co.uk.

27th and 28th March, Run Tatton Half Marathon and 10k, Tatton Park, Knutsford The 10k takes place on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Why not challenge yourself and take on both? The 10k starts at 9.30am and entry costs £26. The half marathon starts at 9am and costs £32. www.runtatton.com

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28th March, Wedding Fair, Rowton Hall Hotel & Spa, Chester Join up to 30 wedding suppliers who’ll help plan your day. 11am-3pm. Free entry plus a goody bag for all attendees. www.tyingtheknot.org

28th March, Woof Mudder, Dorfold Hall, Nantwich. A muddy adventure course for dogs and their owners in aid of St Luke’s Hospice. From 10am. £25 per dog. www.slhospice. co.uk/events/woofmudder

2nd April, Jazz Fest Friday, The Cheshire Cat, Nantwich Live acts including Callum Wright, The V and the Tone Junkies. 2pm-8pm. Wristbands available through Nantwich Jazz Festival. www.nantwichjazz.com

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER AT PARR HALL Suggs: A Life In The Realm Of Madness, 8th April – POSTPONED until 3rd February 2022 With help from his trusty pianist Deano, Suggs tells his story in words and music with the help of some Madness classics. 7.30pm. Tickets from £28.50. Boyzlife, 9th April – POSTPONED until 24th October Members of two of the world’s biggest bands, Boyzone and Westlife, come together with

Celebrating folk music at Brindley Theatre, Runcorn Join Eliza Carthy and David Delarre at the Brindley Theatre in Runcorn for an evening of traditional songs on 20th April. Twice nominated for the Mercury Prize and winner of innumerable other accolades over a 30-year career, Carthy has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists including Paul Weller and Richard Hawley. Delarre, meanwhile, has toured the UK and Europe with Mawkin. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £18.50. Visit www.thebrindley.org.uk to book.

2nd-4th April, Easter Weekender, Station House Pub & Dining, Warrington Family events will run every day through Easter, and all bookings made for Good Friday or Easter Sunday before 1st March will receive vouchers allowing children to eat for free. Noon8pm. www.stationhouse.online

17th April, Candle Making, Your Naturally Naturally Yours, Widnes Learn how to make different types of candle, taking home three at the end of the session. No experience necessary. 2pm–4.30pm. £30. www.ynny.co.uk

LIVE AT THE LIVE ROOMS Blues-rock singer Sari Schorr will perform at The Live Rooms in Chester on 29th April. The native New Yorker is taking the blues world by storm, and with a voice that jolted legendary blues producer Mike Vernon out of retirement, it is not hard to see why. You can also see Son Of Dave on 23rd April, restrictions permitting. www. theliverooms.com

Become a child ranger at Chester Zoo Are you between eight and 11? Do you love wildlife? Are you a member of the Chester Zoo? If so, Junior Rangers is perfect for you. The training camps run every Sunday for five weeks from 25th April to 23rd May. Each week you’ll explore different parts of the zoo and learn about the animals and conservation work. The courses run from 10.30am to noon or 2pm to 3.30pm and cost £55. www.chesterzoo.org

a full band production. Featuring Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy. 7.30pm. Tickets from £29.50. The Stranglers, 23rd April – POSTPONED until 7th February 2022 Expect to be swept high on the wave of The Stranglers’ powerful sound, soaring melodies, quirky humour and daring musicianship. 7pm. Tickets from £32.50. parrhall.culturewarrington.org

Live performances at Northwich Memorial Court Fleetwood Bac, 9th April – POSTPONED until 10th June 2022 The only Mac tribute to authentically replicate the classic Rumours lineup. 7.30pm. Tickets £18. Twirlywoos Live, 16th April An enchanting show for young audiences. 2pm. Tickets from £11. Suitable for children aged one year and over. www.brioleisure.org

MANLEY MERE ADVENTURES Head to Cheshire Aqua Park & Adventure Trail at Manley Mere for some outdoor fun this April. Take the family along the trail, which comprises more than 40 obstacles around a 2.5mile course. There are several challenges that use some of the obstacles to create a unique and fun experience. The woodland trail, which is suitable for all ages, is open from 11am to 4pm. Day tickets cost £12 and entry is free for the under-fours and over-65s. www.cheshireaquapark.co.uk

Liverpool legends

Football fans need no introduction to the Liverpool Legends at the Crowne Plaza Chester on 24th April. This exclusive show includes live interviews with ex-Liverpool FC players reminiscing about their Anfield days. www. eventbrite.co.uk

Disney workshop Seven- to 16year-olds can join an Easter workshop at Stagecoach Chester from 6th to 9th April focusing on numbers from Disney’s Descendants. £135 for four days. www. stagecoach.co.uk/chester

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11th April, Boundary Park Tri and Aquabike, Holmes Chapel An unmissable 750m openwater swim, 55km cycle and flat 10km run. Staggered times. Tri solo £55, tri relay £80, aquabike £40. www.uswimopenwater.com

Menopause The Musical 2, 6th April – POSTPONED until 8th March 2022 7.30pm. Tickets from £34. Suitable for over-16s. Josh Widdicombe, 14th April A night of grumbles and jokes. 8pm. Tickets from £24. Over-14s only. Kevin Clifton: Burn The Floor, 21st April – POSTPONED until 25th July A mix of eclectic live music, jaw-dropping choreography and

17th April, Introduction To Skateboarding, Phoenix Park, Runcorn Join this fast-track lesson to help with balance and coordination skills. 9am-noon. £10. See Facebook for details.

Find your creative mojo Mojo Creative Workshops is running a series of courses at its workshop in Lymm. Learn how to knit a chunky throw on 14th March for £65, learn the basics of needle felting on 28th March for £35 or take the little ones to a children’s sewing club on 8th April for £15. For additional workshops see www.mojo-lymm.co.uk.

24th April, SoundBox 2021 Spring Thing, St Columba’s Church Hall, Chester Two concerts in one day featuring talented new shoots and more established roots. The line-up includes Gilmore & Roberts, Calum Gilligan, White Little Lies and Joshua Hollinrake. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. From £13.20. See Facebook for details.

25th April, Mum2Mum Market, Newchurch Parish Hall, Culcheth, Warrington Find secondhand pushchairs, preloved baby clothes and toys. Catering for babies and children up to the age of six. 11am-1pm. £2. www.mum2mummarket.co.uk


The gardens and courtyard kitchen at Rode Hall are open for the summer season on Wednesdays and bank holiday Mondays from 1st April to 30th September, and for the farmers’ market on the first Saturday of each month. www.rodehall.co.uk

James Phelan brings his magical prank show to the Pyramid Arts Centre in Warrington on 13th March. Enjoy a night of mindblowing magic in a show where anything can happen. 8pm. Tickets from £11.50. pyramid. culture warrington.org

Susan Stockwell’s exhibition Hidden Histories And Untold Stories takes place at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery until 18th April. The exhibition highlights the museum’s role as a cultural collector and storyteller, and brings to life some of the untold stories behind its 200,000 objects. It explores themes around social change, consumerism and how museums across the world are reframing their collections to better reflect the communities, cultures and people they represent. Free entry. wmag. culturewarrington.org

©Jonathan Turner

Live laughs at Storyhouse Join Jack Dee for an evening of entertainment in his stand-up tour, Off The Telly, at Storyhouse in Chester on 15th April. “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 Dee. Tickets cost from £24.50. www.storyhouse.com.

Spring fair at Arley Hall Spring Plant Hunters’ Fair, 17th April Browse the stalls selling unusual plants, shrubs and springflowering bulbs, and gather ideas for your garden for the coming seasons. The Gardener’s Kitchen is open for meals, tea and cake. 10am-4pm. Entry costs £2, £1.50 if booked online before 11am. Open gardens, open daily The gardens, grove, woodland walk and children’s play zone are open every day from 10am to 4pm (last entry 3.30pm). Entry costs £9 for adults and £4 for children. www.arleyhallandgardens.com

Prepare to be spooked! Chester’s tour guides runs spooky nighttime jaunts every Saturday. Visit sites of the city’s mysterious and murky past, where you’ll hear spine-chilling tales of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. Tours leave the town hall at 7.30pm and last 90 minutes. Adults £10, concessions £9. www.chesterghosttour.co.uk

Mary Ann Cameron

March and April, Delamere Forest Follow the paths through the woodland to find creatures from Julia Donaldson’s classic story The Gruffalo. 8am-5pm and 8am-8pm from 28th March. Parking from £1. www. forestry england.uk/ delamereforest

The Take That Experience, 23rd April Take That’s most popular and recognised tribute act celebrate more than a decade together. 7.30pm. From £24.50. www.crewelyceum.co.uk

Enjoy the gardens at Rode Hall


April, Roman Tours, Chester Be transported back nearly 2,000 years, to visit Chester when it was the largest Roman fortress in Britain. The 90-minute tours run every day at midday and 3pm, starting at the Visitor Information Centre next to the town hall. Adults £8, under-12s £4, under-5s free. www.romantoursuk.com

groundbreaking moves from the former Strictly Come Dancing star. 7.30pm. Tickets from £41.50.

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Lowfield Timber Frames are specialists in the manufacturing of timber frames, based on the Shropshire - Mid Wales border.

Established over 20 years ago, we are now bringing our wealth of experience in providing thermally efficient, structural kits for the commercial and residential sector into the leisure market. Whether it’s a permanent holiday lodge or cabin built to exceed the current building regulations, or additional temporary accommodation to comply with the Caravan Act, we have the solution.

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events & shows

FOR 2021

In the only What’s On guide for North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire and the Wirral worth reading! 2021 will be the year of returning to normal, we are all very much looking forward to the return of events and shows in all the fantastic venues and attractions in our region. Shire gets you: • 100,000 local readers • Two month’s covered in each issues • Editorial coverage guaranteed



Cheshire + Wirral - 14,000 Conwy



North Wales including Wrexham - 14,000 Denbighshire Wrexham Gwynedd

Shropshire - 12,000 Shropshire

Mid Wales - 5,000 Powys Dyfed

Get in touch now to find our more! You can reach this fantastic local market for as little as

£49.50 per month To find out more, call us on 01691 661270 or email advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk

Distribution is carried out by specialist companies who service and monitor each stand every week. 45,000 copies of SHIRE MAGAZINE are picked up from: North Wales, including Gwynedd, Anglesey, Wrexham, Flint, Mold, Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhyl, Prestatyn, Abergele, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Connah’s Quay Mid Wales, including Newtown, Welshpool, Ceredigion and Powys Shropshire, including Telford, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Oswestry, Ludlow, Ellesmere, Market Drayton and Whitchurch Cheshire, including Chester, Saltney, Upton, Ellesmere Port, Nantwich and Crewe, Northwich, Middlewich, Winsford Wirral, including Rock Ferry, Prenton, West Kirby, Heswall

SHIRE Magazine: The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire

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Ness Botanic Gardens remains open, so why not take a stroll and marvel at the beauty of spring in the gardens that Arthur Kilpin Bulley created over 100 years ago? Spread across 64 acres, with stunning views of the River Dee and north Wales, Ness Botanic Gardens features a diverse variety of plants and planting areas. In March, crocuses and daffodils start appearing, with fine displays in the lawns by the visitor centre and in the rock garden, while April is the month of magnolias, the earliest trees to flower in the garden. Elsewhere, the main displays of rhododendrons start coming into flower, with daffodils naturalised in grassy areas finishing the picture. The gardens are open from 10am to dusk and entry costs £4.50 for adults and £1.50 for children. www.liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens

West Kirby Arts Centre highlights

Get in touch: editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk 01691 661270

SHIRE: 45,000 copies picked up in North & Mid Wales, Cheshire, the Wirral and Shropshire

Explore the beauty of nature

Sister Josephine, 9th April Join John Watterson as he weaves Jake Thackray’s songs together with stories from his biography in a captivating celebration of one of the UK’s finest and funniest wordsmiths. 7.30pm. Tickets £10. Into The Breach: One Man’s Battle With Shakespeare, 10th April Set during the World War II, this original, nostalgic, hilarious and moving story will appeal to all, from 10 years and up. 7.30pm. Tickets £10. Luke Jackson, 23rd April Hear the singer Folk Radio UK has called “one of the most distinctive voices on the contemporary folk scene.” 7.30pm. Tickets £12. www. westkirbyartscentre.org.uk

Have fun on the Pizza Run! What could make a 5km run more enjoyable? Pizza, of course! Merseyside’s first pizza-themed race returns to Birkenhead Park on 3rd April, so sign up now to take part in the region’s sauciest fun run. Runners must devour a slice of pizza at the 2.5km and 5km marks. Only then will they have earned their medal! Children are welcome, and all finishers get a medal – even the dogs! The event, which begins at 11.30am, is organised by Wirral Ark, a charity fighting homelessness in Wirral. www.eventbrite.co.uk

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Famous faces at Gladstone Theatre Goldilocks & The Three Bears, 8th April Run away to the circus this Easter with a fantastic family panto brought to you by TaleGate Theatre Productions. Help Goldilocks and her mum, Dame Dolly Donut, save their circus and rescue the three bears from the evil ringmaster. It’s a big top family panto extravaganza featuring pop songs, magic and puppets! 2.30pm. Tickets £10-£12.


Masters Of Motown, 17th April Former Drifters Michael Williams and Ryan King have come together with Jordan King of Motown’s How Sweet It Is to form the fabulous Masters Of Motown. Michael, Ryan and Jordan will be bringing you their best show yet featuring all the hits you know and love. They’ll have you dancing in the aisles in no time at all! 7.30pm. Tickets £19-£21.

Music and laughter at the Floral Pavilion The ELO Tribute Show, 17th April Brian Cummins presents the world’s greatest tribute to the music of Jeff Lynne and ELO. Songs include “Evil Woman”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Telephone Line”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Mr Blue Sky”. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.75. Janey Godley’s Soup Pot Tour, 18th April Hot from appearances on Have I Got News for You and BBC Scotland’s Breaking The News, Janey brings you her hilarious new show. With over 40 million hits online, 20 years’ experience and regular sold-out shows at the Edinburgh and Glasgow comedy festivals, this is a hilarious evening you won’t want to miss. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.75. The Best Of That’ll Be The Day, 20th April – POSTPONED until 1st November The UK’s number-one rock ’n’ roll variety performance returns. This special edition of the show presents the most popularly requested songs, impressions and comic sketches from over 33 years of touring. Featuring smash hits from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, this is a throwback evening of entertainment that guarantees to get you on your feet! 7.30pm. Tickets £28.25. www.floralpavilion.com

Bringing culture to children Your kids can still enjoy learning with the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum thanks to a selection of videos and printable activity packs created by the gallery’s learning officer Kathy Heywood. They have been designed with KS2 ages in mind (ages seven to 11), but are informative and adaptable for all ages. There are eight themes to choose from, each packed with inspiration from the collections. Themes include portraits, still life, colour, Egypt, pattern, sculpture, Chinese New Year and Della Robbia. To access these fantastic free resources, visit www.williamsonartgallery.org.

3rd March, JourneyMEN Walk & Talk, Birkenhead Meet others while taking a leisurely walk around the gardens of Hamilton Square. The walks, which take place every Wednesday, encourage social interaction among participants, staff and volunteers and are a positive experience for all involved. 11.15am-12.30pm. Email trish@journeymencic.com or call 0151 792 9159.

Choice Grenfell, 25th April Kick In The Head is proud to present a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the loss of the great, unremittingly genteel, comedienne and monologist Joyce Grenfell. This wonderful tribute features some of the best of Joyce’s hilarious songs and monologues. With Suzanne Walters and Andrew D Brewis. 2.30pm. Tickets £15.50. www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk

18th March, & 15th April, Adventures In Backstage Tech, online Action Transport Theatre’s production manager, Matt Bennett, presents two hourlong sessions exploring how the theatre people you rarely see make the magic happen! These informal online sessions will explore some of the tools and tricks of backstage theatre. Ages 13-plus. 7pm. Email technical@ actiontransporttheatre.org or call 0151 357 2120.

Take on the tunnel

Enter the Mersey Tunnel 10k and take on a run that will lead you right under the River Mersey. The race, which takes place on 18th April, starts on Blackstock Street and takes runners underground through the Wallasey Tunnel for 2.5km. Once out of the tunnel and past the halfway point, runners can enjoy an entirely flat second half from Wallasey Ferry terminal along the river front to New Brighton for the finish line. The course is popular with runners young and old, and a favourite among those looking to beat their personal bests. Entry costs from £23. www.letsdothis.com

Visit a virtual wedding fair

20th March, St Patrick’s Night Concert, West Kirby Arts Centre Join John Walsh, Keith Price and a friend or two for a superb night of toe-tapping Irish music to help you celebrate St Patrick’s night in fine style. Be sure to book early. 7.30pm. £10. www. westkirbyartscentre.org.uk

The Online Wedding Planning Event is back for a spring edition and it promises to be the most stylish one yet! Run by Red Event Wedding Fayres, the Virtual Wedding Fayre on 6th March will focus on 2021’s must-have wedding trend – micro weddings – and explains why you should still go ahead with your wedding when the lockdown is lifted! Meet a selection of trusted north-west wedding entrepreneurs, business owners and influencers, discover your dream dress in the Virtual Bridal Catwalk Show, find top musicians in The Music Room and get expert advice, tips and inspiration from local industry experts all from the comfort of your sofa! The event starts at 10am and is free to attend. To sign up, visit www.redeventweddingfayres.com.

3rd April, National Open Garden Scheme, Poulton Hall, Bebington Explore the beautiful three-acre garden, which boasts a wildflower meadow, scented sundial garden, memorial sculpture and rose, herb, nursery rhyme and oriental gardens. 2pm-5pm. £6 adults; free for children. www.ngs.org.uk

9th April, Douglas Dare, Future Yard, Birkenhead The English songsmith returns with his third studio album, Milkteeth. 7pm. £6.60. futureyard.org

11th April, Hidden Wirral Walks, Smithy Hill, Thornton Hough A guided walk around the lesser-known routes of the Wirral, discovering beautiful woodlands and fields. 9am. £8.14. www.event brite.com

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Award-winning Markets

MAR & APR 21

Welcome to Whitchurch INDOOR AND OUTDOOR MARKETS ARE NOW OPEN Wednesday, Friday and Saturday Social distancing and safety precautions all in place. Traders look forward to welcome back customers old and new 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.

Stay Alert Stay Safe Contact Civic Centre directly on 01948 665761 #ShopWhitchurch

For further information call 01691 680222 or visit: www.oswestry-tc.gov.uk

Easter Feasting We’re stocked up with all the Easter stars , tender Spring lamb, chocolate eggs & hot cross buns - just to name a few!


Season’s Best Spring brings us some wonderful seasonal food. Look out for it in-store

Ludlow Farmshop Bromfield, SY8 2JR www.ludlowfarmshop.co.uk 01584 856000

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Take the pub home We have great offers on local beers, ciders & snacks throughout Spring

Come and see us in store Or why not try our online shop and send to a friend?

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Theatre Severn’s spring highlights Dial M For Murder, 16th-20th March A new production of the classic thriller. TV and stage favourite Tom Chambers (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) stars as the charismatic and manipulative Tony Wendice, a jaded ex-tennis pro who has given it all up for his wife Margot, played by Samantha Womack (The Girl On The Train, EastEnders). 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £20.50. Fascinating Aïda, 26th March Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman return with a selection of old favourites, songs you haven’t heard before and some you wish you’d never heard in the first place. With three Olivier Award nominations and over

Whittington is blooming spectacular Whittington Castle near Oswestry hosts a Plant Hunters’ Fair on 2nd April. The beautiful venue welcomes a range of specialist nurseries to its historic site on Good Friday, including ChickenStreet, Lyneal Mill Nursery and Hall Farm Nursery from Shropshire, as well as many others from surrounding counties and further afield such as Jurassicplants Nurseries and Peter The Bee & Friends. The fair takes place from 10am to 4pm. Dogs on leads are welcome and entry costs £2 per car. Visit www.planthuntersfairs.co.uk for further details.

SHINING A LIGHT ON A DEBUT NOVEL Author Emma Stonex talks about her new book, The Lamplighters – one of 2021’s most anticipated debut novels – on 4th March as part of At Home With 4 Indies, organised by Booka Bookshop, Oswestry, and three other independent bookshops. Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined. Tickets cost £5, or £18 to include a copy of the book. www.bookabookshop.co.uk

25 million YouTube and Facebook hits for songs such as “Cheap Flights” and their incredibly rude Christmas ditty, how can you possibly miss them? 7.30pm. Tickets £28. Geoff Norcott: I Blame the Parents, 1st April Comedian Geoff Norcott’s new show explores personal responsibility, parenting and who should take the blame when things go wrong. With a child of his own, Geoff spies a one-off chance for his family to finally get it right and produce a balanced human being. Geoff is a favourite on TV shows such as The Last Leg, Would I Lie To You?, Mock the Week and The Mash Report. 6pm and 8.30pm. Tickets £15. www.theatresevern.co.uk

Verdi’s Requiem at Wrekin College Park Take in a performance of Verdi’s masterpiece Requiem at Wrekin College Sports Hall in Wellington on 24th April. Soloists include Ellie Parsons (soprano), Ruth Theobald (mezzo soprano), Robert Tilson (tenor) and Themba Mvula (bass), plus Wrekin College Chapel Choir and Wrekin College Community Choir. 7.30pm. Tickets £15. www.wrekincollege.com

PAINT THE TOWN PINK Shrewsbury Fake Festival is ready to get the party started on 24th April at The Quarry, with amazing tribute artists including a fake Pink. The party starts at 12.30pm with The Police tribute The Police Force, followed by acts paying homage to Duran Duran, David Bowie, Foo Fighters and Kasabian. The finale is Vicky Jackson as Pink. As well as the very best professional tribute bands, there is a licensed bar, food stalls and a variety of children’s entertainment and stalls. Early bird tickets cost £27.50 for adults, with family tickets at £75. Under-10s are free. www.fakefestivals.co.uk

14th March, Mother’s Day Prosecco Afternoon Tea, Lion Quays Resort, near Oswestry A wonderful way to spend Mother’s Day with your family and friends. Includes a gift for all mums and a harpist who plays while you enjoy time with mum. 2.30pm-5pm. £20 per adult, £12.95 per child. Price includes a selection of sandwiches, cakes, scones, tea, coffee and a glass of prosecco for adults. www.lionquays.co.uk

20th March, Spring Wedding Fayre, Barnutopia, Llansilin, nr Oswestry Brides and grooms-to-be are invited to an open day at Barnutopia Glamping & Venue. View the wedding barn, luxury glamping yurts, cabins and facilities, say hello to the donkeys, Andi and Sassy, and browse exhibitors with lots of giveaways. The event will take place virtually if Covid-19 restrictions are still in place. 11am-3pm. Call 01691 791624. barnutopia.com

27th March – 15th May, Painting With Words, Willow Gallery, Oswestry An exhibition featuring “Something Completely Different”, works by local talents Judith Harrison, Sara Piper Heap and Maggie Furmanek (pictured). Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm. www.willowgalleryoswestry.org

2nd April, Shrewsbury Farmers’ Market, Town Square This market – which takes place on the first Friday of every month – is a great way to discover some of the best produce Shropshire has to offer. There is always a abundance of delicious food and drink available. 9am-3.30pm.

15th-18th April, Spring Steam Up, Severn Valley Railway, Bridgnorth The Severn Valley Railway hopes to resume service and welcome back visitors from 2nd April. If government guidelines allow, the vintage railway will also run the Spring Steam Up from 15th April. This annual event offers the chance to clock up 96 miles of haulage behind a variety of the SVR’s splendid steam engines – including tank engines, panniers and large steam engines. For the latest information, ticket prices and timetables, visit www.svr.co.uk.

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24th April, 10,000ft Freefall Tandem Skydive, Shrewsbury Fall through the air without deploying a parachute for several thousand feet, harnessed to a professional parachute instructor who will be in control of your landing. Free with minimum sponsorship of £395. www.severnhospice.org.uk

Live music at Shrewsbury’s The Buttermarket From The Jam, 1st April The original bassist with The Jam, Bruce Foxton, is joined by Russell Hastings (vocals/guitar) and Mark Brzezicki (drums) to celebrating the anniversary of The Jam’s fourth studio album Setting Sons. Special guests are The Vapors, the original support act on the 1979 tour. 7pm. Tickets £27.50. Big Country, 9th April Formed in 1981 by Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson, Big Country broke massively worldwide with singles “Fields Of Fire”, “Chance”, “Look Away”

•30th April, Artisan Market, Bailey Head, Oswestry This

Watch tributes to the greatest at Theatre On The Steps

The Rat Pack Is Back! 3rd April The Rat Pack return with special guest Charley Toulan as Marilyn Monroe. David Alacey (Lovejoy, Inspector Alleyn Mysteries) stars as Frank Sinatra alongside Paul Drakeley (BBC’s Inside Out) as Dean Martin and former EastEnders star Des Coleman as Sammy Davis Jnr in the original Rat Pack show, celebrating its 21st record-breaking year. The fabulous show brings the style and excitement of the Las Vegas heyday to life and includes all the great hits, such as “My Way”, “Mr Bojangles”, “New York New York”, “That’s Amore”, “Come Fly With Me!” and many more. 8pm. Tickets £20.

market, held on the last Friday of every month, sells the best in local produce including pies and pastries, meat and fish, cheeses and cakes, as well as occasional crafts and bespoke gifts. The market is based at Bailey Head but also extends down Bailey Street. 9am-3pm. www.oswestry-tc.gov.uk National Open Garden Scheme online The annual National Open Garden Scheme is offering inspiring and tranquil virtual tours of the beautiful gardens that visitors would usually be able to visit and enjoy in real life. Resourceful garden owners have created films of the gardens, and there are more than 180 gardens to visit on its website, including Horatio’s Garden near Oswestry. www.ngs.org.uk

Walks at Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton If you’ve fallen in love with walkng during lockdown, or are looking for new areas to explore, Carding Mill Valley has miles of footpaths, bridleways and permissive paths to explore across the Long Mynd. Walks are available for all abilities and timescales, so you can choose to go on a short walk up to the reservoir or a much longer walk to the highest point on the hill and back. For those looking for an easy stroll, try the half-mile New Pool Hollow walk, which takes you on a gentle walk past the mill ponds and up the reservoir bank. For details visit www. nationaltrust.org.uk/cardingmill-valley-and-the-long-mynd.

Into The Shadows, 16th & 17th April The Shadows’ hits include “Wonderful Land”, “Guitar Tango”, “Frightened City”, “Dance On”, “Man of Mystery” and their first number one, “Apache” – one of the most recognisable instrumental records of all time. Tribue band Into The Shadows include many of the band’s early vocal numbers in their set. Relive and enjoy those wonderful memories. 8pm. Tickets £15. Hats Off To Led Zeppelin, 30th April & 1st May The awardwinning tribute act Hats Off To Led Zeppelin are managed by Warren Grant, son of Led Zeppelin’s legendary manager Peter Grant. The band have received many accolades over the years, most recently winning Best Led Zeppelin Tribute for the seventh year running at the National Tribute Awards, and have played with Queen, Ray Davies, Edwin Starr, Iron Maiden and Gerry & The Pacemakers, among others. 8pm. Tickets £17. www.theatreonthesteps.co.uk

and, of course, “In A Big Country”. Big Country have since toured alongside The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, U2 and The Jam. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50. Hugh Cornwell: Electric, 17th April “Golden Brown”, “Strange Little Girl”, “Always The Sun”, “Peaches” and “No More Heroes” are just some of the huge hits written and sung by Hugh Cornwell, the songwriter behind The Stranglers. Expect an opening set of prime solo songs, including picks from Hugh’s highly acclaimed album Monster, followed by a storming set of those iconic hits, sung and played by the man himself and his band. 7pm. Tickets £27.50. www.thebuttermarket.co.uk

Bargain hunting at collectors’ fairs Search for treasures at Shrewsbury Flea at West Mid Showground on 20th and 21st March and Oswestry Antique & Collectors’ Fair at Oswestry Showground on 17th and 18th April. The events offer an array of outdoor and indoor stalls selling an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage, collectables, architectural salvage and decorative item, and are favourites with BBC’s Bargain Hunt. The fairs are open from 8.30am to 3.30pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 3pm on Sundays. Admission costs £3.50 (£2.50 for over-60s). www.josevents.co.uk

Get just desserts in Ludlow Join Puddings Galore at Ludlow Kitchen on 23rd April for a dinner that’s ideal for anyone who has a sweet tooth. This event is all about the afters – once you’ve had your main course, try four different delicious puddings. Sticky toffee, jam roly poly, custard… if they float your boat, this is the perfect event for you. In the airy surroundings of Ludlow Kitchen enjoy a relaxing main course, then watch the parade of puddings arrive and land on your table. Tickets costs £25 per person, or if you bring three friends you can book a table for four for £80. To book your place, visit clivecollection.wearegifted.co.uk.

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The Thomas Adams School, Sixth Form and Boarding, Lowe Hill, Wem, Shropshire, SY4 5UB

Take a look at our Blog to see what we’ve been up to during the Lockdown at www.hutsnstuff.blogspot.com

At Martin Haynes Eyecare we really care about you and your eye sight, that is why we are considered one of the leading Opticians in Shrewsbury. Whether it’s your first time or a regular check-up, our fully qualified optometrist will guide you through your eye examination. Dita eyewear exclusive to Martin Haynes

With years of experience looking after our clients we understand that everyone has different needs and pride ourselves in helping them find the best lenses and frames to suit their life style. Our store is home to a choice of fantastic frames from top designers such as Dita, Chopard, Police, Rayban, Silhouette, Dolce Gabanna, Tiffani, Polo, Vogue, Oakley & Caroline Herrera.

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Spring Sale

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All the right moves at The Place, Telford Jimmy Buckley, 20th March – POSTPONED until 25 March 2022 One of Ireland’s bestloved and most respected performers is a phenomenal singer and a great mimic of other stars. Jimmy is joined on stage by his daughter, Claudia. 7.30pm. Tickets £23.50. Giovanni Pernice: This is Me, 15th April – POSTPONED until 28th March 2022 The Strictly Come Dancing favourite is back to light up the stage, along with his cast of professional dancers. This show pays homage to the music and dances that have inspired Giovanni’s career,

Take a walk through the daffodils at Attingham Park Whether you’re meeting a friend for exercise or entertaining the family, Attingham Park near Shrewsbury offers beautiful spring countryside to explore, with something for everyone. At this time of year, you can enjoy the abundance of daffodils blooming along the walking routes that are popular with families, dog walkers, joggers and anyone who enjoys beautiful countryside. The parkland, grounds, walks and Field of Play at Attingham are open to enjoy in line with government guidance. You must book tickets in advance, either online or by calling 03442 491 895. The mansion remains closed. For the latest news, see www.national trust.org.uk/ attingham-park

St Patrick’s Day festivities at Love2Stay Enjoy the craic with your family at a St Patrick’s Weekend of fun at Love2Stay in Shrewsbury. If you’re hitting the road in your caravan or camper on the weekend of 19th to 21st March, why not stop off at Love2Stay where they’ll be celebrating St Patrick’s Day in style? There will be a whole weekend of activities to honour Ireland’s patron saint, including food, drink, music and dancing from the Emerald Isle, not to mention the final day of the Six Nations rugby tournament. The special theme will add to the festive atmosphere at the site for families, couples and solo visitors. With everything from whiskey, wine and beer tasting to art and crafts and children’s activities, this is the ideal opportunity for an unforgettable Gaelic getaway. www.love2stay.co.uk


from a competition dancer to one of the biggest names on the hit show. 7.30pm. Tickets £32. Doreen: Revolution, 24th April Black Country icon Doreen is back – and she’s not taking any prisoners. In her “revolutionary” new onewoman show, Doreen launches a blistering attack on the funny bone, as she bravely guides her army of followers through the minefield of bizarre nonsense that now shapes modern living. Come armed with a sense of humour and prepare to go over the top. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.50. www.theplacetelford.com

Adventures at Hawkstone Park Hawkstone Park Follies at Weston-underRedcastle near Shrewsbury is the perfect place for the family to let off steam this Easter, with holiday activities from 2nd to 18th April. You’ll find plenty of opportunites to explore caves, find trolls, cross bridges, climb towers and work off some energy. With 100 acres to explore, it’s also the ideal place for a spring walk. Doors open at 10am and tickets must be purchased in advance. Car parking is free. Sensible footwear and outdoor clothing is essential, and torches are required to explore the caves. Please check the website for latest news and opening times (selected dates only). www.hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk

Walk, jog or swim at Alderford Alderford Lake, Whitchurch, has a range of activities to keep you active this spring. The lake, which is set in 47 acres of grounds, is the perfect place for a picturesque walk with the family. Alderford also hopes to see the return of its outdoor swimming experience for those who miss the pool or would like to have a go at wild swimming. The lake’s water quality is very good and attracts all types of swimmers, from first-timers to triathletes. Alderford Lake is open seven days a week from 9am to 3pm. There is a farm shop, café and a selection of takeaway food options available on site, depending on guidelines. For the latest information, visit www. alderford.com.

Click and collect at Holly Farm Garden Centre, Prees, nr Whitchurch The family-run garden centre has been open throughout lockdown, supplying fresh fruit, vegetables, locally baked bread, flour, plants and bird food. The garden centre café is closed. For the latest information visit www. hollyfarmgardencentre.co.uk.

Virtual cinema at Kinokulture, Oswestry Until Kinokulture independent cinema is able to safely reopen, the team has partnered with film-streaming website Dogwoof to bring world cinema titles to your home. Watch science fiction film A Glitch In The Matrix now, and award-winning indie film Stray from 26th March. £9.99 per film. www.kinokulture.org.uk

Spring lambing and Easter fun at Park Hall Countryside Experience, nr Oswestry Park Hall Farm hopes to reopen its doors to visitors as soon as it’s safe to do so. When it does, you can expect animal activities and adventure fun in abundance. In the meantime, check out the farm’s Facebook page for online activities, to see and learn about the animals, and to take part in competitions. www.facebook. com/parkhallfarmoswestry

Activities at Shropshire Museums Shropshire Museums – which include Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Acton Scott Working Farm Museum and Shrewsbury Castle – are closed until further notice. They hope to welcome back visitors soon and have safety measures in place. In the meantime, there is a new website offering online resources and activities. www. shropshiremuseums.org.uk

Takeaway menu at Wellington Orbit Cinema The cinema remains closed until government restrictions are lifted but the team is offering a takeaway breakfast and lunch every Friday and Saturday from 10am to 2pm, including the popular hot roast pork roll. Everything is cooked fresh to order. Order online at www.wellingtonorbit.co.uk or call 01952 743377.

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Ups and downs of a growing town Telford is an important centre for the Shropshire region and is now a thriving residential and commercial area – but it has had to overcome adversity to get here


elford is one of the most significant towns in the Shire region today and it’s easy to assume it always has been – but in fact, it has only existed since 1963. That’s when the government merged the existing communities of Dawley, Wenlock, Oakengates, Wellington rural district and Shifnal rural district to the east of Shrewsbury to establish a “new town”. It was then known as Dawley New Town but in 1968, after it was extended to around double the size, it was renamed Telford. The name comes from the civil engineer Thomas Telford, who came from Dumfries in Scotland but was the brains behind many road and rail projects in Shropshire as it became an important industrial area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The larger post-1968 town included rural and outlying areas up to the Ironbridge Gorge, where you can find the first bridge ever made of cast iron – which inspired many of

The Southwater development opened in 2014

Telford’s later designs. Today Telford is a thriving town with a population of 155,000 – and one of the fastest-growing in the country.

Proud past

DID YOU KNOW? Thomas Telford designed the Menai Bridge

Being home to the Unesco World Heritage Centre of Ironbridge Gorge allows Telford to describe itself as the “Birthplace of Industry”. Coalbrookdale and other sites within the gorge are important to the Industrial Revolution, and were to a large extent constructed on the Shropshire coalfield. Mining has played a part in life here for centuries – earlier settlers, including those at of Wenlock Priory, profited from coal and ironstone mines and iron smithies on their estates. In the 20th century, however, the area struggled and at one point had an unemployment rate double the national average. These challenges were tackled with the construction of a number of industrial estates on the edge of town. In total, half a million square metres of factory space were developed between 1968 and 1983, helping Telford attract investment from far and wide. Technology industries in particular thrived and to this day several large IT services companies

The regeneration continues in Telford

are based in the area. Another boon to the town’s economy was connection to the M54 in 1983. In 2007, a £250 million regeneration plan for the town centre was announced, including pedestrianisation and the building of new cafés, bars and shops, with the aim of creating 1,750 new jobs. Phase one of the plan was completed in 2014 with the arrival of Southwater, which includes a refurbished library, various chain restaurants, a cinema complex, a bowling alley and a new multi-storey car park. Telford residents now enjoy a good range of social activities, with more cinemas, several shopping centres, good schools, leisure centres, an ice rink and the Telford International Centre, which hosts parties, conferences and concerts. THINGS TO SEE AND DO Telford International Centre International Way, Telford TF3 4JH; 01952 281500 Ironbridge Gorge Museum Coach Road, Coalbrookdale, Telford TF8 7DQ; www.ironbridge.org.uk Telford Steam Railway The Old Loco Shed, Bridge Road, Horsehay TF4 2NF; www.telfordsteamrailway.co.uk

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s w o h s d n a s g Son ing a smile to br Olly Murs shot to fame after finishing second on The X Factor, but in the decade since he has proven himself a more than worthy winner with awards, albums and tours galore…


aving found his own fame through TV talent competitions, it’s no wonder Olly Murs is so at home as a judge on ITV’s The Voice, providing a step up for the next generation of young performers. But despite the demands of filming, he still finds time to create his own music and has announced a huge 25-date UK tour for later this year. Murs aims to put a smile back on the face of the country with the shows, during which he’ll perform his biggest hits, including tracks from his recently certified triple-platinum album Never Been Better.


The singer also took time out last year to captain England in Soccer Aid, one of many charity roles he enjoys, and as a keen football fan he particularly valued taking part in what were strange and difficult circumstances. “It was an honour to captain last year’s England team for Soccer Aid as we raised a record amount of money [over £9m]. I played shocking to be fair – probably my worst personal performance – but it will still be one of my most memorable Soccer

Back on the road

“I’m so excited to get back on the road,” says Murs. “It has been a tough year for everyone, so it’s nice to have something to look forward to. Not only am I looking forward to it because playing live is the best part of my job, but also for all the people I employ – from my band to the crew. So many people rely on live music to make a living. “To go around the UK playing at amazing outdoor venues is going to be pretty special. I’ve missed seeing my fans and having that connection with them when I’m on stage. There’s nothing better than being on the road and being able to see your fans singing and dancing to your music. “I feed off people’s energy, so going back on the road to places I don’t often get to visit will be amazing. Also playing live with my band, and having them all on stage with me bringing my music to life, is the best feeling.”

Aid events because of the circumstances in which we managed to put it on.”

Time to get in shape

As well as raising vital funds for charity, Soccer Aid gave Murs the reason he needed to shed those lockdown pounds and get into better shape. “To see the results of your hard work is obviously the rewarding part, but for me it was more important in how it made me feel. At the start of lockdown, while still recovering from knee surgery, I was eating anything and everything out of boredom – but that made me feel less productive and more sluggish, so having Soccer Aid as a focus to get me fit again was a real drive.” The plan to keep producing new music is another drive for the 36-year-old musician, who is determined to spend plenty of time being creative in 2021. He said: “It’s been a while since I released my own music – so that’s the plan for this year. I’m starting to work on writing now and figure out what the next sound is for me, so watch this space!” Olly Murs’ tour visits Swansea on 5th June, Telford on 26th June, Haydock Park in Liverpool on 17th July, Cardiff on 21st July and Stadiwm Zip World on 13th August

“I feed off people’s energy, so going back on the road to places I don’t often get to visit will be amazing” March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 35

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Living the dream

DID YOU KNOW? Most people move eight times in their lives, most often between the ages of 18 and 30

Recent events have changed the way we live and work – perhaps forever. It’s been a difficult time but the new normal may provide an opportunity for many people to seize the moment and live their rural dream Owning a cottage with roses round the door, apple trees in the garden and hens in the yard is often portrayed as an idyllic existence for many. Rolling fields and fresh air are also often part of the vision, as well as sturdy wellies by the door and an Aga in the kitchen. For most of us that’s all it’s ever been – a vision. Then a global pandemic arrived and changed everything. Suddenly the appeal of rubbing shoulders with hundreds of others in bustling towns wore off. Enforced lockdown made people re-evaluate and appreciate a slower, calmer way of life. Switching to home-based employment has also opened the doors to a new way of living, and for some people the anxieties of the past 12 months has sparked a desire to stop putting off the dream. Whatever the reason, more people than ever are leaving the city for a life in the country.

On the move

According to the property website Rightmove, seaside resorts have seen the biggest rise in house sales, as people sought more space during lockdown. “The desire to move to the country has turned from a short-term shift into a trend,” says Rightmove’s Tim Bannister. When the property market

reopened in May, many wondered how long the desire to move to the country would last. But last it has, for two main reasons according to Rightmove. Firstly, because work practices have changed and buyers are more willing to have a country commute a few times a week. And secondly, because people are preparing for social distancing to be here for some time and so are being drawn to places with more outdoor space. Figures from Rightmove revealed that searches for homes in places with populations less than 11,000 have doubled. At the same time, searches by city dwellers for “village houses for sale” rose 126 per cent. Forecasters predict the trend for moving out to the country will continue for the foreseeable future, especially as talk of negative interest rates means it’s a good time for borrowers too. If you’ve decided now is the time to grab your own rural bolthole, or have recently moved from the city, read on for Shire’s guide to country life.

“Rolling fields and fresh air are often part of the vision, as well as sturdy wellies by the door and an Aga in the kitchen”

Shire region is top spot Here at Shire, we cover many beautiful, rural parts of England and Wales, and it’s perhaps no surprise that the area we love so much is attracting the interest of homebuyers and investors in equal measure. In fact, the area tops the table nationally – and this looks set to continue. Savills’ latest mainstream residential market forecast pegs the north-west as leading the UK area for house price growth over the next five years, projecting growth of 27.3 per cent for the region compared with 20.4 per cent for the UK as a whole.

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Searching the sites Cheshire property search company X-Press Legal Services has seen an increased demand as people seek rural living amid the pandemic “The lockdown periods have forced many of us to spend more time in our own homes than ever before, and many have realised the space we have is no longer the space we want or need,” says Lynne Lister, managing director of X-Press Legal Services. “People are looking to expand their internal space, and to escape externally so they can separate their work lives and home lives. Lynne Lister “The countryside offers the perfect escape: open spaces, countryside walks and parks, and plenty of sites to explore. With remote working looking to set continue into the future, I’m certain the rise in popularity of rural properties is here to stay.” Russell Welch, who owns X-Press Legal Services Wrexham, Chester and Cheshire West, adds: “The number of searches we have carried out for rural properties has increased significantly since March last year, especially across Cheshire. But despite the trend, the rural lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Younger people may very well retreat to the bright lights of the city once the lockdown has eased, keen to be around amenities and nightlife. For some, living in the countryside presents difficulties, including transportation issues and slow connectivity. The popularity lies in how rural people are Russell Welch willing to live, and a drastic change may not be for everyone. Cheshire presents a great medium, with flowing scenery paired with great transport links and bustling local towns.” To find out more about X-Press Legal Services and the property search reports they provide, visit www.xpresslegal.co.uk.

Rural regions on the rise What are homebuyers looking for when they search the Shire area? One local conveyancing expert reveals all…

Properties with land in the Shire region are being snapped up by city slickers freed from the office commute now they are working from home. That’s the evidence from north Wales’ law firm Swayne Johnson, which has six offices across the region from Menai Michael Tree Bridge on Anglesey to Tattenhall near Chester. The firm has seen its conveyancing workload rise by 50 per cent since the first pandemic lockdown ended in July. “While sales have risen across all kinds of property, perhaps the most dramatic difference is in how quickly large countryside properties are moving,” says Michael Tree, director and head

of conveyancing at Swayne Johnson. “Properties that might once have taken some time to sell are now being snapped up quickly. In north Wales buyers can afford larger homes with bigger gardens, which means they can work more comfortably, cut commuting out entirely and have a better quality of life. “We expect the property boom to continue right up until the reductions in stamp duty on house sales and in land transaction tax end on 31st March. Traditionally, you wouldn’t expect house sales to pick up until the spring but the pandemic has changed all that. “Viewings have been more difficult because of social distancing but estate agents have found ways to market their properties. The market has remained strong in a way we’ve not seen before.”

Super spots

Liverpool has seen a huge increase in the number of people searching for countryside homes, and with the green hills of the Clwydian Range on the south-western horizon there are no prizes for guessing where those property searches are focusing. Prices have surged too, especially in the LL16 postcode area around Denbigh, which has seen the highest increase in Wales. Here average prices grew last year by 88 per cent, from £164,475 to £310,000. This area’s popularity can be explained by its location a short drive from the north Wales coast and Snowdonia, with good links to the A55 for travel back to the north-west of England. The postcode with the second biggest increase was LL63 in south-west Anglesey, which includes Llanfaelog, Aberffraw and Rhosneigr where, there was a 62 per cent price increase from £151,000 to £245,000. For more about Swayne Johnson, which covers north Wales, Cheshire and beyond, visit www.swaynejohnson.com.

Grow your own Feeding the family with homegrown food is all part of the good life. Here are some of the ways you can become more self-sufficient in the country 1. Vegetables Vegetables are a great option for a self-sufficient lifestyle – not only are they healthy, they’re a great way to teach children about food and nature. If it goes well, you can sell the excess. 2. Fruit It may take longer to see a return on your investment, but if you have space for fruit trees you can keep yourselves in fruit as well. With proper storage, freezing or preserving they can provide produce all year round. 3. Wood If your property includes woodland, you might want to consider selling timber or firewood. A field of Christmas trees can provide a good seasonal income too. 4. Honey You can keep bees in all sorts of places, and their hives don’t take up much space. Honey can be sold at markets, or given as a gift. 5. Wool If you decide a few sheep would be good for your grass, don’t forget they’ll need regular haircuts in the summer, which can provide a useful source of income. Sell on the wool to local manufacturers or invest in a loom and get spinning yourself.

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Reasons to go rural

identify the sounds of various animals and even just appreciating the total silence can be restorative for mind and soul.

Lower levels of stress

What makes country living so appealing to so many? Here are Shire’s top things to love about the rural life

It is well documented that there is less stress associated with living in the country than the city, which means residents should be more relaxed, and the risk of anxiety disorders and mood disorders tends to be lower. Life is slower and less demanding in the countryside, and stepping away from hectic schedules, urgent meetings, and social pressure can work wonders for your nerves and your mental state.

Less traffic Fresh air

The cleaner air found further from the cities is proven to be good for us all. Air quality in the countryside is much better than in urban areas because of abundant greenery and less pollution. And cleaner air means easier breathing and lower risk of allergies, respiratory illnesses and heart disease.

The marked reduction in traffic means countryside dwellers can drive greater distance in less time and waste less time sitting in traffic jams or in search of parking places. The risk of road accidents is also lower and less traffic means less pollution and less noise too.

safety “It is well documented that there Better Data suggests crime rates are in rural areas than in big is less stress associated with living lower cities – there are fewer people, so the ratio of police officers in the country than the city, so to population is higher, and generally people know each other making strange behaviour residents will be more relaxed” well obvious immediately. Those

enjoying a rural existence often speak of leaving back doors open, letting kids play outside without supervision, or leaving the windows open while they sleep.

Abundant nature

Being surrounded by nature has been shown to boost the immune system, increase vitality, calm the nerves and improve the mood. Nature also provides opportunities for more country pursuits and outdoor activities not always available in the cities.


Fantastic food

More rural areas often provide easier access to organic food that has travelled fewer food miles and has been produced locally, with an option to buy direct from farms and markets, which appeals to many people. There’s a strong movement towards knowing where your food came from – and this focus on provenance is easier to fulfil further from the cities.

Peace and quiet

Fewer people and less industry means lower levels of noise pollution. But in the countryside that can take on an even more extreme appeal. Being woken by birdsong, learning to

DID YOU KNOW? The average house price in England increased by 2.8% in the year to August 2020, reaching £256,000

Apart from the rural hotspots that draw crowds of holidaymakers and second-home owners who bump up prices, less populated areas tend to have lower costs of living – so you get more for your money when you live in the countryside. Homes are generally cheaper, land prices are lower because there’s more of it available, and living expenses and things such as insurance policies tend to cost less. There are also fewer forms of entertainment to spend your money on!

More space to roam

Lower land prices mean that rural homes often come with a bit more space around them than you’d find in a city. Gardens are the norm, and many properties also come with enough for barns, workshops, paddocks and pastures.

A sense of community

Smaller communities are generally seen to be stronger and closer. There are fewer people to get to know, so you can meet all your neighbours easily and finding your own little patch of paradise unites the people who live there. Having better community spirit, being more friendly to each other and being supportive and helpful in times of need is one of the greatest advantages of living in a rural area.

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Rural reality check The country lifestyle isn’t always as idyllic as it may seem from a distance. Before you make a move, here are some of the factors you may want to consider

Closed communities

Those famously strong communities are fine once you’re part of them, but it can take time to find your place in tight-knit social circles. In areas that have been left in peace and tranquillity for generations, a sudden surge in popularity may be resented rather than welcomed.

“While more of us are working from home it might seem rosy to go rural – but depending on your age, industry and job, this may change”

Job availability

It makes sense to go rural while you’re working from home, but bear in mind this situation may change. If it does, it may be hard to make a living where employment opportunities are fewer. You may have to accept a long commute.


Country roads are often less well maintained and smaller ones may even be unmade. Public transport services are often limited too.

Healthcare access

It’s important to take into account the increased distance and potentially tricker access to specialised medical facilities that a rural life brings. If you or a family member needs regular care, you may not be able to find it as easily outside of larger conurbations.

Choice of schools

Smaller populations mean you won’t have as many choices when it comes to schools. Many villages will have only one primary school, and you may have to accept that your children will have to travel further for secondary schools or specialist learning establishments.

Less convenience

Fewer facilities mean longer journeys to supermarkets, pharmacies and clothes stores. Local shops may not be open as late as you’d

like and almost certainly won’t stock the range you’d see in towns. Internet connections may also be slower.

Scarcer entertainment

You may love the peace of your new paradise, but the quiet life can also prove boring, especially if you’re used to the vibrancy of a big city. You may not be able to continue the sports and hobbies you’re used to – unless you’re willing to organise groups yourself, of course.


There’s no doubt you’ll feel more closely attuned to the weather in the country, where heavy rains can flood villages and snow and ice can cut off entire communities.

Unexpected housemates

Country homes often come with their own residents – mice, squirrels, birds and bats can all be part of the property package.

Increased isolation

For many people, country living can be lonely. You may live far away from everything and everyone. It may be harder for friends to visit and trickier to establish a social life. It takes perseverance to make it work so be prepared to put in the effort in.

Feathers, fur & fleece

Whether you’re making the move to the country or already live in a rural setting, you may want some animal magic to complete the picture. Here are some of our suggestions 1. Chickens A firm favourite, chickens are fun to look after for the whole family, are not too tricky to care for and will keep you in eggs. Just watch out for foxes. 2. Sheep If endless days of mowing your newfound outdoor space isn’t part of the plan, a few sheep can do wonders. They’ll need a suitable enclosure with good fencing so they don’t wander off. 3. Geese There may be a lower crime rate in the country, but there’s still a risk of intruders on your rolling estate. Geese can make excellent guard animals – creating a racket and putting on an aggressive display when necessary to scare off unwelcome visitors. 4. Horses If you’re running out of reasons for not getting the kids a pony, a move to the country might be the time to give it a go. Don’t underestimate the work involved, though. A horse is a big commitment, so make sure you know what you’re doing or consider a partownership instead. 5. Pigs What better way to deal with leftover food than seeing it snuffled up the snouts of some appreciative piggies. And don’t forget there’s the option of sausages, ham, bacon and pork products down the line so long as you haven’t bonded too much!

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 39

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Living the good life The Clulows are one family who have made the leap to the country already, swapping hectic lives in Stoke-onTrent for a farm in Cheshire. Here, they speak about their experiences

taught me to drive a tractor and to milk cows and in return I’d work on the farm,” she says. “No one in our family is from a farming background, but we needed to get away from convention – the stress and demands of raising a young family just became a whirlwind. It was an almost robotic life with routines of school runs, work, swimming lessons, homework, housework leading to the need for fast meals, and juggling school events, stressful jobs and childcare. It was only going to end in a nervous breakdown so it had to stop. “We knew life had become too complicated, and we wanted to share our work with our children. Once I

“It has been life-changing. It’s hard work but we’re all involved in this together now” The Clulow family on their farm outside Macclesfield

DID YOU Sarah and Carl Clulow and their four children decided to KNOW? leave the rat race back in 2017 and start a new adventure It is estimated 1.03 million in the countryside, allowing them to get back to nature, households in the UK own slow down and enjoy a more wholesome way of life. It has at least one chicken, an been an adventure – and not always an easy one – but the increase of more than 200,000 since 2018 family is now settled on their rented smallholding near Macclesfield. Since moving, they’ve added hens, sheep, pigs, rabbits and a fifth child to their family at Bernard’s Farm. The couple, along with Bernard, 10, Barbara, nine, Beryl, seven, Bertie, four, and five-month-old Betsy, knew things had to change from the daily grind they were facing in Stoke-on-Trent and were brave enough to make it happen – and they haven’t looked back.

Leaving the old life behind

“It was absolutely the right decision – it has been life-changing,” says Sarah. “It’s hard work but we’re all involved in this together. The turning point for me came when Beryl drew a picture of me and said, ‘That’s Mummy. Mummy cries a lot.’ She was right. All the priorities were wrong and we had to change them.” Sarah worked in child protection in one of Britain’s most deprived cities, a job that left her emotionally and mentally drained and unable to give enough time and attention to her own children. She was the first of the family to walk away from the lifestyle, starting to spend weekends on a nearby farm. “The farmer 40 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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started working on the farm for experience, I threw a halfcompleted social work degree in the bin and decided to spend my days in overalls and covered The whole family help on the farm in cow muck. Working outside with large animals and driving tractors is such an empowering experience. “What started out as an experience only confirmed that a change for us all was coming. A holiday to Lancashire in October 2017 and spending a day on a dairy farm had us all watching the cows at

“We left behind a professional job, mortgaged property, pensions and stability to fulfil an ambition” milking time to the end. The smell of the dairy, the noise of the cows and the hum of the routine had us spellbound.” Armed with experience and handson training, The children enjoy spending time with the animals the family took the plunge by signing up for the residential tenancy on their farm in 2019. “We started by rehoming 25 ex-battery hens and I brought home some of the dairy bull calves from work,” says Sarah. “Sheep came next, then pigs in March 2020. We rented land 12 miles away as the farmhouse didn’t have any. It is no longer a job, it is a way of life and we wouldn’t go back.”

New additions

Sarah and her family now keep rare-breed sheep, rare-breed pigs and dairy-bred calves, and have a flock of over 100 ex-battery hens. The animals’ welfare is the main priority and the Clulows firmly believe in taking only what they require from the land, making sure their livestock have full lives, mature slowly, and live outside to express their natural behaviours and naturally fertilise the soils. “We’ve left behind a professional job, mortgaged property, pensions and stability to fulfil an ambition to produce our own food,” says Sarah. “We don’t want to just know where our food came from – we want to get our hands dirty doing it by caring for the soil, rearing animals to high welfare standards and producing food free from pesticides, artificial fertilisers and chemicals. “We want our animals to live full and meaningful lives, free from cages and intensive

Hen happiness

Sarah has welcomed hundreds of rescued hens to Bernard’s Farm in Cheshire through the British Hen Welfare Trust. Shire asked the charity for some advice for future chicken keepers The rise in popularity of hen keeping during the coronavirus pandemic has shown that people really are looking to change their lifestyles and take a step back in time to when the simple pleasures in life were found close to home. The British Hen Welfare Trust, which rehomes Children love looking after chickens around 60,000 commercial hens at their end of their laying lives each year, saw demand for rescue hens soar during the first lockdown. More than 2,000 hens were booked in the first week of lockdown last March compared with 625 the previous year. But the charity quickly found that not all retirement homes for their hens were being offered for the right reasons. If you’re considering offering hens a home, the charity’s founder, Jane Howorth, has the following advice: ■ Keeping hens brings the same responsibilities as any other family pets, so make sure you are committed and able to provide daily care. ■ Hens shouldn’t be considered as a cheap source of eggs (they’re not) or purely as entertainment for bored children. Adoption should be a long-term commitment. ■ Hens need secure accommodation to protect against predators, such as foxes. There are a wealth of options available. ■ Be sure you’re adopting for the right reasons. If eggs are the primary motive, ex-commercial hens will often (but not always) provide well. They may not lay daily and will need good-quality feed as well as time to adjust to their new life. ■ Hens will usually get along with other family pets and children, but supervision is essential at all times, at least until integration is fully made. ■ Finally, if you like daily treasure hunts and baking, keeping hens is a fantastic choice. To walk to the bottom of the garden, spend time with your hens, collect and then enjoy their delicious eggs is, in a single word, sublime. For more information about how to adopt and look after hens, visit the British Hen Welfare Trust’s website at www.bhwt.org.uk

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 41

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Meet the team

Sarah Clulow introduces us to some of the family at Bernard’s Farm “We have a flock of more than 100 rehomed ex-battery hens, all from the British Hen Welfare Trust, and they are our beloved pets. The children love the hens, especially four-year-old Bertie who carries his ‘mate’ around under his arm.”

Animal welfare is key at Bernard’s Farm

rearing methods, free from painful mutilations such as teeth and tail cutting, and to leave the land and the soils that form them in a better condition than when we found them.”

Keeping going through lockdown

When the pandemic hit last year, Sarah felt fortunate that their business could continue. Locals used their daily walk to come to the gate for eggs, leaving money in an honesty box. The family also sell a lot of produce online, including meat and veg boxes, jams and gins, crafts and homemade baby items. In fact, the business is now totally viable, not just an expensive hobby. “Our dream is to show our own growing family, as well as our local community, a more natural and sustainable way of life,” says Sarah. “We wish to provide a choice – a choice to eat food that comes from animals who have been matured slowly and Feeding time on the farm pasture-fed, which challenges the norm of many intensive farms. By selling the farm produce and sharing our vision, we want to provide other people with these choices too – to live a healthy and natural life. We believe that slowing down, eating well and keeping it simple has made a huge difference to our physical and mental health, and we want other people to find that too.” Follow the family’s journey and order some of their produce at www.bernardsfarm.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW? In 2019 the urban population of the UK was 55.91 million, compared with a rural population of around 10.93 million

“The children and I are very passionate about calves. The best bit is when we need to bottle-feed them! Our cows are all dairybred bull calves, often considered the surplus by-product of the dairy industry because a cow must have a calf to produce milk.”

“Our pigs are Oxford sandy and black pigs, a breed listed as rare and endangered by the Rare Breed Survival Trust. They are one of the oldest traditional English breeds of pig, having been around for 300 years. They’re stunning to look at and enjoy a tasty nibble on your boots if you stand still long enough!”

42 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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Easy home office hacks

“Productivity can increase by 15 per cent when you add plants as décor!”

Working from home became the norm for many of us in 2020 and looks like it’s here to stay for the forseeable future. Here are some simple ways to keep your work-life balance right


s many of us adapt to the “hybrid” way of working, combining working at home with the occasional day in the office, it’s essential to find a way to give your home office a more permanent feel to boost your concentration and daily productivity. This is where the right home office décor comes in, and thanks to extensive research from Dowsing & Reynolds (www.dowsingandreynolds.com) Shire can share with you the remote working essentials you need in 2021.

1. White LED lights

Bring the light in

Natural daylight is thought to be the best way to help promote mental wellbeing and boost concentration. However, not all homes have the means to draw in a lot of natural light. There are some small home adjustments you can make to help improve your workspace lighting, though. One substitute for natural lighting is white LED lights. White or blue is thought to help reduce drowsiness and keep you more alert throughout the day.

2. The best desk for your needs

Gone are the days where a pop-up camping table “will do for now” – it’s time to find a more robust solution. At the same time, no one wants to feel like they’re at work all the time, so it’s essential to find a desk that fits subtly into your home rather than dominates it. One way to do this is by choosing a corner desk that fits the shape of your room. That way, after your working day is done your desk is almost unnoticeable. Out of sight, out of mind.

Make your desk fit your wider decor

3. Plants mean productivity

Other than adding a splash of greenery and life to the concrete jungle that is an office space, studies find that your productivity can increase by 15 per cent when you add plants as décor. Plants are also proven to help decrease levels of anxiety, improve attentiveness, and heighten concentration.

Green is good

4. Files, folders and all things organisational

It’s easy while working at home to let our workspaces become messy and unorganised because there are no workmates around to judge us. But being organised does more than making our papers easier to Organised and stress-free find – it can help to reduce work-related stress too. Whether you use a wall-hanging pin board, a tall cabinet or a few shelves, organising the space dedicated to an office in your home will help keep things organised and stress-free.

5. Comfortable, ergonomic chairs

Although it’s easy to fall into the habit of sitting on the sofa when you’re working from home, you should really make it your goal for 2021 to purchase a more officeappropriate choice of seating. Plain old office chairs rarely provide the best support for both comfort and posture, so opting for an ergonomic chair is a must. According to health professionals, prolonged hours spent sitting can have a serious impact on our spines, so correcting your posture with the right chair is vital.

Are you sitting pretty?

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 45

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Beautiful spaces for work and play When the nation went into lockdown last year, one husband-and-wife team made the most of the difficult situation by launching a new garden-office business

DID YOU KNOW? In April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home


odulr Space is a new The units built by Modulr Space tick a number of boxes. venture that came They are designed by proper architects, they are contemporary, about as a solution to the they are designed to help with cognitive performance and sudden lockdown of 2020. they fit in any garden environment. They also use the most The company was conceived sustainable materials possible and natural materials, such as by husband-and-wife team cork to help units blend into the natural environment. Hans and Jo van Riemsdijk The units have a 20-year structural warranty and have been specifically for the “new designed and built to stand the test of time with minimal normal”, providing a solution to meet the sudden and urgent need for superior garden work or leisure spaces. The demand for home office space has grown People were at home, all day, every day and the need to find a little bit of space away from each “Our smallest other was crucial. For those with the outdoor space units are available, a separate moveable, so you pod was the ultimate can take them investment. Now this with you when new way of working you move” seems to be here to The Modulr units have many uses, from office to gyms stay – and people realise they no longer need to maintenance. They use structural insulated panels (SIPS) and live in the city close to have an insulation U value that exceeds the standards set out the office – the company by building regulations for a new build. They are also fitted is getting more and with acoustic wadding to enhance the acoustic performance more orders from rural – no more echoing Zoom calls! – and the team works with an parts of the UK such as interior designer to personalise each space, from bespoke wall Build a home office with a view Shropshire and Cheshire. coverings and colours to built-in desks and office furniture. “We’re able to provide units to clients across the Shire patch, especially now the days of commuting seem to be a distant memory,” Packable pods says Jo. “We’re offering something different than what has been “Our smallest units are moveable, which means you can take them available to date. We have beautiful, architecturally designed, with you when you move,” says Jo. “This is practical if you want to sustainable garden rooms and home offices for a multitude of uses.” take your office with you, but also as a business solution because being mobile means Design delight The styling and attention to detail in Modulr Space designs are due they can be classed as plant to the company being born out of an existing architectural practice, and machinery and are FD Architecture. Hans is the person behind that side of the business. therefore a capital expense! “FD Architecture specialises in luxury retail and commercial Our units can be used projects for clients such as Rothy’s, Selfridges and Versace,” for anything – as a home says Jo. “The pandemic caused a number of these projects office, garden retreat, home to stall, so to protect his amazing team, Hans came up gym, pool pavilion… the with this idea! Plus, from looking to see what was on the only limit is the client’s Smaller designs can be moved market, we felt there was room for something different.” imagination!” 46 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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ust as it’s important to protect your home and loved ones with fire and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, you should make sure these alarms are professionally installed by a competent person. With lockdown restrictions in place, DIY has seen a steep rise. Yet when it comes to fire and CO alarm installation, it should always be left to professionals. Effective protection relies on having the best alarms correctly installed. Mains-powered alarms require a live electrical Hire an expert feed; if they are wired incorrectly, it can result in the alarm beeping or worse, damage the alarms to the extent that they need to be replaced.

Trained professionals

A competent professional installer will minimise risk and ensure all alarms are installed correctly, giving your home and loved ones adequate protection. At Aico, we offer

a free-of-charge, Fire Industry Association-approved training scheme called Expert Installer. This CPD-accredited training informs professionals on standards and regulations for fire and CO alarms, instructs on accurate alarm selection, siting and installation, and provides trouble-shooting information on any issues that may arise. All the electricians we train are listed as expert installers on our website, where you can use the handy search tool to find trained professionals in your area. Please visit www.aico.co.uk/ find-an-installer. Andy Speake is Aico’s national technical manager and is an active member of various British Standards Institution (BSI) committees, Council of Gas Detection & Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) and Fire Industry Association council (FIA) For more information about Aico, visit www.aico.co.uk, call 01691 664100 or email enquiries@aico.co.uk

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 47

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Add heat to your home


ith the prospect of spending summer at home once again this year, people are choosing to invest in home and garden improvements to add a little luxury and make them more welcoming whatever the weather. Spring is the perfect time to place an order for a stove, hot tub or outdoor oven. RN Williams in St Asaph, north Wales, specialises in heating solutions for the home, with a friendly team on hand to help you make the perfect choices for your home. Here are some of its top products for 2021…

Wood-fired hot tub, £3,599

You can make the most of your garden and relax at the same time in a stunning wood-fired hot tub. Besides its classic good looks, a wood-fired hot tub also has much lower running costs than more conventional options because it doesn’t need to be kept constantly warm in case the chance for a dip arises. Going from cold to ready to relax in 90 minutes makes this tub both affordable and practical. It is supplied ready to go with no installation costs, making a woodfired hot tub the perfect addition to your summer staycation.

Morso Forno Outdoor Oven, £999

Cooking at home has become an increasingly enjoyable activity for many during lockdown, and those looking to make lockdown more memorable are stepping up their game by moving outside. The stylish Morso wood-fired oven is the perfect way to cook outdoors. You can create wood-fired pizzas quickly and easily, and it’s an adaptable cooking option for many other dishes too. Additional accessories are available to help you make this the perfect all-in-one outdoor cooking solution.

Le Feu Fireplace, £1,599

With an increasing focus on eco-friendly products combined with a desire for convenience, Le Feu fireplaces are expected to be a popular choice in 2021. Portable and eco-friendly and with no flue required, the beautiful Le Feu bio ethanol fireplace offers a simple solution to creating warmth and comfort around the home and can be used outdoors too.

Charnwood Aire, £1,320

With the continued emphasis on eco-friendly products and new Ecodesign 2022 standards on the horizon, the Charnwood Aire 5 wood-burning stove has set the benchmark for all its competitors. Already exceeding these future standards, while retaining remarkable controllability, the minimalist styling of this fire look set to make it a future design classic. This highly efficient stove fits comfortably into almost any setting, whether free-standing or in a traditional fireplace.

Gazco Loft, £2,325

The efficient, impressive and convenient Gazco Loft gas stove combines contemporary style with realistic fuel effects to create the perfect choice for modern homes. A range of styles is available, including wall hung. No chimney, no problem – with balance flue and conventional flue options, installation is possible in most homes. To find out more, go to www.rnwilliams.co.uk 48 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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‘We believe Shire to be one of the best in the country. Full of interesting information, articles and features, Shire has plenty to offer its readers and it really helps us connect to our target market. The Shire team are one of our favourite to work with.’ Phil Sanders, Stokers Fine Furniture ‘We have found the team always to be helpful, professional and supportive. They are brilliant at including us in features. The magazine is well read and it is effective advertising We see how well the public react to themagazine here in the centre as they pick up their free copies. Its a great read.’ Janet Dallolio, Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre

‘Shire magazine hits the perfect mark for us. Through a regular programme of promotions and editorial content, Shire is increasing our exposure and extending our audience reach. Our collaboration with Shire magazine is increasing awareness about us, our music and our considerable charitable work.’ Derek Jones, Wrexham Symphony Orchestra


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We always know when a Shire magazine hits the shops, as it gets our phone ringing. The circulation area is really well suited to our target market, and the magazine has a quality feel. We certainly get results from our advertising. The team at Shire are always helpful and friendly, making the whole process hasslefree.’ Linda Andrews, Cheshire Cat Narrowboat Holidays ‘We were delighted with Shire’s help in producing a new look to our advertisements – they gave our ads a new lease of life and superbly promoted our products. The professional and personal approach of the sales team made them a joy to work with – nothing was too much trouble.’ Carla Huxley, Simon Boyd Ltd


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‘Once we knew the team behind Shire magazine and understood the vision for the publication we were eager to be part of it. The quality of the magazine is equal to those that attract a £5 price tag, filled with useful and informative articles, rather than simply packed with adverts. The adverts are well thought out and the editorial opportunities often prove equally as valuable as the advertising space, promoting key products and positioning us as experts in our field. Communication is fantastic Chester CH3 and pro-active, with a real understanding of how a business might 01244 311160 benefit from being in each issue. Shire Magazine is definitely one of the first mediums penned into our advertising schedule each year!’ Wyn Williams, RN Williams & Sons ‘Shire Magazine is a very important asset for Premier Windows and Conservatories. Their team takes the time to understand our business which leads to carefully constructed adverts. We have greatly benefited from Shire’s features on our installations. We look forward to continued success with Shire Magazine.’ Caroline Chenery, Premier Windows ‘Shire magazine helps us to reach out to our audiences across the region with quality editorial, uptodate features and advertorial support. Dan and the team at Shire are great to work with and it’s the type of magazine you want to pick up and delve into to find out what’s on.’ Ben Walker, The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

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‘“Working with Shire Magazine is a breath of fresh air, their approach to collaborative working and supporting businesses to drive targeted engagement and broaden reach is both innovative and of a high quality which is why we have had such continued success in advertising with them. The team are very knowledgable, transparent and professional which is invaluable. Happy client!”

Call 01691 661270, email advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk or go to www.shiremagazine.co.uk to find out more

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New trend for old items Choosing reclaimed and salvaged items for our homes and gardens has never been more popular, and one Shropshire business is booming thanks to the growing trend


he Old Yard in Oswestry, Shropshire, is a treasure trove of interesting finds right on the border of England and Wales. Run by husband-and-wife team Andy and Elaine Jennings, who have been in the trade since the late 1980s, the showroom houses an exquisite collection of antique and vintage furniture, lighting and decorative salvaged items for furnishing both home and garden. The small yard holds reclaimed and salvaged features and decorative garden antiques, stone troughs, planters, bird baths, urns and railings, as well a collection of refurbished Crittall window frames. Andy and Elaine spend much of their time sourcing items for the home and garden and market. They have established a good customer base of both private and commercial buyers for their beautiful pieces, many of which they sell through Salvo, an online marketplace for salvaged and reclaimed materials established in 1991. “We feel it’s now more important “Reusing items in than ever to do what our homes not only we can to help the saves resources but environment, and also makes where we this can easily be achieved by reusing live more individual” items that are still as good as the day


One-third of the houses in Britain were built before the First World War, most of them during the Victorian era

they were made,” says Elaine. “Be it a Victorian piece of furniture or reclaimed windows and doors, reusing them in our homes not only saves resources but also makes where we live more individual. We have seen a huge increase in the reuse of the old Crittall windows and doors that we refurbish here at The Old Yard, and they are now being incorporated into interior settings, which is right on trend at the moment.”

Code confidence

Choosing a dealer that is part of the Salvo family means shoppers new to salvage know they’re buying good-quality items and can relax knowing they’re in safe hands. It’s a good idea to look for Salvo Code members when buying architectural salvage, antique garden ornaments and reclaimed building materials. Simply look out for the crane logo, chosen because it is an ancient symbol for vigilance. The Salvo directory allows people to find their local reclamation yard or showroom where they can find architectural antiques, garden, decorative, salvage or reclaimed building and landscaping materials that are unique to the area, such as reclaimed Shropshire red bricks or reclaimed Welsh flagstone. To find a local member or browse the items to buy at The Old Yard visit www.salvoweb.com

The Old Yard sells everything from garden ornaments and planters to ornate mirrors and kitchen items

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New Homes Lift-off for new Cheshire homes

A north Wales housebuilder is celebrating as work starts on a new development of 138 homes on the site of a former wallpaper factory in Cheshire


A computer-generated and mill buildings can make way nwyl Homes, a construction company based in Ewloe, image of the Anwyl homes Flintshire, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. And for much needed high-quality new that will be built at Victoria homes in Holmes Chapel, including a the family firm got off to a great start, breaking ground on its Mills in Holmes Chapel latest development, Victoria Mills in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. selection of two-bedroom bungalows, two-, three- and four-bedroom houses, and seven Demolition of an old factory and mill buildings affordable properties. It’s full steam ahead on site.” is under way at the 10-acre site, which had been used for wallpaper manufacturing since 1911. The first new homes will go on sale towards the “A play area end of the year, when the show homes will also open. “Victoria Mills will provide a great opportunity for and green The development is expected to take three to four homebuyers at every stage of life to purchase in this open space are years to complete. At the same time Anwyl, which is sought-after village location, within walking distance central to the based at St David’s Park in Ewloe, is building homes of independent shops, schools and the train station, development” at a further 11 locations in Cheshire, north Wales, and with a footpath link being opened up to Eastgate north Staffordshire, and north Shropshire. The Road,” says Phil Dolan, managing director of Anwyl company was named Housebuilder of the Year at the Homes Cheshire and North Wales. “Central to the 2020 NW Insider Residential Property Awards, receiving particular development will be a play area and green open space for residents recognition for its strong and sustainable growth strategy. and the wider community to enjoy. Our acquisition of Victoria Mills has enabled the last occupants, Fine Décor, to move to a modernised facility and helped to ensure that these vital manufacturing jobs For more details and to register your interest in the new have remained in Cheshire. It has also ensured that the old factory development visit www.anwylhomes.co.uk/victoriamills

Bricks and mortar still top investment With interest rates almost non-existent, increasing numbers of people are putting their money into property, and one Chester company is there to help


oney in the bank is worth very little at the moment and Chancellor Rishi Sunak is looking at ways to claw back the money spent on various Covid bailout schemes, leaving many concerned about pensions, stocks and shares. But there’s one place people are still happy to stash their cash: property, which has caused a boom in buy-to-let investors arriving on the market. Chester-based property marketing firm Solomon Investment Partners, Andrew Ward the marketing arm of Solomon New Homes, is guiding a record number of property investors through the pitfalls of becoming first-time landlords. Of the 220 properties sold by Solomon in the last 12 months to investors, 90 per cent

opted for the company’s “hands-free” landlord service, citing lack of time and legal knowledge as the main reasons for opting in. “Despite so much uncertainty this year, we have continued to see a huge appetite from investors in traditional bricks and mortar – arguably the safest pension pot currently available,” says Andrew Ward, founder of Solomon Investment Partners. “By accessing our hands-free support package, investors get all the benefits of being a landlord with none of the time-consuming hassle.”

Hands off, rental in

The service offered by Solomon Investment Partners provides firsttime landlords with tenant vetting, covering legal and compliance checks, storing deposits, furnishing apartments and providing on-site support staff. For a landlord’s peace of mind, each tenant is insured by Solomon’s partner management company, ensuring the monthly rent is paid on time whether the property is occupied or not. In recent years, landlords have had to contend with a raft of new tax measures and in the wake of Covid it’s possible they’ll have to deal with one more. “For property investors, the last few weeks have been a period of extremes,” says Andrew. “Rightmove has reported record-breaking levels of market activity and has raised its annual price growth forecast to seven per cent. Given that some agencies were predicting a 7.5 per cent fall this year, that’s an astonishing turn-around. With rumours that the Chancellor has commissioned a capital gains tax review, it’s critical to seek professional support and advice when it comes to property investment.” For more information, visit www.solomoninvestmentpartners.co.uk

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hed City has been the leading shed and garden building supplier in Shropshire for 25 years. At its large outdoor and indoor show site in Wellington, near Telford, you can see one of the most comprehensive ranges of sheds, summerhouses, garden rooms, workshops and other garden products the industry has to offer. Visit the show site near Telford to see the range on offer Whether you’re looking to create the perfect home office Once you’ve seen the style of building you prefer, just pop into the or a much-needed extra room, the Elite Garden Rooms collection has designs and styles to suit. Each building is fully insulated for use all showroom where a member of the team will be more than happy to year round and can be customised to create the perfect room for your chat with you about your ideas and show you the options available. All doors and windows are double-glazed uPVC needs. You’ll get all the advantages of an extension to your home without the hassle and mess of building works. units, available in a choice of five colours. The buildings “All the themselves can be spray-painted in the factory in When it comes to designing and building your advantages of your choice of more than 15 colours. Alternatively, dream garden addition, Shed City understands that an extension “standard” isn’t enough! You can customise and create Shed City also offers the option of western red cedar without the cladding, which looks amazing in any setting. exactly what you want: the team offers a selection of mess” Package prices start from £3,860 and currently styles and sizes to choose from, down to the doors include free external painting and free laminate and windows. Perhaps you want to put a desk in one flooring, as well as expert installation. For more information, corner, so a half-height window would be better? Or a sofa, with a visit the show site at Whitchurch Road, Wellington, Shropshire full-height window to provide a lovely view of the garden? Maybe TF1 3AG, call 01952 270070 or visit www.shedcity.co.uk. even a combination of the two? The possibilities are almost endless.

01952 270 070 shedcity.co.uk Elite Garden Room Collection

Whitchurch Road, Wellington, TF1 3AG

Large Indoor & Outdoor Display, Shropshire's Outdoor Building Specialist

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Love the time you spend in the great indoors this spring with a stylish new home Bovis Homes has a great offer available to help even more people make a fresh start with a new home

options such as Bosch appliances and fitted flooring. Your new home will also come with a two-year customer care warranty and a 10-year NHBC Buildmark warranty. There are numerous buying schemes available, including the option to upgrade with the Home Exchange scheme. The Smooth Move scheme means Bovis will take care our dream home could be within reach this year of the buying process and estate agent fees for you, with an offer from Bovis to pay the first year’s “Bovis’s new and there are also a number of homes available on mortgage on selected homes. There are a range of range of homes to choose from, including two- and threethe first-time buyers’ scheme, Help to Buy. homes come bedroom starter pads and four- and five-bedroom family Bovis has also recently added a Shared Ownership with modern option to its ways to buy, and many of the new homes homes with home office space and enhanced features fixtures and are available to buy with the Home Reach scheme. such as bi-fold doors, wide hallways and high ceilings. New homes in Cheshire and the surrounding areas Bovis homes offer great connection to the outdoors, fittings” are available from just £109,998. Search “Bovis Homes with views over the countryside, communal play spaces and new walkways installed to make the most of your surroundings. Mercia” to find out more and take time to love your great indoors. Some developments even include hedgehog highways to restore the balance of nature and wildlife. You can rest assured that your home has plenty of space around it giving you maximum privacy in your surroundings, private driveways and secluded street aspects.


Attention to detail

Find the perfect indoor space

Bovis’s new range of homes come with modern fixtures and fittings, and attention to detail such as fully turfed lawns, front doorbells and exterior lights for safety. You can choose from a range of kitchen options, from classic to modern styles, to suit your budget and some homes include enhanced kitchen

Take advantage of Bovis’s schemes to get a foot on the ladder

To book an appointment to look around a Bovis show home or speak to a member of the sales team between 10am and 5pm, visit www.bovishomes.co.uk. Please note the mortgage paid option is not available on shared ownership homes

54 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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s e i r o m e m y p p a h Create Traditional build quality, modern styles near you


is on us!*

Want to move home but worried about finances? That’s why we’ve created the mortgage paid offer meaning we will pay you up to £600 a month for 12 months* to give you some peace of mind.

For more information please call 01785 788 312 or search Bovis Homes Mercia

Why not book an appointment to visit us today to find out more from our dedicated sales team? Mortgage Paid for 12 months offer is available on selected homes only, not in conjunction with any other offer. Paid as a cash lump sum upon legal completion and calculated as the cash equivalent of monthly mortgage repayments of 600GBP per month for the period of 12 months from legal completion. Cash lump sum capped at a maximum of 3% of the purchase price, subject to lender’s criteria, qualification and acceptance of cash incentives. Not applicable to second homeowners or investor purchasers. We reserve the right to withdraw the incentive at any time without prior notice. ^Flooring where indicated is provided from our standard range unless otherwise specified. Photograph depicts a typical Bovis Home exterior/interior. Elevation may differ to that shown. Internal images may include optional upgrades at an additional cost. Price & availability correct at time of going to print/broadcast. Not available on investor purchases or Home Reach scheme. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT. Ask our sales advisor for details. 5-star home rating based on the independent annual home owner survey conducted by the Home Builders Federation. GDD58244

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4 8

6 7



Sunshine after the storm 11

Deep greys and vibrant yellows offer the perfect combination of strength and hope we all need in our lives right now 14


13 12


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Alfredo extra-large sofa, sale price £899, Stokers Furniture in Chester; www.stokers.co.uk English Electric wall clock, £57.99, The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion in Yellow Ground, £49.50 for 2.5 litres, Morgans in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.morgansltd.com Haba trellis rug, from £154, Hafren Furnishers in Llanidloes, Powys; www.hafrenfurnishers.co.uk Desk-style floor lamp, £179.95, Cousins Furniture in Shrewsbury; www.cousinsfurniture.co.uk Alarm clock, £15.95, Uniiq in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.uniiqshrewsbury.co.uk Tweedmill treetop throw, £49.99, Melin Meirion Mill in Machynlleth; www.meirionmill.co.uk Alstons Stockholm chair, from £499, Hafren Furnishers in Llanidloes; www.hafrenfurnishers.co.uk Tuscan Lime & Basil scented candle tin, £5.99, Vinegar Hill in Shrewsbury; www.vinegarhill.co.uk Springtime Petals framed print, £35, Graham & Brown; www.grahambrown.com Brayden Studio Hurwitz scatter cushion, £28.99, Wayfair; www.wayfair.co.uk Ceramic scratched base table lamp, £65, Make Your House A Home in Whitchurch, Shropshire; www.makeyourhouseahomewhitchurch.com Woollen throws, from £37.50, Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre in Mold, Flintshire; www.afonwen.co.uk Complete Waisted arrangement, £10.99, The Range; www.therange.co.uk Velvet cushion, £20, Vinegar Hill in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.vinegarhill.co.uk Darcy Ottoman bed, £249.99, The Range; www.therange.co.uk Original Dhandara chest, £560, Wilstone in Leebotwood, Shropshire; www.wilstone.com KitchenWalls Ornament wallpaper splashback, £135 per roll, Lime Lace; www.limelace.co.uk Miniature bottle vases, £7.95 each, Sarah Raven; www.sarahraven.com




56 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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Bring some spring to your dinner Adam Gaunt-Evans is a local Llangollen lad who has trained and worked in kitchens around the world, including at The Dorchester in London, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and Flying Fish in Sydney. He has now joined One Hundred Knights hospitality group, where he oversaw the launch of the Three Eagles Bar & Grill in Llangollen and is involved in the expansion of the company’s restaurant business Asparagus, spring onion & Snowdonia cheddar tart Spring marks a new beginning in the kitchen – a time of excitement for cooks as Mother Nature begins to offer new exciting produce after leaner winter months. These simple, delicious tarts celebrate the best of spring using local and Welsh produce – powerful cheddar from Snowdonia and Wye Valley asparagus, which can be green, purple or white. A variety of green leaves come to life in early spring too, and a few foraged, young wild garlic leaves will work beautifully in any accompanying salad. Ingredients (makes six tarts) 6 blind-baked tart cases, or 1 medium tart case 3 spring onions, sliced 1 bunch Wye Valley asparagus 100g diced Snowdonia Black Bomber cheddar 2 large free-range eggs 120ml double cream Salt and ground white pepper Small bunch of chives, chopped

The finished plate!

Method 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. 2. Arrange the spring onions in the tart cases. 3. Blanch the asparagus for one minute in boiling water. Add three asparagus tips and chopped asparagus stalks to each tart. Add the diced cheese. 4. Whisk the eggs with the cream, salt, pepper and chives. Add to the tarts. 5. Bake the tarts for eight to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Arrange dressed leaves and vinaigrette on top to serve.

Add the cheddar and asparagus

Blind-bake the tart cases

Pour in the cream mixture

Bake in the oven until golden

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 59

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THE RIGHT SCREW FOR YOU Pip Gale of Gales Wine Bar in Llangollen explains the importance of having the right apparatus to hand when it comes to opening a bottle


might break the cork off, or if the cork breaks and I need to get the last bit out. Levers are a bit of help you shouldn’t DID YOU turn down. The most common type KNOW? is the winged corkscrew; these make The first written opening wine a breeze, but I wouldn’t reference to the recommend them because you have to take both corkscrew was in hands off the bottle, increasing the chance of 1681, when it was slipping. Also, they often don’t take the cork the called a “Steele Worm” whole way out, making for an awkward last pull. Instead I would recommend a sommelier knife, often referred to by the main brand name, Waiter’s Friend. These Worms, levers and wings The most important part of a corkscrew is the now have a two-step system on the arm, part known as the worm, the pig’s tail bit that making leverage easy without extra support. Other great corkscrews include the inserts into the cork. The worm has changed over the years owing to changes in corks, screwpull, which only requires a twisting motion to get into the wine. This is the which used to be a lot longer and of lesser quality, necessitating a long simplest corkscrew for anyone looking worm with a sharp thread. Today, for easy instructions at the cost of speed. Some corkscrews come with extra features worms are Teflon-coated to prevent snagging and pushing bits of cork – a bottle cap opener or foil remover, which into the wine. They can also have a Find the design that suits you best are all useful additions to a great tool. A top tip is to get one you’ll love groove for extra grip. I recommend looking for a good point and a thin but strong design. using. People have different hands and getting one that fits yours will increase the pleasure you get from the simple Levers make opening a bottle of wine a joy, although act of opening a bottle of wine. I guarantee it’s better than from time to time I use a simple corkscrew: when the cork opening it with a shoe in an exhibition hall’s toilet. is old, for example, and I don’t want any twisting which s someone who has spoken about the virtues of screw caps, it may come as a surprise I’m devoting this issue’s column to the corkscrew. But if you’d ever forgotten to take a corkscrew to a tasting where you were showcasing a wine and had to open it with a shoe, you’d have a deep appreciation for a good one as well! Corkscrews have been around as long as corks have, since the 1630s, and have had waves and waves of innovations over the years involving levers, threads and even batteries. My father collected hundreds and the history of them is fascinating but I’m not going go over that. I will explain what I would look for if purchasing one today.

SAVE OUR PUBS! The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has perhaps been felt the hardest in the hospitality industry. CAMRA, the Campaign For Real Ale, explains why help is urgently needed


ubs play a key role in tackling loneliness and offer a social value above and beyond the contribution they make to the economy, according to a new report about the role of pubs in communities. “The Open Arms: The Role Of Pubs In Tackling Loneliness”, produced by Loughborough University, Heineken UK and the Campaign To End Loneliness, concluded that pubs are an important part of a community’s infrastructure, just like libraries, cafés and community centres. With social isolation and loneliness on the rise in all age groups as a result of the pandemic, CAMRA is calling on governments across the UK to recognise the value of local pubs and take action to make sure they’re still around to help the nation’s healing process after the pandemic. “CAMRA welcomes this report, which shows just how much pubs matter to individuals and communities, and why they are worth saving so that they can reopen CAMRA’s Nik Antona

Pubs could be an essential part of the UK’s post-Covid recovery

and thrive post-Covid,” says CAMRA’s national chairman, Nik Antona. “Our pubs provide a safe, regulated environment in which to relax with a drink and mix with people of other age groups and backgrounds – and are often the only place left for people in many communities to meet. Yet too many had already closed even before Covid, while the coronavirus crisis put tens of “Pubs need thousands more at risk of permanent closure. “It is vital that governments across the UK greater help recognise the role that pubs will play as part of to get back our social fabric, bringing people back together on their after this pandemic, and take action now to feet again” save them. Pubs need greater help to get back on their feet again, which can be achieved by ending unfair and unevidenced restrictions such as the previous “substantial meal” requirement once they’re allowed to reopen.”

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Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce! Hot and Cold Sandwich Bar Call & Collect or Home Delivery Service Available Unit 1, St Mary’s Precinct, Church Street, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5HX T: 01691 772602 www.jamiewardsbutchers.co.uk

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01978 869 595 thethreeeagles.co.uk Bridge Street, Llangollen, LL20 8PF

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Dathlwch Ddydd Gwyl Dewi gyda bwyd a diod o Gymru Celebrate St David’s Day with Welsh food and drink #CaruCymruCaruBlas #LoveWalesLoveTaste DON’T FORGET THAT WE’RE OFFERING A DELIVERY SERVICE TO THE LOCAL NORTH WALES COMMUNITY WITH FREE GIFTS TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ON OUR WEBSITE WWW.ABERFALLSDISTILLERY.COM #AberFalls #AberFallsDistillery #WelshWhisky #WelshGin #NorthWales #Wales #SupportLocal

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Three Eagles at Home Tried and tasted!

Local yoghurt-maker Llaeth y Llan has had a momentous start to 2021 – following a brand redesign, availability of its products is also increasing across the UK


ward-winning family firm Llaeth y Llan, based in Llannefydd in Conwy, is celebrating after clinching a new deal to supply 54 Morrisons stores in England with its desserts. The company’s products are already on the shelves of over 40 Morrisons outlets across Wales, The new-look packaging as well as at the UK’s biggest supermarkets like Tesco, Asda and Co-op. This latest news comes hot on the heels of a major redesign, aimed at increasing sales and modernising the brand. “We have been listening closely to our customers and have been planning this for some time to reflect their desire “All our for more easily recyclable pots and more product milk comes information,” says Llaeth y Llan’s director, Gruff from farms Roberts. “We also wanted to refresh the product with a new look to stand out on the supermarket within shelves and we feel the new packaging is vibrant 20km of and exciting as well as reducing our plastic use. the dairy” “What won’t change is that our yoghurt remains free from genetically modified ingredients and that all our milk comes from Red Tractor-assured farms within 20km of the dairy, so supply chains are kept short.” Llaeth y Llan, aka Village Dairy, was founded by Gareth and Falmai Roberts more than 35 years ago and now employs more than 50 local staff, who make around 100 tons of yoghurt a week in 14 flavours. The day-to-day running and management of the company has now passed to Gareth and Falmai’s Gruff Roberts and his sister, Llior Radford sons, Owain and Gruff, while marketing company SeventyTwentyTen, run by the couple’s daughter Llior Radford, has also been involved in the recent redesign. For more information about the company’s range of products and stockists, visit www.villagedairy.co.uk.


hile dining out remained off the menu under lockdown, Three Eagles Bar & Grill in Llangollen solved the question of how to celebrate Valentine’s Day by providing a three-course meal to enjoy at home. For £60 per meal-for-two, we were sent an asparagus, leek and Snowdonia cheese tart to start (see page 59 for the recipe), followed by slow-cooked Welsh blade of beef with sides of truffle and parmesan chips, caramelised onion purée, roasted broccoli and red wine jus. To finish, there was a hot chocolate fondant with crème fraiche and raspberries, and a bottle of Mirabello sparkling rosé was also included. Preparation was easy, and took the minimum of fuss. Three Eagles’ executive chef, Adam Gaunt-Evans, provided very clear written instructions, and the timings for all the elements worked well. While enjoying the delicious tart, with strong cheese and al dente asparagus and leek, the beef was gently heating in the sauce, and all the sides came out of the oven at the same time. It couldn’t have been any easier! The beef and sauces were absolutely delicious – something you would struggle to replicate at home without the meal box – and we loved the luxury truffle oil with the parmesan too. To be honest, it was actually too much for us and we saved the puddings for the next day! We’ve tried a variety of cook-at-home meal boxes during lockdown, and we’d have to say that without a doubt this was the easiest to prepare, especially for such A Valentine’s Day treat a high-quality three-course meal.

About Three Eagles, Llangollen Three Eagles occupies three floors of an 18th-century coaching inn in the heart of Llangollen. The restaurant, which opened in 2018, prides itself on provenance, using only fresh ingredients from selected farms and suppliers. Visit www.thethreeeagles.co.uk for more.

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 63

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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.

Amy Porter Gardens www.amyportergardens.co.uk Providing a full range of services throughout Shropshire and border counties. We offer specialist plant and garden advice, and help to create sustainable, resourceful gardening systems. We are fully qualified & insured.

Garden maintenance n pruning n weeding n watering & feeding n lawn cutting & edging n hedge cutting & repair n four seasons maintenance plan n garden clearance n

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Garden design • Planting schemes • Plant advice, troubleshooting and tailored care plans • Onetime jobs or ongoing garden care • Local business referrals info@amyportergardens.co.uk • Mobile: 07425 372865

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Covering North Wales & Cheshire

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greencroftremovals@btinternet.com • www.greencroftmanandvan.co.uk


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.

This is a live-out position work, from Tuesday to Friday. £650 weekly Childcare and Light housekeeping. Must be able to interact with children. Speak English and non smoker. MUST HAVE REFERENCES AND BE RESPONSIBLE.

Coffee shop 01490 413 688 I Garden Centre 01490 413 313 The Centre is on the A5104, half a mile out of Corwen


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If interested, you can reach Tracey at ceyuch33@gmail.com

26/02/2021 16:32


©National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire

Did you This narrow limestone escarpment runs for know? 18 miles from Craven Arms to Ironbridge, wildlife habitat, while Alderley Edge and the National Trust owns eight miles of in summer it mows the contains a Bronze it. It’s home to a mix of flowerflower-rich Age burial mound rich limestone grasslands and meadows and at its highest “Much of point ancient woodland, as well as makes hay. Wenlock internationally important sites for The resident Edge is geology, making the area a Site of flock of Hebridean ancient Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). sheep, meanwhile, works hard woodland” Along Wenlock Edge you’ll grazing all year round. find evidence of its previous industrial use, including old quarries and Alderley Edge, Cheshire lime kilns. There are myriad footpaths The dramatic red sandstone escarpment of and bridleways too, which can be accessed Alderley Edge has views over the Cheshire easily from the car parks at Wenlock Plain to the Peak District. Various themed walks meander through open pasture, mature Edge and Wilderhope Manor. National Trust staff and volunteers work pine and beech woodland. The highest point hard to enhance the special woodland and was originally a Bronze Age burial mound, grassland habitats of Wenlock Edge and to and was later used as a fire beacon site that monitor the wildlife here. The woodland would be lit to warn of imminent invasion. Alderley Edge is the oldest known metal-mining site in England – activity began as early as 1900BC. Copper and tin make bronze, and Bronze Age people were keen to exploit any copper resources they could find. Various prehistoric tools, including stone hammers and mauls, have been found here. In the 1870s, an oak shovel was discovered and eventually carbon dated to around 1750BC. The ancient site also comes complete Find family-friendly walks at Alderley Edge with its own legend, involving a white is actively managed and has been for many horse, a farmer and a wizard. Various focal points, including the Druid’s Circle centuries, albeit in different ways and with different aims. Much of Wenlock Edge is and Engine Vein, are still visible and are part of the Wizard Walk. ancient woodland and the team is working to increase the number of native species in the For the latest on visiting restrictions mix. In autumn and winter, it spends a lot at National Trust sites in England and of time thinning and coppicing to produce Wales, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk biofuel, improve structure and enhance

The view from Wenlock Edge


©National Trust Images/John Millar

With many of us still facing restrictions on our movement, it’s important that we make the most of the outdoor spaces available to us. We take a look at a couple of National Trust sites open to local visitors while hoping that others might be available soon

©National Trust Images/David Sellman


The National Trust’s Alderley Edge

Over the past year, more than ever before, nature has been a source of comfort. Trees towering above us, serene coastal paths, the simplicity of a rushing stream and panoramic drama in the skies… these can answer our need for quiet and inspiration. However, the global pandemic has had a huge impact on the National Trust’s fundraising and income, and as the guardian of so many of the local parks and gardens we hold dear, it needs our help now more than ever. Find out how you can support it in making sure that nature is there to support us, for ever. For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org. uk/features/everyone-needs-nature

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 65

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GOOD TIMES ARE COMING Spring is finally with us, bringing with it the arrival of longer days, warmer weather and the chance to enjoy the freedom and pleasure our gardens continue to deliver – whatever else is going on in the world


arly spring is the time to get busy with gardening tasks in preparation for the busy season ahead. Here Lis Morris, lecturer in horticulture and sustainable technologies at University Centre Reaseheath in Cheshire, suggests those jobs that will ensure you can make the most of your outdoor space in the months to come.

As soon as the weather allows, have a good tidy up of all borders and paths by clearing leaves and debris.

Inspect perennial shrubs for winter damage, prune out Clear leaves and debris decay and reshape. Cut back autumn- and winter-flowering shrubs so they have summer to grow new stems. Hard prune bush and climbing roses back to a healthy outward-facing bud and remove weak growth.

Cut back dogwood and willow to two buds above ground. It looks drastic, but these will repay with a vigorous growth of stems. ●

Cercis, cotinus and elder will also benefit from coppicing to stimulate them to produce larger, more showy leaves and blooms in summer.

● Tidy

and top dress outdoor containers with fresh compost. Re-pot houseplants showing signs of being root-bound.

Prick out seedlings

Get weeds under control by forking or hoeing, then applying an organic mulch of compost, bark or woodchip, ideally to a depth of at least 10cm. As well smothering weeds this will nourish newly pruned plants and retain moisture during the warmer months.

Divide clump-forming summer-flowering perennials such as agapanthus, anemone, delphinium, eryngium, geranium, iris, primula, verbena and ornamental grasses.

Choose a sunny day to clear out and wash your greenhouse inside and out, paying particular attention to vents and staging where pests may lurk. As well as controlling the spread of disease this ensures plants receive maximum light. Scrub tools and empty pots too.

Prick out and pot on new seedlings and cuttings. It’s not too late to sow sweet Prune for summer growth peas and tomato plants, and you can also sow seeds or order plug plants to grow on for summer bedding.

Dig over and add compost to your vegetable plot. Plant onion sets, shallots and early potatoes and sow broad beans. Harvest early rhubarb. Prepare seed beds as the soil warms.

For more information about Reaseheath’s horticulture courses visit www.reaseheath.ac.uk/horticulture (for diplomas and RHS courses) and www.ucreaseheath.ac.uk/courses (for degrees)

THE SWEET SMELLS OF GARDENING SUCCESS Choose the right shrubs and flowers and your garden will boast a heady mix of aromas throughout spring and summer. The following plants are best grown in sheltered areas where their scent can be concentrated or in containers near your front door


This deciduous shrub has bowl-shaped, usually fragrant flowers that may be solitary or in small panicles or racemes in summer. They thrive in moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade.





This self-twining evergreen shrub has gorgeous rich, glossy leaves and delicate, highly fragrant flowers. The leaves often turn dark red in winter and the white flowers become more cream-coloured with age. These deciduous or evergreen shrubs have small, usually very fragrant tubular four-lobed flowers, often followed by colourful berries. The Jacqueline Postill variety has fragrant purplish-pink and white flowers.

Grown as a shrub or tree, lilac has simple leaves and dramatic, conical panicles of small, very fragrant tubular flowers in late spring or early summer. It likes well-drained, fertile soil or even chalky ground. A classic favourite for garden fragrance. Hybrid tea or large-flowered bush roses have large, usually glossy leaves and fragrant flowers that may be solitary or in groups of three.

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Health&Beauty BEAT THE BLUES The Welsh government has joined forces with a local NHS board to tackle the growing mental health crisis caused by the pandemic


s part of their Help Us, Help You campaign, the Welsh government and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are urging anyone experiencing anxiety and stress to look after their wellbeing with regular exercise, an improved diet and more sleep. “Exercise and a healthy diet can have a huge impact,” says Ben Williams, a personal trainer from Wrexham. “Just taking that first step to get moving releases endorphins in the body, which help to lift your mood and can combat poor mental health, low self-esteem and a lack of motivation. “When everyone is at home it can be difficult to stay in good spirits. By dedicating a little bit of time for yourself to exercise, you can have a massive impact on the rest of your day – or week – knowing that you’re looking after your health and keeping active. Finding a community you can get support from is also a huge help to many people. Zoom workouts are a great way to get started.” A YouGov survey revealed more than half of people in north Wales have experienced a

deterioration in their mental health since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who had stayed positive said a proactive approach made a difference, including exercise (35 per cent), sticking to a routine (32 per cent), a healthy diet (12 per cent) and practising mindfulness, notably yoga and meditation (8 per cent). Donna Welsh is coordinator of Coleg Cambria’s Active

“Zoom workouts are a great way to get started during the pandemic” Left: Ben Williams, personal trainer. Right: Coleg Cambria’s Active Cambria programme

Cambria programme, which supports students and staff with online mental health sessions and workouts. “Keeping our minds and bodies busy has been vital in lockdown,” she says. “It’s extremely important we focus on helping people understand that. We can learn a lot from the pandemic and pass that down to the next generation – the value we place on

With hopes that Covid vaccines will help us out of the difficulties we’ve faced over the past year, we look at myths surrounding immunisation…


The MMR vaccine causes autism This myth has been completely discredited. In 1998, a doctor published a paper suggesting a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. The actual paper showed no such link. It was subsequently removed from publication and the doctor struck off.


looking after ourselves, living a full life and ensuring people are resilient and can handle whatever the world throws at them.” The Welsh government spends more than £700m a year on mental health services, supported by additional funding. A dedicated minister for mental health and wellbeing, Baroness Morgan, has also been appointed to tackle the impact of the pandemic. Alun Thomas, chief executive of mental health charity Hafal, says self-care and keeping communication channels open with friends and family will be crucial in these uncertain times. “Our advice is to stay connected to others as much as you can within the guidelines, look after your physical health and reach out and support others who you think may be in need,” he says. “It’s important we make use of our own support systems, whether that be our friends, families, schools or employers.”

Vaccines can cause allergies The proportion of people suffering with allergies has increased over the past few decades and vaccination rates have also increased

For advice on how to look after your mental wellbeing, visit www.phw.nhs.wales or www.bcuhb.nhs.wales during that time, leading some people to claim that vaccines could be the cause of allergies. However, many large-scale studies have been done and none has found any evidence of a link. The rise has been more closely linked with lifestyle and environmental changes.


Vaccines contain animal products Some live vaccines contain gelatine, derived from pigs, which is used to stabilise the vaccines so they can be stored safely. The gelatine is highly purified and in such small molecules that many Muslim leaders have accepted that it does not break religious dietary laws, and Jewish laws have no problem with porcine products in non-oral products, including vaccines.

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GreenLiving Use your pennies to pr tect the planet Many of us try to recycle, use the car less or change cleaning products, but the way you control your finances can help make a difference to the environment too. Here are Shire’s top five ways to use the power of your pounds to help create a better, greener environment for us all Check you’re with a green bank

Not many people ask to see their bank’s climate-change policy, but it’s worth investigating because big banks are some of the largest funders of fossil fuels, a major cause of damage to the environment. A survey by Which? found that 75 per cent of people have no idea of their bank’s policies, but it’s worth asking – and if you don’t like what they tell you, maybe it’s time to switch.

Make ethical investments

If you want to keep your savings working for you on the markets, there are now more than 2,500 ethical investment funds available, with many showing encouraging returns. Ethical investing essentially means backing companies that are focused on reducing the use of fossil fuels, cutting carbon and improving healthcare.

Shop sustainably

including clothes made out of recycled fabrics, and use plasticfree packaging. Also keep an eye on second-hand shops too.

Use your pension power

Not everyone has investments they can switch around, but most of us have a pension that works like an investment account and many are still funding the oil and gas industry. Some, however, are starting to change. Nest, the UK’s biggest pension “More and fund, began divesting from fossil fuels last year. Film more energy director Richard Curtis has spoken out and launched suppliers are a campaign, Make My Money Matter, encouraging people to put their pensions into greener investments. adopting

green tariffs”

An easy way to ensure you’re making a difference is to avoid fast fashion stores and those products that have a high carbon footprint. Do a bit of research: many high street stores sell green products,

Easy energy options

Probably the simplest way to put your money where your eco-friendly ethics are is to switch energy provider to a renewable supplier. More and more of the bigger names are adopting green tariffs, which means the prices are increasingly competitive. The information is freely available through any price comparison website, where you can usually find a deal that is cheaper than your current one too.

Nuclear future for n rth Wales Wales is in pole position to become the hub of the UK’s green energy future, according to a leading scientist from Bangor University


rofessor Bill Lee from Bangor supporting this region with projects that University’s Nuclear Futures Institute can generate high-quality, well-paid jobs. “Trawsfynydd [in Gwynedd] has the says north Wales has everything in place to potential to host a reactor for the production become the beating heart of the country’s of medical isotopes for nuclear medicine energy generation, with the Wylfa Newydd hybrid nuclear project live again on Anglesey for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. and attracting interest from US At the moment these isotopes are mostly imported from Europe and power giants Westinghouse. “We have a South Africa, and hosting a facility “We have two nuclear site community at Trawsfynydd would fit with licences here – Wylfa and that is Bangor University’s aim to appoint Trawsfynydd – and neither of supportive of a lecturer in nuclear medicine.” them is currently being used,” the nuclear says Professor Lee. “The sites in north Wales are better than Mixing it up industry” those elsewhere – Wylfa is huge Professor Lee, one of the and has good sea access for bringing in heavy UK’s leading nuclear scientists, believes pieces of kit, and the potential to do different north Wales can benefit from further things there is greater than anywhere else. investment in other forms of green “We also have a community that is power, as the region becomes one of supportive of the nuclear industry, and the UK’s carbon-free energy hubs. the UK government has talked about the “We are also looking at wind, solar levelling-up agenda so they should be and marine tidal energy generation as

well as green hydrogen production through regional research centres planned Professor Bill Lee as part of the North Wales Growth Deal,” he says. “The region already has plenty of low-carbon energy with onshore and offshore wind farms, and plans for even bigger offshore wind generation in future, as well as several tidal projects along the north Wales coast. “A key aspect is to make sure they are all coordinated so we have a mix of energy with wind, tidal, hydro-electric and nuclear that is flexible, letting us continue to generate power when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.” March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 69

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Get growing! With long, sunny days just around the corner, it’s time to breathe some new life into your neglected outdoor spaces

1 2



5 4 8









1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.



Barrington plant stand stand, £95, Minshull’s in Crewe; www.minshulls.co.uk Potting table, £265, Wilstone in Leebotwood, Shropshire; www.wilstone.com Simply Stunning floribunda rose (potted), £31.99, Country Garden Roses in Hadnall, Shropshire; www.countrygardenroses.co.uk Stone planters, from £60, Anglesey Masonry; www.angleseymasonry.co.uk Kent & Stowe watering can, £19.99, Marshalls; www.marshallsgarden.com White daffodil planting, £47.50, Potting Shed in Alderly Edge and Tarporley, Cheshire; www.pottingsheduk.com Planter, from £125, Morgans in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.morgansltd.com Daisy planters, £64, Ferney Heyes Garden Products in Audlem, Cheshire; www.ferneyheyesgardenproducts.co.uk Zinc planter, £34.95, Sarah Raven; www.sarahraven.com

10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.


Smart Garden hanger, £24.99, Dobbies Garden Centres; www.dobbies.com Ambassador hand fork, £9.95, Camlan in Machynlleth; www.camlan.cymru Ribbed zinc planters, £129 for three, Sarah Raven; www.sarahraven.com Anemone x hybrida ‘Pink Kiss’, £5.95, Shawbury Garden Centre in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.shawburygardencentre.co.uk Penshurst planter, £49.99, Minshull’s in Crewe; www.minshulls.co.uk Wire cloche, £29, Wilstone in Leebotwood, Shropshire; www.wilstone.com Sophie Conran weeder, £17.99, Burgon & Ball; www.burgonandball.com Large aluminium planter, £74.99, The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk Nymans Foliage gardening gloves, £16, National Trust Shop; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop

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a s ’ It ife l s ’ g do

We’re a nation of animal lovers, and of dogs in particular. As the levels of dog ownership in the UK rise to new heights thanks to lockdown, we take an in-depth look at the realities of owning a dog and how to ensure that it’s the right move for all involved

DID YOU KNOW? When asked during lockdown, 80 per cent of dog owners said their dogs keep them physically active


ince the first lockdown began a year ago, more of us than ever before have become exploitative and damaging trade with the proud dog people – whether that’s because dogs provide an extra incentive to get out possibility of lifelong suffering in dogs. of the house for regular exercise or because a loving pet is welcome change of focus for “Bringing a puppy into your home families in what has been a rather stressful 12 months. Even before lockdown, 24 per cent of always requires careful consideration, adults owned at least one dog, accounting for an estimated nine million canine companions but in 2021 it’s even more important across the UK. The changes to routines and shifting priorities brought about by the pandemic to do your research so you don’t get have had a knock-on effect on our caught out by people acting pet-owning habits. Many people illegally or irresponsibly.” “Getting a puppy at any time is both exciting who previously felt unable to offer It is important to factor in your a dog a home – often because of and daunting. They have seemingly boundless lifestyle too – and think long days spent out of the home – ahead to how this energy and an ability to find joy in everything may change. have taken the plunge and decided that now is the right time to add way – everyone feels happy in a puppy’s presence” “Our a hound to their household. of life has If you’re thinking of getting changed a dog – whatever the reason – it’s vital to remember that doing so is a big decision. Your throughout chosen pooch will be part of your family for a decade or more, and will only thrive under the pandemic the right circumstances. A certain amount of planning and forethought is essential. and the same is true for our pets, especially dogs, so Thankfully, the RSPCA is on there is hand with plenty of advice for potential dog owners. And much to think about one of the most imporant before we consideration is where you welcome a buy your dog. “Last year saw puppy into demand for dogs soar, with breeders, buyers and rescue our homes,” centres reporting unprecedented says Samantha. interest and an inability to “Getting a puppy supply the market,” says Dr at any time is both Samantha Gaines, the charity’s exciting and daunting. They dog welfare expert. “This have seemingly boundless energy and reported shortage of puppies an ability to find joy in everything, has meant we’ve seen a rise in and it’s rare to find someone who puppies coming from outside of won’t smile or feel happy in a puppy’s the UK. There’s now a worrying presence. It’s easy to understand why trend of breeding and importing they might be perceived as the perfect puppies, which is a potentially antidote to the current crisis. However,

Hound advice

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dogs don’t stay puppies for long and, regardless of their age, are reliant on you and your family to help guide them and provide everything they need to keep them happy and healthy for the rest of their life. This is a significant responsibility and commitment, and one that no one should take lightly. “You may have lots of time now, but what about when everything goes back to normal? It’s important to think about your previous lifestyle and whether you would have been able to get a puppy at that point. As well as being wonderful and very rewarding in many ways, puppies are messy, noisy, destructive and very demanding of our time and energy on a daily basis. They can also be very costly, so prospective owners need to consider whether they’re prepared for all this. If the answer is no, then getting a puppy – especially now – is probably not a good idea.”

New friends and second chances

In England last year, after extensive campaigning from animal rights charities, new legislation was brought in to ban the sale of puppies and kittens from third-party sellers such as pet shops, traders or dealers. This means that anyone wanting to buy or adopt a dog must go directly to a breeder or rehoming centre, which will hopefully limit the number of exploitative breeding practices. The law is in the process of being introduced in Wales too, but wherever you make that all-important puppy purchase you need to take care and make sure you don’t get caught out by an irresponsible breeder or illegal third-party dealer. The government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has produced lots of information to help you get your pet safely and you can find out more on the website at www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-a-cat-or-dog. Another option worth considering is rehoming a dog currently being housed by a charity or in a shelter. It is estimated that 130,000 dogs come into the care of UK rehoming organisations every year, and these figures are set to soar as the reality of dog ownership sinks in and the novelty wears off for many who made a snap decision during the first lockdown. There are charities with dogs looking for new homes across the Shire patch, including several local branches of the RSPCA and other dogs’ homes. “If after reading all the advice, you’re confident that you’ll be able to give a puppy or an adult dog a suitable forever home, we would urge you to think about adopting one of the many we have in our care,” says Samantha. “Although the pandemic is affecting the way in which we operate, we’re planning to continue rehoming and fostering using a remote process, so please do consider adopting a rescue dog.”

g o d Top Thinking about getting a dog but don’t know which breed to choose? Here are the most popular in the UK as compiled by Rover.com

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Mixed breed Labrador retriever Cocker spaniel Jack Russell terrier Staffordshire bull terrier

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Cockapoo French bulldog Border collie Shih tzu Chihuahua

Dachshund German shepherd Golden retriever Yorkshire terrier English springer spaniel

The perfect start

Owners of new dogs, especially puppies, also need to consider how they’ll introduce them to their surroundings and get them used to the world around them. Puppies need to be socialised slowly, so they have time to get used to sights, sounds, smells and different types of people, as well as other dogs and animals they’re likely to encounter. For dogs, this vital part of development happens between the ages of three and 14 weeks, so it is important to consider how to go about making sure this will happen during more restrictions and lockdowns if they are likely. “As the need to maintain our social distance continues, effective socialisation will be more difficult,” says Samantha. “In addition to this, vets are also operating in a different way from normal and there may be delays with a puppy’s primary vaccination course. If a puppy hasn’t had their full vaccination course, there will be areas which you should avoid visiting to protect your pet.”

DID YOU KNOW? It’s thought that the pug originated in China before 400BC and was closely related to a breed called “lo sze”

16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Pug Cavalier King Charles spaniel Beagle West Highland white terrier Bichon frise

Turn the page to meet four local families and their treasured dogs… March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 73

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y l i m a f s ’ y dd



Show cocker spaniel Five years The McInerneys (two adults and three children, who live near Wrexham)

One piece of advice from the Shepards... “Leave your puppy on their own for short periods of time. We didn’t and now she is firmly attached to my leg at all times!”

y l i m a f s ’ y l l o M

BREED F1 cockerpoo “We knew we wanted a show cocker because a friend of AGE One year ours had one and we loved FAMILY The Shepard family (two adults and how they looked and two children, who live in Telford) their temperament,” says Martha. “We found a breeder in “Molly joined us in April 2020 – a proper lockdown puppy – when north Wales who had a good reputation. With she was eight weeks old,” says Helen. “We were never an a breeder you get their animal family and neither of knowledge and experience of specialist breeds, which is good us grew up with dogs, but over if you’re a first-time dog owner. the years almost all our friends You also get to meet both parents, had got dogs. It was me who really wanted one but I’d always and the puppies are health-screened put it off because I didn’t think it and come with Kennel Club paperwork, which gives you peace of mind that you have a healthy, well-bred dog. would be fair to leave a dog on their own while we were at work. We planned “The best things for us about having a dog are companionship to borrow our friends’ dogs and then consider getting and loyalty. They are always happy to see you, love a cuddle on the couch and get you out into nature. Seeing them running one ourselves, but when our holiday was cancelled at Easter we along gives great pleasure. The decided to make some enquiries. worst thing is the responsibility “Friends advised us to go for a “The best things for us about having a dog – they are part of the family and small local breeder to ensure there if they have any issues it can be was no over-breeding and that the are companionship and loyalty. They are difficult. I feel a dog also needs puppy was brought up in a family always happy to see you, love a cuddle on daily exercise off the lead, which home from the start. We heard may mean going out in wet and about a breeder in Southport who the couch and get you out into nature” muddy conditions and drying had just had someone drop out at the last minute. We went to and cleaning not only your dog but often your car and house too! visit that weekend and knew straight away that we wanted her. “It has been an amazing experience for the whole family. We “Training a puppy to socialise and got Molly just as the first lockdown started and the timing couldn’t for recall is important but it doesn’t have been better. It was gorgeous weather and the kids were at have to be with a professional trainer. You can do it yourself – it home, so we could get her settled in really easily. It gave us a really just takes repetition and time. positive thing to focus on and was a great way to bond as a family. Paddy enjoys agility training so “The best things are the unconditional love, fun and energetic cuteness she brings every day. It has made going out for walks that’s also great exercise for us.” enjoyable – no one moans any more, except when they have to pick up the poo. My only concern is that because of lockdown we haven’t really had to leave her on her own – as things get back to normal, I think it will become more restrictive. “The only downside to having a puppy is the dirt. I have to vacuum and clean a lot more, and she chews everything too – but luckily I’m not too precious about anything. Oh, and we have no “Don’t be too precious about lawn because she loves to dig!” how clean your house is!”

One piece of advice from the McInerneys...

Paddy is a show cocker spaniel

The Shepards with their “lockdown puppy” Molly

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y l i m a f s ’ o Mil BREED AGE FAMILY

Chocolate cockerpoo One year The Thomas family (two adults and two children, living in Wirral)

One piece of advice from the Coasts... “Do lots of research into breeds and look at all the options including a rescue – there are many dogs needing new homes”

y l i m a f s ’ y arle


BREED Saluki greyhound cross “We’d wanted a puppy for a couple of years and came across a chocolate cockapoo pup last AGE Around 12 years March who joined our family in May,” FAMILY Gemma and Reuben Coast, says Sally. “We love to be outdoors – living in Nantwich, Cheshire or at least, my husband and I do, so getting a dog was a crafty ploy to get our teenage kids out with us “My son is eight years old and we have Marley, our saluki greyhound cross, and just recently lost our other dog, Brodie, more. My son also had a rough time starting high school and his mental who was a greyhound,” says Gemma. “Marley is around 12 years old but we’re not 100 per cent sure because he came to us as a health has become a priority for us. rescue. We rescued him in 2011, and at the time we think he He’d always wanted a puppy and was keen to have some puppy therapy! was between 18 months and three years old. He’s is originally “Lockdown was an ideal opportunity from Ireland and was rescued by a local north-west charity to spend longer with a new puppy. We’re called Erin Hounds. I’d had a rescue lurcher previously, and was looking for another lurcher because there also aware that our children are growing up are so many dogs in need of good homes. quickly and we want them to be around to “Milo has spent a lot more enjoy and love the puppy as long as possible. “Marley is great company and very welcoming when we come home. It’s nice “It’s been a great experience overall, but it time with us than we ever to take him on walks together. Greyhounds has had its ups and downs. Puppies are hard work, from sleepless nights to walking on a lead don’t need lots of exercise and are actually expected he would, which and socialising. He has brought worries and one of the laziest and most laidback breeds has led to some separation crazy times, but also love, laughter and cuddles. you’ll find – but they do still enjoy going Milo is a very companionable and a loving little out. He is very easy to take on holiday too, anxiety – from him and us!” and although they’re quite large dogs they pup. He’s always eager to see you, play and go exploring. Each member of the family has a manage to curl up smaller than you’d expect! different relationship with him that’s unique and special to them. “New dog owners do need to take a lot of things into “Milo has spent a lot more time with us than we ever expected consideration. Having a dog is a big commitment and a long-term he would, which has led to some separation anxiety – from him one, so you should always make sure you have time to commit to them. Remember, if they don’t come on holiday with you they and us! We know he’ll need to build up to being left alone for longer periods but we have the may need to go into kennels so account for these costs. I would also recommend insurance because vet fees can be expensive. support of family and a dog “All dogs are different and have different minder, which helps. temperaments, but good training He still hasn’t spent can always be beneficial for any a night away age – not only puppies. from us, which You can usually find I think he’ll a local course that find difficult, will help you but hopefully train your dog loving his in six to eight extended family weeks.” as he does he’ll cope well.”

Milo, a chocolate cockapoo, is a “loving little pup”

One piece of advice from the Thomases... “Start researching dog minders and walkers, and socialise your puppy as soon as possible”

The Coasts with Marley and Brodie March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 75

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Most of us wait until summer to swim in the sea, but plunging into cold water all year round is said to be great for both body and soul – and has been growing in popularity hroughout last year, as our leisure activities were limited, more and more people started swimming outside. Often it was through necessity – leisure centre and indoor pool closures forced keen swimmers back to nature – but sometimes it was the open water itself that was the real appeal. Swapping a heated pool for a chilly pond, lake, reservoir or the sea may not be everyone’s dream dip scenario, but recent figures from Sport England suggest more than 4.1 million people regularly go open-water swimming. Research has shown that since the first lockdown, there has been a 287 per cent increase in the popularity of wild swimming.

Feel the appeal

Cold-water swimming has been praised for relieving relative stresses and anxieties through the icy shock, which provides a release of endorphins (the happiness hormone) and an increase in adrenaline. Not only is open-water swimming free and not time-limited, on a cold day the bracing temperatures do wonders for taking your mind off the stresses and anxieties of everyday life. The sport has become so popular that many groups Join an open-water group are springing up that bring

people together to share in the hobby and help arrange locations and times for group swims too. But for many openwater swimmers, the simple pleasure and solitude of going it alone is preferable. Either way, there are some basic safety rules to follow if you fancy making a splash – but as long as you do, it should be a fun and exhilarating experience…




• Anyone with underlying health issues should seek medical advice before diving in • Don’t stay in too long, especially in extreme

cold – a matter of minutes is enough • Enter the water slowly to avoid shock, via a slope, steps or ramp – don’t dive or jump in • Keep your breathing deep, slow and steady • Bring lots of layers to warm up slowly afterwards, and maybe a hot drink For expert training and advice before you swim, check out the tips from www.nowca.org or find a local group on Facebook

SECRET SQUIRREL-SPOTTING SITE Walking columnist Clive Williams sets readers on the trail of one of Britain’s rarest creatures


eep in the remote Clocaenog Forest in Denbighshire lives one of the UK’s most elusive native animals – the red squirrel. While you’re keeping an eye out, the forest offers plenty of walking exploring the trails in this peaceful area. The forest is owed and managed by Natural Resources Wales and there are a few starting points for walks that offer free parking and information

Red squirrel numbers continue to decline across the UK

boards with colourcoded waymarked walks and bridle routes. For fine views, the steep 30-minute Pincyn Llys “You’ll be Monument walk rewarded takes you to the highest point with farof the forest. reaching Here you’ll will be rewarded views” Peaceful and beautiful landscapes with farreaching views across the Vale of Clwyd. The more adventurous may prefer the Hiraethog trail walk, which takes you through some peaceful and beautiful landscapes. A map is a must – Ordnance Survey Explorer 264 or 265 covers this area. Bod Petryal is another great starting point and is clearly signposted on the B5105 between Cerrigydrudion and Ruthin, with free parking and a fantastic picnic area by the small lake. The Keepers’ stroll starts here, an easy half-mile circular walk that is great for young explorers and incorporates an animal discovery trail. The end of the walk brings you to the Keepers’ Cottage. Natural Resources Wales has a great free app that covers this and other areas of Wales. It can be downloaded from www.naturalresources.wales.

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Cute Pets WIN

a £25 voucher for Bradeley Green, your paradise for pet supplies, to spend instore or online at petcetera.co.uk

Win some pet treats! To enter, email a photograph of your pet and their name to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk and the Shire team will pick the winner!

Alpacas are friendly, inquisitive animals

Friendly, fleecy and fun

Alfie enjoying a long, muddy walk in the woods

If you have the time, space and inclination to take on a new kind of pet or even a herd of furry friends, you may want to consider joining the alpaca pack

Bertie on a lazy day

of a diversification plan. Other owners may choose to keep them as field pets, for their fibre, as flock guards for sheep, chickens or turkeys, as an attraction alongside glamping or for breeding.”

Farm with a view

The amazing views at Fostings Farm


espite originating from far-flung shores, alpacas are an increasingly common sight across the UK. It is easy to see the appeal – they are cute, naturally nosy and have their uses for wool, guarding and even milk. One couple from Kinnerton in mid Wales who know all about these loveable “Alpacas creatures are Alice Pond and Kevin have a Jones, who operate a variety of holiday glamping site personalities” alongside their herd at Fostings Alpacas. “Keeping alpacas is a wonderful and rewarding experience,” says Alice. “Their calm and inquisitive nature makes them great companions. Just like humans, they have a variety of personalities. They can also help to reduce stress and bring happiness into your life. “At Fostings, we decided to keep alpacas because we wish to dedicate more time to individual animals rather than traditional farming, and looked to alpacas as part

Fostings Farm is a thriving 90-acre farm in Kinnerton. Located 1,300ft above sea level, it offers incredible views of the valley below and the surrounding Black Mountains, Hergest Ridge, Clee Hill and the Brecon Beacons. The alpaca smallholding business boasts a small herd of alpacas and has a range of handsome crias (baby alpacas) for sale on an annual basis, as well as offering mobile stud services.


Lola in her usual mealtime position

Rupert enjoying the sun through the window

Alice with one of her alpacas

Alice and Kevin are happy to offer free, impartial advice on alpacas, or you can book a stay in the couple’s Hush Hush Glamping escape, giving you the chance to wake up to nature in the company of friendly alpacas, sheep, red kites and the occasional deer. www.fostingsalpacas.co.uk

Bradeley Green, Tarporley Road, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 4HD www.petcetera.co.uk

T&Cs: The winner will be chosen by Shire and be given the option of receiving a voucher to spend instore or a digital code to redeem online at petcetera.co.uk. Voucher will be valid for six months and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77

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The Wildlife Trusts have been reintroducing beavers to the UK countryside for 20 years, and they have ambitious plans for 2021 and beyond – including the first release in Wales


quality of the water and the effects eavers are native to mainland Britain but were hunted to extinction in the 16th century. The absence of these industrious on wildlife including breeding birds, bats, aquatic invertebrates herbivores had a devastating impact on the British countryside, leading to the loss of the mosaic of lakes, meres, mires, tarns and and the rare plants and mosses. boggy places they were instrumental in creating. Their ability to restore and maintain important wetland Welsh wonders “A pair of habitats is why reintroducing this species is so essential. The Welsh Beaver Project, beavers was led by North Wales Wildlife “Beavers are a keystone species that have a hugely released at important role to play in restoring nature to Britain,” Trust on behalf of the Hatchmere five Wildlife Trusts in says Craig Bennett, chief executive of the Wildlife Wales, has been assisting Trusts. “Beavers Lake in help stop flooding Montgomeryshire Wildlife Cheshire” Beavers help maintain wetlands downstream, Trust with its plans to release filter out impurities and a pair of beavers at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve near Machynlleth this year. It will be the first officially licensed release of beavers in create homes for otters, water Wales and the animals will play a vital role in managing invasive voles and kingfishers. What’s more, their presence boosts willow and scrub that threatens wetland areas of this lowland bog. tourism in the countryside.” If all goes well, there are ambitious plans for 2022. Shropshire In November 2020, Cheshire Wildlife Trust has identified a site in Shrewsbury where a pair Wildlife Trust reintroduced a of beavers will be released in an enclosure. They will be replacing Beavers have been released in the UK pair of beavers at Hatchmere grazing cattle to prevent trees and scrub invading the wetland. Lake near Frodsham as part of a five-year project. The trust will The site is surrounded by housing estates and a school, so there monitor the changes these eco-system engineers make, checking the will be plenty of opportunity for local people to be involved.

MAKE SOME WILD WORK BUDDIES Remote working seems to be here to stay, so now is the perfect time to make friends with the rest of your office… including embracing the wildlife outside your window


he recent changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that our home offices are being used more than ever before. And the team from Shrewsbury-based CJ Wildlife have some tips on how to use your new office space to connect with nature. The key to enjoying working from home is to make office friends – with visitors to your garden. Encourage wildlife into your garden. Any outside space can be a wildlife habitats – some just take a little more time to create than other. If you don’t have room for blooming borders, simple pots of wildlifefriendly perennials such as buddleia Buddleia bushes for butterflies are invaluable to pollinating insects

such as butterflies, while berry-yielding shrubs, especially ivy, are a great source of foods for birds and provide shelter for mammals and birds. Feeding stations are another quick and easy way to get started, such as a simple window feeder or a pole-feeding station. Our working days are more productive when we take breaks to re-energise, and the outside world is a great place to have coffee or lunch. The natural beauty of the outdoors also makes a great background for video calls, while the tweeting of birds will give you the feeling of being part of a group without having to worry about what they’re actually saying. Bright flowers bring bees Share your new home office friends using #homeofficefriends

78 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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Here For You and Your Animals Here at Mulberry Alpacas we have:

Wide Range of Animal

Alpaca socks Lovely knitted items Penrose alpaca duvets and pillows Alpaca yarn and fleece Cuddly toys And a herd of freindly Alpacas So, come and visit soon!


Mulberry Grange, Red Hall Lane, Higher Penley, Wrexham, LL13 ONA

Products including: Dog and Cat Food

l Wild


l Equine l Livestock l Small l Gifts


Tel: 07713 639 447 or 01978 710224 Email: mulberryalpacas@btconnect.com We’re 4 miles north of Ellesmere


and Homeware

Bring this ad with you and receive a FREE mystery gift!* Free Parking Call & Collect COVID-19 guidelines adhered to




*One gift per customer. Ad must be presented to redeem. Offer ends 30/04/2021

In-Store and Online petcetera.co.uk OPEN MONDAY TO SATURDAY 9AM-5PM I SUNDAY 10AM-4PM 01948 668 100 BRADELEY GREEN, WHITCHURCH, SY13 4HD

An exclusive Grade I listed B&B in luxurious surroundings. Ample enclosed off road parking, and dogs extremely welcome, also incorporating exclusive doggy day care and pampering for your four legged friends, beautiful lawned gardens hot tub and patio area - a magnificent family base for exploring North Wales not far from the River Dee Estuary and beach. Contact Rona rona.morris@icloud.com or call 07940 012098

Doggy Day Care available Get in touch for more details

Penrho Hall, Hafod y Ddo, Mostyn , Holywell CH8 9EJ

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Dreaming of your very own luxury escape?

Discover the magic of nature and the freedom of getting away from it all at Maes Mynan Park. A hidden gem in North Wales offering picture perfect kaleidoscope views over hills, moorland, woodland and lakes from the comfort of your very own holiday home be it a luxury lodge or static caravan. Premium holiday plots available. 12 month season. Stunning views across an AONB. New static caravan holiday homes, with 2 new bespoke lodges arriving shortly.

2 stunning holiday parks with so much to offer! Luxury holiday home lodges with beautiful views and fantastic facilities

We always have a wide selection of high quality holiday homes for sale. Call today on 01286 830205 to find your perfect home away from home.

Call to make an appointment on 07836522444 or email us at info@acornleisure.com Maes Mynan Park, Off the A541, Afonwen, Caerwys. CH7 5UB.



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www.haw klake. co.uk


Shire Magazine, the No.1 magazine

for holiday parks throughout Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.

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. 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.

Contact Hawk Lake now to join the waiting list. ALL VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENT Hawk Lake Caravan Park, North Lodge, Hawkstone Park, Marchamley, Nr Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 5GE

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Fantastic facilities at the farm


is no pub or club on site, but there’s ryn Uchel is a traditional cattle and access to a coffee lounge serving sheep hill farm that has been owned refreshments and free WiFi is available. by the Davies family for more than 61 years. The caravan park within Bryn Uchel Caravan Park is “Bryn Uchel open from March to December, the farm allows you to enjoy and dogs are welcome if kept an authentic rural experience. is set in on a lead. The site has excellent The Davies family has 300 acres 4G coverage and is just one hour transformed the picturesque of beautiful from Telford and Chester. You farm into one of the most countryside” can expect the high standard beautiful caravan parks in of facilities you’d get from a mid Wales, with terraced five-star holiday park, as well as good slopes and well-spaced holiday homes. value for money. www.brynuchel.co.uk Bryn Uchel Caravan Park is set in 300 acres of spectacular countryside including woodland, streams and even a couple of mountains, overlooking one of the most beautiful valleys in Wales. The water supply to the park is spring water which travels from the heart of the mountains to your holiday home. Each holiday home has parking facilities and its own private area where you can relax, and is connected to services including bottled gas, water, drainage and electricity. There Spectacular views from the caravan park


ased at the Blakemere Craft Centre near Northwich, Cheshire Falconry offers a day out like no other. One of the leading falconry centres in the UK, it has been in operation for nearly two decades and provides a range of incredible flying experiences giving you the chance to observe magnificent birds of prey at close quarters. Whether you put on a gauntlet to fly birds with the expert falconry team in the Raptor Encounter or prefer the thrill of flying birds in the Eagle Adventure, you’re bound to find an experience you’ll remember forever. There’s nothing quite like the experience of flying a bird of prey – you’ll be amazed as it swoops in and lands on on your outstretched gauntlet! To book your place, visit www.cheshirefalconry.com.



atering for all types of holidaymaker, Abbey Green Farm has a range of luxury accommodation in a converted farmhouse, a lodge and a small touring and camping park set in a peaceful location in the village of Whixall, near Whitchurch, Shropshire. All rooms have a seating area where guests can relax after a busy day, a flatscreen TV and White Company bed linen. Every room also has tea- and coffee-making facilities and homemade shortbread, as well as bathrobes and free toiletries. Free WiFi is available across the site, as well as free parking. Bikes are available to hire if you want to explore the surrounding countryside, including vintage 1940s bicycles. The farm’s well-tended gardens attract a variety of birds and insects, making the farm terrace the the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea. Other food options available to guests include bacon and egg rolls every morning. If you prefer DIY

dining, barbecues are allowed on site and there are shops and supermarkets in nearby Wem and Whitchurch. For campers the family-run campsite at Abbey Green The farm’s well-tended gardens Farm is exclusively for adults. Nestled in a quiet and secluded location surrounded by picturesque countryside, it’s an ideal getaway with flat and spacious grass pitches including electric hook-ups. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a lead at all times. The site is open from 14th April to 7th October, restrictions allowing, and is the perfect hideaway for relaxed touring and camping. It’s also the ideal base for a walking and cycling holiday in Shropshire. www.abbeygreenfarm.co.uk

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Time to hit the road!


nce the British Isles open up for holidays once more, why not stay safe inside your own accommodation and explore breathtaking national parks and dramatic landscapes on a motorhome holiday from Touring Cars Chester? The Shire region is full of landmarks and countryside that are all easily “Whether you accessible by rental motorhome. want to explore Whether you want to spend your Snowdonia, days walking, hiking or cycling Cheshire or through Snowdonia, Cheshire or Shropshire – or venture further afield Shropshire, the to the Lake District, Peak District or only limit is your the Yorkshire Dales – the only limit imagination” is your imagination when you take your accommodation with you. Touring Cars Chester guarantees your comfort and Tour the Shire area in the comfort of your own motorhome relaxation in one of its luxurious rental camping cars. Arriving at its Ellesmere Port rental station, you’ll be given a full orientation around your beautiful rental motorhome and expert advice from one of the oldest motorhome service providers in Europe. The company, which started in Finland in 1982, is now one of the major players in Europe, covering 12 countries and with 560 motorhome vehicles. The business perfectly meets the growing demand for individually tailored, sustainable travel to explore glorious destinations and hidden gems in comfort, with facilities tailored to your own schedules and interests. If you fancy a motorhome holiday, why not start with one offered by a company that has provided almost four decades of dream holidays. www.eshartleygroup.co.uk/rental

Messing about in boats


atch the world drift by while spending a week or two on board a Cheshire Cat narrowboat. The small familyrun firm is based at Overwater Marina in Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal, just below Find the perfect narrowboat for you the Audlem lock flight and three hours’ cruising from the Llangollen Canal. The fleet includes boats for couples as well as familysized vessels such as the company’s newest addition, Witch Hazel, which has four berths. Cheshire Cat Narrowboats team will ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable holiday experience from the moment you arrive. Expert tuition is provided to set you on your way with confidence, including a practical demonstration of locks. The company’s experts can also suggest a choice of suitable routes, and tell you all about the amazing scenery, cosy pubs and historic architecture you’re likely to see along the way. Throughout your holiday, free advice is always just a phone call away. www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk



ith direct access to Prestatyn’s beautiful Blue Flag beach, Lyons Lido Beach Holiday Park is a great place to stay on the north Wales coast. Close to local amenities and attractions, including horse riding, a golf course, sea fishing and dry slope “Enjoy the skiing, you’ll have everything you need peace and on your doorstep. However if you do quiet or the want to explore a little further, the surrounding countryside has some of hustle and the most beautiful walks in Wales. bustle” The relaxed, clean and friendly park offers the best of both worlds – you can enjoy peace and quiet or join the hustle and bustle of local attractions. The park has recently enjoyed a substantial investment including the opening of a new Relaxation Suite for the enjoyment of holiday-home owners. This new facility includes sauna, steam room, hot tub and mini gymnasium and is open daily with exclusive fob access. www. lyonsholidayparks. The park is friendly and close to Prestatyn co.uk/park/lido-beach



estled between Snowdonia Llawrbetws is the ideal location for beautiful walks, fresh National Park and the air and lots of open space. All 70 caravans on the site are Clwydian Range & Dee Valley privately owned, so you can expect to see your neighbours AONB, Llawrbetws time and time again; and with over 30 years in the “Llawrbetws industry, the owners Geraint and Jane will help you Caravan Park near Corwen, Gwynedd, is make the most is the ideal Find your new holiday home perfectly located for your holiday location for of home. Secure your both tranquillity and accessibility to top attractions. beautiful If you’re looking to buy your first caravan, the very own piece of walks” team at Llawrbetws works with some of the heaven, nestled in the countryside, and industry’s best manufacturers and consistently has stock you can see at the park. Or you can find your make it a safe place where perfect caravan and get it transported to the site. Whichever you can make memories option you choose, the team is on hand to ensure your with family and friends. www.llawrbetws.co.uk holiday home is everything you have dreamt of.

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Private hot tubs Built-in wet room Smart TV with Netflix WIFI Self check-in

Situated alongside a working farm, with plenty of walks from the doorstep, our three Luxury Glamping Pods provide the perfect escape to relax and unwind. The accommodation has been individually designed and furnished in a bespoke style, to provide you with a restful stay. Shropshire Luxury Glamping, Purslow Hall Farm, Shropshire, SY7 0HJ.

01588 539089 info@shropshireluxuryglamping.co.uk www.shropshireluxuryglamping.co.uk

Bryn Uchel Caravan Park

2021 Park Fees £2,020.00 Best Value for Money


Bryn Uchel is a family run 5 star Park located in a secluded corner of the Dyfi valley in Mid Wales. The Park is set within 300 acres of spectacular countryside which includes woodlands, streams and a mountain, overlooking one of the most beautiful valleys in Wales. Call or email us today to arrange a visit

01650 511441


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ocated on the banks of River Perry in private woodland just outside Shrewsbury, Riverside Cabins offers a selection of cosy holiday and glamping lodges for families and couples alike. The individually-styled luxury cabins and lodges sleep between two and six people and each of the larger lodges has its own private hot tub, while guests

The sustainably built cabins in the woods

in the smaller cabins can hire one of two secluded woodland hot tubs. The owners of the new holiday site wanted to ensure sustainability was

at the heart of Riverside Cabins, and all the selfcatering cabins were designed, crafted and supplied by local Shropshire business owner Steve Roberts from Lowfield Timber Frames. The site is the Enjoy your own space perfect place from which to explore the great outdoors, with wonderful walks and wildlife on the doorstep. And with lots of nearby historic sites and attractions – as well as lovely country pubs and restaurants – to enjoy, there’s plenty to keep all ages entertained during a weekend, short break or longer getaway. The Riverside team is always on hand to help you plan and make the very most of your visit, whether you prefer a cosy winter retreat, spring or Easter escape, or summer holiday. www.riverside-cabins.co.uk


tropical holiday may be out of the question this year, but visitors to Anglesey can still experience a steamy environment full of lush vegetation, waterfalls and live butterflies at the magical Pili Palas, Anglesey. The all-weather family-friendly attractions offers the chance to meet Billy the 16ft Burmese python, DJ and Barney the donkeys, Tecwyn the tegu, Elvis and Charlie in their aviary and the meerkats. The main event is the tropical butterfly house, where you can encounter various species of butterfly and moth, including atlas moths with a wingspan of up to 12 inches, owl butterflies, blue morphos and monarch butterflies. There are also free-flying birds such as zebra finches, Java sparrows and roul-roul partridges. www.pilipalas.co.uk

Undiscovered beauty at magical Maes Mynan M

aes Mynan Holiday Park is an exciting new development set in over 100 acres of countryside in a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Mold in Flintshire. Within easy reach of junction 31 of the A55, the park is the perfect weekend getaway and destination for holiday-home owners seeking an escape to the country. As well as stunning panoramic views, Maes Mynan Park offers a range of luxury lodges and static caravans located in two distinctive zones. The park is Find a holiday home with a view at Maes Mynan an ideal base for exploring all that north Wales has to offer, and getting out and about to discover the local adventure, culture and historic treasures is easy. “A wooded If you want to start planning your future adventures by purchasing a enclave with holiday home in this undiscovered beauty spot, you’d better be quick – views across the luxury lodges for sale on a choice of exclusive lodge plots are being the Clwydian snapped up fast. The site also has static caravan plots available, and static caravans for sale in a wonderful wooded enclave with views across Range” the Clwydian Range. With UK-based holidays growing in popularity, there is no better time to invest. With only a few remaining plots for holiday homeowners to A variety of lodges are available choose from, make sure you get in touch as soon as you’re able. www.maesmynanpark.com

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Abbey Green Farm & ily Fam


fr og

dly ien

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Situated near Whitchurch in beautiful Shropshire


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LlawrBetws is all you could want in an authentic country holiday. Surrounded by scenery, wildlife and top Welsh attractions, we are an excellent base to go and explore. With great road links you are just minutes away from being on the road to Snowdonia, Betws y Coed, Llangollen, Chester and the Welsh Coasts. MARCH-JANUARY SEASON | PRIVATELY OWNED info@llawrbetws.co.uk www.llawrbetws.co.uk 01490 460224

26/02/2021 16:52

Arts&Crafts Pair Of Pheasants (below) helped to raise money for Marie Curie

Art with a HEART The work of a talented Shropshire artist has been included in a prestigious Royal Academy event, raising thousands of pounds for charity


hropshire artist Penelope Timmis number of charities and worthwhile causes, and was thrilled to be saw some of her work auctioned involved in the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, an event in aid of the Marie Curie charity. Each year at the annual private view of the Royal this prestigious, invitation-only event welcomes Academy Summer around 75 guests, mainly from the art world. “It’s a great Exhibition in “It’s a wonderful affair that I have been donating to honour to have and attending for a number of years,” says Penelope. London at the end been involved in “It’s always a very grand occasion and raises a great of 2020, raising vital such an important funds for charity. deal of money for a very worthy cause.” This year, occasion” however, things had to be a little different and Penelope, who instead of a canapé and champagne reception, it was is from Rowley, near Westbury all done online, hosted by auction house Christie’s. on the England/Wales border, is an award-winning artist who Fowl play works mainly in acrylic or oil on Renowned for her chickens, cockerels and geese, who proudly strut canvas or board. She supports a into her paintings in a most appealing way, Penelope donated two pieces of artwork this year: Pair Of Pheasants and a still life in acrylic and crayon. The online auction ran for three weeks and is billed offering opportunities for new and seasoned collectors alike to invest in some one-off pieces. The auction featured over 30 pieces of work by highly sought-after artists; bidding on Penelope’s pieces started at £800 each and the two works eventually sold for a total of £2,375. With a large following across the UK, Penelope has a contemporary and bold style is distinctive and easy to recognise at a glance. She is well known for her colourful flower scenes, vibrant landscapes and rugged coastlines, and has won multiple awards and exhibits both nationally and internationally. “I’m thrilled my paintings raised over £2,000,” says she says. “The event usually raises in excess of £100,000 and it’s a great honour to be chosen to be involved in such a well-known and important occasion.”

Penelope is known for her distinctive chicken portraits

All proceeds go to the Marie Curie charity, which provides essential care and support for people reaching the end of their lives. To view more of Penelope’s artwork visit her new website www.penelopetimmis.co.uk


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A touch of glass

11th & 12th March, Sandra Roberts Silversmith Come and see Sandra work as she creates unique pieces of silver jewellery using eco silver and semi-precious gemstones.

A campaign has been launched to fund the restoration of 12 stained-glass windows created by one of Wales’s most talented craftspeople

One of the dalle de verre windows


church in Mold has launched an appeal for funds to restore a series of beautiful stained-glass windows by one of Wales’s most talented 20th-century craftsmen. The 12 glass panels were made by Jonah Jones for the Church of the Resurrection of Our Saviour in Morfa Nefyn, Gwynedd, which was built in 1968 but closed four years ago. They have been kept at St David’s Catholic Church in Mold in two specially-adapted storage units provided by Denbigh-based Lock Stock Self Storage pending their restoration by experts at the University of Wales in Swansea. The exquisite pieces, which weigh 100kg each, are examples

13th & 14th March, Femme Fatale Liz will be showing her collection of spring bags and accessories. She also makes fascinators and scarves to complement an outfit.

One of the 12 panels created for the church built in 1968

and a retired chartered engineer, has been responsible for looking after the panels. “We have been using the storage units to house the glass panels but the first six have now been taken down to Swansea to be restored by a team of experts at the University of Trinity St David’s,” he says. “The specialist units provided a perfect way of keeping them safe and in a stable environment, and now the remaining six windows have been moved to the church itself ready to be sent to Swansea before they all come back here to Mold.” Mike Trow, of Lock Stock Self Storage, says: “I’m sure they will look stunning when they’re hung here. It is amazing the different uses our storage units can be put to and housing 12 stained glass windows is certainly a new Mike Bunting, left, with Mike Trow of Lock Stock one for me!” of the dalle de verre (glass slab) technique, when pieces of glass are cut or broken and set in resin studded with quartz. Their creator was born in County Durham in 1919 to a mining family of Welsh origin, and returned to Wales to develop into a hugely talented craftsman, sculptor and artist. He worked in slate, stone and bronze, as well as in stained, leaded and concrete glass, painted in watercolour and even wrote a biography of Portmeirion architect Clough Williams-Ellis.

Care and conservation

Mike Bunting from Mold, a member of St David’s Church

Price of preservation

“The National Lottery isn’t taking applications for funding during the pandemic, which means I’ve had to look at other funding organisations,” says Mike. “We’ve managed to secure some funding, but we really need help to ensure these remarkable artworks are preserved. We plan to hang them in the church and are so pleased to have been able to offer them a new home in the diocese.” St David’s Church has set up a special Go Fund Me page for its appeal. Visit www. gofundme.com/jonah-jonesstained-glass-windows-repair

20th & 21st March, Thelma Evans Local artist Thelma has been a visiting artist Afonwen for many years, working in acrylic on canvas. She has original works for sale and many reproduced prints ready to be framed. 10th & 11th April, Gill Benjamin Gill, who paints in acrylic and watercolours, has many landscapes, seascapes and pet portraits. Gill creates works from places she has visited plus commissioned work from photographs. 20th & 21st April, Earthworks Marie is a local artist working with many materials, from lino prints and miniature plant pots to an array of mystical mythical figures and semi-precious gemstones. 22nd & 23rd April, Jewels Jackie is the face of Jewels crafts and has a fabulous collection of unique pieces using semi-precious stones, crystals, pearls, glass and wooden beads as well as shell and mother of pearl. 29th & 30th April, Cherry Bea Elaine is always a popular visiting jeweller to the centre and has quite the following. She created beaded, sea glass, Swarovski crystal and wire work jewellery, and also offers a re-stringing service for those treasured pieces you love that need a little TLC. CALLING ALL CRAFTSPEOPLE! Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre near Mold is currently looking for new local artists and artisan crafters to join its team and use its demonstrating and sales room. It is looking for exciting new talent to use the room – you must be able to demonstrate your work while there, even if you can’t carry out the whole process owing to safety or equipment issues. If you think you fit the bill, please contact Janet or Adrian on 01352 720965 or email antiques@afonwen.co.uk.

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The Tŷ Pawb Virtual Open The theme of this year’s Open is “creativity during lockdown” and the response has been inspiring, demonstrating the invention and resilience shown by artists from across Wrexham, Wales and the UK. More than 350 artists provided artworks for consideration, and the final selection is now available to view in a fully interactive virtual tour of the exhibition. There is also a virtual tour activity pack for children and families, with an accompanying activity booklet for fun and engaging drawing activities for young artists. www. typawb.wales/ty-pawb-open

PHOTO COMPETITION TASTY TREATS Thank you to everyone who submitted photographs on this month’s topic, “Tasty Treats”. You certainly rose to the challenge with images that have made us all peckish just by looking at them! We’ve printed our favourites here. This past year has been a challenge and we know many of you have been trying to show appreciation for those who have helped us through it all, so for our next edition we would like you to concentrate on the topic Heroes. Think literally or laterally – and send your images to us here at Shire on the usual email address, editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. Good luck!

Until 18th April, Nick Hornby: Zygotes & Confessions, The Mostyn Art Gallery, Llandudno Hornby brings high-tech processes to figuration, pulling historical, material forms into the era of screen culture. His works defy conventional distinctions of form and media, and exhibit instead what Hornby terms “meta-cubism”. The sculptures are produced using digital and industrial processes, but retain the artist’s touch through the final process whereby a liquefied image is applied to each work. While the gallery is shut, resources and a virtual guide are available at www.mostyn. org/exhibition/nick-hornbyzygotes-and-confessions. The Watergate Street Gallery, Chester This gallery opened in 1992 with a philosophy to bring fresh, different and yet affordable art to as many people as possible, sourcing work from across the world. If you’re able to visit the gallery in person, you’ll find hundreds of paintings on display; if not, the gallery website features original paintings, etchings, screen prints and signed limited editions into your home. www. watergatestreetgallery.co.uk The Soden Collection, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury Visit the collection’s base in Shrewsbury or step inside the online virtual gallery to view works of art by some of the world’s leading artists. The current interactive online exhibition focuses on Mark Payne’s hyper-realism oil paintings of beautiful woodland scenes and his incredible book paintings. The collection’s curators have also highlighted works by Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Nick Veasey, Endre Roder, Ian Rayer-Smith and many more. www.sodencollection.com

by Tony Walker

by Kenneth Davies

by Chris Bright

by Wendy Briggs

by Margaret Davies

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by Sam Hulse

by Kenneth Davies

by Kathryn Hall

by Kathryn Hall

by Michael Byrne

by Tony Walker

by Mary Jones

by Sam Hulse

by John Holt

by Chris Bright

by Kathryn Hall

March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 89

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Openin gT Mon-S imes at 9 Sunda -5 10:30- y 3:30 3





22 Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton SY6 6BW Call 01694 722724 or email info@peppersfashion.co.uk





Spring pastels


SHOP ONLINE at www.peppersfashion.co.uk












Traditional Clothing in Church Stretton, Shropshire



astels are more than 1. Privatsachen Retrost jumpsuit a tonal palette. The in wedding, £230 soft, comforting colours 2. Privatsachen Lacker top are associated with selfin wedding, £139 care and wellness, and in 3. Privatsachen Nahtour jacket response to the pressure of in sage, £185 4. Malloni pleated trousers the pandemic have been in multicolour, RRP £426, given a new lease of life now £213 in this season’s trends. 5. Ewa I Walla hard voile skirt Used on everything from in soft jade, £235 beautiful spring dresses to 6. Privatsachen Weseelig dress in wind, £303 soft jumpsuits, pastels are here to make a statement. Privatsachen’s spring/summer 2021 collection is filled with romantic silhouettes and natural fabrics in blush pinks and soft sage. The lightweight fabrics used encapsulate the pastel tones beautifully. Swedish label Ewa I Walla, meanwhile, has used the softest shades of sky blue and off-white, alongside its timeless floral print, in its dresses and skirts. The ladylike and sweet-looking hues can be incorporated with almost any colour. If you want to excel on the spring look, Ewa I Walla’s vintage floral prints are a chic and perfect solution. If loose-fitting pieces aren’t for you, bring your tailored game to life with Malloni’s collections. Its innovative styling and strong Italian silhouettes bring a luxury twist to the soft pastel look. The key to styling is to find the shapes that work for you, and then choose the right palette to complement your complexion.

You can see spring/summer 2021 collections at Olivia May’s Cheshire showroom and online at www.oliviamay.org with FREE delivery. Olivia May showroom is at The Barns, Lane End Farm, Kelsall Road, Ashton Hayes, Cheshire CH3 8BH. Call 01829 751600 to make an appointment

We stock among others:

Join the Shire team

Would you like to work at home? Do you like communicating with people Do you have sales experience?

If you’re a good communicator and will enjoy building relationships with clients for the best regional magazine covering Wales and the Borders, we want to talk to you. Due to rapid growth, there is now an opportunity for a new member to join our team. You can work from home, with hours to suit you, liaising with advertisers to help them choose their campaign and their coverage in the magazine. You are a charismatic and proactive self-starter who enjoys working on your own initiative, and are outgoing and personable. You are highly organised, and have good computer skills. Above all else, you are a trustworthy and hardworking individual, someone who gets a real buzz from achieving results for clients. Please email with a covering letter and your CV to advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk, marked ‘Work from home’ as the subject to find out more.

90 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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Wild Thing



Make a statement with bold animal prints in a variety of hues








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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Jagger dress, £55, SilkFred; www.silkfred.com Tiered shirt dress, £69, Sosandar; www.sosandar.com Classic buckle belt, £45, Boden; www.boden.co.uk Oversize shirt, £25.99, Zara; www.zara.com Fransa leggings, £27.95, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.bodenhams.co.uk A Postcard From Brighton Gwen top, £54, Sleek Boutique in Nantwich, Cheshire; www.sleeknantwich.com Croc effect leggings, £19, Bella Boutique in Northwich, Cheshire; www.bellabrand.co.uk Owen Barry Dudley shoulder bag, £258, View in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.viewboutique.com Loriina ankle boots, £169, Ted Baker London; www.tedbaker.com Leopard and zebra print scarf, £15, Sleek Boutique in Nantwich, Cheshire; www.sleeknantwich.com French Connection Ameli midi dress, £120, View in Ludlow; www.viewboutique.com Nephele leather saddle buckle bags, £42; The Stars and Grey; www.thestarsandgrey.co.uk Jacquard zebra coat, £90, Joe Browns; www.joebrowns.co.uk Ikat midi skirt, £139, Whistles; www.whistles.com Cherish slingback heels, £95, Dune London; www.dunelondon.com Shirred hem top, £26, Dorothy Perkins; www.dorothyperkins.com





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10% off venue hire for available dates in May - September 2022*

exclusively yours An enchanting 19th Century Grade II listed country hall lovingly restored as a luxurious destination wedding venue, located in the heart of the North Wales countryside. Secure your wedding date at Tyn Dwr Hall with no deposit* and take advantage of the special offers* available for weddings booked before May 2021.

20% off venue hire for available dates in October - December 2022*

weddings@tyndwrhall.co.uk 01978 884 664 tyndwrhall.co.uk Book your 2023 wedding at 2022 prices*

Tyn Dwr Hall, Tyn Dwr Road, Llangollen, LL20 8AR

Shire Magazine, supporting local universities, schools and colleges.

*Terms and conditions apply. Visit tyndwrhall.co.uk/wedding-offers/ for full details.

Are you a local artist?

We’d like to share your work with our readers, and tell your story.

Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk or 01691 661 270

Are you a local author?

Do you have a story to tell our readers? We’d like to know more…

To ensure your school is featured, contact us now on editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk or simply call (01691) 661 270

092_SHIRE_MA2021.indd 1

Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk or 01691 661 270

26/02/2021 17:01

Weddings Tyn Dwr Hall is a prestigious grade II listed country hall – and a wedding venue for all seasons


he team at Tyn Dwr Hall in Llangollen is preparing for a busy wedding calendar. As couples look to secure their wedding celebrations post-Covid, the hall is adapting to meet couples’ needs. Tyn Dwr Hall sits in seven acres of woodland in the heart of the north Wales countryside. The site incorporates the main hall building, separate accommodation located within the Yew Tree Cottage, the Coach House and the Glamping Village, as well as ample grounds where outside ceremonies can be held. The estate has an array of large reception rooms that can be adapted to welcome the bridal party and guests comfortably, ensuring social distancing guidelines and accompanying safety measures can be adhered to at all times.

Remote viewings

To help couples view the venue while restrictions are still in place, Tyn Dwr

Make it a day to remember at Tyn Dwr Hall

Tyn Dwr Hall is set in seven acres of woodland

Hall has launched a behind-thescenes video on its website, allowing couples to watch a 12-minute tour of the hall and its accommodation and grounds from the comfort of home. For couples wishing to secure their wedding date without deposit, the wedding team offer a one-to-one experience in which they can ask questions and explore specific areas of the hall. This Yew Tree Cottage service will remain in place until inperson viewings return.

This package is available for parties of 60 in January and February 2022. High demand for this new exclusive offer is anticipated and early booking is advised. View the offers currently available at www.tyndwrhall.co.uk/wedding-offers.

“Tyn Dwr Hall has a number of offers available”

Bespoke wedding offers

For couples planning their wedding in 2022 and 2023, Tyn Dwr Hall has a range of timed offers available, including discounts on venue hire between May and December 2022. Bookings for 2023 weddings, meanwhile, currently benefit from a five per cent reduction in the overall cost of a Tyn Dwr Hall celebration. Tyn Dwr Hall has also introduced a new all-inclusive package, in which the hall has linked with its preferred suppliers to guarantee a discounted rate for photography, venue dressing and evening entertainment.

Tyn Dwr Hall’s 2022 and 2023 calendars are now open, and there are a limited number of spaces available for later this year. Visit www.tyndwrhall.co.uk, email weddings@tyndwrhall.co.uk or call the team on 01978 884664.

Stay at Tyn Dwr Hall It’s time to experience the beautiful hall for yourself In anticipation of restrictions being lifted on travel within the UK, Tyn Dwr Hall has opened its reservations system. This is your opportunity to experience Tyn Dwr Hall’s fantastic setting and sumptuous accommodation in person. Provisional bookings are now being taken via Airbnb (www.airbnb.co.uk) or you can contact the hall directly. Early booking is advised to avoid disappointment. For more information, visit www.tyndwrhall.co.uk/stay-at-tyn-dwr-hall.

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e r e h t t u o t Ge



Whether you’re a stroller, hiker, rambler or ambler, explore the great outdoors in style

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Bedfordshire suede casual coat, £149, Halon Menswear in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.halonmenswear.co.uk 2. Barbour Bretby gilet, £99.95, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.bodenhams.co.uk 3. Barbour Carbridge backpack, £49.99, My Country City Style in Chester; www.mycountrycitystyle.co.uk 4. Rab Outpost jacket, £110, Go Outdoors; www.gooutdoors.co.uk 5. Heather Hats & Accessories Rambler trilby waxed hat, £21.95, Cherry Tree Country Clothing in Ruthin; www.cherrytreecountryclothing.com 6. Originals T, £35, Rohan; www.rohan.co.uk 7. Fjallraven Ovik fleece hoody, £149.95, Outdoor & Country in Chester; www.outdoorandcountry.co.uk 8. Highlander Morton boots, £49.99, Winfields Outdoors in Chester; www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk 9. Rab VR Summit jacket, £144, Pro Adventure in Llangollen in Denbighshire; www.proadventure.co.uk

10. Dare 2b Devoir fleece,, £50, Winfields Outdoors in Chester; www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk 11. Barbour Woolsington waterproof coat, £399, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear, Church Stretton in Shropshire; www.peppersfashion.co.uk 12. Bugatti boots with tweed detail, £110, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.bodenhams.co.uk 13. 1000 Mile Ultimate heavyweight walking sock, £16, Outdoor Wales in Llanberis, Gwynedd; www.outdoorwales.net 14. Thermal action trousers, £40, Cotton Traders; www.cottontraders.com 15. Elgrid half-zip mid-weight fleece, £30, Regatta; www.regatta.com 16. Horizon Performance merino trekker socks, £16.50, Cherry Tree Country Clothing in Ruthin, Denbighshire; www.cherrytreecountryclothing.com 17. Timberland Euro Sprint hiker boots, £130, Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy; www.smartassmenswear.co.uk 18. Expedition trekking shirt, £75, Rohan; www.rohan.co.uk

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Motoring Land Rover

Discovery Sport

The name Land Rover is synonymous with go-anywhere vehicles, especially in the current age of family SUVs. Bob Hickman puts the latest to the test he Land Rover Discovery Sport is a vehicle that can go off-road when you need it. If you ever have the necessity to visit a muddy field or assist at a gymkhana, this is a vehicle that delivers. It proved brilliant in the recent heavy snow. This is a luxury off-road SUV vehicle that takes things to a higher level. The Discovery’s main features are its raised driving position and the practicality of its interior. The interior has a brilliant infotainment system and a satellite navigation that’s simplicity itself. The touchscreen system and amount of information controlled on the steering wheel are extensive – you’ll definitely need to read the handbook to get the best from this vehicle. There is plenty of room inside too – enough to comfortably carry four adults – and the boot is cavernous. There is also a hidden row of seats in the boot, allowing it to become a sevenControl at your fingertips seater vehicle. My test car, the Sport derivative R-Dynamic SE version, had leather seats throughout. The front seats were electrically adjustable with a memory and were heated, as was the steering wheel.

Travel in style and comfort

The Discovery is a comfortable ride, soaking up bumps around town while the raised driving position aids visibility. The nine-speed automatic gearbox and the power steering work in conjunction and were reassuring at all times. The engine is a two-litre four-cylinder, 249bhp and turbo charged. The fuel economy on this type

of vehicle has never been one of its selling spots – I “Dial in the terrain averaged 23mpg during my and let the time with the vehicle and you’d be lucky to achieve mid-20s. electronics But for such a big vehicle, assist you” acceleration is reasonably quick at 7.3 seconds, and it has a top speed where allowable of 139mph. One of the features that sets the Discovery apart from its competitors is that it’s a serious off-road vehicle. The four-wheel drive has been honed over the years – you can dial in the terrain and let the electronics assist you. I managed to extricate myself from one or two snowbound lanes.

Many options

There are derivatives to choose from – S, SE, and H-SE – and there’s also an R-Dynamic trim available that introduces red stitching to the dashboard, doors and seats. The level of equipment that comes as as standard, however, is extensive. The sound system is brilliant, and the cruise control and speed limiter work extremely well. The descent control system, which allows you to take both feet off and let the vehicle trickle its way or brake on downhill slippy surfaces, is a revelation. All of this, of • MODEL TESTED course, comes at a price. The range • PRICE starts at £45,425, but • ENGINE the very nice people • POWER at Land Rover had • MAX SPEED added an awful lot of • 0-60MPH extras to my test car • WTP RANGE which brought the • EMISSIONS price to £51,925. FACTS AT A GLANCE


Bob is a devoted car and motorcycle fan. After a 30-year career as a police motorcycle patrol officer and latterly as a sergeant, patrolling the motorways of the Midlands, retirement beckoned and he embarked on writing about his love of transport. Bob is a member of the Guild of Motor Writers and the Midland Guild of Motor Writers. In his spare time he rides a Royal Enfield Continental GT motorcycle and drives a 1994 MG RV8.


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Charities&Volunteering TIME TO HELP OUR HEROES A limited-edition watch has been launched that serves not only style and function but also a great cause


pinnaker Watches has launched a limited-edition timepiece in support of the British charity Help For Heroes. Dartmouth Brands, the watchmaker’s parent company, will donate at least £25,000 to Help for Heroes from the partnership, which equates to a minimum of five per cent Each watch comes in a gift box of each watch’s sale price. There are just 300 Spence Help For Heroes Limited Edition watches available, and each one sold will directly help the charity to provide physical, psychological, welfare and financial support to those with injuries and illnesses attributable to their service in the British armed forces.

Empowering veterans

Help For Heroes was founded in 2007 to provide lifetime support to those wounded in the service of their country. Every course and activity offered by the charity aims to empower veterans to look

Help For Heroes supports veterans to reach their potential

The limited-edition watch is decorated in Help For Heroes’ colours

beyond their illness or injury, regain their purpose, reach their potential and have a positive impact on society. For veterans living with a life-changing injury or illness, 2020 was particularly “There are tough and in 2021 they need our support just 300 Help as much as ever. The collaboration For Heroes between Dartmouth and Help For watches Heroes will help give them the strength available” they need to live the lives they deserve. The limited-edition watch, which costs £225, is a no-nonsense, durable and dependable diver watch that is water resistant up to 200m. It is powered by a customised Japanesemade Seiko NH35 automatic movement, which is visible through the exhibition case back. The dial is designed for distinct legibility, with luminous indexes and hands that blend utility with style. For more information about the watch or to order yours, visit www.spinnaker-watches.co.uk. For more about the work of Help For Heroes, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk

STORIES OF RECOVERY Behind every watch launched by Help For Heroes is a moving story of recovery, told by a Help for Heroes veteran. For Spinnaker, this is Royal Navy veteran Nick Richardson. Injuries plagued Nick’s time in service, and after 23 years in the Royal Navy he was medically discharged in 2012, suffering from degenerative osteoarthritis and chronic pain. After several years of military rehabilitation and surgery, he was left to navigate his transition into civilian life alone. Nick found Help For Heroes at his lowest point and has greatly benefited from the charity’s “Help For Heroes support. He is now feeling positive and, while he no longer accesses support on a regular basis, provides tangible he knows that Help For Heroes continues to be support for those there for him and his family should he need it. in need” “Medical discharge is difficult – it affects all aspects of your life and your identity,” says Nick. “It is an emotionally draining process, which should not be underestimated. Many veterans leave the armed forces in extremely challenging circumstances, which leads to great distress for themselves and their families. Help for Heroes provides tangible support to those in need and helps ensure those who may have been ill-served by the ‘military system’ get a lifeline in times of crisis.”

96 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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FUNDRAISERS SAVE ZOO FROM EXTINCTION Lockdown forced Chester Zoo to close its doors for many months and left a £5.5 million hole in its funds, but it has been overwhelmed by the support for its Save Our Zoo campaign


future of the onths of closure pushed Chester Zoo, the UK’s biggest charity zoo, to the edge of extinction – but 130,000 donors and UK’s most visited zoo. 1,300 fundraisers from 90 countries stepped up to help save Chester Zoo from closing its doors forever. From running challenges and bake sales to head shaves and virtual mountain climbs, supporters Expensive raised an incredible £3 million for the Save Our Zoo campaign. business Kids Planet Nursery raised £20,000 “This has been one of the worst crises in the zoo’s history, but our It costs hearts have been warmed by seeing the endless kindness, love and £465,000 a month to care for the zoo’s 35,000 animals, plus support flood in,” says Dr Mark additional outgoings to keep the zoo ticking over; factor in Pilgrim, the zoo’s chief executive the global conservation projects and scientific research, and officer. “We’re so incredibly the zoo says it needs £1.6 million a month to keep going. grateful to our wonderful Many supporters took up a range of challenges supporters who continue to raise money. Salford teaching assistant Brendan “Supporters to fundraise for us – Rendall ran an epic 31 marathons in inflatable animal raised an taking on all manner costumes, raising over £12,300. Seven-year-olds Layla incredible of weird, wonderful, and Sophie and friends decided to climb the height £3m to save and remarkable of Everest using the stairs at home, raising £3,330. the zoo” challenges. We’re truly Kids Planet Nursery raised an incredible £20,000 overwhelmed by the by encouraging their 2,000 staff and 7,000 children kindness that’s being shown to us. (aged two to five) and their families to complete a collective Revenue from visitors makes up 1,700 miles (the sum total of all 52 nurseries’ individual mileage 97 per cent of the zoo’s income, to Chester Zoo) by walking, hopping, jumping or leaping. so the long period of closure has For information on how you can help Chester Zoo, visit Climbing Mount Everest had a devastating impact on the www.chesterzoo.org/what-you-can-do/fundraising.





hat better way to show you care than by creating a display of homemade “CareCrows” around town? That’s what happened across Corwen at the end of last year to help cheer people up while offering support for the North Wales Superkids, a local children’s charity. Katrina Flanagan and the local Scout group to set up the competition, Corwen Christmas CareCrows. Fourteen CareCrows were entered into the competition, with one hanging off a wall, others in the hairdressers, Creative CareCrows shops, gardens,

Corwen’s CareCrows

sides of the road and two even riding a motorbike! Some were dressed as Santa, and there was also a rugby player and a dentist. “We thought it would be something different for Corwen to get involved with,” says Katrina. “We asked for a voluntary entry fee of a gift for the local children’s charity and were overwhelmed with the number we received. “The creativity was brilliant and I was surprised at how many CareCrows popped up throughout the town. Thank you to everyone who took part!”

in drinkers will now be able to get their hands on a locally produced limited edition bottle of fine gin at the same time as helping a good cause, thanks to a collaboration between the Shropshire Distillery and Hope House Children’s Hospices. The distillery has created a new flavour of gin using blackberry and elderflower, with every bottle of Hope House Gin purchased raising money for the hospices. Bottles will be on sale from the Shropshire Distillery’s website and cost £36.50, with a percentage of the sales going straight to Hope House Children’s Hospices, which cares for seriously ill children and their families across Shropshire, north and mid Wales and Cheshire. “We were thrilled to create this gin with Hope House Children’s Hospices,” says Emma Glynn from the

The gin raises funds for Hope House

distillery in Ellesmere. “The charity has been massively impacted by the pandemic, and it’s an honour for us to be able to support them in this way. “Hope House Gin is a fun and fruity juniper-led dry gin, with fresh red fruit upfront from blackberries with a delicate floral note derived from elderflower and a core of piney juniper,” Emma continues. “It’s a delightful drink, especially with a premium tonic or Sicilian lemon tonic and blackberries.” www. theshropshiredistillery.co.uk

To see your charity event featured on these pages, please email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 97

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Abbey Gate College Sixth Form Abbey Gate College Sixth Form offers a broad range of A Level subjects, taught by experienced and passionate subject specialist teachers in smaller class sizes. We also offer personalised learning, progress monitoring and a flexible approach to private study. Our excellent pastoral support, alongside the exclusive use of the Sixth Form Centre, means that you can rely on a welcoming, friendly and focused environment that will be conducive to you realising your potential in your studies. At Abbey Gate College, we want you to be the best you can be as you prepare to make your mark on the world.

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For more information contact 01244 564170 or admissions@abbeygatecollege.co.uk

Supportive and caring Host Families required for international students Mid term holidays, Up to 6 weekends a year, Daily rate, expenses and mileage paid To find out more about this rewarding and enjoyable opportunity, contact laura@pippasguardians.co.uk or call 01684 252757 www.pippasguardians.co.uk

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16/02/2021 2:55 pm 26/02/2021 17:02

Top of the Class

Myddelton pupil Phoebe Allman

Service with a smile for top school Top tennis coach launches new programme at Myddelton College


top independent school has won a major national tennis award for its work encouraging young people to take up the sport. Myddelton College in Denbigh has been awarded the prestigious Tennis Wales Education Award for reintroducing “It’s a huge the game at the achievement school through a to get this coaching programme award” led by John Whitehall of First Advantage Tennis, a former Wales tennis player and UK Development Coach of the Year. “It was good to develop a programme at Myddelton College,” says John. “It has taken off well and we had up to 25 pupils turning up regularly for the after-school club before lockdown. “The school is very community focused and its open-access sessions have also gone well. From starting from scratch, it has really taken off.

“It’s a huge achievement to get this Tennis Wales award. It’s been a very tricky time with the pandemic, but the school had systems in place to get people on to the courts safely and embraced the opportunity to involve the community as well.” Myddelton College’s headmaster Andrew Allman says: “We recognise the importance and value of sport and the outdoors at Myddelton and we are keen for our students to enjoy team and individual activities. That has become even more vital during lockdown and we’re looking forward to tennis being one of the first sports to resume as the rates of infection reduce.”

SCHOOL NEWS STICKING TOGETHER IN TOUGH TIMES Abbey Gate College in Chester considers itself more than a school – it’s a community, and the wellbeing of staff and pupils is paramount. With 86 per Abbey Gate College, Chester cent of the staff trained in mental health first aid, they are well equipped to look out for signs of stress and poor mental health within colleagues and pupils. During lockdown there have been virtual staff briefings and regular catchups, as well as staff family quizzes, photo competitions and even a virtual marathon! Nothing replaces social interaction, though, and the team is looking forward to the day they can return to college to see each other again.

PILOT PROGRAMME USES DANCE TO TACKLE DISEASE Coleg Cambria, Wrexham, has launched a pioneering dance programme for people with Parkinson’s disease. Led by National Dance Company Wales, the free virtual classes are for those living with the condition as well as their carers. “Dancing has been shown to have a positive impact on people with Parkinson’s,” says Jamie Jenkins, a lecturer at Coleg Cambria Yale. “This project will help participants to express themselves and improve their health and wellbeing.” The programme begins on 2nd March. www.cambria. ac.uk/dancefor parkinsons.


John Whitehall (second left)




outdoor spaces with high-quality sensory hropshire-based heat and smoke detector firm Aico has rolled out equipment. Money was also donated to Social Farm Projects within the Marches a number of projects to support local communities, including two schools. In Academy Trust, a multi-academy sponsor January, it pledged to contribute £7,500 based in Shropshire that encompasses a variety of primary, secondary to the Alexandra Assessment Centre schools and sixth forms. The Social Farm initiative involves in Wrexham, which supports students helping out with children who planting in the allotment, maintenance and animal care. have additional learning needs. “We can’t thank Aico enough Aico’s donation for their community support,” says a spokesperson for the has helped with Upgraded play equipment Marches Academy Trust. the upgrade of its

A young pupil from Castle House School, Newport, has shared her inspiring poetry and won the praise of headteacher Ian Sterling. “I was moved to read the words written by the seven-year-old daughter of a critical worker,” he says. “She mentioned she was worried about her mum and wrote: Don’t be sad, don’t be blue, just ask for help and you can get through. Read this rhyme, it might help you, Follow my lead and you will get through. If you’re lonely not just sad, Just tell a friend and it will be less bad. So, don’t be sad, don’t be blue, Just tell a friend and you can get through. “What touched me was not just the outstanding quality of writing or the compassion she showed, but her awareness that in writing this she could bring so much comfort to her family. This young lady fulfils the mission statement of our school, and I’m delighted to have a small part in producing this citizen of tomorrow.”

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Steve Evans (left) and Conor Sheehan (second left) receive the cheque from members of Cae Glas

Cae Glas Lodge Freemasons, Oswestry, has donated funds to enable students at a specialist further education college to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. Members of Cae Glas visited Derwen College, Gobowen, to present the £500 donation to student Conor Sheehan, who is currently working towards his DofE Gold Award, and DofE Coordinator at Derwen College, Steve Evans. “We are delighted to receive this donation from Cae Glas Lodge,” says Steve. “Their support has been invaluable and has allowed us to get to where we are with this important and popular programme at Derwen College.”

Support for students who can’t go home


ovid-19 has drastically altered school life and learning for every student in the UK, and especially for the thousands of international students who choose to study in Britain every year. Many international students haven’t been able to see their families or return home for almost a year and are still unsure when they’ll be able to reunite with their parents and siblings. However, across the country families have been opening their homes to welcome these students and give them a supportive place to live and study. They have provided a caring environment and have offered help with online learning and an insight into family life in England. Pippa’s Guardians provides a guardianship service for students who study at UK boarding schools and whose parents live overseas. “Our experienced area managers and our network of caring host families have been instrumental in us

successfully responding to the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and the needs of the international students we are responsible for,” says the guardianship service’s managing director, Ben Hughes. “We are truly grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm shown by these exceptional host families to help students to maximise their learning, maintain their mental health and keep spirits high.” Victoria Luker is a host family for international students. “We have thoroughly enjoyed hosting and have many happy memories,” she says. “It is incredibly rewarding to see each of the children grow and develop as individuals. “Hosting has also given our daughter the opportunity to gain an insight of studying and living overseas. She has also embraced different cultural celebrations and made friends.”

SCIENTIFIC INSPIRATION An award-winning Welsh scientist is urging others to follow their dreams and consider studying sciences at university. Emma Williams, named Wales’ Learner of the Year in 2020, is now a lecturer in forensic science at Wrexham Glyndwr University. “I didn’t Emma Williams have the confidence to apply for university until I was older, but I wish I’d done it sooner,” she says. “It has been the absolute best thing I have ever done. I sometimes still can’t believe I’m a scientist. So many doors are open to me!”




rexham Glyndwr University is set to invest £1 million in further improvements to teaching spaces across its campuses this year as part of its ongoing Campus 2025 programme. The latest set of improvements will see work carried out on the main Plas Coch campus building and at the Regent Street campus in the heart of Wrexham town centre. Works are due to start in spring as the £60 million Campus 2025 programme, which has already seen upgrades to learning

THE HEAD’S COLUMN Mark Cooper is headteacher at Thomas Adams, a state boarding school in Wem, Shropshire A Shropshire school took an innovative approach to its open evenings during lockdown. Covid restrictions meant visitors weren’t be able to attend in person, but instead Ellesmere College Sixth Form used digital media and students’ own perspectives to showcase all the courses available. “We had to be innovative in our approach to the sixth form open evening this year,” says Dr Tom Gareh, head of sixth form at the college. “We were still keen to show parents our wonderful school and an online open evening was the next best thing.” The information will stay online indefinitely, so parents and pupils can “visit” any time. Go to www.ellesmere.com/the-schools/ sixth-form and search “sixth form choices”.


uring the January and February lockdown, our staff once again embraced technology and rose to the challenges of remote delivery and home working, providing a full timetable of live, interactive online lessons for all pupils in Years 7 to 13. We issued more than 75 laptops, as well as a number of internet routers, to support our disadvantaged pupils, and posted homework packs to more than 50 pupils every week. We also:

How the improvements will look

and teaching spaces at Glyndwr’s campuses in Wrexham, Flintshire and St Asaph, continues. The investment programme, which includes £750,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), will see spaces refurbished to incorporate new, larger flexible teaching spaces and accessibility improvements, as well as the creation of new specialist spaces. • Opened every day for 80-plus vulnerable pupils and children of key workers. • Distributed more than 100 free school meal packages on a weekly basis before the national voucher scheme became available. • Carried out weekly safeguarding calls to all vulnerable pupils unable to attend. • Established a lateral flow device testing site in line with government guidance. • Provided facilities for Shropshire Council to run a community lateral flow device testing centre four days a week. We very much look forward to our pupils returning to on-site learning and benefiting from the wider educational experience we offer. If you’d like to join our success story, there are some places available for September. Visit www.thomasadams.net.

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TEACHING HAPPINESS To ensure happiness underpins all they do, the Queen’s School:


t the Queen’s School in Chester, the staff know that a happy child becomes a more successful, accomplished adult. Indeed studies show that on average, happy people are more successful at work and love, receive better performance reviews, have more prestigious jobs and earn higher salaries. While academic rigour is important at the school, there’s also a focus on balance and creating an environment that provides opportunities to reinforce positive habits.

• Teaches girls to build relationships and be comfortable with who they are. • Encourages pupils to perform small acts of kindness and giving to build empathy and connections. • Expects and praises effort, not perfection. • Builds resilience. • Teaches optimism, emotional intelligence and self-discipline. • Provides plenty of unstructured play. • Provides direction and goals. While it can be challenging to balance what’s best for children with what makes them happy, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Queen’s nurtures girls who can collaborate confidently, aspire globally and think independently.

Vice-chancellor to retire


he vice-chancellor of Harper Adams University is to retire at the end of July. Dr David Llewellyn has been vice-chancellor since 2009 and has led the institution through an extremely successful period in its history. “It has been an honour to work for the “It has been university for nearly an honour 23 years, and to have to work spent the last 12 years for the as the head of the university” institution,” says Dr Llewellyn. “Over that time our outstanding staff and students have made huge progress in establishing a very strong reputation for the university. “Having agreed a new strategy for the institution last year, it’s now time for a new vice-chancellor to take Harper Adams on

the next stage of its development. I shall miss the amazing people with whom I have worked, and I wish them, and our students, all the very best for Dr David Llewellyn the future.” During Dr Llewellyn’s tenure, Harper Adams gained full university status and is now widely regarded as the leading provider of higher education for the land-based sector in the UK. Among many other achievements, the university was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education in 2017 and gained a top 20 position in the 2020 Sunday Times University Guide.

THE HEAD’S COLUMN Mark Heywood, principal at the Royal School in Wolverhampton, shares the school’s lockdown successes


hroughout these strange times of lockdown and home schooling, the Royal School continues to thrive. The school was recently awarded the prestigious Boarding School of the Year 2020 for Working with Vulnerable Children by the Boarding School’s Association, an international award that harks back to John Lees’ founding of the school in 1850 as an orphanage. Nowadays our vulnerable children may be orphans, looked-after children,

unaccompanied asylum-seeking children or those with challenging home lives. The Royal makes a real difference to lives, whatever the starting point. Lockdown at the Royal has passed smoothly, with many boarders remaining throughout. As with all schools, we have adapted and evolved, rapidly integrating remote learning for pupils and staff. The school has gained many new skills and abilities and has now integrated the best of those into its working practices as “normal”.

SCHOOL NEWS LEARN LOCAL IN WALES A campaign to harness the strengths of north Wales and build on the region’s skills potential has been launched by Wrexham Glyndwr University. The Learn Local campaign is among a range of measures the university is taking to boost the region’s workforce and economy. “As a university, we’ve got a strong tradition of boosting the skills of our workforce,” says Helena Eaton, the university’s director of marketing and admissions. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we know there will be a demand for highly educated, skilled and experienced graduates, and that they hold the potential to transform our community’s health, wellness, financial stability, and workforce. That’s why we’re launching our campaign – to make sure everyone has the chance to find out what studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University can do for their career, our region and our collective future.”

PREP PUPILS WELCOME THE YEAR OF THE OX Children aged two to four at the Firs Prep School recently celebrated Chinese New Year, the year of the ox, with carefully planned activities designed to help them learn all about this special festival. They enjoyed craft, songs, dance and roleplay, as well as an exciting dragon parade. The children also wore red to celebrate and tried some Chinese food. “We have a very popular Early Years setting and are fortunate that our youngest pupils are still able to join the school during lockdown,” says the Firs Prep School’s headteacher, Rosemary Blackburn. “It was wonderful to see how the children enjoyed learning about Chinese New Year and how they learned so much about the festival. Creative learning experiences that cater for individual learning styles ensure the pupils are exposed to quality learning opportunities.” Joining celebrations

SHROPSHIRE SCHOOL GETS BIGGER AND BETTER Wrekin College in Shropshire has announced plans for a new dance studio, and confirmed it has increased its numbers to 500 pupils. The school community Headmaster Tim Firth coped well with online learning, but headmaster Tim Firth believes it served to highlight how important it is for youngsters to be in school. “The pandemic has given schools the opportunity to rethink their focus and what the best education might look,” he says. Charlotte Tonks, who will lead the new dance studio, believes it will add greatly to the pupils’ experiences. “It’s an exciting addition to the current facilities which I think will not only benefit experienced dancers but also beginners who want to try something different.” Families will be able to find out more about all these plans at the school’s next virtual open day on 20th March.

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A degree that matters VIRTUAL OPEN DAY MARCH 20TH

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Face2Face Performance Academy, based at Holroyd Community Theatre in Weston Rhyn, has continued to offer coaching to pupils from across the region during the pandemic with performing arts classes via Zoom and its bespoke Lessons at Home webpage. “It’s really important that we continue to offer creative classes to our students,” says academy manager and head coach Michael Jenkins. “Exploring creativity and developing performance skills are so important. These skills will no doubt assist our students throughout the pandemic and later in their lives.” The academy has paused tuition fees while the classes and workshops are online.

VIRTUAL DATES FOR CAMBRIA’S OPEN EVENTS Coleg Cambria will host a series of virtual open events for prospective students over 10 days in March, when staff and lecturers will be on hand to answer questions about A-levels, full-time courses, apprenticeships, degrees and more. “We’d love to welcome prospective students face Principal Sue Price to face, but until it is safe to do so we will continue holding events online,” says principal Sue Price. “We capitalise on the cutting-edge technology we have here to ensure people experience the best of Cambria. The virtual tours and presentations showcase the incredible facilities at our sites in Deeside, Wrexham, Northop and Llysfasi.” To register, visit www.cambria.ac.uk/marchevents.

INVESTIGATING FARMTO-FORK FOOD CHOICES Does how much we learn about food in our early years influence what we choose to eat later in life? Nieves Lovatt, a final-year student at Harper Adams University, is tackling this question with her honours Nieves Lovatt research project. “I am seeking to explore whether education has been important in helping Generation Z develop a positive beneficial relationship with the food they eat and whether it effects their opinions on sustainability and their lifestyle choices,” says Nieves, who is studying agri-food marketing and business. “It’s important for us to be clued up on the food supply chain so we can make decisions based on facts.” Project supervisor Helen Pittson adds: “I think this is a very interesting study and will provide information to those setting curriculums for children as to how influential education in ‘farm to fork’ is on their food choices later in life.”



n exam board has picked a research project by a Shropshire student as an example of outstanding work. Alice Parton, a Year 13 student at Ellesmere College, was told her project to create jewellery from antique silver spoons was one of the best that moderators at AQA had seen. The 17-year-old, who lives near Market Drayton, made rings, earrings and bracelets as part of her extended project qualification (EPQ) last year. Alice says she wanted to create something that would give a new use to a product that already exists, demonstrating a valid business model for the “reduce, re-use, recycle” philosophy. “My initial ideas for upcycling antique silverware into modern jewellery came from the idea that I wanted a spoon ring,” says Alice. “Resources such as social media helped me develop my first ring, and after some trial and error I learned I needed a malleable material such as sterling silver. “I learned lots about different hallmarks and what they mean, and also about foreign silverware. One of the key resources throughout my project was interviewing professional jewellers such as Peggy Bourne – she showed me some of her work which helped inspire my designs. “Alongside my EPQ project, I set up a small business selling the rings. This taught

Alice is also an accomplished equestrian

THE HEAD’S COLUMN Charlie Minogue, headmaster at Moor Park School in Ludlow on the benefits of breadth


n times of crisis and challenge, it is natural for us all to simplify. We rightly focus on family, friends and health, and circle our respective wagons, perhaps letting go of things that don’t seem to affect the core of our existence. The education of our children is one area most parents consider essential, but there is a risk that the same tendency to simplify affects the provision that schools offer. The core academic subjects are always important and the

me how to keep organised and on top of the costs, as well as the importance of having good reviews and Alice’s silver jewellery customer satisfaction. “I am thrilled to hear that AQA moderators have said my work is an example of an outstanding EPQ project.” Alice, who is the fourth generation of her family to attend Ellesmere College, is studying art, psychology and biology at A-level and is also an accomplished equestrian. She recently finished third at the Weston Park Horse Trials, an affiliated British Eventing competition, where she competed in dressage, show jumping and cross country. “We are so delighted Alice has had this recognition for her work,” says Dr Tom Gareh, head of sixth form at Ellesmere College. “She worked extremely hard and her decision making, research and planning were all well thought out and displayed in the log book that accompanied her project.” pressure from exams plays its part in reinforcing this message. Teaching and learning online is also challenging and the temptation is for schools to narrow their offering to focus only on the core academic offering at the expense of other, perhaps non-examined, subjects. I would contend that now, more than ever, areas of the curriculum such as PE, music, drama, art, design and technology play their part in keeping children healthy and happy. They aren’t easy to teach online, but watching the shining faces at the end of lessons in one of these so-called fringe subjects tells you everything you need to know. Here at Moor Park, we have no doubt that giving our children this kind of variety is making a material difference to their mental health at a challenging moment of their young lives.

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Steve Jarvis is programme leader in product design at Wrexham Glyndwr University What do you specialise in?

I’m a programme leader on a number of degrees at Wrexham Glyndwr University, including our new product design degree. My specialities include 3D modelling, animation, computer aided design (CAD), motion graphics and both print and digital design.

How did you get into this career? The best way – in a roundabout fashion! I left school with GCSEs in maths and electronics, and was advised to pursue a career as an electrician. But after a youth training scheme with ManWeb and the purchase of my first computer, I decided my future lay in CAD. I then took a degree in interactive multimedia design, which allowed me to focus on design-related career opportunities. While working on a range of client projects, I also started teaching

for mature applicants who may not have these, your entry will be based on experience.

What does the course entail?

It is very practical, with design, creation, entrepreneurial and employability skills at its core. That means there’s a strong focus on the high-quality practical skills needed to be a product designer. As you progress, you’ll develop your material and design skills through a series of projects, covering concept design, digital fabrication and user-centred design.

What career opportunities can a degree in your subject lead to?

As well as a keen focus on product design, this degree is designed to develop your communication and entrepreneurial skills. As it brings together a range of disciplines, the opportunities are endless. Glyndwr graduates have gone on to work for companies including Airbus, AMRC, Rolls-Royce, the Ministry of

“You’ll gain a range of transferable skills that can lead to a variety of employment opportunities”

part-time in 2009, before becoming a full-time lecturer, then curriculum leader followed by programme leader in 2016.

What’s required for your courses?

We’re looking for students who are interested in forming a career in product design, so they’ll need a keen interest in design and digital fabrication. If you apply, you’ll be invited to the university for an informal conversation – when you should bring a portfolio to showcase the work you are most proud of. Where this isn’t practical, you can submit a digital portfolio of recent work in hard copy or by digital representation. There are the usual UCAS entry requirements – although,

You’ll gain experience in digital technologies and techniques, and through these you’ll learn how turn your imaginative ideas into design boards, then into prototypes – and eventually you’ll be developing market-ready products.

What practical work is involved?

Our facilities at the Regent Street campus are at the heart of a major investment this year, and product design students will reap the benefits! They’ll have access to our workshops for applied arts and wood, and to our engineering facilities – as well as the Maker Space we’re building. Students will be taught how to use every aspect of the Maker Space and its facilities – using industry-standard facilities to produce high-quality products.

Defence, Bentley Motors, Tata Steel, BAE Systems, MBDA missile systems, Volkswagen, Porsche and MercedesBenz. They have also sold designs to Marks & Spencer, Next and the V&A. As with all our degrees, you’ll gain a range of transferable skills that can lead to a variety of employment opportunities, as well as further study at MA or PGCE level.

Why should people choose Wrexham Glyndwr University?

Our university is the best-kept secret in the UK! There are so many amazing projects that staff and students are working on, which means there is always something that people and employers outside the university don’t know about. We are small, friendly and, to quote Cheers, a place “where everybody knows your name”. That all makes for a great learning environment and sense of community – come and join us and find out more! For more details, see www.glyndwr.ac.uk March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 105

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Retirement Vaccination joy for Hilda, 103 A remarkable former nurse who lived through the devastating Spanish flu a century ago has now received her Covid-19 vaccine


reat-grandmother Hilda Richards, who cared for soldiers injured during the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, is still going strong, having lived for the past year at Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn Care Home in Wrexham, north Wales. Hilda, who is now 103 years old, was among the first people in the country to be given the coronavirus jab by the current crop of medics who are following “I feel in her illustrious footsteps. really safe “I had my vaccine and I at Gwern felt good after it,” says Hilda. Alyn” “It went well and I’m glad I’ve had the vaccine. Having been a nurse, things like this remind me a bit of the work I used to do.” Hilda was born in November 1917, while the First World War was taking place and just three months before the outbreak of the deadly flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920, making Hilda one of only a few people old enough to have lived through both pandemics. “I was very young when Spanish flu was around just after the First World War,” Hilda recalls. “But people

Hilda Richards as a nurse and with her late husband, Trevor

used to talk about it when I was growing up. They reckoned it had killed as many people as the war itself. Sadly, what’s happening now is a bit similar with this awful virus.”

Different days, similar situation

It is estimated as many as 500 million people became infected with Spanish flu, with more than 50 million believed to have died from it during four waves of the pandemic in the years following the First World War. A century later, the world has once again had to contend with a devastating pandemic, and most of Hilda’s time at the Pendine Park care home has coincided with lockdown measures to help stop the spread of Covid-19. But this hasn’t prevented Hilda enjoying being part of the Gwern Alyn family. “I thought at first I was only coming here for a fortnight, but I have been here ever since,” says Hilda. “I really like being here at Gwern Alyn. There are a lot of nice people here and I like all the staff and the other residents. It is a good place to live and they really look after you here. I feel really safe. Even if I haven’t been able to see my family, I’ve still been able to talk to them on the phone a lot.” Hilda enjoyed a long and happy marriage to her late husband, Trevor. The couple had three sons – Ralph, Derek and Clive – as well as four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Hilda celebrated her 103rd birthday last November, and attributes having a small tot of whisky in her cup of tea in the morning as the secret to enjoying a long life.

Care homes urge caution despite vaccine hope As Covid-19 vaccinations are rolled out across the UK, more and more care home residents are being protected against the virus. But we can’t expect homes to throw open their doors just yet


hile it’s great news that the majority of older people have received at least their first Covid-19 vaccination, it still isn’t time to return to normal visiting Mary Wimbury routines at care homes, as one social care home leader has explained. Mary Wimbury, chief executive of Care Forum Wales, says people shouldn’t expect visiting to return to normal any time soon because of the risks involved. Wimbury was speaking after the Welsh government announced it had hit its target of offering vaccinations to all care homes for older people by the end of January, with 75 per cent of residents and staff having had their first jabs. But the risks are still high and any visits should only take place in “exceptional circumstances”.

Protecting extremely vulnerable residents and staff is still the priority, with community transmission of the virus still high and the prevalence of the more contagious variant of the disease in Wales. “We’re delighted care home vaccinations have happened, but we do need to have an element of caution in this,” says Wimbury. “You have to look at community transmission, the risk and the reason for the visit. Each care home is having to make a judgement, in line with Welsh government guidance.” The Welsh government’s mental health and wellbeing minister, Baroness Morgan, says: “We have put very clear guidance in place to support care homes in allowing people to visit loved ones. We’ve got to get the balance right because we have to protect people in care homes from the virus.” For the latest guidance, visit gov.wales.

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Mental Health Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures

Lisa Whelan, a wellbeing coach from north Wales, shares her tips on keeping everything in balance for children during the pandemic


Anne Carr

hildren are likely to be Everything in life is about experiencing worry, anxiety balance. Things flow, grow and and fear right now. They’ve flourish when we’re in balance had the harsh realities of life with ourselves and the world. delivered on their doorstep How do we bring balance back? in one huge bundle without We need to give our children warning and without the calmness, clarity, creativity and tools to cope with them. joy to feel love. So let’s keep it Parents are struggling with simple: take back our connection their own anxieties to nature and and a child is nurture. As Einstein “We need sensitive to that, said: “If you can’t to give our absorbing emotions tell it simply, you children like a sponge. The don’t understand longer this continues, it well enough.” calmness the greater the Imagine if you and clarity” effect. We pay so were so connected much attention to to your breath that maths, English and science, but you didn’t need to run. You when anxiety grips it can spiral could feel the pain, calm your out of control, leading to loss feelings, understand the situation of focus, lack of confidence, and experience the loss but not demotivation and loneliness. allow it to debilitate and deplete Extraordinary circumstances you. Rather it would elevate and call for extraordinary measures enhance your life and wellbeing. and I believe wellbeing is the Just like us, children need to first thing that needs to be take a breath, pause. Practise addressed. Once the mind is this and the smiles will come relaxed and focused, stress and back for both you and the worry dissipate and balance children around you. It’s not returns, and children can alternative thinking – it’s vital catch up on their learning. for a healthy, happy life. Lisa Whelan has dedicated the past 20 years to creating a firstclass wellbeing resource that is simple and fun. The result is Mighty Minds, a six-week animated positive wellbeing resource designed specifically for children, and the Calm Your Mind, Control Your Life Mind Flight course for adults. Go to www.mindflight.online for more.

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Books&Poetry THE PATH TO CALM FOR LITTLE ONES An Oswestry-born writer and illustrator team have drawn on their global influences to create a children’s book to promote better mental wellbeing novice Tibetan Buddhist monk who has difficulty meditating. “In a remote Tibetan monastery surrounded by the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Himalayas, a little novice monk endeavours to master meditation,” says Julien. “Through gentle guidance he discovers how to calm his mind, yet his lessons don’t end there: he encounters kindness and compassion within others and the concepts of karma, impermanence and reincarnation.”

Worldwide wanderings Clockwise from top left: Julien with the Dalai Lama; Ann; the pair at Ann’s third birthday party (Julien in the middle, Ann on the right)


ulien Bound and Ann Lachieze have known each other since they were two-year-olds living in Oswestry, Shropshire. Their lives have taken them around the world, and their latest collaboration brings all the influences they’ve gathered into a children’s book, The Little Monk Who Loved His Noodles. The book, written by Julien and illustrated by Ann, tells the story of a

Julian is a documentary photographer, filmmaker and author whose work has featured on the BBC and in National Geographic, New Scientist and the international press. He focuses on world culture, religion and traditions, and has been lucky enough to spend time studying meditation with the Buddhist monks of Tibet and northern Thailand and the spiritual teachers of India’s Himalaya region. He has photographed His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan communities of Nepal and India, and was able to draw on these experiences to tell the magical tale of The Little Monk Who Loved His Noodles. Ann is an established artist and illustrator who has spent 30 years living

“Through gentle guidance, the little monk discovers how to calm his mind”

in Provence, France. Her artwork emphasises the importance of living fully in the moment. As a mother of three, she has had the joy of reading many books to her children, learning along the way how illustrations can bring a story to life. “My painting takes its inspiration from nature,” says Ann. “I work mainly in acrylic, playing with light, contrasting shade and brightness to create an illusion of depth.” Yoga and meditation have been a constant element throughout Ann’s life, combined with her interest in the philosophy and guidance found within Buddhism. Julien and Ann have been able to pool their talents to create their book and the result may just be what is needed to help young people struggle to cope with the current pandemic – it’s a little slice of calm in a chaotic world.

The Little Monk Who Loved His Noodles is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

LOC A L B OOKS First Dig Two Graves by Denis Brookes This is Shropshireborn Brookes’ second Justin Parkes thriller and it’s even more exciting than the first. The story is set in Shrewsbury, Iran and London, and although a standalone novel it follows on from the series’ first book, A Very Deadly Sin, and features many of the same characters. After Bahadur Najafi sees his stateback terrorist plan foiled by the British security services, he finds himself hunted by MI5 and the Metropolitan Anti-Terrorist unit – but thanks to his survival training, he manages to outfox his pursuers time and time again, always staying one step ahead. Najafi blames his downfall on Justin Parkes – a naïve gravedigger he used to further his diabolical aims – and his psychotically deranged mind sets him on a journey of revenge, as he vows to make Parkes pay for his interference.

years in the making as well as a huge A Horse, A Sword achievement during a global pandemic. And A Rifle by Mary Watkin Jones The List tells the story of Beth Belmont, who runs every day, hard and fast on This book tells the the trail near home. She knows every true story of three members of the turn, every bump in the road. So when she spots something out of place – a author’s family from Marbury, Cheshire: slip of white paper at the base of a tree – she’s drawn to it. On the paper are three farmers who five names, the third went to three wars on horses. Joseph her own. Beth can’t is shake off the unease Dodd was a despatch rider in the Boer War and batman to Lord Dudley who the list brings. Why is returned to set up a racing stable. His she on it? And what ties her to the other son-in-law Sydney Williams rode in the First World War, pulling guns to four strangers? Then she discovers the front. On his return to England, that the first two he rented 20 acres and worked his way up to farm more than 200 acres names are both by his retirement. His son John was dead. Is she next? called up to the Shropshire Yeomanry on the first day of the Second World War. Calling local authors… The List by Carys Jones Telford-based author Carys Jones has just released her first book with Orion, a moment that has been 10

We want to hear from you! If you are an author living in the Shire area or have written a book about a local person or place, we would love to feature it on these pages. Please email the details to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

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Staying in is still the new going out, so our friends at Linghams Bookshop in Heswall have a few more recommendations to keep us reading… The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides This breathtakingly dramatic and chilling thriller will have you hooked from the start. Some books are hard to get into, leaving you wondering whether they’re worth the effort, but not this one! The patient in question has murdered her husband then tried to kill herself, and as a result has been committed to psychiatric care by the murder trial judge. She hasn’t spoken a word since the murder. New psychotherapist Theo, a damaged man himself, decides to help her at any cost, using any unorthodox method he needs. The reader learns about the silent patient, whose name is Alicia, through her diaries; these humanise her, but is her version of events the true one? The story is told from two points of view – Theo’s narration and Alicia’s diary – and is a fascinating and enthralling look into a disturbed mind (or two). The Midnight Library by Matt Haig If you want some peace and quiet for a few hours, go to The Midnight Library – a fantastic book that will help you on your imaginary way. We loved it from the first seven words of its quirky start. Read them and you’ll be in love. Nora Seed is depressed. Seeing no future for herself, she decides to end her life. On doing this, she finds the Midnight Library. Her old school librarian is the custodian of this wondrous and magical place. The books the library contains give people held in limbo the chance to choose another life, one they could have lived, and each of these green volumes gives Nora the chance to try a different existence. Nora has a long list of regrets and shortcomings, and now she is getting the chance to change that, as the books seem to be offering conduits to an alternative and happier life.

Hoodies by Deslie Bailey

To make another mark which should be five, tomorrow morn.

When will the trend For hoodies end? I need a hoody without a hood A hoody’s fine When you’re under 29 But at 50 the look’s not good I’d like one that’s new In a nice shade of blue With a zipper of silver or gold I’ve got one in black But it looks like a sack As it’s nearly a decade old A hood is a waste It’s a matter of taste The cloth could be used elsewhere A collar is fine Less ironing time A hood just messes up hair! I’ve searched on the net But not found one yet And a trip to the shop’s not allowed We have to stay in Or the virus will win We have to avoid the crowds So I’ll have to make do And not have one that’s blue Till the virus is beaten at last Then I hope I can find What I’ve got in mind And hoodies are things of the past!

All evening shone the sun through six o’clock, then seven, eight. Sunset at eight-forty. All was marked at proper rate. Then in the morn, alas, alack, awakening, I found, There stood my house’s shadow on the flagpole in the ground. At seven-thirty came the light. The shadow moved away. Again I could begin to mark celestial time of day. My timing I was taking from my modern mobile phone. At 8am the thunder struck! And I was quite alone! The point where I had estimated eight am should show Was showing at six-forty-five. Ye gods! The sun was slow! My wife thought this hilarious. I made more marks that day. Perturbed now by the knowledge which of course should be child’s play.

The Sundial by Barry Youde One afternoon of idleness and lemoncake and tea, And nothing much to look at, save the view across the sea, And nothing much to think about, no effort much inclined, There shuffled into being an idea in my mind. All was well, delightfully. The world was going round. The flag was hanging idly at its flagpole in the ground, When wonderment became me with the thought to have some fun – It might be right today to make a dial, for the sun. The sky was clear and bright. The sun was shining from on high. The flagpole on the ground produced a shadow, from the sky. As Galileo thought about it, all those years ago, Today we take for granted things we really ought to know. I drew a circle round the pole. The radius, six feet. At five o’clock I took a sight and made a mark, quite neat; And then drew a diameter, through pole, across the lawn,

Nine and ten, eleven, twelve, all fell into their place. That summer morning, thankfully, it dawned upon my face. The penny dropped at one o’clock! The moment not too soon, That I was reading BST and not celestial noon. Our longitude is west of Greenwich. Less than four degrees, But necessary in account, should accuracy please. Of course it should and so should I; and very nearly blew it, As I had got it wrong, where once old Galileo knew it! Spring by Norman Marshall Alexanders and sloe Located along the lane, Out for you on show With much to gain. One for Sunday dish, The other for bottle, Both sharing a wish: To be consumed at full throttle. The garden has come into light As we go on our way, For all is a delight For this and another day. Yes, spring is here, The winter’s tide has turned And life is of good cheer – For those who have lear.

We want your poems! Share your creativity – we print our favourite poems every issue. Send them to Poetry Page, Shire, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR or email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

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Subscribe to Shire magazine, and never miss an issue again!

Imagine having every copy of Shire magazine delivered to your door as soon as it’s printed. You’ll never worry again about missing an issue! Shire magazine is essential local reading, packed with great features and the best What’s On guide to our area.

! W E N

You can now set up a new subscription on the Shire website!

Just go to www.shiremagazine.co.uk and click “Subscribe to Shire”” at the top of the page Or simply fill in the order form below, choose how many issues you’d like to receive, and send with your cheque to:

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Shire Magazine Subscriptions, PO Box 276, Oswestry SY10 1FR Mr/Mrs/Miss First name: Surname: Address:

Choose which deal you’d like: 12-month subscription (6 issues) – £19.95 24-month subscription (12 issues) – £34.95 You can pay the full amount by cheque or cash. I enclose a cheque / cash amount for £__________ payable to Shire Magazine for which I will receive the next _______ issues of Shire magazine posted to the address provided (UK only)

Postcode: Tel number: Starting with which issue? This issue (MAR/APR) or the next issue (MAY/JUN)? Email:



Post this form with your cheque to: Shire Magazine Subscriptions, PO Box 276, Oswestry SY10 1FR If you have any queries, just call 01691 661270 and our friendly staff will help!

110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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e’ve been delighted to receive so many letters from you this issue. Thank you so much for keeping in touch with us and letting us know about the things that are important to you. We’re always touched when you share your news and stories with us. We’ve printed a few here as usual, but do keep them coming and if you can include a picture too then so much the better. Whatever you’d like to say or share, please email us at editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

We always have a supply of previous issues that we’re happy to send out too, so let us know if you’ve missed an edition. Just send us a SAE for £1.83 to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 1FR, letting us know which issue you’d like, and we’ll pop it in the post for you. An even safer bet is to subscribe to the magazine so you never miss a copy of Shire again! See page 110 for details on how to do this. Keep writing, keep emailing, keep reading and most of all, keep safe and well!

Goodbye – and thank you! It has been an absolute pleasure to take on the role of High Sheriff of Shropshire for 2020/21 and I’m sad to see my shrieval year coming to an end. Little did I know that I’d spend so much of the year sitting in front of a computer! This began when the legal ceremony marking the beginning of the year was conducted virtually for the first time ever, and since then I’ve had more Zoom meetings than I can count! It has been a real honour and privilege to serve as High Sheriff. I now understand so much more about how the charity and voluntary sector operates, how local government works, who’s who in the county and what Shropshire truly has to offer. I’ve been able to make strong connections with many individuals and organisations to help shine a light on my three key causes: domestic abuse, addiction, and child poverty and deprivation. Dean Harris I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity and platform to help make a positive difference and encourage others to get involved with the impactful and vital activities happening in Shropshire to help those who are vulnerable and to improve our wonderful county. Dean Harris, High Sheriff of Shropshire 2020/21

Wonders of the web With online sales rocketing, at the Rhug Estate we wanted to let your readers know we’ve launched a new website to make it easier for customers to order their shopping online and have it delivered direct to their door. Visitors to www.rhug.co.uk can now find more of their favourite products available from the Farm Shop. Rhug Estate’s range of organic meat has been extended in the online shop, as well as the Rhug Wild Beauty skin and body care collections. Customers can also purchase a wider range of artisan, local, luxury food and drink, previously only available to Farm Shop visitors. We realise online shopping is here to stay, and as much as we miss serving our customers face to face in our Farm Shop, we are grateful for their loyalty in switching to buying from us online. We are delighted with the look and functionality of our new website. We hope our customers A wider range of foods is now available online like it too. The Rhug Estate team

A new face at Pentabus

Elle While

The Pentabus Theatre Company’s board of trustees has appointed a new artistic director, Elle While. Elle will succeed Sophie Motley who is leaving the company to become the artistic director of The Everyman in Cork. Elle grew up in rural Herefordshire and has recently moved back to Hereford. She comes with a strong pedigree of directing plays in theatres across the UK, and has shown commitment to developing work with some of the country’s leading playwrights. She will continue the company’s recent tradition of employing highly talented female artistic directors and we’re confident she will build on Sophie’s legacy and the achievements of Pentabus over nearly 50 years as the country’s leading rural theatre company – telling stories of the countryside in towns and villages across the UK, from our base in Shropshire. The Pentabus Theatre Company

READER F E E D B AC K I enjoyed reading your magazine and thought it was wonderful in tone and interest. Liz Davis Well done for continuing to get Shire magazine out on time and with its usual range of interesting articles. Let’s hope for better things soon! Lynne Lomax I’m so glad I’ve still been able to find my Shire magazine during these weird times – a little bit of normality in a crazy world! Fran Parsons Loved the latest Shire! I’ve just bought a new house so I really enjoyed the interiors and homes section. Keep it up! Cath Lyle

Tribunal win for young lawyer We wanted to share with your readers the great success one of our young solicitors, who won a highprofile case just weeks after joining our company. Jaimie Whiteley represented a North Yorkshire energy company at a tribunal in Hull and helped the company win its case commprehensively – a great start for Jaimie, who had joined us here at Gamlins Law as a solicitor advocate in January, only three weeks earlier. We hope you don’t mind us using your pages to share our appreciation for Jaimie’s success. Gamlins Law, Rhyl Jaimie Whiteley March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 111

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What’s in your stars? Aries

20th March – 20th April The sun enters Aries on 20th March at 9.39am, and with Mars in perfect harmony in Gemini it gives a high-energy feel to your drives and desires throughout the next two months. Have faith in your ability to achieve a good deal, because you can accomplish in action whatever you put your mind to this spring.


21st June – 23rd July Your astrological colour is silver, the colour of your sign ruler the Moon, and represents dreams and a desire for fulfilment. Most significantly, it relates to your hidden potential, which may still lie untapped. Creativity and caring are two areas strong in your psyche – look into these fields to find yourself and your fulfilment. The time is right.


23rd September – 22nd October The word Easter came from the Saxon festival Ostara, which celebrated the beginning of light for the next half year. Today it holds a different meaning of great sadness followed by cheer over the death of Jesus and then his ascendance. For you, weighing the needs of an elder with entertaining the young is your Easter dilemma.


21st December – 20th January Astrology could be called a social science in the sense that it works from measurable data such as planetary positions in our galaxy. Currently, the journey of Pluto through your sign is making you face yourself. Some hard facts are being realised, but don’t despair – you’re just having to accept that nobody’s perfect and there’s always room for improvement.


20th April – 21st May The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and the ball of string he used to find his way out of the labyrinth is quite pertinent to you because it’s always essential for you to have an escape route from difficult situations. You may not require string, but you do want clarity between yourself and someone close on a future direction.


23rd July – 23rd August Let your inner animal out now spring is here. The lion represents courage and dignity, both of which have been subdued owing to circumstances beyond your control. However, like Aslan in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, you too can emerge from a difficult period stronger and more impressive in the face of past adversity.


23rd October – 22nd November Saturn’s current passage through unpredictable Aquarius is slowing up some areas of progress, which is no bad thing – progress isn’t always advantageous. Learning to walk before you can run is a slower journey but guarantees no stumbling blocks, although even those can benefit by finding ways around instead of using force. Proficiency over velocity every time!


20th January – 19th February Isolation is the worst enemy of your socially minded personality, but it manifests one of your best traits: inventiveness. On the other hand, independence can cause emotional problems; sacrificing a relationship for independence is never far away. Whether single or partnered, open your heart and it will bloom like the lotus flower.


21st May – 21st June Any blips in confidence that you’ve experienced are now disappearing, and having held the reins firmly you can relax them a little. Nobody realises that under your self-assured manner you suffer from nerves – but it’s my job to know and reveal that Mars riding close to your Sun sign will settle unease, giving your ego the necessary boost it deserves.


23rd August – 23rd September Having to deal with another person’s flights of fancy is becoming tedious. However much you’d like to holiday in that castle in the air, your feet are firmly on the ground and you find imaginary scenarios a waste of practical time. Don’t you think a little fantasy is sometimes necessary to get your head out of systems and specifications? I think you secretly do.


22nd November – 21st December The vernal equinox in March marks the transition of winter into spring, beginning a time for sowing. Use that as a metaphor to sow some seeds of opportunity as your ruling planet Jupiter moves through your solar house of community and communication. It’s time to put yourself about – your enthusiasm and knowledge are your curriculum vitae, so use them!


19th February – 20th March The first moment of spring is arriving and shortly before the equinox a new moon in Pisces shows signs that a fresh cycle is beginning for you. It’s been a long but worthwhile wait, but as the mists around you begin to lift a renewed look at an old world takes shape. A present motto should read, “It’s not certain that everything is uncertain.”

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 BBC icon Valerie Singleton calls her “sensitive”. You can reach her at starglow@pc-q.net or via her website, www.gloriamans.com. 112 SHIRE MAGAZINE | March/April 2021

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This brilliant package is worth £1,000 – but will make you feel a million dollars…

Another edition of Shire, another chance to win a fabulous prize. Good luck!

You have to be in it to win it. Go on, enter today!

WIN a beauty boost and enjoy a whole new you T

ransform your style and feel fabulous with this issue’s amazing prize for one lucky winner. Shire has teamed up with Olivia May, the exclusive ladieswear experts from Cheshire, to offer a package that money can’t buy. If you need help to freshen up your wardrobe, boost your confidence and embrace a whole new you, read on for the details of what could be a life-changing prize.

Expert advice

The first part of this prize is a personal style consultation with one of Oliva May’s experts. They will advise on cuts, cloths and colours, and give you the time and encouragement to try different looks and decide what suits you. Olivia May’s owner, Ann Whorrall, is passionate about helping women get the best out of themselves, and her team will encourage you to explore your own look and work with them to create a style with a difference. This personal service is worth £250 and is guaranteed to give you the confidence boost you need to get the best out of the second part of the package…

Shop till you drop

Armed with the expert style advice, the winner will have £250 to spend on an outfit of their choice from Olivia May’s range, which includes pieces from more than 60 European designers. You will also have a hair and make-up makeover worth £50. The final part of the prize is a professional photoshoot, where you can strike a pose with your new look. The fully edited images will be yours to keep and share on the platform of your choice. For your chance to win this fabulous prize, simply fill in the entry form below and send it to us at the address shown before the closing date, 17th April 2021. All competition entrants are also welcome to visit the Olivia May store at The Barns, Lane End Farm, Kelsall Road, Ashton Hayes, Cheshire CH3 8BH for a style consultation. Call 01829 751600 or visit www.oliviamay.org.

Winners from our January/February issue will be announced in the next issue once the parks are open to visitors! 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

Q: Who designed the Menai Suspension Bridge?

Name Address

a) Isambard Kingdom Brunel b) John Hawkshaw c) Thomas Telford 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 www.shiremagazine.co.uk. 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.

Postcode Daytime contact number Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire March/April 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 113

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The next edition of Shire will hopefully arrive alongside the beginnings of a slightly more normal life for many of us. While we may still have a long way to go, a bit of early summer sun will help us look forward and embrace the new opportunities. Pick up the May/June issue and be ready to get back out there!



It’s been a long and worrying winter. But once restrictions begin to ease, we’ll all be ready to get back out and do all the things we enjoy with the people we love – and Shire will be right there with you! Whether it’s recommending the best restaurants to visit, the best days out to for all the family or which of the area’s amazing heritage and culture sites you really must see, we have it covered.


We all know how important our diet is to our wellbeing, and recently we’ve come to appreciate our brilliant local producer more than ever. We may be able to travel further, but our food shouldn’t – so we’ll be celebrating and championing the best of our local farms, bakers, growers and brewers as we continue to support local.

There has already been a huge rush to book holidays after so many of us missed out on breaks last year. Our next issue will include a holiday guide as usual and give you the lowdown on the best holiday parks, narrowboat companies and motorhome hire options in the region who’ll make your getaway a great one. TA L K O F T H E T O W N

Every issue, we focus on two local towns and take a closer look at what makes them great places to live, work and visit. In our next edition we take a tour of the gateway to Anglesey, Holyhead, and the bustling market town of Winsford in Cheshire.

Food for thought Our food and drink section will include another delicious recipe from a top local chef, as well our regular wine column and the latest news from the brewing world. With the hospitality trade having suffered so much recently, it’s time to give them a Shire shout-out too.


Our homes and interiors section will be packed with great style advice as usual, as well as practical solutions to make sure your pad is perfect in every way. We’ll also have interior design advice for those who are considering a new look, as well as the latest updates from the region’s homebuilders and local tradespeople. G A R D E N G LO R Y

Our section for the green-fingered among you will include a round-up of local places where you can admire other gardeners’ work, as well as ideas on 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.

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 outdoor events you’ll need to know about before you plan anything. The next edition of Shire will include our usual 60page guide to all the events and activities that are going on across the region.

GET IN TOUCH Shire wants to hear from you! 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 2021 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 editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk or call 01691 661270. You can also get in touch via social media – just search for “Shire Magazine” on Facebook or Instagram.

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Profile for Superstar Publishing

Shire Magazine March-April 2021  

North Wales, Mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Wirral, Whats on, glossy magazine, magazine, days out, events, restaurants, reviews, homes, ga...

Shire Magazine March-April 2021  

North Wales, Mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Wirral, Whats on, glossy magazine, magazine, days out, events, restaurants, reviews, homes, ga...

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