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Ready to get out there? Welcome back to the world with our guide to days out


Be inspired by new looks and style ideas

Glorious gardens Explore local delights and help raise millions for charity Zoo news Spring is in the air with animal babies galore! Beef up your dinner Try our mouthwatering recipe from a top local chef Piecing it together How making mosaics helped one local nurse survive lockdown


He’s only human Rag’n’Bone Man talks about parenthood, new music and his upcoming tour

Three great chances to win a fantastic family day out Turn to page 113

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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, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney, Bob Hickman, Lisa Whelan, Adam Gaunt-Evans, Eryl Jones


elcome to your latest edition of Shire – one packed with positivity! Not only are we starting to see the lifting of some of the restrictions that have controlled us for so long, but it’s also that time of year when days get longer and the weather gets warmer. So now that we’re allowed to go out and about a bit more, here’s hoping the early summer sunshine will help us make the most of our newfound freedoms. Turn to our feature “Welcome Back To The World” to find some inspiration for great days out as the restrictions ease. To help you get your head around what we can and can’t do now and over the next few months, we’ve also included advice about the route out of lockdown for England and Wales. There are so many great places to visit – and so many local businesses that need our support as we emerge into the new normal – so read on for some top tips on days out, escapes and excitement, family fun and adventures. This issue of Shire also looks at a topic close to all our hearts – food! And good, local food at that! We’ve focused on the amazing producers we are so proud to have in the Shire patch and rounded up our favourite growers, breeders, bakers and makers for a feature that will have your mouth watering. As always we’ve got our regular contributors with great advice on homes and interiors, style and fashion, art and books, pets and wildlife – and some celebrity chat too. Enjoy! IN THIS ISSUE

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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.

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Events near you Our guide to what’s on in the region during May and June starts on page 8

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…

Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st June is the deadline for events you’d like to feature in our July/August 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 90.

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 £2.00 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 80 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.

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Contents MAY/J U N E 2 02 1 8 What’s On Our packed events section covers all the most exciting things to do this May and June in north and mid Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire and the Wirral

PAG E 5 8 Nautical accessories

PAG E 3 9

14 Holyhead Take a closer look at the history of the bustling Anglesey port town 28 Winsford Discover this Cheshire market town’s salty past and its important links to the Potteries

Rag’n’Bone Man

39 Rag’n’Bone Man We talk to the singer-songwriter about getting back on stage after the constraints of lockdown

PAG E 7 6 Garden treats

COVER FEATURE 40 Welcome Back To The World Celebrate the easing of Covid restrictions by venturing to some of these great local attractions

PAG E 9 3 Monochrome fashion

47 Homes & Interiors Does your bathroom need a new look? Trying to restyle your furnishings? We’re here to help 58 Sea Dreaming Accessories to add some nautical flair to your home

PAG E 8 Events near you

COVER FEATURE 60 Local Food Tastes Better! We unearth the fabulous food, perfect produce, brilliant bakers and gourmet growers across the region

PAG E 9 4 Back-to-work style

66 Food & Drink Take it on the shin with the latest recipe from a top local chef, plus the company producing snacks with a Welsh twist 69 Over The Farm Gate Meet Shire’s newest columnist Eryl Jones as he takes a lighthearted look at the countryside around us

PAG E 6 6 PAG E 4 0

Hot products

The lifting of lockdown

71 Gardening Make the most of this year’s National Garden Scheme with our guide to the newest venues to open their doors, plus expert tips on this season’s top tasks 74 Green Living Meet a local environmental hero, plus news on the latest green schemes in the region and how the government hopes to boost the uptake of heat pumps 76 Outdoor Entertaining Make sure your outside spaces are up to scratch for hosting post-lockdown gatherings

PAG E 6 0 Local produce

Contents MayJune 2021 FINAL.indd 1

79 Pets & Wildlife Chester Zoo unveils its 100th birthday pledge, and meet some of the baby animals born in the region’s zoos and wildlife parks during lockdown

83 Holidays With summer on its way, now’s the time to plan a last-minute getaway or even make a holiday home investment of your own 87 Active Fancy walking the length of Offa’s Dyke? Our walking expert shares his top tips 88 Arts & Crafts Meet the nurse who found a new creative outlet to deal with recent stresses, and see readers’ pictures in our photography competition 93 Life In Black & White Striking monochrome ensembles to make you stand out from the crowd 94 Off To Work Head back to the office in one of these great outfits 95 Motoring Bob Hickman shares his thoughts on the new Alfa Romeo Giulia 96 Meet The Expert Victoria O’Donnell explains what it takes to study sports injury and rehabilitation 97 Health & Beauty How exercise has helped us through lockdown 99 Top Of The Class We round up the latest news from schools, colleges and universities across the area 104 Retirement Meet the local care charity that has doubled in size to help local people in need 107 Charities & Volunteering A look at the voluntary and charity organisations that do so much good for so many 108 Books & Poetry The latest releases, local authors and your amazing poetry, plus the writer who set his latest action adventure in rural Wales 110 Subscribe To Shire! Discover how to get your favourite listings magazine delivered directly to your door 111 Letters To The Editor A 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 Competitions Make the most of our new freedoms with our fantastic contest to win family tickets to top local attractions

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1st May, Upland Birds, Siabod Café, Capel Curig Join outdoor leader Jim Langley and ornithological expert Sophie-Lee Williams for a walk around the varied mountain and moorland habitats of this Welsh upland environment. The workshop, which is focused on bird identification and sightings, is aimed at people who love the great outdoors, and offers a fantastic opportunity to see a range of upland birds. 9am-4.30pm. £60. jim@natureswork.co.uk

2nd May, NGS Open Garden, Gilfach, Conwy Stroll through a beautiful country garden with magnificent views of the River Conwy and mountains. 2pm-5.30pm. Adults £3.50, children free. www.ngs.org.uk

3rd May, Snowdon Sunrise Experience, Llanberis A guided walk to the top of Wales’s highest mountain to greet a new day. Led by fully qualified local mountain leaders and suitable for all abilities, the walk begins in Llanberis and leads you up the Llanberis path. 1.30am-8am. £35. www. discoveringsnowdonia.co.uk

6th May, Heb Ffiniau Movement Workshops, online Relax, move and exercise from the comfort of your home, with a series of online classes led by dance practitioner Sarah Mumford. The workshops, which aren’t strenuous and are suitable for everyone aged 18 and over, encourage you to move through improvisation and dance. 11am every other Thursday. £3. www.pontio.co.uk

•7th May & 4th June, Caffi Babis, online Caffi Babis brings

new parents together, giving them the opportunity to meet each other and relax with their babies over Zoom. The sessions, which are most suitable for children up to 24 months, run on the first Friday of every month from 10am and are free to attend. www.pontio.co.uk

Let the kids go wild this summer Join the UK’s biggest nature challenge this summer – the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild. The annual challenge asks the nation to do one “wild” thing every day throughout June. Your daily Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, bird-watching, puddle-splashing… you name it! To help you on your way, the Wildlife Trusts will provide you with a free postal or digital pack of goodies to

Calling all artists

If you’ve got a talent for drawing, why not enter the Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize for the chance to win £3,000? The competition, organised by Oriel Mon, Anglesey, is open to all artists resident in Wales or connected to Wales by birth or choice. Each entrant may submit up to three drawings and application forms must be received by 31st May. For details, visit www.orielmon.org.

A celebration of steam in Bala

Get ready to ride the first steam train to operate in Bala since the 1960s in a special celebration weekend on 12th and 13th June. Bala ReRailed offers visitors the chance to visit Bala town station for a special open day, where they can ride the steam train and find out about the proposed extension project. There will be guided tours and a vintage vehicle display. www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW? Amazingly, 420 different species of birds can be found in Wales

inspire your wild month, including an activity passport and a wallchart to track your progress. You can “go wild” by visiting one of the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves or find ways to connect with nature closer to home. From planting a tree to digging a pond, providing food for birds or making a compost heap, the North Wales Wildlife Trust has lots of ideas to inspire you! www.northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk

Talking books at Pontio Get to know more about some of Wales’s leading authors in a series of live, online interviews and discussions. The Book Club, organised by Pontio, Bangor, will interview a different author each month via Zoom. You can then discuss the author’s work in a monthly Book Club session. All sessions are free. Visit www.pontio.co.uk for full listings.

Dads go free at Gypsy Wood Park

Treat Dad to a special day out with free entry to Gypsy Wood Park on Father’s Day, 20th June. Wander through 20 acres of natural woodland, meet the animals that call the park home, join the magical fairy hunt, marvel at the country’s largest outdoor model railway, hop aboard the Gypsy Wood Express for a magical ride through the park or enjoy one of the fabulous adventure play areas. There’s plenty for everyone to enjoy! The park is open from 10.30am to 5pm and booking is essential. www.gypsywood.co.uk

Stunning swimming in Tal Y Llyn

Enjoy beautiful lake swimming in a magical part of the Snowdonia National Park with the Tal Y Llyn Swim on 27th June. Tal Y Lyn is a stunning glacial ribbon lake that lies at the foot of Cadair Idris, and is one of the most beautiful open-water swimming spots in the world. This event invites all those brave enough to immerse themselves in the water and swim a distance of either 2km or 10km. All entrants will benefit from full safety cover, aid stations every 2km, webscorer timing and event souvenirs. Entry costs £35 for the 2km distance and £55 for the 10km. www.aberdoveyswim.co.uk

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Music festival’s 50th year


DID YOU KNOW? St Asaph Cathedral claims to be the smallest Anglican cathedral in Great Britain

A world premiere of a new work by Jon Guy will be featured in the curtain-raiser to this year’s North Wales International Music Festival, normally held at St Asaph Cathedral but this year taking place online. The premiere of the music, “Shining Dawn”, takes place at 7.30pm on 8th May. At

the same time the day before, the globally renowned choir Tenebrae will be delighting the festival audience. Jon Guy’s work will also showcase the talent of the festival’s resident orchestra, NEW Sinfonia, based in Wrexham. If you can’t tune in on the night, both concerts will be

available on the festival’s website for 30 days. There is no charge, but viewers are invited to donate to festival funds. For more details about spring concerts and the festival, visit www.nwimf.com.

How far will you go?

A celebration of musical theatre

Follow a real ale trail

Enjoy a challenge with a difference, with 24 Hours South – The Offa’s Dyke Ultra on 15th May. The event begins in Prestatyn but the finish line is up to you – after 24 hours, the solo runners and teams furthest south on the National Trail will be declared the winners. Entry from £85. www.out-fit.co.uk

Enjoy cuttingedge musical theatre at MTFest 2021 at Theatre Clwyd from 21st to 27th June. The online programme includes Tony! (a Tony Blair rock opera), #50 Days (a grime musical set in 1641) and Millennials, which sends musical theatre hurtling into the 21st century. Tickets cost £12.50. www.theatrclwyd.com

Travel through the towns and villages of Snowdonia National Park and sample a selection of real ales with the Snowdonia Real Ale Trail on 19th June. The bus-based trail will take real ale lovers from Llan Ffestiniog to Criccieth, stopping off at villages along the way. Tickets cost from £15. To find out more visit www.realaletrail.co.uk.

Music at William Aston Hall

A Country Night In Nashville, 7th May Step into a buzzing honky-tonk in downtown Nashville and enjoy a toe-tapping evening in the home of country music. Featuring songs such as “Ring Of Fire”, “Crazy”, “Follow Your Arrow”, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, “Need You Now” and “9 To 5”, A Country Night In Nashville will take you on a journey through the history of country music, featuring songs from its biggest stars both past and present. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50. www.ents24.com/ wrexham-events/william-aston-hall-glyndwr-university

21st May, Snowdon Climb in aid of Cats Protection Conquer Snowdon to raise vital funds for Cats Protection Wrexham Adoption Centre. The route, led by an experienced guide, takes between three and four hours to ascend, and three hours to descend. www.cats.org.uk/wrexham

22nd May29th August, The Mobile Feminist Library: In Words, In Action, In Connection, Mostyn, Llandudno A display of publications and printed materials exploring historical and contemporary feminist activism in Wales. www.mostyn. org/mobilefeministlibrary

23rd May, Experience The Dawn Chorus, Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn Learn how to identify common woodland and lowland birds on a guided dawn walk. 4am-7am. Meet at the Aber Falls (lower) car park. £20. www.summitsense.co.uk

30th May, Snowdonia 10 Peaks Challenge Can you climb 10 of Snowdonia’s finest peaks in under 16 hours? Full guiding is given by qualified and experienced mountain guides. £99. www.moreadventure.co.uk

1st June, Big Skies Workshop, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Gallery, Llanbedrog Join artist Pippa Pixley for a one-day workshop on how to master light within the landscape. All materials provided. 10am-3pm. £180. www.pippapixley.co.uk

Capture the beauty of Wales

Explore the Clwydian Range with your camera on a Wernog Wood digital photography workshop on 20th May. Learn how to get the best out of your equipment and how to visually simplify the complex natural world around you with expert tuition from professional photographer David White. Fees for the full day are £95. To find out more and to book, visit www.wernogwood.co.uk.

3rd June, Monthly Rest Circle, online Reset your inner barometer in a Zoom session led by Kate Hamilton-Kapur. The session begins with a 15-minute stretch then moves into yoga nidra. 7pm-8pm. £7.50. www.omyoganorthwales.co.uk

5th June, Zip It To Stop MS, Zip World, Bethesda Take on Velocity 2, the world’s fastest zipline, to raise funds to stop multiple sclerosis. Registration is £35, with a minimum fundraising target of £200. Noon-3.30pm. www.eventbrite.co.uk

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5th June, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone, Outdoor Cinema, Stadiwm Zip World, Colwyn Bay Accio big screen! Bring a blanket or camping chair and watch Harry Potter on a giant cinema screen. Gates open at noon and the film starts at 2pm. Picnics are welcome and hot food and snacks will be available. £15.79. www.adventurecinema.co.uk

5th-6th June, Blacksmithing – An Introduction To The Forge, Wernog Wood, Ruthin Join Rich Jones from Heat & Beat to learn the elementary techniques needed to form and forge steel. Using hammers, traditional hand tools and a forge, you’ll learn the ancient skills of blacksmithing and create a beautiful hanger for a flower basket or bird feeder. £245, plus £30 for materials. www.wernogwood.co.uk

12th June, Introduction to Navigation, Ogwen Visitors’ Centre, Bethesda Learn the basic skills of navigation with a map and compass. Led by qualified mountain leaders with years of navigation experience, this course will teach you how to use a map and compass and give you the chance to hit the hills and put your learning into practice. 9am-4pm. £40. www. discoveringsnowdonia.co.uk

12th June, Summer Wild Swim & Yoga, Snowdonia Join Vivienne Rikman for half a day of gentle wild swimming and slow yoga in the mountains. The course is ideal for all abilities, and is led by a qualified and experienced swimming coach and yoga teacher. £65. www.lovinglifeinwellies.co.uk

12th & 13th June, NGS Open Garden, Cae Newydd, Rhosgoch, Anglesey This mature country garden blends seamlessly into the open landscape and has stunning views of Snowdonia and Llyn Alaw. Featuring collections of fuchsia, pelargonium and cacti. 11am4pm. Adults £4, children free. www.ngs.org.uk

Explore the world of opera with WNO

The Welsh National Opera’s podcasts are back, with two new miniseries designed to delve into the wider work of the WNO and highlight how opera connects to our lives. Both podcasts, The O Word (English language) and Cipolwg (Welsh language), look at the journeys of artists from their first exposure to classical music and their experiences as student up to their first professional performances. The O Word features soprano Natalya Romaniw (pictured) reflecting on her early singing days with WNO Youth Opera, director of music at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

DID YOU KNOW? Soprano is the highest vocal register, extending from middle C to the second A above

Tim Rhys-Evans and WNO female conductor in residence Tianyi Lu. Cipolwg, hosted by WNO dramaturg Elin Jones, features interviews with young people, students and professional singers across Wales, finding out more about each stage on the path to a professional operatic career. New episodes are available to download via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and the WNO website. www.wno.org.uk

Gardens open their doors

Crafty delights in Wrexham

If you’ve missed browsing for handmade treasures and wandering among stalls selling unique gifts and crafts, head to Bellis Brothers Garden Centre in Holt Village, Wrexham, from 14th to 16th May for its Craft & Gift Fair. Bellis Brothers Garden Centre and Farm Shop are now both open and delighted to be hosting this fair, which features a selection of quality crafts and giftware from around the world. The marquee will be bursting with handmade delights, with ceramics, cards, toys, glass, knitwear, photographic art, bath bombs, soaps, cushions, clothing, paintings, jewellery and much more on display. The fair is open from 10am to 4pm on the Friday and Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on the Sunday. For more information, visit www.bellisbrothers.co.uk.

Culture at Galeri Caernarfon

Discover the story of the last years of TE Lawrence’s life in Lawrence: After Arabia at Galeri Caernarfon on 7th June. It follows Lawrence into retirement, hoping to escape his past. But with dangerous enemies plotting against him, is his untimely death a tragic accident or an assassination and cover-up? After the screening, there will be a question and answer session with the film’s director/producer/writer, Mark JT Griffin. Tickets £12. www.galericaernarfon.com

Enjoy summer splendour as private gardens open their doors with the National Open Garden Scheme. Llys-y-Gwynt, Llandygai, Bangor, 23rd May A varied two-acre garden with magnificent views of Snowdonia. 11am-4pm. Adults £5, children free. Pant Ifan, Llanrug, Caernarfon, 30th May A twoacre mix of formal and wildlife gardens set around a farmhouse and yard. With poultry, donkeys, a horse, two ponies, field walks and a range of sitting areas. 11am-5pm.Adults £4, children free. Plas Coch, Ruthin, 5th-6th June A wellestablished garden boasting deep herbaceous borders, a vegetable garden and a small orchard, all with extensive views towards the Clwydian Range. 11am-4pm. Adults £3, children free. Visit www.ngs.org.uk to find out more.

Beautiful Brynkinalt

Take a stroll in the beautiful gardens of Brynkinalt Hall near Chirk on 23rd May, when the grounds open as part of the National Garden Scheme. The gardens include a five-acre ornamental woodland shrubbery, a beautiful rhododendron walk, historic ponds, grottos and battlements, and ancient redwoods and yews. Wander through the West Garden with its formal beds of roses, mixed perennials and herbaceous borders. Then head to the Woodland Shrubbery to walk along the cool paths. The gardens will be open from noon to 4pm and entry is £5 for adults and free for children. For more information and to book, visit www.brynkinalt.co.uk or www.ngs.org.uk.

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Canolfan Darganfod Gwyddoniaeth Science Discovery Centre

Lle i ddarganfod a dysgu Space for discovery and play Teuluoedd






Stryd Henblas, Wrecsam Henblas Street, Wrexham www.xplorescience.co.uk Rhif elusen gofrestredig 1102959 Registered charity number 1102959



tht-rlt-'s so JrliAc.h to do... FAMILY FUN PARK


check online for dates & times

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Ride on Woody's train, find the fairies, meet the animals, fabulous adventure play areas, gift shop, cafe & much, much more!

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Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7DD Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7DD

Back!! Snowdonia Steam sttrainsWe’re in southern From 1 May our trains will once again be Beautiful lake and mountain views

steaming through southern Snowdonia offering Family – dog friendly you friendly beautifulattraction lake and mountain viewstoo! th Bala Model Railway Show - 25 friendly to 27th May Family friendly attraction – dog too! over 30 model layouts, trade support, Bala ‘Re-Railed’ Event 12th &refreshments 13th June th years! See and Lake ride onFestival the first steam train in Bala forth over Bala of Transport - 26 & 2750 May Discover more about our excitingrefreshments plans to extend&the railway vintage vehicles, displays, more back into the town itself. Extra trains, vintage bus service, Two great shows connected by steam trainonline. – see our website and various displays. Details th th Ourreduced Annual SteamtoGala & 16 June With capacity allow- 15 social distancing

Plentyplease of engines in steam, lots of tickets passenger and freight book your train online trains, double-heading & more to avoid disappointment For further information and advance tickets For further information and tickets

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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

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

23/04/2021 11:19


Roll up! Roll up!

Europe’s largest touring big-top circus is back and coming to Llandudno with the Unbelievable tour from 30th June to 4th July. Experience a kaleidoscope of colour packed with laughter and thrills as Gandey’s Circus transports you on a magical, fun-filled voyage around the world in 80 minutes. Featuring exhilarating motorcycles, the deathdefying space wheel, fearless artistes and acrobats


from around the world and your two favourite clowns, Chico Rico and Andreea, this is a familyfriendly extravaganza that you don’t want to miss! All seats cost £9.99 on the opening day, and family tickets cost from just £48. To book yours, visit www.gandeyscircus.com.

Enjoy screen-free time at Xplore! Science Discovery Centre

The team at the newly rebranded Xplore! in Wrexham town centre has been busy during lockdown making sure visitors get the best and safest experience possible as it reopens. There

are lots of new exhibits, a new science gift shop and a café where you can enjoy a brew with a view of your kids enjoying the activities. Plan to be at the centre for a couple of hours and bring a picnic or grab a refreshment from the café. Tickets cost £7.50 for a single visit, and annual passes cost £27.50. Book your trip as soon as you can! www.xplorescience.co.uk

13th June, The Llangollen 50K With a well-marked course, three checkpoints with feed stations, and great facilities at the starting/ finishing area, this race through the Dee Valley is a great event for runners. Finishers take home a medal and local goodies, in addition to some great memories of a wonderful day out in the hills above Llangollen. £40. www.out-fit.co.uk

19th-20th June, Introduction To Glass Fusing, Wernog Wood, Ruthin Let glass artist Verity Pulford guide you through the fundamental processes of creating fused glass in this practical two-day course. Learn the basic techniques before designing and making a number of pieces. £240, plus £50-£80 for materials. www.wernogwood.co.uk

New exhibition explores privacy and personal identity •

Family fun at GreenWood Explore a forest of family fun and outdoor adventure when GreenWood Family Park in Y Felinheli reopens on 29th May. Make a splash on the UK’s only solar-powered water ride, jump aboard the world’s first peoplepowered roller coaster, meander along the Enchanted River Ride and zoom down the longest sledge run in Wales! There’s even a brand new adventure: the Giant Quest Obstacle Challenge. Are you brave enough to step into the realms of the sleeping giant? www.greenwoodfamilypark.co.uk

New exhibition My Online Bedroom has launched at Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, in collaboration with Queer Direct. The online display, which examines private and public spaces and the way they have changed this past year, with many aspects of everyday life occurring within the privacy of bedrooms, is available to view at www.mostyn.org.

Tackle the Welsh 3000s Do you have the stamina to reach the summits of all the 3,000ft mountains of north Wales? The Welsh 3000s are the 15 mountains in Wales with a height of 3,000ft or more. To cover them all, you must tackle a 50km trek with nearly 4,000m of ascent among some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. If you’re fit enough for the challenge, why not make this magnificent journey on 29th May with a team of highly qualified and experienced mountain guides by your side? The Welsh 3000s Challenge will enable you to complete the trek within 24 hours with full support from mountain guides, food and fluids during the challenge, valley support, comprehensive gear and training advice, and much more. Entry costs £190 per person. For more information, visit www.thewelsh3000s.co.uk.

20th June, Dads Go Free, Llangollen Railway Whether they’re Dad, Grandad, Taid, Papa, Father, Daddy or Grandpa, treat them to a trip on a steam train this Father’s Day where they can enjoy a pork pie, scotch egg and a bottle of real ale. The train departs at 1.05pm. www.llangollen-railway.co.uk

26th June, Ghost Hunt, Gwrych Castle If you’re looking for real-life ghost encounters, Gwrych Castle is the place to be. Take part in vigils around the grounds, use paranormal equipment and try your hand at table-tipping. 8pm-1.30am. Age 16-plus. £40. www. gwrychcastle.co.uk/ghosts

26th-27th June, Conwy Bikepacking Weekend Set off from Conwy into the Lower Carneddau Mountains, pitch up in a bivvy spot, then enjoy some amazing descents. £95. mtbsnowdonia@outlook.com

27th June, Treasure Island, Penbedw Estate, Mold Beware, me hearties! There be pirates and treasures galore in this fast and funny outdoor summer panto. Picnics welcome. 4pm. Adults £12, children £10. www.everymantheatre.org. uk/shows/treasure-island

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Fabulous ferries and forts Most of us think of Holyhead as a place we pass through on the way to Ireland, but the area has plenty to offer those who want to stay a little longer which is rich in ancient features and links to a proud past, will continue to thrive.

Early settlers

Settlements in the area date from prehistoric times, with circular huts, burial chambers and standing stones having been found here in higher concentration Historic remains near Holyhead include Soldier’s Point than anywhere else in Britain. The town olyhead is perched on Holy Island, centre is built around St Cybi’s Church, connected to Anglesey by road and rail which was in turn built inside a three-walled Roman fort – the fourth “wall” being the sea. bridges and used by passengers and freight as the launch point for journeys to Ireland. The Romans had a strong presence in At the beginning of last year, Holyhead was Holyhead, and also built a watchtower on top the UK’s second biggest roll-on, roll-off ferry of Mynydd y Twr (Holyhead Mountain). The town’s name in Welsh, Caergybi, is related port, behind only Dover for the number to this fort, and the original form of the of vessels that came and went every day. name is thought to be at least a thousand Most of the town’s residents are employed by one of the big ferry years old. Other forms it has been DID YOU companies or at the port and known by over the years include KNOW? Cor Gybi (seat of Cybi), Castrum harbour facilities. But that may be Holyhead Cuby (the fortified military camp set to change, with Brexit having a breakwater is the longest of Cybi) and Gorffwysfa Gybi huge impact on trade with Ireland in the UK – by January this year, freight traffic (Cybi’s resting place). The English from Ireland had already halved. form has only been around since The town has other industries though. the 14th century. This title honours the religious and holy nature of the place, and the At one time, the local aluminium plant was a huge employer, while new retail island it sits on, and has the same meaning developments have also created jobs. One when translated as Penzance in Cornwall. of the port’s main jetties is still popular with cruise ships that dock to meet up Modern attractions with coaches touring Anglesey and further Holyhead boasts its own arts centre, the into Wales. Whatever the future holds for Ucheldre Centre, which is housed in the Holyhead, one thing is certain: the town, chapel of an old convent and holds regular

arts exhibitions, performances, workshops and film screenings. There is also a library in the old market hall. This determination to use and embrace the town’s older buildings is reflected throughout Holyhead: the Maritime Museum is inside what is claimed to be Wales’s oldest lifeboat house. The area is home to several lighthouses, and the main one at South Stack is open to the public. The area is also home to an RSPB reserve, and people come from far and wide in the hope of spotting a puffin on the cliffs. With changes afoot for the town, it’s a good time to stop and see what else there is to offer before getting on board a ferry.


The old lifeboat station – now a bistro – at Newry beach in Holyhead THINGS TO SEE AND DO Holyhead Maritime Museum Newry Beach, Holyhead LL65 1YD www.holyheadmaritimemuseum.co.uk The Ucheldre Centre Millbank, Holyhead LL65 1TE www.ucheldre.org RSPB South Stack Visitor Centre South Stack Road, Holyhead LL65 1YH www.rspb.org.uk

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Lle i Ddarganfod … o adref! Take the train from Fairbourne along the sandy beaches of the stunning Mawddach Estuary to Barmouth Ferry. Kids r go fo

Ewch i’n gwefan llyfrgell.cymru a chwilio neu bori ein casgliadau ar-lein helaeth ac amrywiol:

• Llyfrau • Papurau Newydd • Llawysgrifau • Archifau

Beth bynnag eich diddordebau – hanes teulu, gwaith academaidd neu bori trwy weithiau celf hardd, mae digonedd i ddysgu a difyrru.

A Place to Discover … from home!


• Mapiau • Darluniau • Ffotograffau • Ffilm

Visit our website library.wales and search or browse our numerous and varied online collections:

• Books • Newspapers • Manuscripts • Archives • Maps • Pictures • Photographs • Film

Whatever your interests - family history, academic work or simply just browsing through beautiful artworks, there’s plenty to inform and entertain. www.llyfrgell.cymru | www.library.wales | gofyn@llgc.org.uk | enquire@llgc.org.uk

@NLWales | @LLGCymru







CYCLE MUSEUM Cycles of all ages for all ages

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

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Discover the history of the bicycle at the UK’s

National Cycle Museum

The Automobile Palace, Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 5DL Tel: 01597 825531 curator@cyclemuseum.org.uk www.cyclemuseum.org.uk O

NE C FREE E HILD Open days are normally: WITH ENTRY A Mondays & Tuesdays 10am-4pm PAYINGCH ADULT Saturdays & Sundays 10am-2pm Other days may be possible by arrangement for groups

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Explore open gardens

Explore some of the area’s finest gardens thanks to the National Open Garden Scheme. Cwm Farm, Welshpool, 2nd May A five-acre garden with panoramic views of the Corndon and Roundton Hills. Featuring herbaceous beds, an apple orchard and pond. Noon-5pm. Llysdinam, Newbridge-on-Wye, 23rd May Noted for its magnificent display of rhododendrons and azaleas, the gardens also

Back at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, 4th June A unique opportunity for fans to rediscover the songs of Fleetwood Mac. 8pm. Tickets £26.50


include large herbaceous and shrub borders and a water garden. 2pm-5pm.

DID YOU KNOW? NGS gives visitors access to 3,600 private gardens in England and Wales

Llwyn Madoc, Llanwrtyd Wells, 31st May A terraced garden in a wooded valley overlooking a lake, with a rose garden, kitchen garden and small orchard. 1.30pm-5.30pm. Tickets cost £5 for adults; children free. To book and for more details, visit www.ngs.org.uk.

Mind, body and soul at Bleddfa

Al Murray, 29th June The Pub Landlord is back. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50. www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

Talk to writers, performers and artists during the Conversations series of events, which take place on the third Thursday of each month via Zoom from the Bleddfa Centre, Knighton. For more information about the centre’s reopening plans, including the Big Skill Midsummer Crafts Festival on 19th and 20th June, visit www. bleddfacentre.org.

Weaving at Caffi Clywedog

Become a nature detective!

Create your own piece of woven art at Caffi Clywedog in Llanidloes. The course will be held outdoors and all equipment and materials are provided. Choose from a half-day on 6th May, full day on 5th May or weekend on 2nd and 3rd June. www.radiatearts.co.uk

Discover what creatures call your garden home on an exciting day of wildlife exploring with the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. The Nature Detective events run on 22nd and 29th May and 5th and 26th June. Tickets cost £35 for adults and £20 for children. www.cat.org.uk

Catch up with classical music


Gritfest, the UK’s premier gravel race, returns on 19th and 20th June. The multi-stage event with timed special stages takes place around the Cambrian mountains and is open to all off-road bikes. Entry costs £110 and includes camping across the full weekend. www.gritfest.co.uk

Bach & The Romantics, an online recital of Bach transcriptions performed by pianist Jayson Gillham and brought to you by Hay Music, is available to watch online until 16th June. Tickets cost £7.50 per receiving device. For more information and tickets, visit www.haymusic.org.

3rd May, Willow Weaving, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter A one-day traditional willow weaving workshop that will show you how to use a variety of natural willows to make a posy basket. All tools and materials provided. 10am-4.30pm. £55, plus £7.50 for materials. www.denmarkfarm.org.uk

7th-9th May, Stargazing Weekend, Dark Sky Wales, Staylittle Reach for the stars with two days of astronomical tuition and observation. The workshop is designed for all levels of experience, with the aim of getting you more accustomed to astronomy, the night sky and taking your own images. £479-£559, including accommodation for four adults. www.darkskywalestraining services.co.uk

12th May, Macramé Wall Hanging Workshop, Caffi Clywedog, Llanidloes Enjoy a relaxing workshop with expert guidance and tuition by Alice Thomas amid the beautiful surroundings of Llyn Clywedog. This wall hanging will give you the opportunity to try a range of techniques while creating an organic and unique woven picture to take home. All materials and tools are provided. 10.30am-4.30pm. £65. www.radiatearts.co.uk

13th May, Introduction to Bushcraft, Nannerth Fawr, Rhayader Delve into the world of bushcraft in the Wye Valley on this one-day foundation course. Learn safe knife-handling skills, try your hand at lighting a fire using several methods, make some rustic bread for lunch, discover shelter-building techniques and examine navigating using the sun. Adults £45, children £35. www.wilderness-project. org/bushcraft-skills

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17th-18th May, Introduction to Stone Carving, Caffi Clywedog, Llanidloes Learn the process of stone carving in the inspirational surroundings of Llyn Clywedog. This two-day course, run by Glenn Morris, includes a brief introduction to stone carving and an overview of tools and techniques. Materials and tools are provided. £150. www.radiatearts.co.uk

•22nd-23rd May, Mid Wales Tour Camping, Hay-on-Wye

Join Roam Free Adventures and discover the true capabilities of your 4x4 in a stunning, unforgettable location. Join the group in Hay-on-Wye then head north into the countryside, covering some serious mileage before arriving at your friendly campsite. £200 per vehicle (with two occupants). www.roamfreeadventures.co.uk

30th-31st May, Ceredigion Garden & Craft Festival, Square Field, Aberaeron Organised by Ceredigion & District Growers Association, this is the premier event of its type in west Wales, with over 70 stalls selling plants, crafts and food. 10am-5pm. Free entry. www.ceredigiongrowers.co.uk

5th June, Dyfi Ultra, Aberdovey Are you ready to take on an 80km ultra marathon with a total height gain of 3,000m, along coast, trail, mountain, river and forest? Taking in a total of 15 peaks, including the summit of Cadair Idris, this challenging, stunning route is one of Britain’s most beautiful and least-travelled ultras. Entry costs from £70. www.weswimrun.org

5th June, Brecon Beacons Peak to Peak Under the guide of a qualified mountain leader, you’ll spend the day exploring the Brecon Beacons, summiting several peaks en route. £45. www.outdooramore.co.uk

Hay Festival goes online for 2021

Hay Festival returns for its 34th edition from 26th May to 6th June, bringing writers and readers together online in hundreds of free, interactive live broadcasts. There will be an inspiring array of conversations, debates,

workshops and performances, kicking off with the inaugural Opening Night Gala on 26th May, when writers will join performers for an evening of literary fun and inspiration. More than 200 acclaimed writers, global policymakers,

A festival of ideas

The world’s largest ideas and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn, returns on 29th May bringing warmth, light, discussion and dance through 70 events featuring over 100 speakers. It’s usually held in Hay-on-Wye, but this year’s festival will take place online and ticket holders will be able to sign in to explore a virtual festival field and stream events. Tickets cost £28. Visit www. howthelightgets in.org for more.


Some of the area’s finest craftmakers and artisan foodies will show their wares at Crefft Cymru, Llanfyllyn, on 29th and 30th May. The fair, held at Llanfyllyn’s workhouse Y Dolydd, will give you the chance to meet a range of artists, producers and entertainers at a fun day for the family. The fair is open from 10am and entry is free. www.crefftcymru.com

REWILD YOUR DAD FOR FATHER’S DAY! Children can spend the day in the wood at Denmark Farm Conservation Centre in Lampeter on 20th June, learning bushcraft with their dads. The course costs £50 for one child and dad. www.denmarkfarm.org.uk

historians, poets, pioneers and innovators will take part in events over the 11 days. A programme for schools will also take place online from 24th to 28th May. For the full programme, visit www.hayfestival.com.

Discover the art of bookbinding

Learn a variety of simple bookbinding techniques with Carole King at Make It In Wales, Cardigan, on 26th June. The course will guide you through the process of making concertina books, pamphlets with ribbons and beads, a book with a simple button closure and another with stab-stitch bindings. All materials are provided. The course costs £49 per person and is suitable for ages 12 and over. For more information, visit www.makeitinwales.co.uk.

Run through the heart of Wales The Howum, a 30-mile ultra marathon to the source of the River Severn, takes place on 19th June. Starting from Llanidloes, the route takes in the Sarn, Glyndwr’s Way, Severn Way and Wye Valley Walk before heading towards the Clywedog reservoir. www. pegasusultrarunning.com.

Wheels of change in Llandrindod

The National Cycle Museum in Llandrindod Wells reopens on 18th May. The museum contains a vast array of models, from an 1818 hobby horse to the latest designs. The museum is open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. www.cyclemuseum.org.uk

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We are pleased to announce…



Shire magazine’s brand new What’s On app

FREE TO USE FOR EVERYONE! No need to download from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Imagine having Shire’s What’s On guide in your pocket!

We wanted to make our What’s On pages accessible to all – not just in print but also on phones, tablets and laptops! All events in our What’s On section are available to browse, like and share with friends. • • • •

previews and pictures for all events listed by date, by area and event type links to buy tickets you can save events as Favourites

You can also: • share your reviews of events • submit events to be added Y

















S e ing new to do...

Make 2021 the year you try a different hobby

Mind, body and spirit The ultimate guide to your personal wellbeing

Sale shopping for your home

Now is the perfect time for a new look indoors


Reasons to go rural


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

It’s a dog’s life

Follow our feathered friends How to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch Get ready to go Plan a much-needed holiday for 2021

The ultimate guide to getting a canine companion

From medic to maker One woman’s creative career change Nice ’n’ spicy Try our easy recipe for a tasty winter warmer

Home sweet home

Make sure your pad is perfect, inside and out

Have a little Faith Shire talks baby and album news with star Paloma Faith

A day out at a safari park, and a fun-filled trip to GreenWood Forest Park! Turn to page 113


Appealing architecture in red, red Ruthin The home of the Olympics, Much Wenlock

IN T ER IOR S | FOOD | A RT & PH OTOG R A PH Y | FASH ION | LOCA L AUT H OR S 21/12/2020 10:27

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




Festive feasting Delicious recipes from the region’s top chefs to try at home

Going solo

Shire talks to Cheshire’s own Gary Barlow about his new album


Plan your escape Looking ahead to holiday options for 2021 Get your garden ready to grow Prepare now for spring success

A delicious Shropshire Hamper for Christmas Turn to page 121


23/10/2020 10:59



Make your home cosy for winter


lve Live, laugh,

The secrets to a happy long-term relationship

WIN Big cheeses Four top chefs share their dairy delights Short breaks Our top picks for an autumn escape New school rules Getting education back on track

Castles and coastlines at Conwy Beautiful border town Welshpool


E? N


Our guide to buying, selling and the stamp duty holiday

The perfect pad Make your home a happy haven this winter





On the


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Find Christmas gifts they’ll love from our local shops




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




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Share this fab new app with your friends! Just go to the top left and tap “Share this app”




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Scan the QR code (top right) now with your phone to get the app!

A day at West Midland Safari Park, a home wine tasting event and a trip to GreenWood Family Park! Turn to page 121


We take a closer look at…



20/08/2020 17:52

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Take a walk at Powis Castle Enjoy a picnic, take a leisurely stroll or meet friends for socially distanced fun in the beautiful gardens of Powis Castle, which reopened on 29th March. The gardens are spectacular towards the end of spring, with rhododendrons and azaleas blooming throughout the Wilderness, the castle’s formal woodland. See the wisteria draping over the Aviary Terrace

and discover DID YOU hundreds of roses, KNOW? from climbers and The National Trust bushes to species hopes to plant and hybrids, from June. 20 million trees The gardens by 2030 are open every day from 10am. Tickets must be booked in advance. Visit www.nationaltrust.org. uk/powis-castle-and-garden.

Operatic gala online

Mid Wales Opera is sharing a digital version of last summer’s Gala Concert online. The concert featuring works by Verdi, Mozart, Johann Strauss II, Lehar and others, with superb performances by Fflur Wyn (soprano) and Robyn Lyn Evans (tenor), is available to watch free of charge at www.midwalesopera.co.uk.

Take on the Severn Challenge

The Severn Challenge – a 218-mile ultra that takes you from Llanidloes to Bristol – returns on 20th to 24th May. The race is split into five stages, with each one being a complete race in its own right. Complete all five and you get all five medals. The first stage, the Hafren Ultra, takes place on 20th May. It starts at Rhyd y Benwch and at 26 miles long is one of the shorter sections of the challenge. For more, visit www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk.


You can help the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust by recording birds in your garden. Simply record the species you see within 500m of a set point, fill in the form and return it. Visit www. montwt.co.uk/MWT-Garden-Bird-Survey.


You can now enjoy cutting-edge cinema from the comfort of your own home, thanks to a series of films brought to you by Aberystwyth Arts Centre and YourScreen. All films are available until 23rd May and cost £9.99. For more information, visit www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk.

12th June, Secret Life of Birds Experience Day, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Become more familiar with a number of Britain’s favourite bird species and explore ways to help them thrive. You’ll explore everything from bird language and habitats to how you can support birds and other wildlife in your garden. 9.30am-5pm. Adults £60, children £30. www.cat.org.uk

13th June, Hurdley Hall Open Garden, Churchstoke With 18 acres of coronation meadows, woodland and orchard, this garden boasts stunning meadow flowers and roses in June. 11am-5pm. Adults £6, children free. www.ngs.org.uk

19th June, Moth Night Experience, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth CAT’s visitor centre and surrounding woodland are home to an amazing number of moth species and several active bat roosts – an excellent recipe for a night of nature! 8pm-midnight. Adults £15, children £5. www.cat.org.uk

23rd-24th June, Zero Carbon Britain: Live Online, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth An interactive online course offering an indepth look at CAT’s flagship research project, Zero Carbon Britain. Connect with others working and studying in the field and explore the radical changes needed to rise to the climate challenge. £50-£74. Free places are available to support those who would be otherwise unable to attend. www.cat.org.uk

25th June, Appliqué Purse, Make It In Wales, Cardigan Create a patchwork purse with textile artist Harriett Chapman. Under her expert guidance you’ll select and piece together fabrics, cut out the pattern and create a unique metal framed purse. Materials provided. 10am4pm. £68. www.makeit inwales.co.uk

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•7th, 8th & 22nd May and 5th, 12th & 19th June,

racing at Oulton Park Club Bike Racing takes place on 7th and 8th May with the BMCRC-MRO 2021 Championships, followed by MG Car Club Racing on 22nd May and MSVR Club Car Championships 5th June. The BARC Club Car Championships will be held on 12th June followed by the BRSCC Club Car Championships on 19th June. For further information, including whether spectators will be allowed, visit www.oultonpark.co.uk.

17th May, Carden Park Hotel, Carden The luxury spa, hotel and restaurants reopen, followed by larger events including weddings on 21st June. For prices and activities visit www.cardenpark.co.uk.

17th May, The Cornerhouse, Chester The City Road bar reopens on 17th May, followed by the return of its weekly Sunday quiz on 23rd May at the new earlier time of 7.30pm. The venue will gradually reintroduce live music – check Facebook or www. cornerhousechester.com for the latest listings. The bar is open from noon every day.

17th May, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Chester The Brewhouse is taking indoor bookings from 17th May. Check online for information about gin and beer masterclasses, which cost from £25 per person. www. brewhouseandkitchen.com

20th May, Tabley House, Knutsford The tearooms at Tabley House reopen, giving you the chance for refreshment while admiring the beautiful blooms outside. The tearooms will be open to the public from 20th May. Visit www.tableyhouse.co.uk for opening hours.

Theatre shows at Storyhouse Chester Summer season, 29th May30th August The Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre is open once more this summer – you can catch children’s classic The Jungle Book on afternoons from 29th May and The Merry Wives Of Windsor evenings from 4th June. Visit www. grosvenorparkopenairtheatre. co.uk. Moonlight Flicks also runs from May half-

Meet your heroes at Parr Hall

An Audience with Liverpool Legends, 7th May John Aldridge, Ronnie Whelan and Steve McMahon on stage hosted by Jed Stone. 7.30pm. Tickets from £30. Sounds Familiar Music Quiz, 11th June You don’t need to know the answers to have a good time! parrhall. culturewarrington.org

Culinary delights at Chester Market

Throughout May and June, visit Chester Market to enjoy many eateries offering flavours of the world – there’s indoor seating and outdoor dining options. Keep an eye out for late-night hospitality events starting soon. Monday to Thursday, 8am to 5pm; Friday and Saturday, 8am to 8pm. www.chester.market

term at various venues. See www.moonlightflicks.co.uk.

heartbreaking beauty. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets from £23.50.

The Greatest Play In The History Of The World, 26th-30th May A universal love story celebrating the human race in all its glorious messiness, confusion and joy. Starring Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Broadchurch), The Greatest Play is full of exquisite observation and

Russell Kane: The Fast and The Curious, 12th June Russell’s RS Turbo laugh engine will motor through love, family and life – once again proving that the fast and the curious among us see more stuff and get more done. 8pm. Tickets £21.50. www.storyhouse.com

Storytellers on stage at the Pyramid

Highlights at the Pyramid Arts Centre, Warrington, include An Evening With Nick Butter (12th June) and comedians Daliso Chaponda (19th June) and Mark Watson (20th June). pyramid.culturewarrington.org

Summer season at Rode Hall

Rode Hall in Scholar Green is open from 12th May. The gardens and courtyard kitchen are open Wednesdays and bank holiday Mondays from 11am to 5pm, while the house is open Wednesdays and bank holiday Mondays from noon to 4pm. www.rodehall.co.uk

Royal Cheshire Show update

The canine and equine competitions for this year’s Royal Cheshire Show will take place behind closed doors from 21st to 23rd June. The main show will now take place on 31st July when you’ll be able to celebrate all that’s great about the countryside. www.royalcheshireshow.org


If you’re looking to learn a new skill, Mojo Creative Workshops in Lymm may have the answer. Learn how to use a punch needle on 8th May (£45) and how to machine sew on 22nd May (£33). There’s also a children’s sewing club on 6th June (£15). Other craft-based workshops include crochet and knitting. For full details, visit www.mojo-lymm.co.uk.

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Magical woodland adventures BeWILDerwood, a brand-new treehouse adventure next to Cholmondeley Castle, is open throughout May and June allowing families to enjoy a fun-filled active day out. Think of the biggest wonky wooden play structures and treehouses you can imagine, high up in the trees. A huge, muddled maze to get lost in, wobbly zip wires and giant slippery

Alexander’s is back on song Strong Enough – Cher Tribute, 5th June Celebrate the queen of pop and rock at a socially distanced, outdoor show. 7pm. Tickets from £14.

The Stones, 19th June An authentic tribute to the Rolling Stones. 7pm. Tickets £15.40. Big 30th Birthday Tribute Festival, 26th June A day of entertainment with Ultimate Madnezz, Faith (George Michael), Bootleg Boss and more. 2pm. Tickets £27.50. www.alexanderslive.com

Garden wonders at Arley

Adventurous visitors to Arley Hall & Gardens, Northwich, can Discover Tree Climbing on 12th June from 10am. On 26th and 27th June, Arley Garden Festival celebrates all things garden-related. www. arleyhallandgardens.com

slides – all located in an enchanted woodland. The park is open from 10am to 5pm on weekends and bank holidays in May, and every day in June. Admission prices are based on height: free under 92cm, £17.50 92cm-105cm and £19.50 over 105cm. cheshire.bewilderwood.co.uk

BLAKEMERE VILLAGE Little ones can follow a Superhero & Princess trail every weekend at Blakemere Village, Northwich until June and daily during half-term. On 6th June, the Blakemere Foodie Fest has food and drink stalls, while there’s inflatable fun with Funtopia on 19th June. www. blakemerevillage.com

Cheshire Fest 2021

Cheshire Fest returns to Cheadle Hulme from 30th April to 3rd May. Bongo’s Bingo launches the festival on the Friday, followed by Best Of British on the Saturday and Decades Of Dancing on the Sunday. Scouting For Girls will headline the main stage on Saturday. Tickets from £1. For the full line-up visit www.cheshirefest.co.uk.

Be guided on a ghostly tour of Chester every Friday and Saturday in May and June. You’ll hear spine-chilling tales of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. Tours depart at 7.30pm. Adults £10, concessions £9 or £25 for families. www. chester ghosttour. co.uk

3rd June, The Chester History Sunset 10k Run, Chester This running tour of Chester allows you to visit many significant city sites, and also takes you to many historic landmarks along the River Dee. 6pm. Entry £20. See @ToursAroundChester on Facebook for further details.

5th June, Ring Making, Cheshire School of Jewellery, Nantwich Create a ring band, adding texture or stamping a design or letters. You can practise on copper first so if there’s time you can take away a finished copper sample ring as well as one sterling silver ring. Tea and coffee included. 11am4pm. £50. Booking essential. www.cheshireschool of jewellery.co.uk

Back on the river

Spooked in Chester

Mary Ann Cameron

All the fun of the fair

Castle Park Live is an imaginative festival in Castle Park, Frodsham, on 26th June. Harking back to the days of Frodsham Carnival, the event promises nostalgic experiences with live bands, circus productions, outdoor theatre, a vintage fairground and more. www.castleparklive.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW? BeWILDerwood is inspired by the books by Tom Blofeld

27th May, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes The interactive discovery centre reopens its doors, with lots to see and do. There are additional Covid measures in place. The building and equipment have been sanitised – but not the experience! Sessions 9.30am1.30pm or 1.30pm-5pm. Adults £7.95, children and concessions £5.95, families of four £21.95, families of five £23.95, under-threes free. www.catalyst.org.uk

ChesterBoat is back on the River Dee offering half-hour city cruises. From 17th May you can also join a two-hour Iron Bridge Cruise and Fish & Chip Fridays. When restrictions are further lifted, private charters and Party Nights will restart. Half hour cruises run from 11am to 5pm. Adults from £7, children £2.50. www. chesterboat. co.uk

Throughout May and June, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens Wander the meadows, Temple Water Garden, the Folly and Lavinia Walk. There is also a new café with a fresh menu including picnics, and Cholmondeley’s own coffee. £4-£8.50, annual pass £30. www.cholmondeleycastle.com

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Blue Planet Aquarium, Chester Discover the wonders of the deep at Blue Planet Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks. Home to more than 100 living displays, as well as one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks, the aquarium offers plenty of marine life to marvel at. 10am-5pm. Adults £17.10, children £12.15 online. For more information and to book visit www.blueplanetaquarium.com.

Forest Let off steam •inDelamere the forest as three walking and two cycle trails at Delamere Forest are open during May and June. Bring a picnic to enjoy along the trails as picnic areas are also open. Car parking from £1, members park for free. www.forestryengland. uk/delamere-forest

Marbury Country Park, Northwich Enjoy a walk along the mere with views over the water to the church at Great Budworth, or explore the arboretum and community orchard. Children can enjoy the play area near the picnic area. 9am-8pm. Free entry, parking charges apply.

Stretton Water Mill, Stretton Step back in time to visit a historic working corn mill in beautiful rural Cheshire. Open weekends in May and June and bank holiday Monday. 1pm-5pm. Adults £3.50, children £1.80. Admission includes a guided tour of the mill.

Walton Hall & Gardens, Warrington The grounds are now open, allowing you to visit the formal gardens, orchard and pond, as well as the children’s zoo, play areas and café. 10.30am-5pm. Car parking Monday to Friday £3, Saturday to Sunday £4 – prepay via the Ringo app. For a listing of summer events, visit www.waltonhallgardens.co.uk.

Beeston Castle adventures Head over to Beeston Castle in Tarporley this May and June for a medieval adventure for the whole family. The Castle of the Rock is famous for its spectacular views, which take in eight counties on a clear day. From its lookout point at the top of a mighty crag, you can see from the Pennines all the way to the Welsh mountains. Visit

DID YOU KNOW? Beeston Castle was built in the 1220s on the site of an Iron Age hillfort

the castle and woodlands; there are refreshments available in the café. The castle is open from 10am to 5pm. Adults £9, children £5.40, families £23.40, members free. Advance booking is required – visit www.english-heritage.org.uk.

Steam down the river with Danny Cruises Enjoy a trip on the historic Daniel Adamson, or Danny, a 1903 steam ship based on the River Weaver. Leisurely river cruises take place from 7th

ALICE AT NORTON PRIORY The gardens at Norton Priory Museum & Grounds are open on selected days during May and June. On 5th June you can also see Alice’s Quest For Wonderland, a play for adults exploring the facts behind Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Booking essential. www.nortonpriory.org

Live Room highlights

Music is returning to the Live Rooms Chester, starting with The South on 24th June, an impressive nine-piece band featuring former members of The Beautiful South. On 25th June see tribute band The Rex, a band of five close friends in it for the love of live music, then Black Parade take the stage on 26th June. Tickets from £5. www. theliverooms.com

Gulliver’s World roars into life Enjoy a massive selection of rides and attractions at Gulliver’s World in Warrington from 12th April to 14th May. Lampo and Milday from 44 Cats will appear each day, and look out for the dinosaurs in The Lost World. Tickets from £19. www.gulliversworldresort.co.uk

May to 27th June with tickets from £30. Special events include a gin cruise on 6th June, which cost £45 per person, and vodka and rum cruises on 25th and 26th June, which offer an introduction to Russia and the Caribbean’s native alcoholic beverages and costs from £42. For more information, visit www.thedanny.co.uk.

Comedy double at the Lyceum

Stewart Lee brings a double bill of two new 60-minute sets to Crewe Lyceum on 1st June. Tornado examines Stewart’s position in the comedy marketplace after Netflix incorrectly lists his show, while Snowflake questions his worth in a society demolishing the liberal values he has been keen to espouse. Tickets £28. www.crewelyceum.co.uk


Head to Manley Mere in Frodsham for an adventurefilled day this May and June. The Adventure Trail is an obstacle course like no other, suitable for all ages. In the water, Cheshire Aquapark is a Wipeoutstyle assault course featuring giant trampolines, balancing beams, climbing walls and blast bags. Open-water swimming, water sports, fishing and kayak hire are also available. For opening times and prices visit www.manleymere.co.uk.

Wildlife walks at Dunham Massey

The gardens and deer park at Dunham Massey are open throughout May and June, with indoor areas reopening from 17th May. Visitors must book in advance, especially at busier times. Adults from £8, children £4, members free. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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TICKETS ON SALE NOW *Racing Behind Closed Doors

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Luna Cinema


Fun outdoors at Tatton Park

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield See the amazing Lovell Telescope up close and marvel at the science exhibitions and talks on all things spacerelated across the 35-acre site. Children’s playground and café also open. From 10am. Adults £8.50, concessions £7.50, children £6.50, under-fours free, families of three £22, families of four £27, families of five £33. www.jodrellbank.net

Percy the Park Keeper: The Secret Path, 2nd April-13th June A trail in the gardens inspired by Nick Butterworth’s children’s book The Secret Path. Can you help Percy with his garden jobs and then follow the secret paths to track down his

animal friends? 10am-6pm. Adults £8, children £6, National Trust members free. Trail sheets are £1 per child (including members). Booking essential.

Discover what the Romans did for us


© Nick Butterworth

The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall Visit the Ice Cream Farm, which has lots of activities for the whole family, from the adventure playground to crazy golf and the animal farm. Delicious ice creams and shakes are also available at the drivethough. Free entry, charges apply for some attractions. Passes must be pre-booked. www.theicecreamfarm.co.uk

Lyme Park, Stockport Discover a season of change at Lyme as the estate is bursting with new life. With over 1,400 acres of parkland, there’s so much to explore including the house, gardens and deer park. 9.30am-4.30pm. Adults £8, children £4, families £20, National Trust members free. Booking recommended. www. nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme

Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow At one of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites you can experience the different worlds of the owners and workers, who lived and worked here side by side. Follow the River Bollin on a spring walk and explore the southern woods. The estate is open 8.30am-8pm. Adults £5, children £2.50, families £25, members free. Booking recommended. www.nationaltrust.org. uk/quarry-bank

Let a Roman soldier take you on a tour of Chester and guide you through the city’s Roman heritage. Gain a insight into life as it was in Roman Britain and see sights including the amphitheatre and remains hidden away in shop basements. Tours cost from £8.50 (under-12s £4). www.romantoursuk.com

Midsummer fun in Chester

Chester’s Midsummer Watch is one of Britain’s oldest festivals, dating back more than 500 years. Taking place every June, the parade through the streets of Chester features giant statues that entertain young and old. The event is free. See the website for timings. www.mid summer watch.co.uk

The Luna Drive-in Cinema, 1st-19th May Enjoy a classic movie on the big screen from the socially distanced setting of your own car. Shows from

1pm. Tickets from £37.50 for a standard-size car. RunThrough 10K, 8th May & 19th June This fast, undulating, closed-road 10km race, which takes place on the second weekend of every month, is a perfect opportunity to get a personal best. 9am start. Entry £21. www.tattonpark.org.uk

in the craft area and take your wonderful creations home with you. Ideal for three- to eightyear-olds. 9.30am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4.30pm. Adults £10, children £15, familes £39.

Discover Tree Climbing, 9th May & 27th June Ascend into the canopy of a magnificent oak, guided by friendly instructors using a safe climbing system. For anyone age six and above. 10am-5pm. Tickets £18.

Cheshire Classic Car & Motorcycle Show, 30th-31st May A fantastic day out for all the family. 10am-4pm. Adults £8.50, children £3.50. www.capesthorne.com

Peter & His Rabbit Friends, 23rd May Experience immersive storytelling, panto, singing, dancing and fun games led by your favourite characters. Join

Learn new skills at Chester Zoo

Get an introduction to hormones and genetics and how they’re used in conservation research at Chester Zoo’s Junior Members Skills Course from 8th to 22nd May. It’s perfect for 12- to 15-yearolds who want an insight into science and conservation. The course takes place on consecutive Saturdays and costs £36. www.chesterzoo.org


Live racing at Chester Racecourse resumes on 25th June with Clogau Ladies’ Evening, followed by the Summer Festival with seven races on the card on 26th June. Gates open at 4.30pm on the 25th and 11.30am on the 26th. Tickets from £10. www. chesterraces.com

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It’s a win-win Cheshire has more than its fair share of delightful market towns nestled among its rolling plains, and Winsford is a perfect example of all the delights they have to offer of the Trent & Mersey Canal took the goods through Middlewich in both directions, bypassing Winsford entirely.

Salt solution

Despite this setback, the area continued to thrive as its salt production increased while other sources nearby began to run short. Winsford is still home to the UK’s largest rock salt mine. The Christ Church in the Wharton area of Winsford Winsford Rock Salt Mine opened insford lies on the River Weaver, in 1844 and today still produces one directly south of Northwich. It million tonnes of rock salt a year. The disused mines have also found a new developed, along with much of the area, on the back of a salt-mining industry that thrived lease of life – some with the canalisation of the river in the 18th of the area is used century, which allowed freight to be taken to store documents because the salt to Runcorn and on via the River Mersey. creates a safe, dry Salt is still produced in the area but the current population of around 34,000 are atmosphere in which mainly employed in other local industries as to keep archives. well as in the cities of Chester, Manchester Before proper mining began, when and Stoke-on-Trent. The town’s relationship with Stoke-on-Trent brine was roughly DID YOU extracted from and the wider Potteries is a KNOW? The Winsford Rock the ground, longstanding one. When the Salt Mine claims to areas of improvements to the river be Britain’s oldest subsidence were carried out in 1721, working mine formed causing Winsford became the closest Winsford Town Park that barges carrying china clay land to collapse in patches known as the Winsford Flashes. from Cornwall could get to the Potteries, at the time the major centre of These were put to good use as they refilled ceramic production in Britain. The clay was with water and became popular boating and transported from Winsford by horse, while leisure lakes – still used today for sailing, locally produced salt was also sent on the and popular with walkers and families. same route to be used in the manufacture of salt-glazed stoneware. The finished Sporting spot ceramics then came back via Winsford to be The town is made up of three distinct loaded on boats and sent on to Liverpool. neighbourhoods – Wharton on the west side of the river, and Swanlow and Dene on the This industrious and busy trade route fell silent in the 1780s when the arrival east. It grew in the late 1960s and 1970s,


when it was designated an official expansion to take the overspill from Liverpool. This saw the development of two new industrial areas on both sides of the town, new estates of both council and private housing and a new shopping centre with a library, a sports centre, a civic hall and doctors’ surgeries. The sports facilities saw Winsford become a hotspot for several clubs and groups, having its own football team, a premier league swimming club, an athletics club and a cricket club. Winsford has been selected to be the home of a £70m FA Centre of Excellence, which will be the new home of the England women’s football team and should open in 2023. The development will further cement the town’s standing as a sporting hub for the area and keep the busy town going from strength to strength for many years to come.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO Winsford Flash Sailing Club Stocks Hill, Winsford CW7 4EE www.winsfordflashsailing.com Weaver Hall Museum & Workshouse Weaverhall Lane, Winsford CW7 4EB weaverhall.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk Winsford Marina Winsford CW7 3DD

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Beautiful gardens


Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th June 2021 - 10am to 5pm Spectacular Floral Marquee

Schools’ Garden Challenge

Garden tours with Lord Ashbrook & Head Gardener Gordon Baillie

Countryside Marquee

Gardeners’ Question Time & Specialist Talks Specialist nurseries & garden accessories Garden entry

Gifts & Crafts Marquee Jazz & Concert bands Children’s entertainment Food traders and refreshments

Enjoy a walk with the family around the grounds at Thornton Manor Estate, which is open Friday to Sunday until 21st June. Explore the rose garden, the alluring dell and ornamental pond, the hidden “look-out” and the lakeside, and enjoy hot and cold takeaway refreshments. The grounds are open from 10am to 3.30pm. To book visit www.thorntonmanor.co.uk.

Let summer be gin!

BOOK ONLINE www.arleyhallandgardens.com/whats-on-at-a-glance

1st May, Handweaving, The Barn, Heswall Learn how to set up a frame loom and accomplish several woven techniques in this introduction to handweaving course led by Kirsty Jean. Noon-4pm. £40. www.thebarnwirral.co.uk

1st-2nd May, Puppy Socialisation, Dogs Go, Raby Teach your puppy how to socialise and get used to being around other dogs. Held in Dogs Go’s purpose-built Bark Park, these sessions are aimed at small puppies under six months. There is a crèche area for very small or nervous pups, as well as two further large enclosed areas. Sessions run every weekend and cost £5 per dog. www.dogsgo.co.uk

Tickets cannot be replaced or exchanged if lost. No refunds available.

Arley Hall & Gardens, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6NA


(Free parking for the festival)



Antiques & Collectables £375

Celebrate the arrival of summer with a gin-tasting session at Tappers Gin Distillery in Birkenhead on 19th June. A tour of the distillery will be followed by a tasting led by Dr Steve Tapril. Guests can enjoy four G&Ts while Steve talks about the botanicals and flavours. The evening begins at 7pm and tickets cost £25. www.eventbrite.co.uk


www.shropshirestuff.com 07582 965297 Featuring also at Whitchurch Antiques Emporium

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Join tutor and artist Catherine Carmyllie for a series of three linocut and print workshops at Chemist & Co Studio, Hoylake, starting on 21st May. The sessions will teach you how to create a single colour print, mix colours, create multiple block prints, use the two-print press and more. The course costs £90, excluding materials. For more see www.facebook.com/ clevercleverhands.

12th May, Freshwalk, New Brighton Enjoy a leisurely stroll that mixes fresh air, street art, great views and the history of the town. Led by Margo Storey from Heart of Liverpool Tours, the walk begins at 11am and ends at 1pm with a picnic lunch on the seafront. £15. www.freshwalks.co.uk

22nd May, The Celebrated Fundraising Concert, West Kirby Arts Centre Join West Kirby Arts Centre’s house band The Celebrated as they perform a concert in aid of the charity Tyddyn Môn. The concert will feature the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s songs arranged to suit The Celebrated’s own style and flair. 7.30pm. £8. www.westkirbyartscentre.org.uk

22nd May, Tappers Gin Fifth Birthday Party, Birkenhead Tappers Gin is turning five and to mark the occasion it is opening its doors for some socially distanced celebrations. Enjoy an array of G&Ts and carefully curated cocktails, and meet the maker, Dr Steve Tapril, who will be on hand to answer any questions and give you a sneak peek into the working distillery. 6pm-10.30pm. £6, including a free G&T on arrival. www. eventbrite. co.uk

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Music and more at West Kirby Arts Centre

Phil Chisnall & Split Level, 5th June Hear Phil perform solo, with a mix of self-written material and covers, then performing with Lynne Strange. 7.30pm. Tickets £8.

Raphael Callaghan, 11th June Raphael returns with songs from


his new album, Blue Lies. Expect vocal wizardry and stellar slide guitar. 7.30pm. Tickets £7. Mersey Belles & Beaus, 19th June Danielle, Rosie, Liam and Ged play various combinations of ukulele, banjo and bass, presenting a mix of vintage


Live shows are back at Future Yard in Birkenhead. See four-piece Penelope Isles on 19th May, buzzing new Glasgow band VLURE on 15th June and rock outfit Black Country, New Road on 20th June. All ticket holders will be allocated a “pod” within the venue. To book tickets, visit www.futureyard.org.

Make Hamilton in Birkenhead is hosting two Green Fingers workshops focusing on the fundamentals of plantkeeping: Keeping Houseplants Alive And Thriving on 8th May and Edible Greens On Your Balcony Or Backyard on 15th May. Tickets cost £30. To book your place, visit www.makecic.org.

Could you spare some time to help keep the Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, Bidston Hill, in tip-top condition? The urban farm is run by a charitable trust with the aim of providing an enjoyable and educational experience for children and adults. Volunteers meet from 9am to 4pm on the third Thursday of each month. If you’d like to get involved, visit www.tamoshanterfarm.org.uk.

Ciderhouse Rebellion, 25th June A new folk duo comprising violinist Adam Summerhayes and master accordionist Murray Grainger. 7.30pm. Tickets £12. www.westkirbyartscentre.org.uk

Showbiz at the Floral Pavilion

Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli are reunited in the musical experience Judy & Liza at Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, on 4th June. The production tells the turbulent tale of the stars against the backdrop of their 1964 London concert and stars Emma Dears and Helen Sheals. www.floralpavilion.com


Volunteer for good

favourites and retro-infused pop classics. 7.30pm. Tickets £8.

On stage at Gladstone Theatre David Harper: A Romp With The Georgians, 20th June Join the star of BBC’s Bargain Hunt for historical stories. 2.30pm-5pm. Tickets £18.

The Take That Experience, 26th June The ultimate tribute act mark more than a decade in existence with their best stage show yet! 7.30pm10pm. Tickets £22. www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk

Stunning run in Port Sunlight

The 2021 Port Sunlight Festival of Running takes place on 13th June. The course, set entirely within the village’s road network, is suitable for experienced and novice runners alike. There are 5k and 10k distances, as well as a 1K fun run for children. Entry costs from £20. entries.runabc.co.uk

Music for all at Birkenhead Priory

The world’s largest DIY music festival comes to Birkenhead Priory on 21st June. Make Music Day, part of the international Fête de la Musique, takes place in 700 cities across 103 countries and celebrates music in all its forms. The Priory event will be livestreamed and a live audience may be permitted. Visit www.makemusicday.co.uk.

5th June, Funhouse Comedy Club, Gladstone Theatre Enjoy an evening of comedy with Gary Delaney, comedy twosome Raymond and Mr Timpkins, and bubbly Brummie Lindsey Santoro. 7.30pm. £12. www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk

5th June, Bee Happy: An Introduction To Bees And Beekeeping, Make Hamilton, Birkenhead Learn all about the life of a honey bee colony and the stages of hive activity through the year. Discover the equipment needed to keep bees, pull on protective gear and gain some handson experience with the Make Hamilton hives. All equipment provided. 1pm-4pm. £40. www. makecic.org/events-courses

6th June, NGS Open Garden, 24 Old Greasby Road, Upton Take a peek at this surprising suburban garden. The front and rear gardens incorporate innovative features for climbing and rambling roses and clematis, and there are a wide variety of cottage garden plants as well as a productive kitchen garden. 11am-4pm. £4 adults, free for children. www.ngs.org.uk

12th13th June, Wood Carving For Beginners, Ness Botanic Gardens A two-day course led by renowned woodcarver John White, designed to teach the basic techniques needed for all types of wood carving. The course covers pattern and design development, setting out, tool selection and sharpening, and relief carving. All tools and materials supplied. £150. www. liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens

17th June, Drink & Draw, Make Hamilton, Birkenhead Join a relaxed life-drawing session with a complimentary glass of wine and plate of cheese! The session is open to over-16s. 6.30pm8.30pm. £12. www. eventbrite.co.uk

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Award-winning Markets

MAY & JUN 21

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.

Gardening Event & Artisan Market Friday 28 May 2021 - Bailey Head 9am - 2pm

Reggae in the Park

Sunday 13 June 2021 12noon - 7pm Free family music in the award winning Cae Glas Park.

Shropshire Produce Market Saturday 26 June 2021 Handpicked Shropshire based food and craft producers selling the best the County has to offer in the town centre.

Bulgarian Music & Dance Charity Market

Friday 4 June 2021 - Bailey Head 9am - 2pm Working closely with community supporters The Qube, Oswestry Markets host a charity market on the Bailey Head aimed at raising important funds and awareness for a wide number of local charities.

Sunday 27 June 2021 Free family music and dance in the award winning Cae Glas Park.

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

Whitchurch Friday Market

is operating both indoors and at the front of Whitchurch Civic Centre, every Friday 7.30am – 12.30pm. Contact Civic Centre directly on 01948 665761 #ShopWhitchurch

All Weather Scooters

The Cabin Car Mk2 is the most advanced Mobility Scooter in the world! Featuring reversing camera, USB Charging ports and full internal heater, it really does have all the creature comforts of a car! The soft suspension and long range batteries keep it going for hours, and the familiar digital dashboard makes driving simple!

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Theatre Severn highlights Lesley Garrett, 16th May Join Britain’s most popular soprano for an evening of song and chat. Accompanied by pianist Anna Tilbrook. 7.30pm. Tickets £29.50.


DID YOU KNOW? Shappi Khorsandi is the daughter of Iranian political satirist Hadi Khorsandi

Macbeth, 24th-26th May This exciting new production of Shakespeare’s bloody tale explores the damaging and psychological effects of war, betrayal and destructive political ambition. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets £25.

Kenton Cool: Everest The Cool Way, 30th May One of the world’s most successful and revered climbers talks about his life of adventure, from the current state of Everest to the jungles of Bolivia. 7pm. Tickets £19.50.

Stewart Lee, 27th May Two new sets: Tornado questions Stew’s position in the comedy marketplace; Snowflake examines his worth in a society demolishing the liberal values he has been keen to espouse. 8pm. Tickets £25.

Shappi Khorsandi, 20th June Join Shappi for a show packed full of sharp-tongued gags and cultural observation – this is Shappi’s warts-and-all journey through the 1990s comedy scene to breaking

Ready for adventure

Shrewsbury’s Love2Stay has reopened for outdoor activities, including water sports, outdoor swimming, archery, woodland school and an assault course. Whether you’re an active family, a fitness fanatic couple or are looking for a teambuilding day out, Love2Stay has you covered. The possibilities are endless and the memories will last a lifetime. The coffee shop is also open for takeaways from 8.30am to 4pm daily. Booking is required for any of the activities, although not for use of the playground, dog walk and dog agility course. Everyone is asked to heed current advice on social distancing.To book, visit www.love2stay.co.uk/activities/adventures.


The British Ironwork Centre near Oswestry is open for visitors to explore the sculpture park and outdoor spaces, and is perfect for those who enjoy a leisurely walk while admiring unique sculptures. The UK’s largest metal safari park, with over 100 sculptures, also has a fabulous collection of art to explore. The current display includes the Knife Angel, made from over 100,000 knives and weapons taken from the UK streets, the Spoon Gorilla, designed in collaboration with Uri Gellar; and an array of metal safari animals. Dogs are more than welcome in the sculpture park. For more details, visit www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk.

through on TV and then letting it all slip away. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50. The Simon & Garfunkel Story: 50th Anniversary Tour, 27th June Following a worldwide tour and standing ovations, The Simon & Garfunkel Story is back! Using huge projection photos, original film footage and a live band, it features all the hits including “Mrs Robinson”, “Cecilia” and “Homeward Bound”. 7.30pm. Tickets £21.50. www.theatresevern.co.uk

Tour a haunted prison

Shrewsbury Prison is said to be the second most haunted jail in the world, and from 19th May you can see what lurks behind the high prison walls in the dead of night on a Ghost Tour. Every Wednesday evening at 7.30pm and 9.30pm, a guide with an exceptional knowledge of the prison – particularly the ghostly tales and spooky experiences that regularly occur – takes visitors on a spooky torch-lit trip. Tickets should be booked in advance and cost £20 for adults, £15 for children over 12 years. www. shrewsbury prison.com

A bird’s eye view of nature You can now enjoy the fascinating lives of our feathered friends without leaving your home by tuning in to CJ Wildlife’s live nesting webcams. Discover the effort that goes into building nests, whether they’re in natural locations or nest boxes, before birds breed and lay eggs. The webcams run 24 hours a day and allow you to marvel at the hatching chicks and feed routines of owls, storks, peregrine falcons, garden birds and even a pair of white-tailed eagles. They provide a front-row seat to the world hidden within the nest box. To see for yourself, follow @CJWildlife on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www. birdfood.co.uk/webcams for more information.

West Midland Safari Park, near Bewdley The safari park is now open with measures in place to keep everyone safe. Guests follow the test-andtrace procedures on arrival. It is hoped that the daily talks and shows will return from 17th May, followed by indoor animal exhibits including Lorikeet Landing, Reptile House and Aquarium. Check the website for details. www.wmsp.co.uk

Stargazing, Long Mynd and Carding Mill Valley Four locations across the Long Mynd have been designated as Dark Sky Discovery Sites, where it’s possible to see the Milky Way with the naked eye. www. nationaltrust.org.uk/cardingmill-valley-and-the-long-mynd

Oswestry markets The town’s vibrant indoor market is held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, selling everything from fresh cakes and bread to antiques and gifts. The outdoor street market can be enjoyed every Wednesday and Saturday, and includes a number of quality plant sellers and food producers. A monthly artisan market is held on the last Friday of each month.

Market Hall, Shrewsbury The Market Hall welcomes visitors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with some stalls also trading on Thursdays. All stalls should now be open as usual, allowing shoppers full access to the various specialists in groceries, meat, fish, flowers, gifts, clothes and a whole lot more. 8am-3.30pm. www. markethallshrewsbury.co.uk

Outdoor adventures, Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury Whether you’re visiting on a weekday, weekend or half-term break, there’s plenty to see and do on your family walk at Attingham Park. The Field of Play is open for you to explore. Make sure you book your timeslot in advance. Usual National Trust admission applies for nonmembers. www.nationaltrust. org.uk/attingham-park

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Room To Roam, Dudmaston Estate, nr Bridgnorth There’s plenty to explore in the wider Dudmaston Estate, which stretches across 3,000 acres. Car parks in Comer Woods, Hampton Loade and the Sawmill are open all year and parking is free for National Trust members. www.nationaltrust. org.uk/dudmaston

Fresh food, Holly Farm Garden Centre, Prees, nr Whitchurch Fresh fruit and vegetables are in stock, along with locally baked bread, flour and lots of other delicious goods. Pick-your-own crops to be confirmed. www. hollyfarmgardencentre.co.uk

Make a splash in Shrewsbury

The annual Shrewsbury River Festival takes place on 6th June in Quarry Park and on the River Severn. The festival will feature various races and demonstrations on the river, canoeing, coracles, local independent craft stalls, children’s fancy dress and other competitions, as well as live entertainment. Come and enjoy a fantastic day of family fun, while learning about water safety awareness. Pirate fancy dress is encouraged. Since his youth, the late Graham Galliers was always passionate about improving access

to the river for everyone, thereby benefiting the local tourist economy. One of the initial driving forces behind the Shrewsbury River Festival, he felt that the fun family event was a fantastic way of introducing people of all ages to the many facets of the river. Entry to the Shrewsbury River Festival is free thanks to the hardworking committee of volunteers, independent stallholders and local supporters and sponsors based in the town. For a more details about the event, visit www.shrewsburyriverfestival.com.

Magical evening of pantomime

Time for a bargain hunt

History Comes To Life, Ludlow Castle One of the finest medieval ruins in England has reopened to the public. Set in the glorious Shropshire countryside at the heart of the bustling market town, the castle is open from 10am to 5pm. A one-way system in place and face coverings are compulsory. No pre-booking necessary. Adults £8, children £3.50. www.ludlowcastle.com

Until 25th May, Assassins, Old Market Hall Cinema Watch At Home The audacious murder of the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a crowded Malaysian airport sparked a worldwide media frenzy. At the centre of the investigation are two young women who are either cold-blooded killers or unwitting pawns in a political assassination. This movie goes beyond the headlines to question every angle of this case. Certificate 12A, tickets £9.99. www.oldmarkethall.co.uk

7th May, Hussey Pizza Drive-Thru, Albright Hussey Manor Hotel, nr Shrewsbury The weekend just got better, with drive-through pizza. Drive up the long drive, over the moat, then give your order to one of the team and proceed to the collection area. Each 14in pizza will be cooked fresh and should take around five minutes. The drive-through is open 4.30pm to 7.30pm. Pizzas from £9.75. To see the full menu before you go visit www.albrighthussey.co.uk.

Follow the yellow brick road to Alderford Lake near Whitchurch for a magical outdoor theatre experience from 29th May to 4th June. Immersion Theatre presents The Wizard Of Oz, a magical summer pantomime guaranteed to have you in stitches. Join Dorothy on her quest to the Emerald City with her loyal friends: the brainless but cheeky Scarecrow, the cowardly Lion and the heartless, tap-dancing Tin Man. Tickets cost £16.50 for adults and £13.50 for children. www.alderford.com

Diesel Bash at Severn Valley Railway

Experience the sounds, sights and smells of heritage diesel power with a full day of haulage and the chance to clock up the miles on Severn Valley Railway at its 2021 Spring Diesel Bash. From 13th to 16th May, you can travel 100 miles behind your favourite diesel engines with your own private compartment or socially distanced table. Day tickets start from £30. For more information and timetables, visit www.svr.co.uk.

Enter the wilderness It’s Wilderness Week at Hawkstone Park Follies near Shrewsbury from 29th May to 6th June. Make the most of the school half-term with an adventure in the 100-acre Follies. It’s the perfect place to explore caves, find trolls, cross bridges, climb towers, build dens, spot wildlife and let off some steam. Tickets must be booked in advance. For details, visit www. hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk.

Fans of all things vintage have two events to look forward to over the coming months. Shrewsbury Flea takes place at West Mid Showground in Shrewsbury on 8th and 9th May, followed by Oswestry Antique & Collectors Fair at Oswestry Showground on 12th and 13th June. Both events, organised by Jo’s Events, are often the location for BBC’s Bargain Hunt. The shows are open 8.30am to 3.30pm on the Saturday, and 9am to 3pm on the Sunday. Entry costs £3.50. www.josevents.co.uk

Derwen College Garden Centre reopens

Derwen College Garden Centre & Gift Shop in Gobowen, near Oswestry, has reopened to welcome gardeners and shoppers. The garden centre and shop, which provide work experience to students with special educational needs and/or disabilities, have an abundance of seeds, plants, shrubs, trees, gifts and cards for sale. The Garden Café has also reopened and is providing a breakfast and lunch menu, drinks and snacks to take away or eat al fresco in the walled garden. A new charity shop, The Vintage Advantage, has

also launched on the site, selling quality clothing, accessories and homewear to bargain hunters. For more information, including opening times, visit www. visitderwen. co.uk.

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WHAT’S ON SHROPSHIRE King of the castle

Take a trip back in time on an exciting outdoor adventure experience at a historic ruin from 29th May. Adventure Out! Games allows you to assemble comrades and unleash your inner adventurer in dramatic locations including Acton Burnell Castle in Shrewsbury, Buildwas Abbey near Ironbridge, Clun Castle near Craven Arms and Haughmond Abbey in Upton Magna. Go into battle against the clock and search for clues and puzzles along the way. Costumed characters bring the games to life. Tickets cost from £10 per person. www.adventureoutgames.co.uk

Beautiful blooms in Wem

Sunningdale garden in Wem is open to the public on 9th May as part of the National Gardens Scheme, just in time to appreciate the 100-year-old wisteria that flowers in May and climbs 30 metres into a tree, covering it with flowers. The garden is open from 11am until 4.30pm. Entry costs £4 for adults and children go free. Drinks and cakes are on sale. Tickets are available on the gate or in advance from www.ngs.org.uk.

Climbing high at Park Hall Farm

Park Hall Countryside Experience near Oswestry is looking forward to a summer of fun, as its outdoor and indoor spaces reopen. There’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had, including two adventure playgrounds. The Crazy Farm Adventure Course and Woodland Adventure Play Area allow children to scramble, climb or fly on the zip wire. From 17th May the venue reopens its indoor areas with an exciting new soft play zone and other new additions coming soon. Tickets are £10.95 (free for under-twos). www.parkhallfarm.co.uk

Chamber music’s new venue

The prestigious Whittington Music Festival returns on 20th to 22nd May with three concerts at Holy Trinity Church, Oswestry. The move to the new venue allows for social distancing. The festival brings no fewer than 15 first-class musicians to Shropshire, all of whom have played at prestigious venues at home and abroad. For full details of the line-up, as well as prices and information on how to book tickets, visit www.whittingtonmusicfestival.org.uk.

Different strokes for Willow artists

A new exhibition at Willow Art Gallery in Oswestry, Painting With Words, allows three established artists to show another side of their artistic talent. Maggie Furmanek (print), Sara Piper Heap (metalwork) and Judith Harrison (collagraphs) will showcase hand stitching, lino-printing and stained glass, alongside their traditional work. The exhibition opened on 24th April and runs for seven weeks. The artists will be at the gallery on Saturdays. www.willowgalleryoswestry.org

Horsing around at Blists Hill

Enjoy the Heavy Horse Themed Weekend at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge, from 1st to 3rd May. Find out more about these gentle giants and the role they played in Victorian England. Alongside the museum’s resident shire horses, there will be several guest animals showcasing the work of horses in industrial times. All activities will be outdoors and be able to watched from a safe social distance. Tickets should be bought in advance wherever possible. For prices, visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.

Explosive evening at Weston Park

Don’t miss an evening of amazing fireworks at a drive-in event at Weston Park, near Shifnal, on 22nd May. Three of the UK’s best firework companies will compete against each other with displays perfectly choreographed to music. You’ll also witness an an aerobatic performance from AeroSparx and the event will be capped off by a firework display from the organisers, MLE Pyrotechnics. Tickets costs £22 for adults and £12 for children. To book, visit www.fireworkchampions.co.uk.

Roxy Music tribute step up in Bridgnorth

Roxy Magic bring a night of Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry classics to Bridgnorth’s Theatre on the Steps on 25th and 26th June. Roxy Magic recreates material that spans four decades, from futuristic/nostalgic art rock, through to classic standards and sophisticated adult-orientated rock. Their aim is to give the audience a fabulously entertaining evening – highquality musicianship and Bryan Ferry look and sound-alike singer Kevin Hackett do just that. The concert starts at 8pm and tickets cost £16. For details visit www.theatreonthesteps.co.uk.


18th May, NGS Open Garden, Pooh Corner, St Martins Filled with bees, birdsong and the soft colours of May, Pooh Corner is a plantswoman’s garden. Developed over 30 years, the garden gives particular emphasis to shadeloving perennials, unusual shrubs and climbers, some of which are rarely grown outdoors. 11am-4pm. Light lunches and refreshments available. Adults £5, children free. Booking essential. www.ngs.org.uk

25th May & 26th June, NGS Open Garden, Brownhill House, Ruyton XI Towns A unique twoacre hillside garden with many steps and levels. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of plants and styles from formal terraces to woodland paths. The lower areas are for the sure-footed and mobile, while the upper levels with a large kitchen garden have many places to sit and enjoy the views. Kit cars are also on show. 10am-5.30pm. Adults £5, children free. Booking essential. www.ngs.org.uk

27th May, Wedding Open Afternoon, Lion Quays Resort, nr Oswestry If you’re planning to tie the knot, then take the opportunity to view the Lion Quays function rooms set up for a wedding and discuss the options for your special day with the resident wedding team. There’s a complimentary glass of fizz and canapés too. 11am5pm. Free entry but booking is required as numbers are limited. www.lionquays.co.uk

29th & 30th May, Shropshire Outdoor Show, Whittington Castle nr Oswestry An event for bushcraft, survival and outdoor pursuits enthusiasts, set in the castle grounds. If the outdoors is your thing, why not go along to see what it’s all about? 10am-4pm. Adults £6, children free. www. shropshireoutdoorshow.co.uk

18th-20th June, Model Air & Camping Event, Weston Park, nr Shifnal See model aircraft displays over the three days from top display pilots. There will also be trade stalls, onsite camping, a bar, a craft fair and entertainment. Four-night camping ticket £75. www. westonparkmodelairshow.co.uk

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F rom r ags to



Rory Graham, better known as Rag’n’Bone Man, speaks to Shire about his new single and forthcoming tour, and how he has found lockdown and fatherhood


ag’n’Bone Man shot to fame in 2016, when his gravelly baritone could be heard singing his hit single “Human” on every radio station. With such a distinctive voice, it was easy to recognise his subsequent string of hits, including “Skin” and “Giant”. The singer-songwriter is now releasing new material – something he’s been ready to do for quite some time! When the world turned upside down last year, there never seemed to be the perfect time to release a new record. “The worry was that it would just get put off and off until everything was ‘back to normal’,” he says. “But now feels like the right time – I can’t sit on it forever!” The first release from his new album, Life

By Misadventure, is a collaboration with Pink called “Anywhere Away From Here”. All the tracks on the new album were recorded in Nashville and were designed as “live first” works: the music was rehearsed, recorded and ready to be taken on tour – just in time for lockdown. Now, a year later than planned, Rory is about to hit the road and finally take his new music to the masses.

“I am going to cry – 100 per cent! I cannot wait!”

haven’t sung most of the songs in public before properly, so I don’t really know how they’re going to make me feel. “That’s always the worry when you write songs – when you play live you have to look people in the face when you’re saying these things. The worry is that it will be too emotional. But I can’t wait for that. I just want to see people’s faces. I can’t wait!”

Ready to roll

“We’re all ready,” he says. “Me and my band are really well rehearsed because we were able to get together over the summer to record sessions. Originally we thought it would be just a good opportunity to play together, but it was a great because now we know the songs really well. We played them loads and everybody’s just itching to get on that tour bus again. “I’m so bad at being at home for long periods of time. I just sort of walked around the house aimlessly. I really didn’t know what to do. It has been cool because I got to spend time with my family, but at the same time it feels like a limb has been cut off because a part of my life was taken away. “It feels positive at the moment, though. It feels as though we’re on the brink of it. It’s right in front of us and we’re so ready.” The tour will take Rag’n’Bone Man across the UK, calling at the edges of the Shire patch in October, when he plays Manchester and Birmingham. He believes it will be an emotional return to the stage. “I’m going to cry – 100 per cent! It will be emotional because I

Rag’n’Bone Man’s son was born in 2017, and the impact he has had on the singer’s life is a theme woven into the new album’s lyrics. “I think you just become less selfish as a person,” he says about fatherhood. “It definitely broadens your thought process, but it also makes me a lot more worried about the future. Like, what have I done bringing a child into this world? It’s crazy at the moment. “All I want for my son is freedom – freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom to love whoever they want. And there’s a lot of that on this album. This record is the most honest I’ve ever been.” May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 39

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e  c l We o e t k c ba rld wo

After months of restrictions, the rules on what we can and can’t do are beginning to ease across the UK. Living on the border of two countries can make knowing what’s permitted a little more complicated, but we’re here to help you plan your return to the new normal

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It’s payback time

Many pubs and restaurants have adapted to offer more outdoors dining options


t has been a pretty tough year. We’ve all had to significantly alter what and how we do things, from full lockdowns to adapting habits and changing lifestyles. And a lot of those changes will be around for a long time to come. But it does feel now, with the easing of restrictions creeping in and a vaccination programme rolling out at speed, that we can start looking forward to a little bit more normality. As we head into the early summer months, we will be able to enjoy the simple things that we haven’t been able to do for a while – popping to the pub, enjoying a meal out, visiting local attraction and even spending a night or two away. Shire is here to help you work out what to do when – let’s face it, the ever-changing rules are pretty confusing – and we have some great suggestions on how to make the most of our gradual re-emergence into the world.

If one good thing has come out of this peculiar time, it’s the heartwarming stories of people and places that have stepped up to help others through a difficult situation. Many local businesses have gone the extra mile, launched delivery services, helped the vulnerable and made sure they could still offer a service under the most challenging conditions. As we head back to our favourite shops and businesses, it’s important to remember the ones that have been there for us throughout. At Shire we are forever shouting about our local heroes, but this time they really do deserve our custom. No business has had it easy recently, but most of the multinational big boys will survive – the same can’t always be said for smaller, independent outlets that rely on their local communities. Before you head into the city for a shopping splurge, remember who made sure you could get your essentials while you weren’t allowed to leave home and make sure to have a spending spree with them as well. Over the next few pages we’ve put together some suggestions of where you can spend those long-awaited days out and family gatherings, as well as a breakdown of what you can do when. Remember, these are all subject to review, so please check the local regulations where you live – and where you are visiting – before you leave. So get your diary out and get ready to go…

“If one good thing has come out of this peculiar time, it’s the heartwarming stories of people and places that have stepped up to help others”

One step at a time

Many of us will be excited at the thought of getting back out there, but not everyone will feel the same. It’s understandable that some people will be anxious about what the next few months will be like and still not feel comfortable taking those next steps. What’s important is to do what feels right for you and to remember the potential knock-on effect of pushing your luck or stretching the guidelines. After all, none of us want another wave that will send us back in to lockdown. So if you’d rather still catch up with friends on Zoom or stick to socially distant walks with one other person, that’s fine. Let’s all be kind to ourselves along the way. Our mental health has been challenged like never before over the past 12 months, so if it takes a bit of time and feels a bit unnerving at first, accept that it’s a normal reaction. Hopefully, as we get closer to normality the anxiety and worry will fade. The rules are changing, but it’s important to remember that just because you now can do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to or should.

DID YOU KNOW? More than nine in 10 people who have shopped locally during the pandemic say they plan to continue doing so

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e  s Have fun y l i m fa After a year of being cooped up at home and suffering through their parents’ attempts at home-schooling, it’s time to treat the kids to some outdoor fun


BeWILDerwood has lots to keep children active

to have a great time, everyone will enjoy their day trip – adults and children alike. As Xplore! is a charity, all income goes back into the business to help inspire scientists of the future. The opening weekend was so popular that all tickets were snapped up and bookings have been flooding in ever since. “There was a huge buzz,” says centre manager Scot Owen. “Some of the exhibits keep score and there was a healthy sense of competition with lots of pictures being taken and shared online.” Tickets cost from £7.50 for a single visit, and annual passes are also available. To book, visit www.xplorescience.co.uk.

Gypsy Wood Park, Gwynedd There aren’t many places where you can combine the magic of fairies with the charm of animals and the rugged wilderness of 20 acres of beautiful natural woodland, but that’s what you’ll find at Gypsy Wood Park near Caernarfon. This unique attraction will be loved by the whole family as there are loads of things to see and do in the stunning setting in the foothills of Snowdonia. Bring your wellies to explore the

“BeWILDerwood’s ethos is to leave technology behind, get outdoors and use your imagination”

etween closed schools, cancelled exams, missing friends and being stuck inside, lockdown has been tough on children as much as anyone else. And even if we’ve spent a lot of time together recently, we haven’t been able to enjoy that true quality time of a great day out. Luckily we have plenty of options on the doorstep for a family fun day out. Here are some of our favourites.

BeWILDerwood, Cheshire New for 2021, BeWILDerwood Cheshire is an adventure park hidden among the trees of Bickley Moss. The ethos here is to leave technology behind, get outdoors and use your imagination, and you can do all that and more in the 70-acre woodland site. The park is home to huge wooden play structures, zip wires, mazes, slides, rope bridges, treehouses and lots more. All activities are included in the ticket price so there are no pesky hidden costs once you enter through the wonky gates. The park is ideal for children aged between two and 12, and there are special areas for teeny explorers. It is open weekends and bank holidays in May and daily throughout June, July and August. Entry prices are based on height rather than age: tickets for those measuring 92cm to 105cm cost £17.50; those over 105cm cost £19.50. Visitors must book online. For details, visit www.cheshire.bewilderwood.co.uk.

Engage minds at Xplore!

DID YOU KNOW? Exposure to nature has been found to enhance a child’s concentration and self-discipline

Xplore!, Wrexham Previously based at Wrexham Glyndwr University as Techniquest, Xplore! boasts more than 100 new exhibits at its new facility as well as a café and gift shop. You don’t need a passion for science 42 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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f o g n Easi оs i t c i r rest NOW

ENGLAND & WALES All retail, essential or not, is open. Children’s organised outdoor activities have restarted, and outdoor hospitality has resumed. Domestic overnight stays are allowed but are restricted to single households. The majority of outdoor attractions are allowed to open.

West Midland Safari Park (above) and Gypsy Wood Park (right)

wetlands, meet the animals, find the fairies, make a wish, hop on Woody’s train and enjoy one of the fabulous adventure play areas. There’s never a dull moment at Gypsy Wood Park, whether you’re navigating the Gypsies Maze or taking a ride on Woody’s Railway – a 10¼in gauge tear drop railway with turn table. Woody’s Train is powered by a pollution-free electric motor and it takes up to 24 passengers. There is also a model garden railway, mini diggers and trampolines, treehouses, tunnels, woodland walks and play areas with mini zip wires. Tickets cost £4.25 for under-threes, £7.25 for children aged four to 15 and £8.25 for adults. To book, visit www.gypsywood.co.uk.

ENGLAND Indoor leisure facilities are open, for individuals, households and bubbles.



rd WALES Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can take place. Wedding receptions can take place outdoors but are also limited to 30 people.


th WALES Gyms, leisure centres, and fitness facilities can reopen for individual or one-to-one training. Two households allowed to meet indoors.

West Midland Safari Park, Kidderminster One thing that couldn’t be put on hold when the world went in to lockdown was the constant, and expensive, animal care at our zoos and safari parks. So these attractions need our visits more than ever as well as offering a great day out for all the family. West Midland Safari Park is an award-winning animal attraction located just south of the Shire patch. It is home to a variety of allweather attractions, including four miles of drive-through safari, the largest animatronic dinosaur exhibit in the UK and a theme park with more than 20 rides. Around 140 different species call the park home, including cheetahs, lions, elephants, giraffes and rhinos. In addition to the exhibits, there are daily feeds, talks and encounters, including the fantastic Sea Lion Show, where three fabulous California sea lions show off their amazing behaviour, both in and out of the water. The African Village houses lemurs and meerkats, plus a walk-through area where you can feed the friendly sheep and goats. On the way to the Village, don’t forget to stop by Hippo Lakes to see the pod of wallowing hippos. Indoor animal exhibits, including Lorikeet Landing, Reptile House and Aquarium, remain closed until further notice. With its combination of amazing animals, exciting theme park rides, awesome exhibits and now eight fantastic luxury lodges, West Midland Safari Park is the ultimate family destination. Tickets cost £20 for children (three to 15 years) and £25 for adults and must be booked in advance. For more information, including opening times, visit www.wmsp.co.uk.




th ENGLAND Maximum of 30 people allowed to meet outside. Indoors the “rule of six” applies or two households. Indoor hospitality also to reopen, along with indoor entertainment and attractions, and indoor sport permitted. International travel to be allowed, subject to review. Events celebrating “significant life events” allowed with up to 30 guests. Indoor events extend to 1,000 people or 50 per cent capacity, outdoor seated events 10,000 or 25 per cent capacity, and other outdoor events 4,000 or 50 per cent capacity.


th WALES Children’s indoor activities are able to resume, community centres reopen and organised indoor activities for adults, including exercise classes, allowed to resume limited to a maximum of 15 people.


st WALES It is hoped that restrictions should ease enough to enable indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen “in advance of” the spring bank holiday.



st ENGLAND It is hoped that progress will allow all legal limits on social contact to end. This will allow all businesses, including nightclubs, to reopen, international travel to resume and no caps on celebrations and large events.

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p u Soak ture l u c e 


The arts and heritage sector has taken a huge hit over the course of the pandemic. We all know a bit of culture is good for the soul so let’s make sure we take in as much as we can once restrictions are lifted. Here are some of Shire’s suggestions for a restorative and reflective day out

Portmeirion, Gwynedd The slightly weird and definitely wonderful Italianate village of Portmeirion was created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976 to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. Portmeirion is one of Wales’s premier visitor attractions, welcoming more than 200,000 visitors every year. It is home

to two hotels, a cluster of historic cottages, iconic architecture, a spa, stylish shops, DID YOU award-winning restaurants, casual KNOW? cafés, an Italian ice cream parlour, Portmeirion was exotic gardens and sandy beaches. originally called Aber-lâ – meaning A wander here will inspire and uplift glacial estuary – but a well as rejuvenate the soul – but for was changed by Clough the ultimate post-lockdown treat you Williams-Ellis in 1925 could stay over. Portmeirion Village has 13 individually styled self-catering cottages, which are available for three-, four- and seven-night breaks. Guests enjoy free entry to Portmeirion village and gardens and use of the heated outdoor swimming pool. Complimentary transport from the train and bus stations is available on request, and all residents have dedicated parking bays. What better way to get away to somewhere completely different?! www.portmeirion.wales

Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Shropshire You can explore multiple museums at this World Heritage Site, dubbed “the beating heart of the Industrial Revolution”. Rocket back to the age of steam and see life more than 100 years ago in Blists Hill Victorian Town or explore British tile design at the Jackfield Tile Museum. The Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron explains how the area changed the world and, of course, you can walk across the first ever cast-iron bridge, built in 1779 over the River Severn. Marvel at its true strength and delicate beauty and find out more about the fascinating era at any one of the many museums on site. www.ironbridge.org.uk

Arley Hall, Cheshire The magnificent Arley Hall is a place of enormous character, charm and interest. Visitors are frequently struck by the warm and intimate atmosphere and the feeling that Arley is a muchcherished family home. Arley has been the home of Lord and Lady Ashbrook and their forebears since the 15th century. The gardens, among the finest in Britain, are outstanding for their variety and historical interest, and are particularly celebrated for the magnificent double herbaceous border. The stunning site also attracts the attention of filmmakers and even took on the role of Tommy Shelby’s home in series three of Peaky Blinders. A visit will certainly leave you feeling like you’re the star on a film set as the buildings and grounds are immaculate and lovingly tended. www.arleyhallandgardens.com

“Portmeirion is one of Wales’s premier visitor attractions, welcoming more than 200,000 visitors every year”

Blists Hill Victorian Town (far left), one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, and Arley Hall (left)

44 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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o t d n i k e B f l e s r y

As we emerge from this difficult time, we need to make sure to look after ourselves. Luckily there are many places in the area that can help you relax and recover, including these Shire favourites

The Wave Garden Spa, Conwy Adventure Parc Snowdonia is best known for its incredible surf school, thrill-seeking experiences and outdoor exploits, but it has launched a new venture, the Wave Garden Spa. With views over the waves of the site’s inland surf lagoon, the spa has been designed with every aspect of your wellbeing in mind. It’s the perfect place to check in for a romantic break, some indulgent solitude or quality time out with your friends. Whether you are looking for a day, half-day or overnight break, there’s a spa experience to suit. www.adventureparcsnowdonia.com/stay/wave-garden-spa

The Spa at Carden, Cheshire Nestled in the heart of the countryside just outside Chester, the newly built Spa at Carden is a five-star destination for wellbeing. The team at the award-winning spa believe everyone should have the opportunity to feel good – for an hour, a day or an entire weekend. That’s why every aspect of the spa experience is designed to be distinctive, catering to opulent celebrations as well as relaxing retreats. All the spa day experiences start with welcome refreshments. You can then enjoy access to Elements restaurant, a comfy robe to use throughout your day and a pair of flip-flops to take home. The stunning venue is part of a multimillion pound investment and has already won a Best New Spa award, with the limited places selling out fast for the coming season. www.cardenpark.co.uk/spa/days

Wilde Lodge, Shropshire Just a short drive from Ludlow, Wilde Lodge is a private accommodation venue that’s perfect for family gatherings and parties. New for this year, the historic house is now also running several exclusive retreats. After the year we’ve all had, escaping for the weekend yoga retreat would be perfect for bringing back

Wilde Lodge in Shropshire

Wave Garden Spa (left) and the Spa at Carden (right)

the balance as well as a great opportunity to soak up the surroundings and truly relax. Perched on the River Teme and surrounded by the stunning countryside of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Wales, the property centres around a beautifully restored 19th-century lodge that features thoughtfully designed accommodation and quirky areas for entertaining. Just what we all deserve as we get back to normality! www.wildelodge.com

Travel in style

Many forms of transport have been off-limits during lockdown. Here are some that are back on the itinerary ChesterBoat This family-owned company has more than 40 years’ experience of welcoming visitors to the beautiful River Dee in Chester. The team is delighted to be back in action offering daily adventures on the water, including half-hour city cruises and trips to the city limits with an informative sightseeing commentary. In May ChesterBoat welcomes back the two-hour Ironbridge Cruise and Fish & Chip Fridays, and when remaining restrictions are lifted – hopefully on 21st June – it will start to rock the boat again with private charters and Party Nights Afloat. www.chesterboat.co.uk Bala Lake Railway Enjoy the bygone era of train travel with Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake Railway). The company offers a delightful nine-mile return journey alongside Bala Lake, through the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The line runs from the peaceful village of Llanuwchllyn, just off the A494, to the outskirts of the market town of Bala, four and a half miles away, and you get excellent views of the lake from the narrow-gauge steam trains. The smaller scale of the railway’s operation, of the old buildings and the locomotives, means the railway has all the charm of an old-fashioned narrow-gauge railway, and it remains a place where the staff and volunteers have time to deal with passengers on an almost individual basis. www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk

May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 45

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agent fees and we’ll also make you our guaranteed offer within 48 hours. With so much uncertainty, it’s good to know that you can get more for your home, a quick decision, and a guaranteed purchaser to make your dream home a reality. 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. GDD59502

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23/04/2021 15:51

Homes&Interiors Local firm wins architecture award A Shropshire architect has scooped two prestigious honours in the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards

The new extension brings

The Forge in Whixall, before (right) and after (above)


industrial character of the old in plenty of light blacksmith’s forge with creating a light, contemporary extension. “We focused on sensitive restoration of the original features, including preserving the timber beams, salvaging the original window frames and “This conversion rebuilding the brick forge. Where original and reimagining materials couldn’t be saved, new and reclaimed of a former products sensitive to the building were used. blacksmith’s forge “The restored brick walls and industrial features is an absolute contrast with the high ceilings, large windows, rooftriumph” lights and bifold doors in the modern extension, which is filled with natural light. To celebrate the union of the old and the new, a brass strip on the external wall and roof was chosen to reflect the building’s metalwork past.”

tudio Bloc, based in Whitchurch, Shropshire, is the brainchild of locally born and raised Philip Handley – but with a recent haul at the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards, the firm is having an impact far and wide. The company entered the competition with its work at The Forge in nearby Whixall, coming away with both Best Conversion and Home of the Year. “We are delighted to have won these two national awards – it’s a huge honour,” says Philip. “The awards showcase the very best self-build projects, providing inspiration for those hoping to build their own home. Studio Bloc is very proud to have been judged the best of the best. The awards are the ultimate thank you to everyone who supported the project and worked on the house. “The design for this conversion centred around the contrast between old and new – balancing the preservation of the The home retains original features throughout

Expert opinion

The judges’ report on The Forge explained their reasons for deeming it worthy of the title: “This conversion and reimagining of a former blacksmith’s forge is an absolute triumph. There’s a wonderful forensic and sympathetic touch here, which sees layers of history unpacked while stitching in new contemporary elements with real skill and determination. “Delivering this project for £85,000 is a masterclass in how to reinvent an ageing structure; it’s what we should all be doing in response to the climate change emergency. This type of project is not for the faint-hearted, and it has been handled with professionalism and nerves of steel!” Philip founded Studio Bloc in 2014 and now works all over the UK. He grew up in Whitchurch and attended Bishop Heber High School in Malpas. After graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in architecture, Philip achieved a first class honours in his master’s in architecture at the University of Liverpool. Philip went on to gain a broad range of experience, working in renowned architecture practices around the world including under architect Rem Koolhaas at the internationally acclaimed Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in Rotterdam. He returned home from Singapore to the north Shropshire countryside to establish Studio Bloc, where he now designs bespoke contemporary homes. For more, visit www.studiobloc.co.uk. May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 47

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Builders bringing 1,300 jobs and 700 homes to Cheshire

DID YOU KNOW? Just over half of all students (54%) rent rooms or houses from private landlords and estate agents

Warrington-based housebuilder Barratt & David Wilson Homes North West has revealed exciting plans for 2021 across the North West region


he popular homebuilding firm Barratt & David Wilson Homes North West is continuing to support local employment by underpinning more than 1,300 new jobs in the North West thanks to its plans to build more Robert Holbrook, managing director of Barratt & David Wilson Homes North West than 674 properties across the area this year. With new sites in Appleton Cross, Formby and Preston, alongside new phases at existing developments including the Kingsbourne site in Nantwich, the teams are going to be on their toes. As the housebuilder typically sources local contractors and subcontractors, a total of 1,348 new jobs have been created across the four developments. “As the leading housebuilder, we have an obligation to provide support and facilities for the local community,” says Robert Holbrook, managing director at Barratt & David Wilson Homes North West. “This can take the form of open spaces for wildlife, playgrounds for children, beneficial amenities for residents or charitable donations for the wider community. “The sheer amount of jobs that are underpinned from the very early stages of development right up until our sales staff leave the site provides a crucial boost to the local economy. We hope that our continued plans to develop the region should support employment through what has been a difficult time for Britain, and well into the future.”

Business boost from start to finish

The addition of a housing development in a growing town increases footfall in the local areas and also provides vital services to those passing through. Even during the construction stages, workers will often visit local cafés and shops – instantly increasing their customer base. “As the pandemic continues to disrupt the local economy, it is more important than ever to shop local,” says Robert. “Businesses in rural areas have been hit hard by the coronavirus and hopefully by bringing a wider customer base to these locations, we can help support the businesses most heavily affected.”

Students key to rental sector

Some students need help finding a guarantor


he government’s International Education Strategy has a target of hosting 600,000 international students by 2030, despite the current complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. Hitting the target would mean the industry’s economic impact reaching £35bn a year, making it an attractive aim. The 2019/20 academic year was certainly a good one for non-EU student numbers, with enrolments shooting “The UK has up by 59,000, taking non-EU total enrolments to 556,625. This has an interesting spread of student placed huge pressure on student accommodation” accommodation in university areas. UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has been working with both domestic and international students since 2013, helping them to secure accommodation by acting as their guarantor. “The UK has an interesting spread of student accommodation, with some university cities suffering from a deficit of suitable homes and others a sizeable glut,” says group MD Jeremy Robinson. “The accommodation sector needs to prepare to house increasing numbers of talented young people over the years ahead and to do so in an affordable way.” Housing Hand has seen a sharp rise in the number of domestic students using its services too. In the year to November 2020, demand from UK students increased by 12 per cent. While international student numbers dropped over the same period, the long-term prospects remain bright.

48 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Holly’s home is where her heart is

International interiors expert Holly Johnson has opened the doors of her fabulous new showroom in Knutsford, bringing art, antiques, décor and design to local homes says Holly. “We all have a great passion for beautiful, wellmade things, and searching them out for clients. We love nothing more than to assist people locally in choosing these special items for their homes. We will be holding exhibitions and informative talks at the showroom on a regular basis.”

Celebrity shopping

Antiques expert Holly Johnson

Holly, together with her husband Ben and their specialist team, has supplied all the leading international interior designers over the years, with a particular following in America, regularly shipping items over to grace many luxury homes throughout the US. She also supplies many London-based designers for private and hotel projects. There have been many celebrity clients along


olly Johnson has spent nearly 30 years in business, showing exhibition-quality antiques at major international art and antiques fairs, and meeting the needs of an established worldwide client base. She trained at Christie’s, went on to develop her career at Philips and then worked with David Dickinson showing 19th-century exhibition furniture at the major London fairs. “My love of antiques and interiors led me to set up my own business in 1996, and my husband Ben joined me in the business in 2010,” says Holly. “Ben is the fourth generation in a long line of highly regarded antique dealers based in The Hague. Over the years, we have exhibited at the major London fairs, as well as international the way, including Oprah Winfrey, Woody Allen, Janet Jackson, Marco Pierre White and the Beckhams to name a few. Holly Johnson Antiques is one the largest dealers of vintage Piero Fornasetti, a much-acclaimed Milanese artist and designer who has lent a number of his early works to the Louvre and other international museums and art galleries. Another specialism is the English Arts and Crafts movement, and it regularly works to supply clients with pieces by Edward Barnsley, Gordon Russell, William Morris, Peter Waals and Ernest Gimson. Modern British art is also a major focus – it sells naturalist artworks by Charles Tunnicliffe, which are particularly sought after – and the collection shows including Palm Beach, San Francisco and Chicago. For two years we also ran a retail outlet at the New York Design Centre. Our website has allowed “We were us to cultivate a large online following especially incredibly with the American interior designer fraternity.” excited to open Holly’s latest step in an exciting interiors career has been to launch Holly Johnson Antiques our showroom from a large two-storey showroom in the centre in Knutsford” of Knutsford, Cheshire. “We have immensely enjoyed the journey that the business has taken us on, and we were incredibly excited to open the UK showroom in our home town of Knutsford last year,” also includes works by a number of northern artists, including Harold Riley, Liam Spencer, Arthur Delaney and Peter Brook. Holly is also keen to deal directly with individuals and help them make their home their own with a bespoke interiors service. “There has also been a lot of interest in our design service, so we’ve extended this, and are now working with all the newest collections straight from the leading luxury fabric and wallpaper houses,” says Holly. See the latest collection at www.hollyjohnsonantiques.com 50 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Add sparkle this spring

Spring has always signified the beginnings of new life in the natural world. Maryanne Lineker, silver and jewellery expert at auctioneers Halls, looks at how it has also influenced jewellery design over the centuries


Your business will feel right at home in Shire Magazine Expert homes & interiors advice, and fabulous shopping pages filled with inspiration

Get in touch 01691 661270 advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk

or thousands of years, the natural world has provided the perfect inspiration for all types of art, and it especially lends itself to jewellery design and creation. Floral sprays and bouquets of flowers are often depicted in brooches, using various diamonds and coloured stones. A particularly fine example of jewellery representing this theme is a diamond and enamel brooch by Boucheron, a French luxury jewellery brand founded in the mid-19th century, which is part of Halls’ summer Boucheron’s diamond and enamel brooch auction. Its centrepiece is a stunning flower formed of blue enamel petals with central diamond buds, mounted on three pavé-set diamond leaves. The setting is made from 18ct white gold and platinum to best display the stones and enamel work. Also offered in the auction is an 18ct gold Boucheron brooch in the form of a duck. Our enduring love and fascination with animals means that any jewellery pieces related to fauna prove popular on the open market. We also have a menagerie of three other animal brooches, depicting a squirrel, a dog and a fox. It is not just brooches, however, that are used by jewellers to interpret the natural world. Necklaces, rings and bracelets also provide the perfect canvas. Snakes, with their sinuous sleek bodies, have often been used as inspiration in Maryanne Lineker jewellery, their forms entwining around the wrist or neck. A particularly beautiful example of this is a Victorian diamond and turquoise snake necklace we sold in 2019 for £4,200. Snakes also make an appearance in our summer sale in the form of an 18ct yellow gold diamond set ring. One of the positive things to come out of the last year is the impact lockdowns have had on nature. Both flora and fauna have thrived and our natural environment has become even more cherished. I’m sure that in the future we’ll find even more ways to embody its beauty in art and precious jewellery. For a free valuation of your precious items, please contact Halls Fine Art department on 01743 450700 or email fineart@ hallsgb.com. For more visit www.hallsgb.com

A duck brooch by Boucheron

May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 51

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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

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24/04/2021 10:17


Shocking costs of lockdown DIY

More of us than ever embarked on home DIY projects over the past year, but experts are warning it could end up being a costly hobby


ccording to Google Trends, which analyses the popularity of top DID YOU search queries in Google searches, KNOW? there was a huge increase in searches UK homeowners for “house DIY” during the Covid have spent £55bn on pandemic – particularly during renovations to their the first national lockdown, which homes since the start of the pandemic saw a 59 per cent rise. It’s believed that 61 per cent of homeowners carried out a DIY project during lockdown, but with a lack of knowledge, failed reparations could be monetarily devastating. HomeHow.co.uk asked 3,142 households what projects they have undertaken and, in consultation with construction experts KielMur Construction, discovered how much these dodgy DIY jobs could cost.

Top jobs – and top costs!

Knocking down a wall Pick the wrong wall, and this could be very dangerous as well as costly. If you didn’t employ a structural engineer to see if the wall was a supporting one your whole house could fall down, with resulting costs in the hundreds of thousands. Electrics Messing up your wiring can put you at risk of electrocution and fires. Fixing your mistakes and rewiring the whole system could set you back around £2,000. Flooring Badly fitted flooring – whether you’ve tried to lay a carpet and trimmed it poorly, or installed laminate tiles that are wonky or loose – will leave your home looking a mess. Hiring a professional to refit it would cost around £1,200. Heating It might seem a simple task to fit a new radiator, but do it wrong and you could be left with a leak that goes on to cause more damage throughout the home. The cost to come and sort your mistake and fit a new radiator would probably be around £450. Decorating Even a simple paint job can go wrong – mess it up and it will end up more expensive in the long run to get a professional to paint over what you’ve done, and can easily set you back £400 or more.

Call the experts

“DIY is certainly the cheaper way of getting a home improvement job done – until it goes wrong, that is,” says Lisa Evans from HomeHow. co.uk. “During lockdown, we’ve all had extra time to stare at our home interiors, and it can be compelling to want to redecorate or fix various aspects of our home ourselves. “However, when these DIY projects go wrong they usually prove to be money-draining as well as time-consuming to rectify. Although more expensive in the short run, hiring a professional to carry out small and big renovations will almost definitely be cheaper in the long run, with a reduced chance of big mistakes.”

Plan ahead for colder, costlier times W

e may all be appreciating the warmer days of early summer and the subsequent reduction in our home heating bills, but now is the perfect time to make sure your costs are reduced next winter. The energy usage in your home increases by 36 per cent in winter compared with summer, and with more people working from home in 2021, that number is only expected to rise. Here’s how we can all make our homes greener and save some money this winter with tips from MyJobQuote.co.uk.

• Improving insulation can save the average semi-detached home £260 a year. • Think about upgrading your windows – 35 per cent of heat in the home is lost due to a lack of decent glazing on windows. • A dripping tap could waste 5,500 litres of water annually. • Installing solar panels could save you £100 to £240 per year. • Smart heating solutions give you the ability to control the temperature when absent and in different rooms. • Underfloor heating, as opposed to wall-mounted radiators, can reduce energy usage by up to 40 per cent. • Turning down your thermostat by a couple of degrees and putting on a jumper will save money. • Having a shower uses less water and power than running a bath.

Alpaca yarn now online


ulberry Alpacas, a family-run alpaca farm in Higher Penley near Wrexham, has launched an online store selling a variety of handmade items made from luxurious alpaca wool. The farm’s small herd of beautiful huacaya alpacas have friendly teddy bear faces and an amazingly fine warm fleece. Mulberry Alpacas can trace the yarn it produces directly to individual animals on the field. They have a range of colours: cream, grey, foxy brown, chocolate brown and black. A variety of items are now available, including knitted hats from £20, mitts from £18, scarves from £25, and tea cosies and cafetière covers from £21. Alpaca socks are also available in a range of sizes and colours and cost from £13.50 to £20. You can even treat yourself to a Penrose Product luxury duvet from £144 or a hypo-allergenic alpaca pillow from £49. With the new online shop now up and running, customers can take advantage of some great offers. These include needlefelting kits for £10 and felted moon-gazing hares for £20. Crafters can also buy bags of alpaca fleece for spinning from £5, while locally spun double knitting alpaca yarn costs £18 per 100g. For more information, visit www.mulberryalpacas.co.uk. If you would like to visit the farm – and the alpacas – in person, it is currently accepting visitors with appointments only. Call 01978 710224 or 07713 639447 for more details. May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 53

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The wonder of Welsh wood

DID YOU KNOW? The estimated average cost of installing a new bathroom is £6,500

One flooring company is championing the best of Welsh wood in its latest range of beautiful bathroom floor styles


raditionally, wooden floors and bathrooms don’t mix. But Woodpecker Flooring’s next-generation Stratex collection has all the aesthetically pleasing looks of traditional wood flooring and is also resistant to humidity. The Brecon range is waterproof too, making it the perfect choice for stylish bathrooms. Nature-inspired look Brecon is a high-performance floor available in 20 realistic wood finishes. It is strong and durable, and not only resistant to humid climates but also compatible with underfloor heating. The waterproof features and high durability results in minimal expansion, making it a practical choice for modern homes. However, it’s not just performance where this collection excels. Lookswise it can more than hold its own against its hardwood counterparts thanks to its embossed, woodgrain-effect vinyl upper layer.

Family firm

Woodpecker is a family-run business based in Caerphilly, with a heritage in the timber industry that goes back three generations. It was founded nearly 50 years ago by Bruce Ker, a skilled craftsman who loved teaching people how to work with wood and the Woodpecker tradition is continued today by his son, Nelson, and grandson, Darwyn. Since the very beginning, Woodpecker has been passionate Suitable for all rooms about designing and sourcing the finest wooden floors. Its dedication starts in the forest. Woodpecker only uses responsibly sourced wood with full FSC or PEFC certifications, selecting the trees before they are felled and paying close attention to how they are sawed, stacked and dried. The dry wood is then kilned twice for maximum stability before being machined. Centuriesold hand-finishing techniques – such as lacquering, oiling and antiquing – further enhance the wood’s natural beauty. Stockists include Cook’s Carpets in Mold, Rhosddu Carpets in Wrexham and Aspect Interiors in Colwyn Bay. For more information, visit www.woodpeckerflooring.co.uk.

Blinded by the light


V rays enter through our windows at all times of the year, even through those not directly affected by sunlight. The damage these rays cause can be permanent, and include the fading of fabrics, furnishings, paintings and furniture. Lewis & Holmes, which sells blinds, curtains and gifts from its showroom in Protect your furnishings Oswestry, Shropshire, offers multiple solutions to such problems, as well as helping with temperature control and glare. It recommends the following to help protect your home interior: • Internal blinds and shutters A good screen roller blind will filter out up to 97 per cent of UV rays. • External awnings A well-placed patio awning is a practical and stylish way to reduce sunlight through your windows, as well as providing an al fresco living space that’s usable come rain or shine. Optional LED under-awning lighting and instant infra-red heating are also available so you can create a pleasant terrace that can be enjoyed all year round. • UV-reflective film There has been a significant advance in UV-reflective films that can be applied direct to glass, and many shops now offer a wide range of designs. Lewis & Holmes’ Clarity range reduces up to 99 per cent of UV while maintaining a clear view through windows. It doesn’t affect the look of the property, making it particularly suitable for listed properties and traditional period buildings. For more information about the solutions Lewis & Holmes provide, visit the showroom on Castle Street, Oswestry, call 01691 680111 or email shop@rollerblinds.co.uk

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Abbey Kitchens, Shrewsbury Quality kitchens, cabinets and appliances We are a family run business established in 1993. We pride ourselves on supplying the best quality kitchens cabinets and doors in Shrewsbury with over 100 years of collective experience. Experts in design, planning and after sales service, we deliver an exceptional standard of product and service to our clients.

Enjoy a hot Neff coffee while you browse or have an informal chat with our designer about your project. You can also see your new virtual kitchen, get a feel for the space on our top of the range CAD system. This puts you in the driving seat, ensuring you get the perfect kitchen for you and your family that you can delight in for many years to come.

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Abbey Kitchens, Unit 3, 93, Whitchurch Road, Shrewsbury SY1 4EO

01743 588656 I info@abbey-kitchens.net https://abbey-kitchens.net

23/04/2021 11:28


Sustainable water-heating solution available F

or the past eight years North West Heating Solutions, based in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, has been helping people to replace outdated storage heaters and move away from carbon-heavy fossil fuel heating systems by installing Smartcore Elkatherm electric radiators. It is now also an approved installer of Sunamp UniQ Heat Batteries. The UniQ is a thermal store that uses energy to store heat. This heat can then be released on demand to provide fresh DID YOU hot water throughout the home. It works with almost KNOW? any energy source, from gas boiler to solar and heat If every household pumps, and can be tailored to your requirements. in the UK took one Because there is no stored water, the unit is up to minute off one shower four times smaller than a traditional cylinder. The core every day, it would is made up of phase change material, which has great save £215 million a heat retention properties, and is packaged in a superyear nationwide insulated unit. You can charge the unit during off-peak hours with a smart tariff to further minimise costs. For more information about North West Heating Solutions water heating options and Smartcore radiators, call 01244 371445 or visit www.northwestheatingsolutions.co.uk.

You’ll be hooked!


riffiths Hire Shops, the largest independent tool hire business in Shropshire and north Wales, has a new addition to its hire fleet – the Hooka tracked crawler crane. The innovative piece of equipment takes the strain out of moving heavy materials. “Our Hooka mini tracked crawler crane is only one metre wide and 2.05m high, making it perfect for restricted access sites,” says director Kevin Griffiths. “It enables safe and easy moving of bulk materials on construction, building or landscaping sites, and can lift and carry materials on pallets across uneven terrain with minimum impact. The rubber track system provides stability and a go-anywhere capability.” The Hooka has a unique load-lock system that is designed to hold bulk bags safely when moving over uneven ground and can deliver materials from the roadside to the point of use on any building site or landscaping project. “It be used to move and position hot tubs, garden features and heavy pizza ovens in an outdoor area.” says Kevin. “It is also the ideal solution when lifting large steel beams into place, commonly used when fitting bifold doors to a property.” For more information, visit www.griffithshireshops.co.uk.

The Hooka mini tracked crawler crane is perfect for garden work

Keep on top of your boiler maintenance W

e all rely heavily on our boilers, but do you ever give your appliance much thought? Regardless of fuel type, regular servicing can help detect and alleviate the risk of any problems causing unnecessary loss of heating and hot water when it matters most. A faulty boiler can be incredibly dangerous – there are more than 250 hospitalisations a year from carbon monoxide-related illness – and annual servicing also ensures your boiler is “Annual servicing operating at maximum efficiency, saving money on fuel bills, and reducing the chance of unexpected breakdowns. ensures your Total Boilers’ managing director Chris Jones worked boiler is operating alongside his father at long-established firm PH at maximum Jones and has 35 years’ experience in the industry. efficiency” He knows that inspecting the combustion chamber during service gives you the chance to spot early telltale signs of degeneration within the boiler. The combustion process leaves deposits that, if left for long periods of time, can decrease the efficiency of the appliance and even become impossible to remove, leading to costly repair bills. Total Boilers, which is based in Wrexham, offers an array of services. Call 01978 664358 or visit www.totalboilers.co.uk.

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Made to Measure Curtains & Roman Blinds

Renewable specialist:

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As part of the government’s new Green Switch from LPG/Oil to a home Grant Scheme, Vouchers will be greener energyand bylandlords installing give to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. With the schemeHeat starting in september Air Source Pumps and running for 6 months untill March 2021, demand is going to be high. Ground Source Heat Pumps

Roller, Venetian & Vertical Blinds Shutters & Awnings Curtain Poles & Tracks Wallpaper & Paint Measuring & Fitting Service

Underfloor Heating At the time of placing this advert, the Government have not released the full details of the scheme contact Iheat ltd to register your interest.

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Telephone: 238180 contact@iheatltd.co.uk www.iheatltd.co.uk Join the Iheat01691 team, We are looking for Plumbers, please email CV to email below. Telephone: 01691 238180  contact@iheatltd.co.uk www.iheatltd.co.uk

Tel: 01978 664 358 www.totalboilers.co.uk

Leading Oil, Gas & LPG Engineers Here at Total Boilers Limited we are dedicated to delivering a comprehensive range of plumbing and heating services.

Service & Repairs

Ensuring peak performance from your boiler, our maintenance team off all round care from a one off repair or service to annual maintenance contracts. Covering a wide variety of oil, gas and LPG boilers maintenance contracts start at just £7.80 per month.

Installation & Replacement

We can survey, recommend and install the best solution for your home, we don’t just stop at boilers and heating systems. Ensuring you are complying with OFTEC regulations, we also offer oil tank installations and replacements. All quotations are provided with no obligation and free of charge.


Finance is available on a wide range of products. With flexible monthly payments ranging from two – ten years we can find a solution that suits your circumstances.

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23/04/2021 11:30







Seaing dream




Bring sunny skies and wide horizons into your home with nautical hues and coastal touches



11 16

17 15


14 18 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Seahorse design bath tray, £75, Meg Hawkins in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.meghawkins.co.uk Coastal Stripe double duvet cover, £85, Secret Linen Store; www.secretlinenstore.com Mila round mirror, £49.99, The Range; www.therange.co.uk Shallow ceramic bowl, £10, Roobarb in Bridgnorth, Shropshire; www.loveroobarb.co.uk Mini Moderns Whitby wallpaper, £50 per roll, Jane Clayton & Company; www.janeclayton.co.uk Urchin jug, £45, OKA in Knustford, Cheshire; www.oka.com Seagull on stand, £8.99, Cheshire Homewares; www.cheshirehomewares.co.uk Nautical stripe shade, £4.99, The Range; www.therange.co.uk Starfish door knocker in polished brass, £43.99, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk Coastal Collection pictures, £69.95, Cousins Furniture in Shrewsbury; www.cousinsfurniture.co.uk St Eval Sea Salt tin candle, £11.50, The Silver Pear in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.silverpear.co.uk Everhot 100i electric range cooker, £8,365, RN Williams in St Asaph; www.rnwilliams.co.uk Starboard lamp, £16.99, Shore & More; www.shoreandmore.co.uk Rustic rope doorstop, £16, Make your House a Home in Whitchurch, Shropshire; www.makeyourhouseahomewhitchurch.com Beachcomber wooden five-drawer chest, £219.99, Rattan & Teak; www.rattanandteak.co.uk Waves cushion, £19.95 (RRP £29.95), Cousins Furniture in Shrewsbury; www.cousinsfurniture.co.uk Anchor doorstop, £44.99, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk Handmade fused glass boats, £12 each, Julie Barmer Glass; www.folksy.com/shops/juliebarmer Seahorse pendant lampshade, £67.50, The Silver Pear in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.silverpear.co.uk Miniature wooden beach huts, £4 each, RNLI Shop; shop.rnli.org



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B R I N GIN G I N THE LIGH T When Ray and Fiona from Whitchurch decided to add an orangery to their new home to make the most of their garden views, they turned to Premier Windows of Oswestry


ay and Fiona moved to Whitchurch from Cheshire at the end of 2019, after falling in love with their new home’s garden. “When we came to see the bungalow, it was a nice sunny day,” says Ray. “The garden is large and west-facing, so we get a lovely sunset through the trees at the bottom. The house had been extended but it hadn’t been

even quicker but there was a delay – Covidtheir showroom we already knew we needed new windows – the old ones were uPVC related again – with supplying the lantern.” but were in a poor state with old-style glass and handles that didn’t work. The roof Looking smart Ray and Fiona decided to use a different liner and fascia boards were all rotten too. “Gary came to look at the property and colour brick on the orangery from the rest get a feel for what we were trying to do. of the house. “Fiona just liked that colour,” says Ray. “It complements the brick For the design, we looked at under the bay window at the front different aspects of the “The examples in the showroom of the house, too. It looks smart light they and then Gary explained with the colours of the windows how the design and and the anthracite roof liner. bring in is construction would work. “We went for a very big lantern, phenomenal” He told us what type of and side windows for more light. The roof lantern we could go for orangery is 5.5 by 3.5 metres, which and what size it could be – he basically is a big floor space – we wanted somewhere said what was technically achievable. we could sit with the whole family. The That reassured us that Premier roof has wooden beams and is about 1.5 really know what they’re doing.” metres thick, which gives it insulation,

Saving energy

Great garden views

properly looked after for a few years. It was quite tired, so we knew it was a project.”

Good start

“The garden is why we wanted the orangery,” Ray continues. “The only thing out The light brickwork there was some old decking, which we had ripped up. I wanted to be able to enjoy the garden. “We asked two companies to quote for the orangery, one of whom was Premier Windows. I liked the feel of Premier as a family business, and Gary the sales guy was very helpful. When we went to see them at

Gary at Premier Windows says: “We designed the orangery to have an energy-saving warm roof. All the frames and glass are A-rated, too, and the construction and installation were thoroughly checked at every stage by building control. A certificate was issued at the end of the build.” “We originally looked a bifold doors, but we’ve had them before and found we didn’t have them fully open that often, so we went for French doors with the wider panels on the side,” says Ray. “The light they bring in is phenomenal – they frame the garden beautifully. Following various Covid-related delays concerning the planning, Premier Windows finally broke ground on the orangery in mid-September last year. “It was pretty much all done by the end of January!” says Ray. “It would have been

Ray and Fiona chose French windows

and we’ve had underfloor heating put in so we can use this room all year round.” After Premier finished, the landscaping could be completed. “We’ve got the pathways in and I’m hoping we can soon get the messy stuff done and concentrate on the nurturing side,” says Ray. “We’re putting a greenhouse in. I plan to enjoy my retirement growing old out there!” For more on Premier Windows, visit www.premierwindowsoswestry.co.uk May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 59

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Local Food Tastes Better! From artisan cheeses and award-winning meat to delicious fresh produce and wonderful wines, ales and ciders, Shire’s regions are bursting with flavour and people are really starting to appreciate the gourmet greatness that surrounds us


he way we shop and eat is changing. Where once we relied on supermarkets to supply our every want and need, consumers are increasingly realising that far better culinary options are being produced on our doorsteps. Yes, supermarkets are convenient, but they also deliver mass-produced, impersonally packaged food that has been shipped across the globe, often at the expense of quality and taste. Local food, on the other hand, is fresh and produced to the highest standards by local artisans who work hard to keep us fed in style. And with customers becoming ever more discerning in their tastes, there’s a noticeable shift away from massproduced products and towards locally grown and sourced food. “There is absolutely more interest in local food now than ever before,” says Hannah James, events manager at Ludlow Food Festival. “It’s wonderful to see people really engaging with local food producers and caring more and more about where their food comes from.”

Shifting Perspectives

DID YO U KNOW ? There a re more than 700 nam produce ed cheeses d in the chedda UK, but r accou nts for m than ha ore lf of all sales

“There is absolutely more interest in local food now than ever before, and it’s wonderful to see people really engaging with local food producers and caring more and more about where their food comes from”

The reasons for these changes in attitude are multiple. In part, it’s about provenance and traceability – people want to know where their food comes from. We are also increasingly aware of the ways in which our food choices affect the environment. And we also just expect more from our plates. “First and foremost, local food tastes better,” says Stephen Wundke, founder and CEO of Taste Cheshire. “Secondly, people like to have a connection to the producer and know this is a real product. And finally there is a real kick back against the multinationals, who appear to dominate trade.” We also shouldn’t underestimate the impact Covid has had on people’s shopping preferences, with more people choosing to shop local since the lockdown last March forced us to take stock of what is available on our doorsteps. “Covid flagged up how insecure our global food systems are,” says Hannah. “When the supply chains of big businesses failed at the start of the pandemic, it was more often DID YOU KNOW? The Romans introduced wine-making to England and tried to grow grapes e as far north as Lincolnshir

than not the smaller, independent food producers who kept going. The pandemic has allowed some of these small producers to really grow and be more successful than ever – it’s wonderful to see.”

Perfectly Placed

Here in the rural west of the UK, we’re perfectly placed to enjoy a range of culinary delights. From luscious Welsh lamb and hand-reared beef to acres of fresh vegetables and speciality cheeses such as Cheshire and Shropshire blue, the Shire region is home to a thousand delicious flavours and there are treats for the taste buds wherever you turn. If you haven’t already tried buying locally, there couldn’t be a better time or place to start.

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top reasons for loving local food • It tastes better

Most food at a farmers’ market has been picked within 24 hours, which means it’s at its freshest and tastiest. And because local producers don’t have to worry about transportation and shelf life, they can focus on what’s really important: growing their products to ensure the highest standards of freshness and taste.

• It’s healthier

Local fruit and veg contain the most nutrients because they spend less time in transit from farm to plate. While supermarket produce has to be grown, treated and processed with longevity in mind, local food can be allowed to ripen fully, allowing consumers to enjoy food that’s rich in colour, flavour and nutritional value.

• It’s in season

A seasonal diet helps us to reconnect with nature and supports our bodies’ nutritional needs. In winter hardy, energy-dense vegetables keep our immunity and energy levels at their peak, while in summer water-dense fruits such as strawberries and cucumbers keep us hydrated.

• It supports the local economy

Buying local food keeps money in your area, supports local farmers and producers, and helps to create jobs. This in turn helps local, rural communities to flourish.

• It’s good for the environment

The average item of fresh food travels 1,500 miles to reach your supermarket – that’s a large carbon footprint! By buying from local sources, you reduce the need for transportation, use less fuel and generate fewer greenhouse gases. You also reduce waste, as food is less likely to get spoiled on its journey to your table.

• It’s more likely to be organic

While large-scale agricultural operations routinely spray crops with pesticides, local farms often prefer organic and natural pest repellents. As locally grown food doesn’t need to be preserved for transportation, it doesn’t need to be treated with preservatives either.

• It promotes tourism

Great food attracts a crowd, and food tourism brings visitors and money to a region. From brewery tours and farmers’ markets to cookery classes and food festivals, people want to learn about local culinary specialities and are prepared to travel to find them.

• It unites communities

Food brings people together, and local food builds more connected communities. Creating links between farmers, producers and consumers builds accountability and transparency, allowing customers to know where their food is coming from and producers to know who is buying their products. Food events also bring like-minded people together.

HOW TO EAT LOCALLY There are lots of ways you can support local producers and sample delicious, gourmet food. Here are some ideas


Visiting a farm shop is about more than just shopping: it’s a culinary experience in itself. With shelves glinting with jars of chutney, the smell of freshly baked bread filling the air and an array of mouth-watering cheeses, meat products and sweet treats on display, it really is a feast for the senses. It’s also one of the best ways to buy local, as farm shops are stocked with products that are locally grown and produced. At Ludlow Farmshop for example, 80 per cent of the food Ludlow Farmshop sold comes from Shropshire and the surrounding counties, and around half is made on site. All the shop’s beef, lamb and Gloucester Old Spot pork comes from its own farm, along with the milk used to make the cheese and dairy products. Visitors are also able to see artisans making the food through windows throughout the shop. Shrewsbury’s Battlefield 1403 Farm Shop also uses beef and lamb produced on its own estate. As well as offering a range of great seasonal produce, home-grown or locally sourced in Shropshire, the Battlefield 1403 site is home to Battlefield 1403 Farm Shop one of the best butchers in the UK, a well-stocked deli counter and a café serving homemade fresh food, making it one of Shropshire’s top foodie destinations.


Britain’s first farmers’ market was established in Bath in 1997, and there are now more than 550 across the country. As well as enabling local farmers and growers to sell their produce directly to the public, such markets allow shoppers to pick up not only the freshest local produce but also a range of other products including locally brewed beer, speciality cheeses, fruit liqueurs and preserves. Wirral Farmers’ Market has been running for over 20 years and is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. The market, which has won many awards including Market of the Year at the BBC Food & Farming Awards, attracts more than 30 stalls selling meat, fish, vegetables and treats, and also has


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a café where you can take a break from shopping. Other popular markets in the area include Conwy Farmers’ Market, which is held in the beautiful surroundings of the RSPB Conwy nature reserve on the last Wednesday of every month, and Nantwich Farmers’ Market, which takes place on the last Saturday of the month and attracts farmers, growers and producers from all over Cheshire.

Home Delivery Schemes

If you don’t have the time to get to a farm shop, why not get the farm shop to come to you? The popularity of home delivery schemes has soared during the Covid pandemic, with more and more people choosing to have fresh and organic produce delivered direct to their door. Babbinswood Organic Farm in Oswestry, Shropshire, offers a range of vegetable boxes priced from £10 to £30, as well as fruit boxes, eggs, butter and even meat deliveries. Numerous other local farms started offering deliveries as a means of distributing their products while the shops remained closed. Malpas Farm Shop, family butchers for more than 100 Have veg delivered to your door years, sells a vast selection of meat online for home delivery, and even smaller outfits such as Oteley Estate in Ellesmere, Shropshire, are getting in on the action; Oteley offers premium beef and lamb boxes that can be purchased from its website and delivered to your home.

Pick Your Own

You can’t get fresher than food you’ve picked with your own hands, and pick-your-own Buy fresh meat online (PYO) farms are a popular attraction for those who want to gather produce right from the source. Bellis Brothers in Holt, near Wrexham, has long been famous for its strawberries, and people have been picking their own fruit there since 1967. There are more than just strawberries on offer. During the summer months, visitors are invited to pick raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, tayberries, loganberries and rhubarb, while in October the fields are open for PYO pumpkins. Malpas Pick-Your-Own also offers strawberries and pumpkins, while Bearstone Fruit from the field Fruit Farm

near Market Drayton in Shropshire offers a range of seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as new potatoes.

Food festivals

Bringing together all manner of artisan food producers in one place, food festivals give you the chance to try new flavours, hear from the producers themselves and rejoice in the culinary delights produced in the region. Ludlow Food Festival was established in 1995 to encourage visitors to the town and highlight the fantastic independent producers in the region. Since then the festival has gone from strength to strength. Today, it brings together 180 independent food and drink producers from across the Marches and attracts more than 16,000 foodies to the town. Other popular food festivals include the Shrewsbury Food Festival, which brings together Ludlow Food Festival producers, chefs, performers and entertainers in Quarry Park, and the Great British Food Festival at Arley Hall, Cheshire.

Independent Shops

From bakeries and delicatessens to fishmongers and butchers, small independent shops are not only the beating heart of our high streets, they are also the perfect place to find delicious, locally produced delicacies. Porter’s Delicatessen in Llangollen sources the very best cheeses, charcuterie, gourmet foods and hard-to-find ingredients for the benefit of both local and visiting shoppers. Its shelves are a treasure trove of unique and speciality ingredients, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the supermarket, Porter’s Delicatessen try an independent deli.

Top Tips for farm shopping • Do your research

Find out where your nearest farmers’ market and farm shops are based at www.farmshop.uk.com.

• Find out what’s in season

The produce at local markets will vary across the seasons, so make sure you know what to expect.

• Plan ahead

Freezing, bottling, stewing and batch-cooking are all great ways to preserve seasonal produce.

• Be prepared to be flexible

You might not come away with everything on your shopping list. Embrace it and try new things!

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find the Region’s Best… MEAT

From scrumptious sausages to a juicy steak, a good piece of meat can really make a meal. With so much delicious, home-reared meat on our doorstep there’s no need to rely on imports.

High standards

also work with a qualified chef to develop new ideas and recipes and prepare its range of fresh ready meals.


Shropshire and Cheshire are both famed for their cheese, so it’s no wonder it is one of the region’s most popular and sought-after products, locally and further afield.

Strong heritage

Cheese has been made in the Shire area for many generations and there are a number of producers that draw on this rich heritage while continuing to produce cheese to the highest standards. Belton Farm in Whitchurch has been making Belton Farm cheese for more than three generations in the heart of Shropshire, and combines handcrafted techniques with the latest technology to make products of great quality and consistency. Appleby’s Dairy, based at Hawkstone Abbey Farm in Marchamley, near Shrewsbury, has been making awardwinning cheese since 1952, using milk from the cows that graze the lush pastures of the Shropshire plains.

One of the region’s bestknown meat producers, Rhug Estate Organic Farm in Corwen, Denbighshire, is a true field-to-plate operation. Using the most sustainable farming practices, Rhug rears organic beef, lamb, bison, Rhug Estate’s organic selection chicken, turkey, goose and game when in season on its 8,000 acres of farms. Its organic meat is sold online and at the Rhug Farm Shop, and served in its café New contenders “From scrumptious sausages to a juicy steak, a With the artisan as well as in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. good piece of meat can really make a meal. With cheese market ever expanding, it’s Brisbourne Geese also rears so much delicious, home-reared meat on our not only the wellits animals to the highest welfare established companies standards. The family-run farm doorstep, there’s no need to rely on imports” that are thriving. near Nesscliffe, Shropshire, has Established in 2005, been rearing animals for Moyden’s Hand Made Cheese, based in Wistanswick more than 80 years and now near Market Drayton, has fast become a well-respected also rears beef and sheep as artisan cheese-making business. Drawing on traditional well as Christmas poultry. cheese recipes and “We pride ourselves on our using local Shropshire poultry having a good life milk, Martin Moyden while on our farm,” says has developed an William Brisbourne. “They extensive range are reared on the farm from of cheeses named day-olds, and all our birds are Brisbourne Geese after well-known free range and farm fresh.” Shropshire towns and landmarks, each Prepared with flare Moyden’s Hand Made Cheese with a story to tell. With so much locally reared meat, it’s no wonder the region Snowdonia Cheese has produced some of the finest butchers in the country. Jamie Company – established in 2001 in Llanrwst, Conwy – has Ward is one such butcher who has been producing delicious achieved similar success. The company was created with meat products for many years, first with wholesale sausages the aim of producing a luxury range of Welsh cheeses, and and bacon and then from his family-run shop in Chirk. the products found immediate success at locals farmers’ Edwards of Conwy is another family-run business with a markets. The colourful wax-coated truckles are now widely reputation for excellence. The multi-award-winning outfit, which recognised, popping has been named Britain’s Best up on restaurant Butcher and Best Butcher’s menus the world over. Shop in Wales multiple times, brings together a master butcher, bakery and deli under one roof on Conwy High Street. It’s particularly famous for its pork pies, and its butchers


Edwards of Conwy

Snowdonia Cheese Company

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DID YOU KNOW? The gimlet cocktail – gin and lime juice – was invented by the Royal Navy to prevent scurvy

refined, premium whisky – the first to be distilled in north Wales for over 100 years – as well as a premium range of smallbatch, handcrafted gins and liqueurs.

Grape and grain

Wine lovers are well catered for by vineyards such as Kerry Vale Vineyard, which covers six acres in Pentreheyling, Shropshire, Aber Falls Distillery DRINK and Wroxeter Good food deserves to be accompanied by a delicious drink, Roman Vineyard near Shrewsbury. and Shire’s regions are bursting with vineyards, distilleries and If a stiff pint is your poison, there are plenty of great breweries that produce some of the best beverages around. ales and ciders to search out too. Snowdon Craft Beer in Colwyn Bay Gin, glorious gin uses water from the “Good food deserves to be accompanied by a With the meteoric rise in Snowdonia rain gin’s popularity, it’s hardly delicious drink, and Shire’s regions are bursting basin to produce surprising that we’ve its cask, keg and with vineyards, distilleries and breweries” seen a raft of new craft bottled beers, while The Stonehouse distilleries open across the area. From Tappers on Brewery in the Wirral Peninsula to Three Wrens Gin in the Cheshire Oswestry produces a small range of classic and distinctive beers, many of which are award-winning. countryside and Wardington’s Ludlow Gin, which creates handcrafted premium Set up in 2007 by Shane and Alison Parr, the brewery has expanded over the years and now has the capacity gins from the heart of to produce 100 brewer’s barrels – that’s 28,800 pints! the Welsh Marches, there are lots of companies – a week, along with cider, whisky, vodka, brandy and award-winning gin. That’s something for everyone! to choose from, and some are now enjoying national and even international recognition. Wardington’s Ludlow Gin Shire Gin, produced by The Shropshire Distillery, has won two International Wines & Spirit Competition awards, which set the benchmark for quality in spirits worldwide. The gin, expertly crafted by Emma and Gareth One of the world’s finest producers Glynn, was first released of sea salt can be found in Anglesey in July 2018. From its humble beginnings in the “Gin Shed” at the Glynns’ home, production has recently moved to a new, purpose-built distillery in Ellesmere, Gareth and Emma Glynn allowing Emma and Gareth to expand their range of events, tours and experiences. Halen Môn was founded in 1997 following a happy accident. David and Alison McCreadie Totting it up Those who prefer whisky to gin needn’t travel far for their left a pan of seawater to boil – as the salt crystals favourite tipple either. Penderyn Distillery produces awardformed they knew they’d struck culinary gold. winning single malt whiskies and spirits in Pontbren Llwyd in The couple started supplying Halen Môn Sea the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Aged in the best American Salt to Swains, their local butcher in Menai oak bourbon casks, the whisky – which has won more than Bridge, and today their sea salt is enjoyed around 50 Gold Medals – has the world by chefs, food lovers and even Barack a worldwide reputation Obama! It has been served at the London 2012 and is now sold in more Olympics, political summits and royal weddings, than 40 countries. is a vital ingredient in Green & Black’s chocolate Further north, Aber and Pipers Crisps, and can be bought in more Falls Distillery in than 22 countries and the UK’s best delicatessens. Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd, produces

season’s greetings

Penderyn Distillery

64 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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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

Llangollen’s Favourite Dining Destination Serving up brunch, dinner, drinks and everything in-between

Monday – Thursday 12-10:30pm Friday – Saturday 12-11pm Sunday 12-10pm

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

23/04/2021 11:31

Food&Drink Try a different cut for a new flavour

Chef Alec Gilmour and his team at the Clive Arms in Bromfield, near Ludlow, use high-quality ingredients from the Oakly Park Estate and amazing cuts of meat from Ludlow Farmshop. Here he shares one of his favourite cuts of beef


t the Clive Arms, we all share a love for good-quality, honest food and we like to let the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves. We serve local, seasonal and therefore very flavoursome dishes. While our walled garden provides seasonal vegetables, our onsite butcher at Ludlow Farmshop gives us access to the best-quality cuts of pork, lamb and beef, all raised on the estate. Shin is one of my favourite cuts of beef and is often overlooked and underrated. It may be cheaper than some other prime cuts, but it’s by no means less delicious. Although longer and lower cooking is required to get the best out of the cut, if done right the flavour and texture is fantastic.

Braised beef shin Ingredients 500g beef shin, cut into 1in steaks 1 litre beef stock 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped 1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped 2 sticks of celery, chopped 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced 1 bay leaf 1 small sprig of thyme 1 star anise Method 1. Heat your oven to 150°C/gas mark 2, and season the shin steaks on both sides with salt and cracked black pepper. 2. Brown the steaks on both sides in a frying pan with a little oil. Ensure a nice rich brown colour to maximise flavour – about


4. 5.


three minutes per side should be plenty. Remove the steaks from the Alec Gilmour at the Clive Arms pan and place in a deep roasting tray with the vegetables, herbs and star anise. Deglaze the frying pan with some beef stock and pour into the roasting tray, then add enough stock to cover the meat and vegetables. Place baking paper over the tray and double wrap in foil. Cook for at least three hours – the longer the better. When the meat is tender, remove from the oven and allow to rest in the cooking liquid for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the tray and strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into a pan. Bring the liquid to the boil and reduce slightly. You can thicken if you wish, but I prefer the lighter texture. Season if required and pour into a jug. Serve the meat alongside the sauce and your favourite Sunday accompaniments for a great roast dinner, or simply with some chips and peas.



langollen’s family-friendly dining destination the Three Eagles has reopened its doors, once again serving lunch, dinner and drinks in its spacious courtyard. There is plenty of cover – and heaters! – plus the usual attentive table service. The updated menu includes firm Three Eagles favourites, including the Black Sheep burger and an array of the finest steak cuts from local butcher Stanley Jones. New additions include a Thai salmon noodle salad and the JCB burger – an adaptation of the legendary Three Eagles JFC Karaage chicken starter. “While it’s important to ensure our menu remains relevant and seasonal, one constant runs through our ethos – the strong relationships with Meet the friendly team our local producers and suppliers,” 66 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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says Adam Gaunt-Evans, chef and director at the Three Eagles. “We collaborate with some fantastic partners to meet our high standards. Our meat comes from local butcher Stanley Jones, fruit and veg is from Llangollen-based Dee Valley Fruit & Veg, and our specialist Welsh produce from is Castell Howell Foods. We A fantastic outside space continue to work with many more independents to deliver a great experience to all who visit us.” The Three Eagles is open Monday to Thursday from noon to 10.30pm (last food orders 9pm), Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 11pm (last food orders 9.30pm) and Sundays noon to 10pm (last food orders 8pm). To book a table, call 01978 869595 or visit www.thethreeeagles.co.uk

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GOOD NEWS FOR BREWS Breweries and beer businesses are hopeful of increased government support after MPs seemed to react positively to the idea, according to Beer Today


s pubs reopen across England and Wales, many brewers still have a long way to go before their businesses feel stable. But thanks to ongoing pressure from several organisations, including CAMRA, MPs showed their support during a recent parliamentary debate for long-term reforms and Covid support packages to help pubs and brewers. MPs were debating support for the hospitality industry, with parliamentarians from all corners of the UK taking part. Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, who brought about the discussion in the first place, said in her opening remarks that a lower draught beer duty “would be targeted, quickly-actioned support and could play a crucial role in stopping so many of our vibrant pubs and other hospitality businesses from going under”. Her suggestion of a new draught beer duty rate, which CAMRA has long campaigned for, was echoed by MPs from across the UK. They also called for more support for brewers, who have been


Pip Gale of Gales Wine Bar in Llangollen looks at how you can enjoy wine and watch the calories at the same time


hanging our dietary habits – whether because we wish to lose weight, feel healthier or both – is often a major undertaking, one that is mainly achieved by making a few minor improvements across a number of life’s habits. One way in which many of us struggle is when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol may not contain fat, but where’s there’s alcohol there are calories. This is because alcohol has sugar that has undergone a transformation. And while it’s often claimed that wine has magical health benefits – from antioxidants to anti-inflammatory qualities – such stories are also accompanied by the stipulation of “everything in moderation”, so don’t think you can get off lightly.

adversely affected by lockdown. Charlotte Nichols MP, chair of the Pubs All-Party Parliamentary Group, said the loss of trade for brewers owing to closed pubs “represents 10 years of lost growth for the sector” and called for more compensation and support to help them recover.

Promising politics

Speaking after the debate, CAMRA chair Nik Antona said: “We were thrilled to see so many MPs from all parties and across the nations of the UK take part, displaying just how important pubs, clubs and breweries are within the hospitality industry and wider communities. “Further support for our brewers is a must – they have been denied a dedicated support package so far, and we were pleased that several MPs called on the government to reverse plans to change Small Brewers Relief, which would cause small businesses to pay more tax. This would be a devastating blow, at what is already a time of great financial uncertainty, and we thank the MPs who raised this.”

Not all wine is equal when it comes to calorie content either. As a general rule, the higher the alcohol content the higher the calories. So wines over 14% ABV, dessert wines and fortified wines all have crazy amounts of calories.

“A standard glass of wine contains 160 Sweet treats calories”

I know this because one of my favourite wines is a Pedro Ximenez sherry that contains a ridiculous amount of sugar – 500g per litre – and has an alcohol content of 17%, which means that in one small glass there are 320 calories. A standard glass of red or white wine with 13% ABV contains around 160 calories, while a large glass has the same number of calories as a Mars Bar. It also should go without saying that having a glass of wine also lowers your willpower and makes you more likely to eat that Mars Bar too. Even champagne contains more sugar than you would guess. Producers often add something called Counting the calories dosage – a sugar syrup that is used to mask the wine’s high levels of acidity. To avoid these hidden calories, look for one with no dosage – called an extra brut. So let’s state the obvious: moderation is the key. Drink less, upgrade your wine to something special and take solace in the fact that it has fewer calories than a beer or a gin and tonic. May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 67

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Geraint Hughes from Welsh food company Madryn

Discover the all-American snack that has been given a Welsh twist by one Pwllheli company


ones Popcorn is part of a new range of snacks flavoured with Halen Môn sea salt from Anglesey and Blodyn Aur rapeseed oil from hills above Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in Conwy. It joins a collection of Welsh treats under the Jones brand, including individual slices of bara brith and twin packs of Welsh cakes, as well as chocolate from Bala. The snack selection is sold by the Bwydydd Madryn food company based in Pwllheli, which recently opened a new warehouse to cope with burgeoning demand. Bwydydd Madryn was set up by agri-food expert Geraint Hughes in 2012 to promote and provide “We felt an outlet for Welsh produce, which he describes as the best in the world. “The spur for establishing there was Bwydydd Madryn was to have more of an influence a gap for on the food chain so we could provide an outlet Welsh snack for Welsh food producers,” he says. “When times products” are difficult, it’s important not to retreat into your shell. We’ve done the complete opposite and been proactive in speeding up the launch of new products.” The firm employs three other people, including Geraint’s business partner James Hughes. “The snacks market is run by multinationals, so we wanted to bring Welsh brands together so we could also have a slice of the market,” says James. “One consequence of the pandemic is that there seems to be a bit of a backlash against globalisation with people wanting more localisation. The story behind the produce and its provenance is important and we felt there was a gap for Welsh snack products.” Jones Popcorn is available in two varieties: Salted and Sweet & Salty. For more information, visit www.madryn.co.uk.

Tried and tasted!

Hot Fire Honey sauces

Add a spicy flavour to all manner of dishes with this Welsh-inspired condiment


orth Wales bee farmer Laurence Edwards, who runs Black Mountain Honey with his partner Helen Bresser, has combined natural sweet honey with fiery Welsh-grown chillies. The result is Hot Fire Honey, which can be used as a dressing or marinade or drizzled over a pizza. It gives any meat, fish, cheese, pizza or pasta a delicious sweet honey and hot kick. The flavours are nicely balanced to complement savoury dishes – it goes just as well on pork and chicken as it does on vegetables, rice and couscous. “I wanted to create a fully Welsh product, so we work in partnership with Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm,” says Laurence. “They supply us with an exclusive blend of homegrown Welsh chilli powder, which we blend with our honey. We are proud to work alongside a truly fantastic Welsh producer.” There are a number of products in the Hot Fire Honey range alongside the Original flavour, including Mustard Sauce, which is like a mild English mustard with a tangy, salty flavour, and Scorpion Hot Sauce. A nice touch was the pollinatorfriendly packet of wildflower seeds that came with our order. Hot Fire Honey sauces cost from £7.99 for 145ml and are available to buy direct from www.hotfirehoney.co.uk. Our verdict: Delicious for lovers of hot food!

Discover a local foodie heaven!


The Fields Kitchen

arket Drayton in north Shropshire is celebrated as the home of gingerbread, and has a thriving independent food and drink scene as well as a twice-weekly market. The town is home to Joules Brewery, as well as several independent shops. These include the Refill Emporium, a zero-waste grocery and cupboardessentials store; Margaret’s Farm, a specialist in antipasti, cured meats, cheese, wines, beers and spirits; The Fields Kitchen, selling freshly cooked meals made with meat from its homereared Aberdeen Angus herd; Sherwood Wholefoods, which sells herbal food To see supplements, homeopathic remedies, more local aromatherapy oils and a large selection food heroes, of whole and gluten-free foods; turn to Adelaide’s Chocolaterie, purveyor page 60! of handmade Belgian chocolate; and

Jones’s Coffee House, which sells chutneys and homemade wines from its local Colehurst Vineyard. There are also several restaurants of Seek out local treats note, including The Town House, the Red Lion pub and Goldstone Hall. Also notable are the several farm shops ringing the town, including Park Hill Farm and community-owned Fordhall Organic Farm. The town has a thriving festival scene too, with two music festivals, an arts festival and the awardwinning Ginger & Spice Festival. To find out more, visit www.discovermarketdrayton.co.uk.

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F��� G��� Meet Eryl Jones, the latest addition to the Shire stable (pun very much intended), whose new column will take a whimsical, bucolic look at the countryside that surrounds us


live an agreeable Good Life existence beasts would lay waste to every green plant in the countryside. just outside Graigfechan, near Ruthin, Secondly, youngsters need to learn to forage for their dinner and where 50 hens, a large vegetable plot, a they aren’t going to do that by just hopping over to the nearest 65ft polytunnel and a small flock of Dorset bird table for free handouts. Lastly, like it or not, natural selection Down sheep keep me out of mischief. Any is a vital part of survival. There is no doubt that weaker specimens surplus eggs and veg we produce are put on are now surviving to breed because “artificial” food is on hand all a stall by our gate, along with an honesty year round, and no energy or brain power has to be expended in box – or honesty jam jar in this case. finding it. Many garden birds are under threat for different reasons We have an abundance of wildlife and we are doing them no favours by weakening the gene pool. hereabouts, some of which make Feathered chimney sweeps “I have a great deal unwelcome visits to my veg garden and chicken I am very lucky in that our village has a thriving pub, run. As well as the common or garden, we also or at least it was until lockdown. The regulars are an of faith in Mother have elusive muntjac deer and majestic red eclectic mix of artisans, professionals and eccentrics, Nature because, kites, while otters inhabit local tributaries of and the topics of discussion are just as wide ranging. by and large, she the River Clwyd. I am surrounded by farmland Just before the enforced closure, we were discussing gets things right” of varying quality and elevation, which in turn chimney sweeps and the paucity thereof. Indeed, as supports a wide range of agricultural practices. In coal and wood are now looked upon as Satan’s fuel, it other words, I’m not short of subject matter for this column! was mooted that they could go the way of coopers and wheelwrights, with protruding brushes from chimney pots becoming a thing of the past. An elderly local suggested that in the absence of a specialist, New planting plans we could go back to the old country method of chimney cleaning. As I write, spring is slowly getting the upper hand, which means the This involved clambering on to the roof and dropping a live cockerel race is on to get the garden planted out. This year, I’ve switched to down the chimney. Apparently, the combination of rapidly flapping raised beds. Although the soil quality is very good in the veg garden, wings and gravity cleaned the flue a treat. The fire, we were assured, it is surrounded by trees and you don’t have to go very far down before remained unlit during the procedure. Well, that’s all right then. hitting a mosaic of tree roots. This not only makes cultivation difficult, but also results in stunted and amusingly shaped root vegetables. Fine for a double-entendre chortle, but not very productive. Raised Eryl Jones was born and brought up on a small Welsh beds will also mean a lot less digging, which is all right by me. farm. Following three years at the Welsh Agricultural I have a great deal of faith in Mother Nature because, by and College in Aberystwyth, he became farm manager on large, she gets things right. This week, I have dismantled my bird a large estate in Northamptonshire. Later, he farmed feeding station and put it away until autumn, as I do not feed on his own account before retiring. Eryl has a passion our feathered friends during the summer. Now I know this goes for the countryside, rare-breed British livestock against the received wisdom from various ornithological societies, and the rural way of life. As well as running his own smallholding, he does voluntary environmental work with but I have three valid reasons for doing so. Firstly, if it is any sort Denbighshire Council and writes on all matters rural. of a summer, there is a smorgasbord of creepy crawlies on which to feed their young and if the birds didn’t harvest them, these mini

May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 69

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NEW FOR 2021 – THE LOCAL GARDENS JOINING NGS 153 Willoughbridge, Market Drayton, Shropshire A beautiful garden that includes a cottage-prairie garden with climbers, roses and herbaceous perennials, a woodland-jungle garden and a large Victorian greenhouse.

NEW SPACES TO REIGNITE GARDEN GLORIES The National Garden Scheme is back once again to give garden enthusiasts the opportunity to experience new hidden wonders and support vital charities across the country


his year it’s more important than ever to get out and explore local gardens – not only for your health, but to support organisations such as the National Garden Scheme (NGS), which lost vital income during last year’s pandemic restrictions. “Gardens, gardening and being in a garden help us get through some of the most challenging of life’s experiences,” says NGS ambassador Rachel de Thame. “With 3,600 gardens registered to open in 2021, subject to Covid restrictions, the NGS is once again at the heart of providing wonderful garden experiences for thousands of people.” “We are looking forward “An exciting to welcoming portfolio visitors to the of gardens gardens once opening for the restrictions ease first time” and throughout the summer,” says NGS chief executive George Plumptre. “We have a particularly exciting portfolio of new gardens opening for the very first

Albrighton Trust Moat & Gardens, Wolverhampton

Oswestry Gatacre Allotments

time, some 650 in all, as well as more than 350 gardens returning to open after a gap of many years. These gardens illustrate the range and diversity that is a hallmark of the NGS, which we are focused on expanding in the coming years.”

From manors to moats

Groups of gardens opening together are increasingly popular, with many situated in picturesque villages such as New Radnor Gardens in Powys. Allotments are another highlight of the NGS portfolio, allowing visitors to engage with allotment holders and even take fresh produce home. There are 35 allotment groups opening in 2021, including Oswestry Gatacre Allotments in Shropshire. New and returning gardens include several local to the Shire patch, encompassing some more unusual choices. All are worth a visit and NGS charities are in need of our support more than ever this year. We’ve picked out our favourite new gardens in the region (see right) joining the fabulous gardens already part of the scheme.

Esme’s Garden, Meole Village, Shrewsbury, Shropshire Among Esme’s exuberant planting, gravel paths take you on a romantic journey through trees, shrubs and perennials, eventually leading to a central oasis by a tranquil pond. Nancy’s Garden, Meole Village, Shrewsbury, Shropshire A small suburban garden with a secluded patio surrounded by lush plants that gives a sub-tropical feel. Refreshments in aid of Omega End of Life Charity. Oswestry Gatacre Allotments & Gardens Association, Oswestry, Shropshire Two adjacent allotments where a vast array of fruit, flowers and vegetables are grown. Allotment holders will be on hand to give advice. New Radnor Gardens, New Radnor, Presteigne, Powys The conservation village of New Radnor, formerly the county town of Radnorshire, lies in the Radnor Valley, cradled between the two high hills of the Smatcher and the Wimble. The Albrighton Trust Moat & Gardens, Albrighton, nr Wolverhampton Designed around the remains of a 13th-century fortified manor house and ancient moat, with recreational and educational opportunities. For more gardens, visit ngs.org.uk May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 71

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LET’S GET BACK OUT THERE There’s nothing like warmer weather and longer days to encourage us into our outside spaces. And there are lots of jobs to keep us busy at this time of year


s the seasons change and the number of hotter days increases, we all yearn to spend more time outdoors. Here Lis Morris, lecturer in horticulture and sustainable technologies at University Centre Reaseheath, Cheshire, suggests which tasks to keep on top of to make sure your time in the garden is as stress-free as possible. ●

Your lawn loves the warmer weather, so stick to a regular weekly or fortnightly cutting regime. Start with the mower at its highest setting and aim to reduce the grass height by no more than one-third each time. Cutting grass too short weakens the plant and encourages moss.

Don’t mow too short!

For a professional finish, re-cut the edges of your lawn using a half-moon tool and trim overhanging grass.

Plant out summer bedding in mid-May once the chance of a late frost has passed, but protect tender plants if temperatures drop.

Pinch off dead flowerheads from daffodils but allow the foliage to die off naturally. Lift, divide and replant overcrowded clumps.

Tie in sweet peas and climbing roses, the latter as near to horizontal as possible. This encourages the

TIME TO CLIMB This is the ideal time of year to make sure any climbing plants are trimmed, tied and ready to get going once summer truly arrives. Here are a few of our favourites for scrambling up and over walls and fences

Climbing hydrangea

growth of side-shoots, which in turn produce more flowers. ●

Divide primulas and hostas, and cut back perennials like pulmonarias and shrubs such as japonica, choisya and ribes after flowering.

Regularly hoe off weeds in your borders to prevent competition with seedlings.

On warm days open your greenhouse vents and doors, and water morning or evening to avoid evaporation.

TOP TIP Leave an area of your lawn unmowed for a natural look that ’s great for wildlife

Plant out summer bedding

Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges or dense shrubs. Birds’ nests are protected by law and it is an offence to damage or destroy them. Preferably leave until August.

Time to cut back

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


Preferring a sunny aspect, Coronilla valentina is a slightly tender evergreen wall shrub that may need winter protection in colder areas. It has delicate foliage and bright yellow pealike flowers in late winter/early spring.


Hydrangea anomala is a self-clinging deciduous climbing plant with attractive purplish bark, heart-shaped leaves and heads of white lacecaptype flowers. It likes a semi-shady spot.

There are many varieties of this vigorous, deciduous climber that can reach a height and spread of 9m or more. Slightly fragrant, violet-blue to white flowers up to 3cm long are borne in racemes 10 to 15cm long, followed by velvety seedpods.

Chocolate vine


Akebia quinata is another shade lover. This semievergreen climber has five-lobed leaves and scented brownish-purple flowers in early spring, sometimes followed by fleshy purple fruits.

Everyone’s favourite garden glory comes in rambling and climbing varieties too. Rosa ‘Climbing Iceberg’ is a large climbing shrub with almost thornless stems, glossy foliage and clusters of double white flowers.

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GreenLiving Meet a local eco hero

Renewable heating from the ground up

Mathew Davies, MD of The Larch Cladding Company, on sustainability in construction What do you believe in? We believe you should be able to build amazing, beautiful things without harming the planet. How do you achieve this? We supply quality locally sourced timber using eco-powered energy, keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible. We’ve also embarked on planting trees. We know that caring for the environment is so important, and more and more of our renewable energy on site comes from our biomass boilers.

What products do you offer? Our precision-cut promise means our highly experienced staff will supply exactly what you need to create more space or transform your property. This includes larch cladding and fencing, feather edge, shiplap, tongue and groove, decking, roof shingles and sleepers. Where can I see ideas for my garden? We love to celebrate our customer creations with our #larchcreations and #customercreation series on social media. It’s inspiring to see what everyone makes and the difference it makes to their lives. How do you help your local community? As a family-run business, we are always looking to employ locally to help the local economy. Supporting projects and charities that champion eco sustainability and positive mental health is also a passion of ours. Get out there and support your local businesses – together we can all play a small part in building a beautiful world! Find out more at www.thelarchcladdingcompany.co.uk

A recent government announcement has huge implications for renewable home heating, as Andrea Ellison, director of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA), explains


he national conversation around heat pump technology took a big step forward at the end of 2020. It had already been a busy year for many of us in the industry, but the mention of 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 in the government’s 10-point plan for a green revolution in November suddenly turned discussion from “What is a heat pump?” to “How can I get a heat pump?” This is welcome news for anyone working in the heat-pump industry. The non-domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme ended

on 31st March, while the domestic RHI scheme ends in March 2022. The demise of these two schemes raised concerns about future uptake of heat pumps, but the knowledge that the government is firmly backing the electrification of heat is something we can get behind and be encouraged by.

Getting the word out

We are proud to be rolling out an education package that provides teachers with the material they need to educate their pupils on climate change, decarbonisation and eco-

Seabed mapping to feel the breeze Marine geology expert Katrien Van Landeghem at Colwyn Bay

Scientists at Bangor University are paving the way for one of the world’s biggest wind farms


cademic experts from Bangor University, inlcuding marine geologist Katrien Van Landeghem, are working with German renewable energy giant RWE on the siting of the Awel y Mor extension, which will more than double the size of the Gwynt y Mor wind farm. Their expertise in 3D mapping the seabed is crucial in plotting the location of the giant turbines off the coast of north Wales. Awel y Mor will be more than double the size of Gwynt y Mor, which already has 160 turbines spread across 80 square kilometres.

74 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Build a beautiful world


07392 978020 The Larch Cladding Company, The Paddock Llanferres, Nr Mold, Denbighshire, EWAB NorthNWales CH7 5SJ WE PLANT TREES www.thelarchcladdingcompany.co.uk E R











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Larch Cladding & Fencing • Featheredge Shiplap • T&G • Decking • (Roof) Shingles


ollowing recent reports that only five per cent of the government’s Green Homes Grants have been claimed, the scheme has been extended until March 2022. The Green Home Grant allows you to decrease your house’s environmental impact and save on energy The grant can help you go green bills by making improvements to your homes, such as insulation and better heating control. Grants of up to £5,000 are available, covering two-thirds of eligible improvements in most cases. If you or someone in your household are receiving certain benefits, total improvement costs may be covered up to £10,000. To help clarify the complex system, SaveOnEnergy has compiled a list of the most googled questions about the grant to help more people save on their energy bills. Visit www.saveonenergy.com/uk for more.


The eco friendly timber company, supplying locally sourced, sustainable, FSC Welsh timber.




There’s only one place to start for a quality finish.


Scheme extended to grab a grant



friendly technology like heat pumps. Training the next generation of engineers and leaders in our field is critical if we are to succeed in our ambition to make heat pumps the go-to technology for heating, cooling and hot water. The GSHPA is also collaborating with others in industry to develop the new apprenticeship Heat pumps offer a greener alternative scheme, which we hope on what to expect from a will be available from September. heat-pump installation. The GSHPA and those in Busting the myths the wider heat-pump industry There are many misconceptions around the use of heat pumps, welcome the aspirations and ambitions from the UK such as the need for underfloor heating, the need for a new build government for the rollout of heat pumps to achieve our net and the requirement to replace zero goals, and we await the all radiators and pipework before a heat pump will firm policy and steps to make ambition a reality. work – none of There is a lot to do, but which are true. “The target the industry is keen Good design, is 600,000 and ready to ramp up, installation and heat pumps train and get on with maintenance are all per year the business of heat required to ensure by 2028” electrification in the UK that heat pumps and to make 2021 the work efficiently, year of the heat pump. provide good There has never been a more thermal comfort and keep fuel important time for everyone to bills as low as possible. This play their part on the issue of is perfectly achievable in the climate change. Choosing the majority of buildings across correct heating system is integral the UK. We are working hard to that and the GSHPA is the to provide support, training support network everyone can and standards to ensure that access, whether online, via email installers have everything or a telephone call to its office they need to create wellperforming systems and to or a local member. For details, raise awareness with consumers visit www.gshp.org.uk.






23/04/202116:36 14:56 22/04/2021

Outdoor entertaining Now we’re finally allowed to meet in private gardens again, it’s time to set up the patio furniture, fire up the barbecue and enjoy the sunshine 1


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Apex bespoke summerhouse, price on application, Morgans in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.morgansltd.com 2. Lucia Bluetooth speaker lantern, £50, Koble; www.kobledesigns.com 3. Outdoor bunting, £10, The Craft Hutch; www.thecrafthutch.etsy.com 4. Build-your-own garden bar, £400, Wickes; www.wickes.co.uk 5. Square picnic table, £289.99, Rowlinson Garden Products in Nantwich, Cheshire; www.rowgar.co.uk 6. Arabian lantern, £55, Kadai in Leebotwood, Shropshire; www.kadai.co.uk 7. Everest four-burner gas barbecue, £349.99, Fire Mountain; www.fire-mountain.co.uk 8. Unbreakable stemless wine glasses, £20.99 for four, The Trouvailles; www.thetrouvailles.com 9. Tetbury nutmeg weave 135cm round table and six armchairs with parasol and base, £1,249, Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon, Gwynedd; www.frongoch-gardencentre.co.uk 10. Ocean Royal corner dining set with benches and firepit table, £2,899,

Stokers Furniture in Chester, Cheshire; www.stokers.co.uk 11. Lady Morgan rose arch collection, £1,099, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk 12. Midsummer Morning water-resistant garden cushion, £27.99, Celina Digby; www.celinadigby.co.uk 13. Drinks cooler, £149, Outside Gang; www.outsidegang.com 14. Wilstone large firebowl on Tudor stand (pictured with cooking tripod, chain and bowl), £380, Kadai in Leebotwood, Shropshire; www.kadai.co.uk 15. LED solar outdoor flower festoon string lights (10 bulbs), £15, Dunelm; www.dunelm.com 16. Tar Hong Rio Medallion 20-piece melamine dinnerware set, £119.99, Wayfair; www.wayfair.co.uk 17. Personalised family iron bench, £495.99, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk 18. La Hacienda Leon mesh steel chiminea, £49.99, Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon; www.frongoch-gardencentre.co.uk

76 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Specialists in Water Boreholes and Ground Source Heating

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



If you currently use a large volume of water and face costly metered charges a water borehole can save you considerable sums of money. It also offers an excellent alternative if you have poor water quality or an unreliable supply. Sustainable in drought conditions and offering a reliable pressure, water boreholes can deliver safe, clean water direct to your property. Ideal for farms, caravan parks, leisure facilities and rural homes, water boreholes enable you to become independent of mains water.

Extracting energy from the ground to heat a property is a sustainable use of the Earth’s natural resources and could reduce your fuel bills. A few metres below the ground, the temperature is constant throughout the year and this energy can be harnessed to heat your home and water.

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

The benefits of ground source heating systems include: n n n n n

Q&A: Water Boreholes How much space do I need? “The actual space required for a water borehole may be as small as a driveway. If you can get a Land Rover with a trailer to the drill location, our drilling rig should be able to gain access.” Can a water borehole be installed in a town property? “Yes, we have installed water boreholes in many urban locations.” Do I still have to pay a water company once a water borehole has been installed? “No, once installed your water will be supplied free of charge. You will only be subject to the running cost of the pump. If you are on mains sewage, you are still required to pay for this service.” What does the borehole look like at the surface? “At the surface, we install an ordinary manhole cover, over which you can safely walk and drive.”


How do you know if there is a sufficient water supply in the ground? “We have an in-house geologist who assesses the underlying geology of the site and provides an anticipated drill depth for your borehole. At an additional cost and if required, the British Geological Survey can carry out a third party assessment. We cannot guarantee the quantity or quality of the water.” Is ground water safe to drink? “Usually but not always. The water source may contain dissolved minerals that need to be removed. We recommend water quality tests are carried out and, if required, the installation of treatment systems.” Do I require a licence to install a water borehole? “Anyone is allowed to extract up to 20,000 litres per day without a licence. If you require a greater volume of water, you will need an Abstraction Permit from the Environment Agency. We can assist with all licensing matters.”

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On average, 75% free renewable energy Government incentives available Fixed and stable energy costs Lower carbon emissions Constant heat 24 hours a day Fuels both hot water and heating Directly replaces your existing boiler Reversible to provide cooler temperatures in summer Can add value to property

Q&A: Ground Source Heating How much space do I need? “The actual space required for a ground source heating borehole may be as small as a driveway. If you can get a Land Rover and trailer to the drill location, our drilling rig should be able to gain access.” Can I install ground source heating in an old property? “Yes, this is possible.” How much will I save? “You could save up to 75% of your fuel bill.” What does the borehole look like at the surface? “Each borehole is covered with a manhole of around 15cm” How many boreholes will I need? “This depends on how much heat is naturally lost from your building and the

kilowatt capacity of your system. Generally, the bigger the property, the more boreholes you are likely to require. A typical four bedroom property may need two ground source heating boreholes.” If I need multiple boreholes, how far apart should they be? “Ideally, ground source heating boreholes ought to be situated a minimum of six metres apart to maximise the efficiency of the heating pump system.” Do I need to gain permission to install a ground source heat borehole? “Not usually. Permission may be required when drilling into an area containing coal. We can assist with all matters relating to permission and licensing.”

For more information about our services, please contact us on 01824 707 777 or admin@dragondrilling.co.uk or visit our website at www.dragondrilling.co.uk

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23/04/2021 11:42

Ground Source Heat Pump Association

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.

The Advantages of Ground Source Heat Pumps Why Choose a Ground Source Heat Pump? • Carbon positive, efficient renewal energy; • The Government 7 year payback scheme, Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is open to domestic applications until March 2022. • Cheaper to run than other heating systems; • Heat pumps save space as there are no fuel storage requirements; • No need to manage fuel deliveries and no risk of fuel being stolen; • GSHPs save carbon emissions. Unlike burning oil, gas, LPG or biomass, a heat pump produces no carbon emissions on site (and no carbon emissions at all, if a renewable source of electricity is used to power them). • GSHPs are safe, quiet, unobtrusive and can be out-of-sight in an outbuilding or garage; • They require no planning permission; • GSHPs can also provide cooling in summer, as well as heating in winter; • A well designed ground source heat pump system may increase the sale value of your property;

WHAT IS GROUND SOURCE HEATING? Ground Source Heat Pumps provide The most efficient means to obtain renewable heating, cooling or energy storage.



Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5.30pm Sunday: 10am to 4pm

Whitchurch Road (A49), Prees, Shropshire SY13 2DD www.hollyfarmgardencentre.co.uk Holly Farm Garden Centre @hollyfarmgardencentre

Glyndwr Plants We have plants for every type of gardener!

Summer 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.

Sea, Lake, River or Canal

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.

Hot Water

Heat Pump

Underfloor Heating

Tel: 01948 840630

Ground, Vertical Collector

Ground, Horizontal Collector

Visit www.gshp.org.uk for details of how The Voice of the Ground Source you can benefit from a ground source Energy Industry heating system in your property. info@gshp.org.uk I 0330 2234 302

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


26/02/2020 11:00

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CHESTER ZOO UNVEILS VISION TO SAVE WILDLIFE Conservation charity pledges to help animals under threat of extinction as it celebrates its 90th birthday


his is a big year for the biggest name in wildlife in the Shire patch, Chester Zoo. The organisation hits a big milestone this year, and is also unveiling its new masterplan to help endangered animals at the same time as fighting back from its own threat of extinction after a dramatic loss of income during the pandemic. The UK’s most popular charity zoo, founded in 1931, has revealed a bold new vision to fight the world’s climate and conservation emergencies as it prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary. The zoo’s Conservation Masterplan – which aims to make a “It’s a significant contribution bold, to tackling the global clear set extinction crisis by 2031 of targets – draws on the zoo’s for the decades of experience of zoo” working with wildlife, both at the zoo and with its field partners in the wild, as well as its expertise in science and conservation. The zoo has pledged that by its 100th birthday in 2031 it will:

Chester Zoo is committed to training

• Preserve options for future conservation for an additional 150 species • Halt or reverse the decline of 200 highly threatened populations • Improve landscapes for wildlife totalling 250,000 hectares • Train 5,000 conservationists to deliver positive change for wildlife


Visitor numbers might have been down but baby numbers have been up under lockdown, with new arrivals reported around the area


Chester Zoo is tackling the extinction crisis

• Empower 10 million people to live more sustainably • Influence change in five major policy areas for wildlife

A real impact

“This new Conservation Masterplan is our statement of intent,” says Dr Simon Dowell, science director at Chester Zoo. “It’s a bold, clear set of targets – a roadmap for how we’re going to deliver real conservation impact over the next decade. “This 10-year plan will take us up to the zoo’s 100-year anniversary, when we’ll be able to look back and clearly see the results of our mission to protect the natural world.” Conservation bosses at the zoo say the launch of the new strategy comes at a “challenging time” for the zoo, which has suffered £11.5m losses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but insist that “conservation simply cannot wait” and that the zoo must push on with its ambitious plans, despite the financial challenges facing the charity.

rare male Rothschild’s giraffe calf has been born at Chester Zoo, and is thriving despite the trauma of his incredible birth – being born from a height of two metres! His mother, Orla, delivered her precious youngster and zoo staff captured the moment – and the calf ’s Chester’s newest arrival wobbly first steps and the first time he suckled from his mum – on camera. Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the world’s most at-risk mammals, with only 1,600 remaining, so the birth is a real cause for celebration for conservationists around the world. At the end of last year West Midland Safari Park also celebrated the arrival of a baby Indian rhino, when Seto gave birth to a male calf, Inesh. She has taken to motherhood brilliantly. “Seto has settled into her role as a mother exceptionally well,” says head keeper of ungulates Lisa Watkins. “She is a very relaxed and attentive firstInesh and Seto time mum.” Both venues are now open to visitors, so book your tickets now to get a first glimpse of one of the new arrivals. May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 79

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A woman who studied in Wales has taken up a prestigious position in Edinburgh to help prevent more horses dying from a disease that has claimed five of the Queen’s ponies


r Kathy Geyer, who studied for her degree and doctorate at Aberystwyth University, has recently been appointed as research fellow to conduct a five-year project researching equine grass sickness (EGS) at the Moredun Institute Edinburgh. The research project is of particular interest to Her Majesty the Queen, as she has lost five of her Highland ponies to this disease, and Princess Anne officially launched the project “We rely on her behalf. Dr Geyer is looking for vets and horse owners to join a biobank to gather, study on the and store samples relevant to the research. help of EGS is a devastating disease of equines horse that affects otherwise healthy animals with a owners” sudden onset, and around 80 per cent of cases are euthanised for welfare reasons. Although the disease has been recognised for more than 100 years, progress with research into the causal agents involved in EGS has been hampered by the lack of suitable samples from EGS cases, co-grazers and their environment. Horse and pony owners and equine vets have a crucial part to play in this project, to help progress research by submitting

Dr Kathy Geyer

samples from grass sickness cases, co-grazers and their environment to the biobank.

Samples to stop sickness

DID YOU KNOW? Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land

“We rely on the help of horse owners to raise awareness of this dreadful disease, report cases and support us with our biobank project,” says Dr Geyer. “Samples from affected horses as well as relevant controls will help us to understand why some horses are more susceptible than others. There tends to be a very small window of opportunity when ESG is suspected, so it would be helpful to think about and prepare for this. In the unfortunate event you suspect ESG in your horse, you are forearmed with the knowledge about how you can help.”

For information contact Dr Geyer on kathy.geyer@moredun.ac.uk

Congratulations to Dee, owner of Marley, who wins this issue’s Cute Pets competition!


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

Marley, the 12-yearold cocker spaniel

Miniature dachshund Hugo exploring during lockdown


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!

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

Rascal the pug

Gwen sees her first snowfall at six months old

Skye discovering she loves water


Beautiful Coco striking a pose 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.

80 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Dreaming of your very own luxury escape?


Introducing Bradeley Green’s Signature Complete Dog Food It’s The Dog’s Dinner! 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.

Choose from a range of grain & gluten free recipes including Puppy. • Nutritionally balanced • High meat content • Hypo-allergenic • Competitively priced • Lip-smackingly delicious • Natural Treats also available!


* s g a B g k 2 1 f f o % 0 1 INTRODUCTORY


nt this ad at the

When you prese

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



Excludes Working Dog. 10% off all 12kg bags and 10kg Puppy Complete. One per customer. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. In-store offer only. Offer expires 30/6/2021





The Old Union Workhouse

Welsh Crafts & Souvenirs • Candles •

Dee •Lovespoons Personalised• Frenchic Candles, Cards Lovespoons• DayRiver Paint &&Accessories Tickets Available •Wool WelshShop Crafts & Souvenirs • Café & Bait • Greeting Cards• •Jewellery Fishing Tackle • Wool Shop • Fishing Tackle, Maggots & Worms

RIVER DEE DAY TICKETS AVAILABLE Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 5pm • Sun: 11am 5pm•• Closed Wed Mon,Tues,Thurs, Sat:10am 10am to ~ 5pm 11am to ~ 5pm

Corwen Manor

T h e O l d U n i o n Wo r k h o u s e

01490 413196

8 London Rd, Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0DR

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0 9 M : 0 78 6 0 8 4 3 1 6 3 0 6 8 52 3 www.haw klake. co.uk



Hire for a day, a weekend, a week or longer

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

UST A SMALL SELECTION OF OUR UPCOMING Our tours will be back DAY EXCURSIONS JUST A SMALL SELECTIONon OF the OURroad UPCOMING from the Y DAY EXCURSIONS 17th May, we look JUST SMALL SELECTION NewABrighton or Liverpool OF OUR UPCOMING 23rd MAY forward to welcoming DAY EXCURSIONS 30th Cotswolds Scenic Tour customers old & new. New Brighton or Liverpool Sun 23rd

n 31st


26th 27th 27th

Visit www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk Tel 07867 790195 anytime



Spend a day exploring the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal aboard our 10 seater, self-drive Day Boat • Ideal for family celebrations and team-building days • All-weather accommodation • Easy to steer – no experience necessary • From just £110

Tel: 07867 790195 • www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk


ELEGANT EASTBOURNE **** Langham Hotel – Eastbourne Seafront 17th – 21st MAY 5 Days from £415.00


Litchfield Memorial Arboretum th & Nat Sun Tour rd 30 New Cotswolds Brighton orScenic Liverpool Sun 23 JUST A SMALL SELECTION OF st Mon Litchfield & Nat th 31 Cotswolds Sun 30 Scenic TourMemorial Arboretum


Our ever popular MYSTERY TOUR 21st – 24th May 4 Days from only £255

Mon JUNE 31st

LlandudnoLitchfield & Nat Memorial Arboretum MAY 12th JUNEStraDord UponNew AvonBrighton or Liverpool Llandudno SunSun 6th 23rd Sun 30th Cotswolds Scenic Tour th rs 17th Sun 6Portmerion Village Sat StraDord Upon Avon th 12 Llandudno Mon 31st Litchfield & Nat Memorial Arboretum Thurs 17thStraDord Portmerion Village 20th Sat 12 Harrogate & The Yorkshire Dales th JUNE Upon Avon 6th

2022 HOLIDAYS AT 2021 PRICES Book now, don’t miss out

th 6thPortmerion Llandudno Sun Harrogate & The Yorkshire Dales th20 Country Musuem ThursBlack 17Sun Village Sat th12th Stratford Upon Avon Sat Black & Country Musuem th 26 Tour Mystery Sun 20 Harrogate The Yorkshire Dales

Thurs 17th Portmerion Village

th Sun 27 Mystery 20th & The Yorkshire Dales th Sun Sat 26 Black CountryTour Musuem TOM JONES in Harrogate CONCERT Sat 26th Black Country th Sun TOMTour JONES in Musuem CONCERT th 27 Sun 27 Mystery



01691 652126 or visit 01691 652126 or visit 01691 652126 or visit www.owentravel.co.uk www.owentravel.co.uk 01691 652126 or visit www.owentravel.co.uk

THE CORNISH RIVIERA – LOOE *** Portbyhan Hotel – Our Customers Favourite

27th – 31st May 5 Days from £419


NATURAL WONDERS of the WEST HIGHLANDS *Including the Jacobite Railway 31st May – 4th June 5 Days from £489

ISLE OF WIGHT 14th – 18th June & 27th Sept – 1st Oct 5 Days from £475


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24/04/2021 10:35



A delightful treehouse getaway



With an approachable, friendly style f you spend your downtime lusting of customer service, John and Laura can over secluded spots and high-end connect you to your perfect UK holiday. hideaways bursting with rustic charm and And by using their online directory, you picturesque panoramas, then one local are helping to support small businesses, couple have launched a venture to help without the hidden charges. you find the perfect holiday. The Wanderlist provides an Husband-and-wife team “Treehouses, John and Laura Lewis run safari tents, accessible online directory for all holiday property Squirrels Nest, a successful cottages and owners. As property owners treehouse holiday retreat on hideaways themselves, John and Laura their farm in Wales. Now they understand the need for a are offering their expertise galore” more personal community of to help other families find their perfect escape with The like-minded property owners with a simple, single annual fee. Wanderlist. In a world of commissionWith treehouses, safari tents, cottages driven travel websites, The Wanderlist aims to be personal, passionate and and hideaways galore, you’re bound commission-free while helping owners to find your ideal escape if you have a to promote their unique getaways and little wander through this extensive and inspiring list. Visit www.thewanderlist.uk. guests to find their perfect escape.

Water, water everywhere… T

he past year has taught us all to appreciate the slower, gentler things in life ,so if you want a holiday for 2021 that reflects that newfound calm, perhaps a break aboard a narrowboat is the perfect choice? If the idea of sitting back to watch the world drift by appeals, then spending a week or two on board a Cheshire Cat Narrowboat could be the holiday to suit your 2021 mood. This small familyrun firm is based at the award-winning Overwater Marina, Audlem, on the Shropshire Union Canal. It is a stunning location, just below the Audlem lock flight, and is only three hours’ cruising time to the beautiful Llangollen Canal. The fleet includes perfect boats for couples as well as family-sized vessels and has recently added a new member to the Cheshire Cat collection, the four-berth Witch Hazel. There is something for everyone and every level of boating experience. Owing to Covid restrictions, bedding cannot currently be provided but this may change as regulations are altered. Meanwhile the team will make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday experience, from the moment


id Wales has many hidden gems to explore, but sometimes the most obvious attractions are top of the list for a reason. Powis Castle, built around 1200 as a medieval fortress, sits high on a rock above its world-famous garden. Designed with influence from Italian and French styles, the garden is overhung with clipped yews and shelters rare plants. It retains original lead statues and features an orangery on the terraces. Remodelled and embellished over more than 400 years, Powis reflects the changing ambitions of the Herbert family, who occupied the castle from the 1570s. Each generation enlisted artists to grow the family’s collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture and tapestries on view throughout the house. It also has one of the UK’s most significant collections of Indian objects on display.

you arrive. Expert tuition is provided to set you on your way with confidence, including a practical demonstration of locks. The experts can suggest suitable routes, and tell you all about the scenery, pubs and historic architecture you’ll see along the way, and free friendly advice is always just a phone call away. www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk

One of Cheshire Cat’s lovely narrowboats

May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 83

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lan Gwna is a beautiful holiday park hidden in a secluded woodland location and offering peace and tranquillity. The exquisite and private countryside holiday home park for caravans and lodges is located just two miles from the royal town of Caernarfon and is right on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Set within 120 acres of landscaped grounds, it had woodland, streams and rivers, a private fishing lake, and abundant wildlife. Glan Gwna is true haven and the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The park is family-owned and run, and has been since 1976. Glan Gwna is open for 10 months of the year, and welcomes everybody from young families to retired couples – and pets Chalets overlook the tranquil lake are welcome too! Sandwiched between Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula it is the perfect base pool is family-friendly, and always staffed by a “The park’s pool attendant, making it the perfect place to from which to explore all the riches that north facilities are enjoy time with the kids, or relax, swim, sunbathe Wales has to offer. Here you’ll find mountains, second to none and enjoy the summer weather. There is also a beaches, castles and an ever-growing list of and include attractions to enjoy. North Wales is a paradise poolside bar and a restaurant with a great choice for walkers, cyclists, golfers, anglers, seafarers, of home-cooked snacks, lunches and evening a private foodies, culture vultures and adventurers! The outdoor pool” meals, and a weekly menu and takeaway option. The site also has a children’s play area, an on-site site is also just an hour from Chester, and an hour and a half from Liverpool and Manchester. shop that is kept well stocked with daily essentials, fresh produce, daily papers and – of course – ice-cream. There’s The park’s facilities are second to none. One highlight is a fishing lake and golf society too, so whatever your pleasure, the private outdoor pool, which is heated to a comfortable temperature and open from Whitsun to September. The you’ll have a great time at Glan Gwna! www.glangwna.com



nable to decide what to do and where to go for your next holiday? Why not leave it to the experts and join an organised Travel in comfort and style trip? There are few more relaxing ways to travel than letting someone else do all the work on a fully organised coach tour with a local Oswestry firm with decades of experience. Owen’s Travelmaster offers coach tour holidays and air tours with the emphasis firmly on a high level of comfort, well-planned itineraries, excellent “Holidays service and cuisine. Its holidays offer something for everyone, include fivefrom five-day trips to destinations day trips, such as Cornwall and Westonthemed tours super-Mare, themed tours and and shopping days out including shopping excursions to Manchester city excursions” centre or the Trafford Centre With a philosophy of always providing its clients with the very best possible holiday, Owen’s has gained an admirable reputation for care and attention to detail. It can also create an itinerary to suit your requirements and offers coaches for hire for trips across the UK and Europe. Owen’s has a range of trips planned for summer 2021, starting from 17th May, with distances and durations to suit everyone. All you need to do is sit back and choose your favourite. www.owenstravel.co.uk

Find a trip to suit you

The perfect spot by the River Irfon

Location, location, location


f you’re looking for a holiday destination that combines stunning scenery with a beautiful and tranquil park, then check out the site and facilities on offer at Irfon River Premier Caravan Park. The park is set within seven acres on the banks of the River Irfon in the heart of mid Wales and is at the foot of the spectacular Epynt mountain range. The park is a member of the prestigious Premier Leisure Parks group, which specialises in creating a quiet, warm and friendly atmosphere amid immaculately maintained surroundings, so you know you’ll be able to truly leave your busy life behind and relax. Static caravan holiday homes are comfortably spaced and surrounded by manicured lawns. The majority are also within 30m of the river, which is teeming with fish and is also home to otters. The park offers its customers exclusive fishing permits for 1.25 miles on the river and has a year-round fishing licence. The touring area accommodates touring caravans and motorhomes, and there is also a small tented camping area. Pitches are available on a seasonal or nightly basis. www.irfonriver.co.uk Fishing permits are available

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

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Boutique self catering cabins and lodges in the heart of scenic Shropshire. The location is perfect for exploring the great outdoors, with wonderful walks and wildlife on our doorstep. And with lots of nearby historic sites and attractions plus lovely country pubs and restaurants to enjoy, there’s plenty to keep all ages entertained during a weekend, short break or longer getaway. Nestled on the banks of the picturesque River Perry amongst a private, tranquil woodland, just outside Shrewsbury, our cosy holiday and glamping lodges are the perfect place to escape for families and couples alike. Opened in 2020, and recognised in The Guardian’s top 30 cottages and campsites, this little collection of individually styled luxury cabins and lodges sleep 2 to 6. Larger lodges and three of the smaller cabins have their own private hot tub. Stanwardine Lane, Shrewsbury, SY4 1HY Tel: +44 (0) 1939 260495 contact@riverside-cabins.co.uk www.riverside-cabins.co.uk/contact

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The beautiful walled harbour


yfi Cottages & Aberdyfi Holidays is a family-run self-catering letting and holiday home company based in Aberdyfi, overlooking Cardigan Bay. Established in 2008 to help local independent cottage owners advertise their holiday properties, the team provides a simple, easy-touse website where those hunting for a holiday are able to book directly from the owners. Dyfi Cottages has worked with some property owners for many years and has built up strong relationships to ensure you enjoy a superb holiday. It has a range of properties available for every group size. Aberdyfi has all the ingredients of a charming seaside village: family-friendly sands, a picturesque stone harbour and jetty, yachts bobbing in the water, seafront pubs and bay-windowed houses washed in pastel shades. The village’s simplicity is its draw. There are shops selling buckets and spades, clothes, arts and crafts and delicious homemade ice-cream, but that’s about it. The seafront squeezes

on to a narrow shelf of land between beach and mountain. Some of Wales’s greenest hills spill down on to the rooftops, while around the corner there is the stunning Dyfi estuary and the

A range of properties are available

Dyfi Osprey Project, a delightful blend of woodland, dune and golden sand backed by the wild Cambrian Mountains. Many upland species reach their southerly limit on nearby Cader Idris, including the dwarf willow on the summit ridge. The area supports a range of upland habitats, including blanket bog, broadleaved woodland and a variety of grassland. www.dyfi-cottages.co.uk


rddig is one of the finest properties in the National Trust collection. Sitting on a dramatic escarpment above the River Clywedog, Erddig tells the 250-year story of a family’s relationship with its servants. A large collection of servants’ portraits and preserved rooms capture their lives in the early 20th century, while upstairs is a treasure trove of fine furniture, textiles and wallpapers. Outdoors lies a fully restored 18thcentury garden, with trained fruit trees, exuberant annual herbaceous borders, avenues of pleached limes, formal hedges and a nationally important collection of ivies. The 1,200-acre landscaped pleasure park, designed by William Emes, is a haven of peace and natural beauty, perfect for riverside picnics. Explore the earthworks of a Norman motteand-bailey castle and walk through the estate as all around you, tenant farmers continue the work of generations.



verlooking an unspoilt secluded valley in the Welsh foothills, 20 minutes from Chester and 40 minutes from Snowdonia, Tree Tops is set in glorious countryside with fabulous views – so peaceful, yet so close to all amenities. The self-catering accommodation is open all year and comprises several options for families and extended family groups. Lakeview House, which has its “Tree Tops own private hot tub, is lower down the valley and sleeps up to 10 people. It is a is set in two-storey log house, with a full-width glorious balcony where you can enjoy the glorious countryside views of the Llanfynydd Valley and Hope with fabulous Mountain. On the ground floor there is an open-plan dining area, fully kittedviews” out kitchen, a lounge and a veranda. The two Scandinavian houses are both suitable for six people, and each has a large living area that incorporates kitchen, dining area and lounge. An elevated veranda leads off the lounge, from where guests can enjoy views of the quiet valley.

Tree Tops Garden apartment, meanwhile, is a wing of the owner’s house, situated next to one of the fly-fishing lakes. It is all on the ground floor and has a pine dining suite and Scandinavian-style furniture. Both doors off the lounge take you into a bedroom with three single beds. The six windows of the A peaceful break in a secluded valley apartment have pretty views of the lovely countryside, and the bedroom windows are low, which gives a feeling of being part of the garden. A washing machine, free WiFi, bed linen, towels, electricity and heating are included for all holidaymakers. www.selfcatering.cymru

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NEXT GENERATION AT THE CREASE Cricket in the Cheshire village of Tattenhall dates back more than 150 years and now the search is on for a new generation to play the game


attenhall Cricket Club near Chester was founded in 1864, the year the legendary WG Grace hit his first century. And the future for the club looks rosy, with a crop of young cricketers about to take the field. The club is launching its All-Stars and Dynamos age groups for five- to 11-year-olds this summer, thanks to £1,000 sponsorship from law firm Swayne Johnson, which has an office on the High Street and five more across north Wales. Charlie Lawrence, 10, plays a straight bat as the fielders – including Swayne Johnson’s “We have a tradition of encouraging young Rebecca Robinson and Tattenhall club chairman Jon Beddow – close in cricketers,” says Tattenhall’s club chairman Jon Beddow. “We currently have Henry Dobson in the MCCU All-Stars and Dynamos cricket is supported by the England development squad at Leeds University, while Liverpool FC and and Wales Cricket Board and Tattenhall plans to launch the Wales striker Ben Woodburn has also played for us. series of weekly sessions on 17th May. Both age groups will use light plastic bats We want to build on this with the All-Stars for fiveand soft balls, with each to eight-year-olds and the Dynamos for eight to 11s. “We hope They can then graduate young player receiving it will start into our junior agea personalised T-shirt. a lifelong “It’s all branded in line group sides and start involvement with The Hundred, the new what we hope will be a lifelong involvement national top-level tournament, in cricket” with the game. and will run for eight weeks,” says Jon. “We’re hoping to “We have great get between 40 and 60 local children facilities here and are very grateful to Swayne Johnson involved. We have already run some for helping us to launch this sessions at the Park School, which went down really well, and we’ll be exciting project to encourage visiting other local schools too.” youngsters to start playing.”


and skirmishes took place throughout the Welsh Marches. There are still a number of defensive sections and ancient hill forts along the path, as well as a variety of amazing landscapes and uninterrupted views over both sides of the border. The most dramatic part of the route is over the Clwydian Range, which in itself is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The high point of the northern end of the path is at the summit of the mighty Moel Famau, which gives walkers commanding views from its summit.

The achievement of a lifetime

Our resident rambler Clive Williams takes us on a tour of Offa’s Dyke Path


ffa’s Dyke is a spectacular earthwork, consisting of a displaced high soil bank on the English side and a ditch on the Welsh side, which can be 20m wide at places. It was built on the orders of Offa, an Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia in the eighth century, and starts at Sedbury near Chepstow before running along the Welsh Marches and into north Wales, finishing at Prestatyn on the Denbighshire coast. When the structure was built, its sole purpose was as a border dividing the kingdom of Powys from the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The border has changed over time as battles

Offa’s Dyke Path, the long-distance path that follows the structure, is a National Trail and designated ancient monument. It was developed into a proper path in 1971, so this summer we are celebrating its official 50th birthday. At 177 miles, the path “The high isn’t one that can be walked in a day, but point there are ways for everyone to tackle it. The National Trails website (www. is Moel nationaltrail.co.uk) has some brilliant Famau” guidance, breaking the path down into sensible distances that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. You can do these over two weeks, stopping at accommodation en route, or tackle them section by section over a number of months or years. Another way to enjoy the path is with a circular route. There are a number of books covering these, or you can use Ordnance Survey maps to plan your own. The great thing is that any walk on Offa’s Dyke Path can be varied to suit the individual. To complete the path is a lifetime achievement. May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 87

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Arts&Crafts NURSE FINDS NEW TALENT BIT BY BIT To combat the stress of working as a nurse throughout the pandemic, one local woman found a creative outlet that is now a burgeoning new career cutting materials, ceramic tiles and various sizes of wood, so I could begin with some sketches and familiarising myself with the cutting of the tiles and so on.”

Skills and success

Since that early research, Debbie hasn’t looked back and is now working on mosaics for other people while refining the process and perfecting her technique. “The first picture I constructed was of a single house with a gravel path, finished with grey grout. I then decided to construct a more abstract picture of Menai Bridge on Anglesey, adding in the well-known monument that stands on top of the hill at Church Island walks. Following on Debbie Evans with one of her creations from those pieces, for my sister’s 60th birthday I decided to produce a picture representing the four houses she has lived in over the years, adding a personal touch. The fun part was adding windows, chimneys and here is no doubt signs saying ‘The Wirral’ and ‘Llanarmon’.” that the impact The gift was so well received, it inspired of Covid has been felt “I can sit quietly Debbie to continue with her work and she is now by all of us, but for in my kitchen working on a commissioned project for one of those on the frontline and regain my her colleagues. She credits her new artistic outlet in medical roles it has creative spark” with allowing her time and space to decompress been a particularly after a difficult day. “Now I have opened my tough time. Many perspective to this form of art, I am better able people have needed to work effectively within the current situation,” Debbie says. to find new ways to relax and “I can sit quietly at the kitchen and regain my creative spark in new outlets for their emotions. producing artwork that is fun, playful and a great talking point for Debbie Evans decided that the patients and colleagues within my working environment.” being artistic was the answer to her long, hard shifts as a nurse. She discovered a new talent for mosaic making, and is now enjoying not only the results but also the way in which the hobby has helped her stay connected and creative throughout lockdowns and restrictions. “I work as a nurse within the clinical setting at Glan Clwyd Hospital [in Bodelwyddan] and have continued to work throughout the Covid situation,” says Debbie. “After spending sunny days in the garden at the beginning of the first lockdown last March, I decided I wanted to make a mosaic with a few stepping stones to bring some colour to my small garden. Mosaics were a new concept to me, so I researched techniques on YouTube and studied pictures on Pinterest to get some idea of what I’d be making. I decided to order


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Artists mix methods to get great results Students at one local university are using digital platforms alongside studio space to create a safe and balanced creative environment during the pandemic


to go outside and how teaching would work,” says Bethan. “However, the health and safety practices introduced in the university workshops were really reassuring, and I feel privileged to be on a course where we are able to have a whole workshop day once a week. I’ve also made a home workshop so I can do smaller pieces at home.”

rtists at Wrexham Glyndwr University are being taught through an active learning Perfecting framework (ALF) that techniques combines the best use Bethan’s latest work of on-campus spaces, has seen her devising such as Glyndwr’s art jewellery pieces, and she studios and workshops has surprised herself on its Regent Street by taking her work campus, with digitally in new directions. enhanced learning. “I started the applied Bethan Parry Natasha Hicks Among those arts course thinking I studying through the would work in ceramics, framework are applied art students Bethan Parry but then I fell in love with metal,” she says. from Acrefair, who is in the second year of her “Our first semester piece this year was to create BA, and first-year student Natasha Hicks, who a commission or gift for a historical visionary. is originally from Hong Kong but now lives in We had to research their lives and achievements, Oswestry. Both students say they’ve not only found and create an appropriate piece. I chose Virginia themselves reassured about the safety of their Hall, a spy from the Second World War, and workspaces, but also that they’ve discovered new created a snake armpiece after reading that she’d ways of learning – and the benefits of the ALF. once worn live snakes as bracelets to school.” “The ALF has given me the confidence to take Natasha’s latest work, meanwhile, was inspired ownership of my studies, as I have by the natural world. “In the first been able to refer to the recorded semester we were introduced to videos my tutors have made as metal and ceramics through the “I feel privileged much as I like,” says Natasha. “I topic of taxonomy and we were to be able to have also feel fortunate to have a full required to select an example a whole workshop workshop day on campus, so I that sparked interest. I decided day once a week” have a proper space where I can on evolutionary taxonomy after seeing a virtual exhibit on the develop my skills with in-person Natural History Museum website support. First-years have been about reindeer eyes, which change lucky that the university has colour depending on the season. I hadn’t worked lent us basic toolboxes so we can bring essential with metal before, so I focused on lenses and tools home and continue our work from there.” apertures as well as the colour change, and made “As with everything else in our Covid world, a functioning aperture by hand using brass.” I think there was some trepidation about having

AFONWEN CRAFTS Events taking place at Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre near Mold over the coming months 8th & 9th May, local artist Gill Benjamin Gill is known for her acrylic and watercolour works, painting on slate, canvas and board. 13th & 14th May, Sandra Roberts Watch Sandra as she makes her unique silver jewellery. 15th & 16th May, local artist Thelma Evans Thelma’s delicate style is often reflected in her paintings of flowers, sea and landscapes. She has a great collection of prints and takes private commissions on request. 18th & 19th May, Jackie at Jewels Crafts Jackie will be making jewellery both days. She has a beautiful collection with many styles and colour ranges to choose from, and can also do small repairs. 20th May, Crafty Sisters Linda and Sue will bring their vast collection of crafts and jewellery with them, showcasing new pieces made for 2021. 17th & 18th June, Liz at Femme Fatale See Liz’s summer collection of gorgeous day and evening bags. 23rd June, Stuart Davies Local watercolour artist Stuart takes inspiration from his environment and places he has visited. He is equally as happy to take commission work. 24th & 25th June, Elaine from Cherry Bea A fantastic collection of hand-knitted teddy bear clothes as well as jewellery. Elaine offers a re-stringing service. 26th & 27th June, Marie at Earth Deva Marie creates lino prints and has been working on many new designs this year taking inspiration from antique original prints. She has a fabulous collection of mystical and mythical statues that she has created and hand-painted. This is just a taste of the events happening in May and June at Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre. To see a full list of events, visit www.afonwen.co.uk or call 01352 720965

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A R T I N YO U R A R E A Until 9th May, Richard Wathen: New Eyes Every Time, Mostyn, Llandudno A solo exhibition from the winner of Open 21. Rooted in the historical canon of painting, Wathen’s work focuses largely on portraiture, depicting figures in states of hesitation and contemplation: listening at walls, pretending to sleep, moon bathing or engaging in other apparent states of uncertainty. Wathen’s works depict the tumultuous and complex array of human emotions, from anxiety and sorrow to despair, brought on by the socio-economic pressures of contemporary living. Restrictions allowing, you should be able to catch the show in person but it’s also available online. www.mostyn.org

PHOTO COMPETITION HEROES Thank you so much to everyone who entered our last photography competition on the subject of Heroes – it’s heartwarming to see just how many of you were ready to share images with us. Those printed here captured those people who have made a difference to your lives, either historically or recently, when so many everyday heroes have shone out in the face of adversity. We’re sure you’ll be just as imaginative with your interpretation of our next subject, Happy Days. So get out there and capture the moment, be quick with your finger, sharp on the shutter and snap fast to get the perfect shot! Email your photographs to us at editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk by 11th June and we’ll print our favourites here as always. Good luck! by Kenneth Davies

Until 26th June: Ty Pawb Youth Advisory Board Takeover, Ty Pawb, Wrexham The newly formed YAB has been working with artist Harold Offeh and creative producer Yasmin Begum to develop a manifesto. The results of this process, including artworks and performances, will occupy part of the main gallery as an exhibition focusing on themes of pleasure, play and Welsh futurism. Alongside this will be an exhibition of north Wales painters. www.typawb.wales

Until 26th June, When The Land Rested – Claire Scott Curates, Twenty Twenty Gallery, Ludlow Gallery artist Claire Scott celebrates a significant half-century with a curated show of artists who have inspired her own development as a practising landscape painter. www.twenty-twenty.co.uk Working Women In Cheshire, Chester Grosvenor Museum This online exhibition explores how women’s work changed dramatically during the first half of the 20th century, and highlights the essential role women played in keeping the county (and country) going during the First and Second World Wars. At the start of the 29th century, women in Britain had little involvement in the industrial workplace. Where they did, it was usually in less physically demanding tasks, for instance stoking the fires at the Lion Salt Works in Marston. However, with a shortage of workers thanks to the huge numbers of men being sent off to fight, women quickly became vital figures in wartime industry. grosvenormuseum. westcheshiremuseums.co.uk

by Kenneth Davies

by Kenneth Davies

by Sam Hulse

90 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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

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

Join the Shire team



Debut Novel by Hilton Jones An intriguing read with an explosive finish from a local author Available from Amazon, Stan’s Superstore at St Martins or direct from peterjones@canaltrip.co.uk (£5.99 + £2.60P&P)

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Find a new look for summer

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

Traditional Clothing in Church Stretton, Shropshire


ith lockdown easing, it’s time to swap loungewear for more on-trend outfits, such as breezy dresses, gelato-hued separates and earthy silhouettes. The neutral tones of Aequamente’s summer collection embody this season’s casual look, with easy-to-wear silhouettes that can be worn as more formal pieces too. Rundholz Mainline’s tailored looks are a spring staple, expressing versatile styling in both casual and smart outfits, while Hannoh Wessel’s dresses have innovative details and adaptable styling to complement any go-to ensemble. Privatsachen also has an extensive range of pieces if you’re suffering from a wardrobe-block. And you can take your off-duty wardrobe to a whole new level with feminine and contemporary looks from Jayko’s SS21 collection that fuses urban style and delicate romance with a gothic twist. The new mindset of fashion focuses on sustainability and ethical practices. Designers such as Elemente Clemente, Privatsachen, Mama B and many more have become more ecofriendly with their fabrics and practices. Whether you’re taking a big step or a small one to becoming more eco-friendly, every tiny change is a contribution towards making everything better for all.

SHOP ONLINE at www.peppersfashion.co.uk

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

We stock among others:

Hannoh Wessel Rigoberthe dress in sand, £235

Shire read ers ge disco t an exclu can s unt a t Oliv ive Simp “SHIR ly use th ia May. per c ESONL e code INE en “SHIR t off onli ” for 10 n per c ESINSTO e sales o ent o r RE” f ff or 15 in bout ique. our Oxfo ends Disco rd 31st May unt 2021

Rundholz Mainline jacket in black chalk faux, £435

Jayko Confiante full maxi skirt in ardoise, £324

Aequamente wide-leg trousers in juta, £194

Privatsachen Spurende top in myrrhe, £153

You can shop for these spring/summer 2021 collections and more at Olivia May. You can order at www.oliviamay.org with free delivery, or visit the showroom at The Barns, Lane End Farm, Kelsall Road, Ashton Hayes, Cheshire CH3 8BH. The showroom is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. To book an appointment, call 01829 751600

92 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Life in hite w & k blac



Make a statement while keeping it simple with powerful silhouettes in monochrome colours







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

Selected Femme knitted vest, £35, The Stars & Grey; www.thestarsandgrey.co.uk Owen Barry Pepsi bag, £192, View in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.viewboutique.com Vero Moda Filli T-shirt, £18, View in Ludlow in Shropshire; www.viewboutique.com Pomodoro contrast stripe dress, £85, Sleek Boutique in Nantwich, Cheshire; www.sleeknantwich.com Chalk Sally scarf, £35, The Stars & Grey; www.thestarsandgrey.co.uk The Biker wetlook ribbed leggings, £21, Bella Boutique in Northwich, Cheshire; www.bellabrand.co.uk Masai NINI dress, £125, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.bodenhams.co.uk Olsen diamond knit, £89, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear in Church Stretton, Shropshire; www.peppersfashion.co.uk Vans Old Skool trainers, £60, Schuh; www.schuh.co.uk Sofiyya shirt-style skater dress, £159, Ted Baker; www.tedbaker.com Linen jumpsuit, £119, The White Company; www.thewhitecompany.com Beatrice Markatos long necklace in lava and jasper, £118, Olivia May in Cheshire www.oliviamay.org Strappy maxi dress, £215, Abi Fisher in Willington, Cheshire; www.abifisher.co.uk 10 of Spades T-shirt, £30, Primrose Hill Boutique in Shifnal, Shropshire; www.primrosehillboutique.com Crofts mid block heel slingback pump, £90, Dune London; www.dunelondon.com A Postcard from Brighton Chillings joggers, £40, Sleek Boutique in Nantwich, Cheshire; www.sleeknantwich.com





May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 93

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k r o w o t Off


Look sharp as you head back to the office with timeless pieces that are always in style






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15 18


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

Robert Charles belt, £74.95, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear in Church Stretton, Shropshire; www.peppersfashion.co.uk Haincliffe Tweed leather briefcase, £169, Halon Menswear in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.halonmenswear.com Cassino tailored fit washable suit, £179, Halon Menswear in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.halonmenswear.com Silk tie, £29.50, Martin David in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.martin-david.co.uk Barker Valiant hand-painted shoes, £260, Riva Menswear in Knutsford, Cheshire; www.rivamenswear.com Olymp cotton V-neck jumper, £55, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; www.bodenhams.co.uk Steel cufflinks, £25, Martin David in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.martin-david.co.uk Gran Sasso cashmere raglan crew-neck pullover, £192 (RRP £320), Stephen Muldoon Bespoke in Prestbury, Cheshire; www.stephenmuldoon.com

9. Giordano Robert blazer, £199, Trefor Jones in Ruthin; www.treforjones.co.uk 10. Moss 1851 tailored fit twill suit, £249, Moss Bros; www.moss.co.uk 11. Olymp button-down shirt with paisley trim, £59.95, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear in Church Stretton, Shropshire; www.peppersfashion.co.uk 12. Touri worn look genuine leather briefcase, £102, Wolf & Badger; www.wolfandbadger.com 13. Clifford wool suit waistcoat, £80, Halon Menswear in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.halonmenswear.com 14. Guide London jacket blazer, £95 (RRP £190), Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy; www.smartassmenswear.co.uk 15. Pal Zileri elastic waist trouser, £195 (RRP £325), Stephen Muldoon Bespoke in Prestbury, Cheshire; www.stephenmuldoon.com 16. Van Buck silk tie, £30, Wood’s of Shropshire; www.woodsofshropshire.co.uk 17. Double Two Paradigm striped cotton shirt, £34.50, Wood’s of Shropshire www.woodsofshropshire.co.uk 18. Straight fit chino, £65, Crew Clothing Company; www.crewclothing.co.uk

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Alfa Romeo Giulia The latest car from the Italian giant is something to cherish, says Bob Hickman


he mere mention of the Alfa Romeo brand gets most motoring enthusiasts drooling, thanks to the Italian manufacturer’s vehicles having style in abundance. The Giulia is no different, making it a welcome exception to the industry’s current plethora of SUVs. It makes a pleasant change to get back to a four-door saloon. If the exterior – with its sweeping lines, Siamese cat’s “The eyes headlamps and offset front number plate – excites, Giulia is the interior will enthral. The responsive black leather complements the and nimble” exterior paintwork superbly. The interior space is also reasonably good, although the rear headroom is somewhat limited and the boot space problematic when it comes to loading, but these are minor gripes in an otherwise fabulous-looking vehicle. Our test vehicle was supplied with a 1995cc 200bhp petrol engine, driven through an eightspeed automatic gearbox. At all times the vehicle

Alfa Romeo’s trademark sweeping lines

was responsive and nimble, with sharp handling. The performance matched the vehicle’s stunning looks, going from 0 to 60 of 6.6 seconds and with a potential top speed of 146mph.

The stylish interior

Many options

The instrumentation is a wonderful example of Italian style and the manufacturer hasn’t overlooked the safety aspects either. The Giulia is available with forward collision warning, autonomous emergency brake, lane departure warning, electric cruise control and a blind spot monitoring feature. Standard equipment on the entry level vehicle is extensive with alloy wheels, daytime running lights, LED rear lights and dual zone climate control. For the real petrolhead the exclusive Quadrifoglio should tick all the boxes. It comes equipped with a 2.9-litre bi-turbo petrol engine, producing a phenomenal 510bhp, sufficient to give 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds and 190mph top speed. I was left in no doubt after a week in the company of this beautiful lady that Alfa Romeo has once again built a vehicle that’s not only pleasant to look at but also to drive. In this era of identikit SUVs, the Giulia is a breath of fresh air. The Alfa Romeo Giulia has an on-the-road price of £39,380, including a three-year warranty, three-year roadside assistance package and an eight-year anti-perforation warranty

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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EXPERT Victoria O’Donnell, programme lead in sports injury and rehabilitation at Wrexham Glyndwr University problem-solving skills to help individuals and teams optimise their recovery. The academic requirements are 112 UCAS tariff points at GCSE, A-level or equivalent.

What does the course entail? What do you specialise in?

I’m a physiotherapist and programme lead for a new British Association of Sport Rehabilitators (BASRaT) accredited BSc (Hons) in sports injury and rehabilitation at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

How did you get into this career?

The degree prepares students for the integrated sports and injury rehabilitation field, and more focused environments such as sports teams, private settings and health promotion. It also focuses on the wider variables and impact of sports injuries in respect of physiological, psychological, cultural and social factors. The programme places importance of having a person-centred approach to injury management, so students learn a variety of communication skills.

DID YOU settings, within the NHS KNOW? or the armed forces, or Physiotherapy continue their studies as a profession at a postgraduate dates back level. Graduate sport to 1813 rehabilitators can work internationally in countries such as Canada and the US without gaining further qualifications.

Why should people choose Wrexham Glyndwr University?

Students are taught by a team that has a background in the subject and continues to

I have run for my county and at national level since a young age, and have experienced injuries that sparked my interest. Academically, I completed undergraduate degrees in sports What practical rehabilitation and physiotherapy and a work is involved? MSc in sports injury and rehabilitation. The course places an emphasis After I graduated, I worked as a soft on gaining practical experience. tissue therapist at the English Institute of Most modules have embedded Sport. My first full-time role within a sports applied components, such as team was with GB Water Polo – as team massage and musculoskeletal injury physiotherapist, I was involved with treating assessment. Over the three years, injuries, preparing and students benefit Victoria was physiotherapist for the Malaysian squash team travelling to competitions. from 400 hours of “Graduates may go work with elite athletes. They’ll be taught Since then I’ve worked clinical placements. There on to pursue careers in a mixture of specialist clinical spaces, in many different teams, are opportunities for students including the on-site clinic, and have including GB Boxing to gain experience in a in professional sports sessions at Colliers Park, which is also used and England Squash. variety of settings, including clubs, private clinical by the Football Association of Wales. In 2018 I moved sports teams, health partner settings or the NHS” The programme has an approach to learning from the Malaysian organisations and private based on two pillars: high challenge and high Institute of Sport to clinics. There is also an support. The university provides accessible, lecture at Wrexham Glyndwr University. on-site musculoskeletal injuries clinic. flexible, research-informed learning while committing to equip students with the support What’s required for your courses? What career opportunities and skills they’ll need for their career. We’re looking for all-round students who can this degree lead to? are great communicators, have a passion Graduates may go on to pursue a career in for helping others and can use their For more details, see www.glyndwr.ac.uk professional sports clubs, private clinical 96 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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MOVING ON FROM TURBULENT TIMES Lizzy Deery from the University of Chester talks about the important role exercise has had in our lives over the past 12 months


ollowing a year of lockdown and other restrictions, it’s fair to say all of us have experienced some form of turbulence in our lives and routines. According to data from Sport England, the percentage of adults and children classed as “active” decreased by around two per cent in the period from mid-March to mid-May 2020. This increases the risk of poorer physical and mental wellbeing in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. While physical activity or exercise may not feel like a top priority while we’re also home-schooling our children, working from home ourselves or job hunting, research highlights the benefits “What’s of exercise especially important during turbulent times. is finding A study of more out what than 2,000 Italians works carried out in April for you” last year concluded that a reduction of total physical activity had a negative impact on psychological wellbeing, and that maintaining regular exercise would have benefitted these individuals’ mental health during lockdown. The holistic benefits of exercise are further demonstrated in a study of NHS workers, which showed that active

Taking frequent, short walks with a friend has many benefits for your health and wellbeing

employees had a better general perception of health, lower likelihood for low mood and increased likelihood for optimal sleep compared with inactive employees.

minutes at a vigorous intensity, while also limiting time spent sitting. This needn’t be a daunting task. You can accumulate movement in small bouts throughout the day. Indeed, studies that have looked at Get up and go Taken together, whether one long walk is more beneficial than more frequent this research shows shorter walks have found the importance of activity and that for some markers such movement, as blood glucose and blood especially when flow, the latter is preferable. times are difficult. So, if you’re stuck in a bit What’s important of a rut at the moment, don’t is finding what switch off to the benefits works for you. The of sitting less and moving more for better overall current government Be inspired by online workouts guidelines health. Get out and about, suggest adults should move, in a way try some new things (hello, YouTube that suits them, for at least 150 minutes yoga!), go for a walk with a friend and move your way to a better you! a week at a moderate intensity, or 75

We look into the myths surrounding hiccups


Myth buster

You get hiccups when you’re excited Although no one is 100 per cent sure what triggers hiccups, there is evidence that being extra-excited can make them more likely. Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, says that if a heightened emotion leads to the swallowing of lots of air, it could result in hiccups.


Hiccups are generally a bad sign Some suggest you get hiccups when someone is talking about you in a negative way. Russian folklore states that hiccups occur when

someone is thinking about you, and another superstition asserts that hiccups mean that you are cursed with bad luck and that Satan lives inside of you. Obviously, none of these are true. Hiccups may very rarely indicate an underlying health problem, but most of the time they are completely harmless.


Holding your breath stops the hiccups Many people believe this to be true but there’s little evidence to support this or any other remedy, aside from medically administered treatments. Drinking water, holding your breath or getting scared doesn’t help either. It’s likely that by the time you resort to these “cures”, the hiccups have stopped of their own accord. May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 97

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More than just a school.. … an *excellent place to be *outstanding *Independent Schools Inspectorate Report 2019.

Open Day 21st May - 9.00 am Please book in on registrar@moorpark.org.uk Richards Castle, Ludlow, SY8 4DZ www.moorpark.org.uk 01584 876061

The Thomas Adams Sixth Form

Academic excellence in a caring environment Why choose us? • Wide choice of subjects • • • • • • • • •

A Level and BTEC Excellent pastoral care Extensive bus routes and train links Outstanding post-18 advice and guidance Fantastic facilities in a rural setting Set within a 30-acre campus Supervised study hub sessions Daily access to a tutor Great range of enrichment activities Full and weekly boarding available

Telephone 01939 237000 or visit www.thomasadams.net and take your virtual tour today!

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• Catering for boys and girls between 11 and 19 and with a capacity of up to 65 boarders • We welcome students from the UK and across the world who hold a current UK passport or have a right to residency in the UK • FREE education to all students • Supportive and caring environment for all If you would like to know more about boarding contact Mrs Nicki Cooper via email: nc@thomasadams.net or by telephone: 01939 233311

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

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Top of the Class

Megan Roberts

“All learning has been online, but there’s no substitute for being out in the fresh air working and handling the animals,” she says. Megan, 19, from Llanbedr DC says: “We are doing a lot of assignments and being given real-life, real-time scenarios to deal with, which are challenging but great preparation for our future careers.”


hildren at The Firs Prep School in Chester rose to a new challenge during the recent national lockdown, seeing how many kilometres they could walk, bike, scoot and run as part of their Let’s Get Active Challenge. Between them they managed to cover a distance of 1,857km, the distance from Chester to Istanbul! “It was superb receiving pictures sent in from the children enjoying their time outside keeping active,” says Rosemary Blackburn, headteacher at The Firs Prep School.

r Colin Stuhlfelder from Wrexham Glyndwr University lecturer is among the first group of professionals to be made a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, a Dr Stuhlfelder membership grade bestowed for excellence in and significant contribution to architectural technology. “Gaining the fellowship for doing a job I love and in support of a professional institute who really are a great partner to all I do is the icing on the cake,” he says.

Explore university options from home


areers in food production, business, land management, engineering, animal health, the environment and more will be on the agenda at the Harper Adams University’s virtual open day on 12th June. Prospective students can discover life on the Shropshire campus with fly-though digital tours and a video tractor trailer tour of the campus. They can also learn about the courses through videos, articles and live chat sessions. There are dedicated course



Glyndwr lecturer recognised for excellence

Children cover the distance

SCHOOL NEWS Wrekin College will open a second artificial playing surface and a new dance studio later this year, as well as embarking on a programme to upgrade its boarding accommodation. The dance studio will have sprung floors and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, while the artificial playing surface will be located adjacent to the existing one, and will help the college to continue expanding its hockey provision.


wo animal-loving students are succeeding at a revolutionary new veterinary complex despite lockdown. Former Coleg Cambria Llysfasi learners Jennifer Bamber and Megan Roberts are “It’s great among the first cohort on the bachelor of veterinary preparation medicine and surgery for our degree at Harper & careers” Keele Veterinary School, a partnership between Harper Adams and Keele universities. Jennifer, 22, from Cyffylliog, is now back on site in Keele, Staffordshire, where construction is under way on a building that will incorporate teaching facilities, a clinical skills centre and a veterinary school hub.


area hubs where you can explore the student experience and more to find out how the Harper Adams approach. All without even having Deputy vice to leave your house! chancellor It’s not too late to Michael Lee apply for a September 2021 start or to too soon to explore options for 2022. Visit www.harper.ac.uk/open.

Woodlands School, working with the Marches Academy Trust, became an academy on 1st April. The school in Wem is a provider of education to Woodlands School, Wem local children with social, emotional and mental health needs. By joining the Marches Academy Trust, it has gained access to local support from the trust and secured the sustainability of the school. The school will in turn strengthen the SEN expertise within the trust and continue the collaboration between schools in all aspects of learning, particularly for students who require additional support.

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT While the return to school has been welcomed by lots of children, this isn’t the case for all. Some may be nervous about returning to school, some will be worried about school work, while others will be suffering the impact of strained family relationships or bereavement. As much as we want to be there for our children, sometimes it’s easier for them to talk with someone anonymously first. Let them know they can contact Childline free on 0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk.

BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL FOR FORMER TEACHER A former educator at Welsh Water has had her commitment to the development of education and sport in Rwanda recognised with a British Mary Watkins Empire Medal.   Mary Watkins, who spent 13 years working as a peripatetic teacher at the not-for-profit utility company, has worked tirelessly to develop and deliver education resources for school children in Rwanda.  This included developing resources for local children and helping train future teachers in the area. Mary, who joined Welsh Water’s awardwinning education team in 2004, discovered a love for Africa when she visited Uganda in 2008. She spent a 12-month sabbatical in Rwanda with the Voluntary Service Overseas, supporting and training teachers, and since leaving Welsh Water in 2018 has set up a UK-based charity, Friends of Rwandan Rugby, with her husband.

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Sixth-form pupils from Thomas Adams School have reached the final of a national competition by highlighting a little-known form of abuse. The team, which took part in a Dragons’ Den-style competition, was tasked with designing a product or service with a material social benefit. The team chose to recognise the rise of domestic violence during lockdown, highlighting child-to-parent abuse (CPA). The team was given £1,000 to donate to a charity of their choice. They chose PEGS, a Shropshire charity that raises awareness of CPA.

COOK AT HOME WITH CHEF Children who missed the food served at The Firs Prep School in Chester could make their own versions thanks to the school’s Cook At Home With Chef initiative. The school’s chef released one of his recipes every week, kicking off with chocolate chip cookies. “We’re proud to offer our pupils delicious meals and snacks made by our wonderful in-house catering team,” says headteacher Rosemary Blackburn. “We decided it would be lovely if the children could replicate them at home.”

BRONZE AWARD FOR INTREPID STUDENTS Eight independent living skills (ILS) learners from Coleg Cambria have completed the bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE). Some members of the ILS cohort will now go on to pursue their silver award.

INSPIRING ENGINEERS Engineering pupils at Rydal Penrhos are busy creating a working prototype of a spring-powered car, using a basic kit of materials provided by the school. The Year 10 pupils will model their solutions in 3D CAD software before competing with their final creation in a race. Although engineering is a non-traditional subject, it has proven to be highly popular with Key Stage 4 pupils. The course provides them with the opportunity to carry out research independently, participate in group work, go on trips, use real business resources, use the latest CAD-CAM programs and equipment, and benefit from the advice of people who are actually working in engineering.



aturdays are pupils’ favourite day of the week, thanks to a brand new enrichment programme launched at Abberley Hall. Traditionally, Saturdays were ordinary learning days at the school, but that’s all changed with the Discover Saturday enrichment programme. With attendance now optional, the programme complements “Options the school’s high change academic standards on a halfwith developing pupils’ termly interests and passions. From intellectually basis” stimulating activities like debating to those encouraging life skills and independence in the form of wilderness survival skills,

community service and horsemanship, the pupils have loved getting stuck in. There are a number of options on offer, which change on a half-termly basis to suit the seasons and make the most of Abberley’s 90 acres of outside space. The school has a summer open day on 12th June. See www.abberleyhall.co.uk.

Celebrating sporting success

Llandudno college wins UK-wide award


hropshire’s Ellesmere College has been named the 17th best school for sport in the UK by School Sport magazine. “We are Pupils enjoy top facilities absolutely delighted with the news which emphasises our school’s place among the UK’s sporting schools elite,” says the college’s director of sport, Ian Williams. “It’s an amazing achievement and recognises the hard work and achievements of our students and coaches along with the ongoing success of our academies and sports scholarship programme. “Ellesmere College has built up an enviable reputation over many years and maintains a position of delivering topquality sporting facilities and programmes to nurture and develop young talent.”



Charlie Minogue, headmaster at Moor Park School, on the true value of independence

oes any parent of a four-year-old know what their child will need from their senior school at 13? Increasingly prep schools are affiliated with senior schools. This may work strategically but causes problems for parents, as my opening question illustrates. So-called independent schools are sometimes not what they seem, and parents

Students can develop new interests


t David’s College, located just outside Llandudno, has won the Independent School Association Award for Outstanding Sports Provision (Small School) for 2020. The ISA Awards is an annual event that celebrates success in independent schools and recognises the breadth of quality and provision in independent education across the UK. The awarding committee said: “St David’s has demonstrated an outstanding provision with an endless range of sporting opportunities offered to their diverse range of pupils.” They were particularly impressed by the way St David’s has “successfully implemented an all-round approach to sport embedding an active culture in their daily routine.” should be aware of the advantages of choosing a truly independent school. Truly independent prep schools, such as Moor Park, build strong relationships with a full range of senior schools. This means I can give unbiased advice, focusing entirely on the needs of each child. Our status as a truly autonomous prep school is something to cherish. We have shaped our curriculum and teaching to prepare children for a fastchanging world and in this process I’ve only answered to those in the Moor Park community. True independence, therefore, is something to celebrate as together we plot the most appropriate route for each individual child and family.

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ISA Awards 2020 Winners Outstanding Sports Provision (Small School)

Independent Boarding & Day School for ages 9-19




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SCHOOL NEWS NUMBER DAY RAISES FUNDS AND AWARENESS The NSPCC is encouraging schools to get involved in Number Day on 7th May, to raise funds and awareness about the charity. The day, based around fun maths activities, will take place in primary and secondary schools. Schools can sign up to enjoy puzzles, games and challenges tailored to fit different age groups. The money raised from Number Day will help the NSPCC in its mission to make 2021 a better year for children.

A DECADE OF DEDICATION Little Scholars Nursery recently celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Centre For The Child, Family & Society at Wrexham Glyndwr University with a day of fun and games. Located on the Plas Coch campus, the nursery delivers highquality provision for children of Glyndwr staff, students and the wider community. “Now, more than ever, there’s a need for children to have fun,” says director of active childcare Rebecca Mottram. “Our commitment to the wellbeing of children is reflected in their happy, smiling faces. They enjoyed taking part in the traditional party games during our day of celebration.”

SPORTS PERFORMANCE HUB LAUNCHED Moreton Hall has launched a new sports performance hub, ACE, to focus on lacrosse, hockey, tennis and golf. The hub’s Carina Walsh first lacrosse camp of the season took in April, led by Moreton Hall’s England lacrosse coach, Carina Walsh. It was the first in a series of camps for all skill levels, from aspiring elite players to developing athletes. “This is an exciting opportunity for anyone to get involved in lacrosse and see how great the game is,” says Alison McDonald, Moreton Hall’s director of sport.

STUDENT’S DRIVERLESS VEHICLE PROJECT An ambitious plan to create a studentbuilt driverless off-road vehicle has begun at Harper Adams University. Final-year automotive engineering student James Seymour is working on transforming a manual transmission Dacia Duster into an autonomous off-road vehicle as a dissertation project. “I wanted to use my thesis to combine my interest in vehicles and future technology,” says James. “The vehicle I’m using was purchased for a student project in 2016 and is used by various lecturers for teaching purposes. The end goal is to have a fully autonomous off-road vehicle capable of driving around the off-road course we have here at Harper.” James Seymour

Vertical farming centre showcases technological innovation


he UK’s largest training and research centre for vertical farming has been completed at Reaseheath Jake Jackson tends crops in Reaseheath’s new facility College and University Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire. Vertical farming is the practice of growing growing chambers, while a separate research growing room allows for micro scale testing plants indoors under fully controlled and sterile conditions in stacked layers. It offers a and trials such as the effects of different light means of growing safe, healthy and nutritious levels, temperature and nutrient recipes on plant growth and development. food locally and has been “This is an exceptionally exciting welcomed by environmentalists “The project project which offers tremendous owing to its low food miles and offers benefits to both our students smaller land requirement. tremendous The centre is part of the and our academic and industry benefits” partners,” says Simon Burgess, Institute of Sustainability & Reaseheath’s head of projects, Food Innovation, a joint venture research and innovation. “University Centre between Reaseheath and its academic Reaseheath is extremely good at applying partner, the University of Chester. practical science to commercial research and Covering 200 square metres, the main facility consists of three floor-to-ceiling this will open up a lot of opportunities.”

Advantages of state boarding


oarding schools are a fantastic option for many families, providing a home away from home that allows young people to focus their full attention on their studies and extra-curricular activities. Adams House is a state boarding school in Shropshire for students aged 11 to 18. The school offers priceless life lessons of self-reliance, respect and self-confidence, with many opportunities for young people to learn to depend on themselves. For more details or to book a visit, see www. thomasadams. Thomas Adams pupils net/boarding/



lautist Lara Coulter has been announced as runner-up in the Independent Schools Association (ISA) Young Musician of the Year competition. Lara is in the sixth form at Alderley Lara Coulter Edge School for Girls. “Huge congratulations to Lara for all the hard work,” says the school’s director of music, Mrs Pattrick. “I’m very proud of her success.” Headmistress Mrs Smillie adds: “It is fantastic that our girls are achieving at such a high level in national competitions. Lara’s success mirrors the accomplishment of Dalia Halwani in the ISA Film & Digital Art Competition at the end of last year.”

Enterprising youngsters win challenge


team from Rydal Penrhos in Colwyn Determinators, chose to install a system Bay shot to victory in the final stages of of solar panels on Ugandan schools. the Enterprise Challenge set by Lancaster “This has been a huge victory for the University School of Management. school and for us,” says team coordinator Individual teams had Simeon Murphy-Thomas. “We to present their ideas thought we would utilise our for a new enterprise, links to Ugandan schools to try to enhance the educational fully costed, that met with some of the UN opportunities of Ugandan children Sustainability Goals. with minimum environmental The Rydal Penrhos impact and in an efficient and The Rydal Penhros team economically sustainable way.” team, named The

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The largest provider of care services in Wales has doubled its workforce and trebled turnover in the last six years


old-based North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) has its sights set on helping more people after a challenging 12 months for the sector. NEWCIS, which supports unpaid carers across north-east Wales, has welcomed 5,000 new carers into the fold during that time CEO Claire Sullivan (right) and received up to 130 referrals a week since Christmas, taking its total number of carers to 16,000 individuals in need of training, counselling, financial assistance and advocacy as they offer unpaid support to family and friends. The independent charity, set up in 2014, now employs almost 50 staff. CEO Claire Sullivan is “Every marking 20 years with the organisation this year, day you and admits that the coronavirus pandemic has speak to been the most difficult period of her professional someone career. “It has been very tough because we are all about people, whether that be the carers, our new” staff and volunteers or the many partners we work alongside,” she says. “Not everyone has had access to the internet, so for many it has been especially isolating, but we quickly pivoted and brought services online, while still speaking to people on the phone and continuing our first-class service. “In the first three months of the pandemic we made more than 10,000 calls to people who were scared and struggling. I’m proud

of how, as a charity, we have managed to push forward and had so many referrals from hospitals, social services, the voluntary sector and GPs – unpaid carers have needed us more than ever before.”

The extra mile

Following an assessment, carers supported by NEWCIS have access to a host of services, from group sessions and grant funding to respite, counselling and education. The offering has expanded in past years, and includes the introduction of a social enterprise, a new project for young carers NEWCIS supports carers young and old in Flintshire, an initiative supplying carers and families with fresh produce in lockdown and the successful Keep Busy, Keep Well packs distributed to more than 7,500 households during the pandemic. NEWCIS also recently won a Social Care Wales Accolades Award for its Bridging the Gap respite scheme. “We have trebled in size, trebled turnover and gone from 23 staff to almost 50, but what matters most is making a difference,” says Claire. “One example is when we sent a carer and her family to a caravan on the north Wales coast for a few days. The family were landlocked, didn’t have transport and had young children who had never seen the sea. It was something small to most of us but huge to them. “That’s the best thing about working for NEWCIS – every day you speak to somebody new and think to yourself: ‘We can help them, we can do something good here.’ That is a fantastic feeling I look forward to experiencing for many years to come.”

Older people more likely to catch Covid a second time

With the vaccine rollout under way, one study has warned that those older people who are not yet protected may be more at risk of a second bout of Covid than younger people


hile it’s great news that most older people in the UK have now been vaccinated against Covid-19, there are plenty who have yet to have their jab for numerous reasons. And while those who have had Covid may be in no hurry, believing they are immune to the virus, a new study has found that older people may well be more at risk than their younger counterparts even after suffering from the virus. The study, carried out in Denmark, shows that under-65s who have already had the virus are much less susceptible to reinfection, with about 80 per cent protection for at least six months. Over-65s in the same situation had only 47 per cent protection. The authors of the research, published in The Lancet, say this means it’s vital to take measures to protect elderly people, who also are more likely to die from Covid. “Our study confirms what a number of others appeared to suggest: reinfection with Covid-19 is rare in younger, healthy people, but the elderly are at greater risk of catching it again,” says Dr Steen Ethelberg from the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. “Since older people are also more likely to

experience severe disease symptoms and die, our findings make clear how important it is to implement policies to Don’t miss your jab protect the elderly during the pandemic. Given what is at stake, the results emphasise how important it is that people adhere to measures implemented to keep themselves and others safe, even if they have already had Covid-19.” It is hoped that this new information will encourage any older people who have missed their vaccine – whether that was because they were unable to travel, were unwell or other reasons – to book their injection as soon as possible, even if they’ve had Covid-19.

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Care UK leads the way in safety, with enhanced infection control measures and purpose-built visiting suites. We are championing the Covid-19 vaccination programme to protect those living, visiting and working in our care homes. With over 35 years’ experience, our highly trained teams are experts in delivering award winning care. If you’re considering care for yourself or a loved one, discover flexibility and assurance – ask about the Care UK 28 day guarantee*.


To arrange a virtual tour or one-to-one video chat, please call 01244 459559 or email donna.brown@careuk.com Experts in award winning care. Trusted by over 6,500 families.



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Retirement Living Looking for a quality care home you can trust?

Facilitie s includ e café an d cinem a a

Deewater Grange Care Home in Huntington on the outskirts of Chester is a well-equipped and welcoming living facility run by a team of compassionate experts cleaning routines, which we’ve continued to enhance. These are monitored by the home’s infection prevention and control champion, as well as Care UK’s quality team.”

A luxury lifestyle

Deewater Grange is beautifully designed ored throughout, offering a home-from-home re tail ites a interests iv t c ’ A s environment. Each spacious ensuite bedroom is ident to res individually decorated and those on the ground floor enjoy private patios and access to secure gardens. There are luxury facilities including a café, activity room, hair salon, cinema and bar. ies f activit o St Living at Deewater Grange is all about quality of life and every aff ts at lo the hom re There a ry day kind and carin e have a lace eve staff member is passionate about enabling residents to p g g ap in pr k oach ta enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle, tailoring their day around their “Resident interests and preferences. The lifestyle team organise a and colleague huge variety of activities, with plenty going on each day. “If your loved one enjoys a quiet cuppa in bed listening to eewater Grange Care Home safety is our Woman’s Hour, wishes to attend a virtual church service or provides long- and short-term residential, priority” loves a beer in the evening, we’ll make it happen,” says Sally. dementia and nursing care, giving families reassurance “And our chef-led catering team serve restaurant-quality that their loved ones can stay living at the home meals designed around our residents’ tastes and nutritional needs.” should their needs change. The experienced team receive the Deewater Grange is still welcoming new residents, with extra latest training in all areas of care, including dementia care. measures in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. And with Most importantly, they bring a kind and caring approach and a Care UK’s 28-day guarantee you can have complete confidence passion for keeping residents safe, happy and well cared for. and flexibility if you’re not absolutely happy or simply change “Care UK has been delivering care for 35 years,” says home your mind about the need for a care home. Care UK is one of the manager Sally Cooper. “We are the most awarded care home UK’s most successful care-home operators, with more than 35 provider for the past two years, with more outstandingyears’ experience of delivering high-quality care to older people rated homes than any other provider by the Care Quality and more outstanding rated homes than any other provider. Commission in England and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland. That’s why we’re trusted by more than 6,500 families. “Resident and colleague safety is our priority. Since the home For more about Deewater Grange Care Home, call 01244 459559 opened, we have implemented robust safety precautions and deep or visit www.careuk.com/deewater-grange


106 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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community radio station in north Wales has made the jump from the internet to the FM “We want airwaves. Sound to use the Radio Wales now station to broadcasts on benefit 103.1FM from its the area” studio in Towyn to its audience that stretches from Craig Kennealey, left, with presenter Geoff Stevenson Prestatyn to Abergele and up the Vale of Clwyd to Denbigh. The station is now putting out over 70 hours of news, views, music and chat each week. Winning a coveted spot on FM is great news for the station, according to director Craig Kennealey, who helped set it up in 2018. “It’s a fantastic boost for us getting the Ofcom approval and means we’ll be able to reach a population of about 85,000, which grows to a quarter of a million in the summer,” says Craig. “We want to use the station to benefit the area, including training people in the skills needed to create radio programmes. “We currently have a team of 16 volunteers but are always looking for more. We want people with enthusiasm who want to be part of a team and who can help us keep the ball rolling.” For more information about the station, visit www.soundradio.wales.

Grant helps most vulnerable people get connected

Sarah Way from RainbowBiz


orth Wales social enterprise RainbowBiz CIC has been given £10,000 by the Steve Morgan Foundation to help some of the most marginalised members of the community get connected. The award-winning social enterprise has been reaching out to the people it supports in many different ways since the pandemic took hold. Initial weekly contact was made via telephone calls and

text messages to some of the most vulnerable members of the community. RainbowBiz quickly moved its projects and social gatherings online via Zoom, where people have been encouraged to join in weekly quizzes and socialise together. RainbowBiz director and project facilitator Sarah Way approached the Steve Morgan Foundation for help in getting more people online. It has now been awarded £10,000, which is being used to provide iPads, software and training for their members. “We are delighted to now be rolling out our IT project, which loans our iPads to individuals who have been prioritised due to need, while one-to-one training is being delivered within Covid-19 guidelines by our DBSchecked trainer,” says Sarah. Visit www.rainbowbiz.org.uk.


hospital’s own electricity system, helping to reduce day-to-day running costs and the hospital’s carbon footprint. The small remaining percentage of the electricity is fed back into the National Grid. “It’s been a pleasure to Mike Bowen alongside the solar panels work on this worthwhile olar energy is helping to project for the trust,” says power the Robert Jones Mike Bowen, capital manager at RJAH, who has managed & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in one of the the project. “The solar panels will be a big asset in not only Oswestry-based trust’s largest environmentally reducing our “On a bright, friendly initiatives electricity costs but also cutting our to date. sunny day The project has carbon emissions.” the panels seen 1,760 solar The solar project can generate has been funded panels installed 2,300kWh of across the hospital via Salix, a publicly electricity” funded scheme site by ZLC Energy that provides 100 per cent Ltd. On a bright, sunny day, interest-free, conditional loans the installation is capable of to public-sector organisations generating up to 2,300kWh and local authorities to improve of electricity, of which 99.95 their on-site energy efficiency. per cent is fed directly into the


Celebrating the centenary of the village hall


he UK’s only specifically rural theatre group, Pentabus, is celebrating 100 years of village halls and their important role in the community by re-releasing two live recordings of shows. To celebrate Village Hall Sophie Motley Week 2021, the theatre group is releasing Here I Belong by Matt Hartley and Crossings by Deirdre Kinahan, a co-production with New Perspectives. Here I Belong, directed by Elizabeth Freestone, celebrates village life, companionship and community while highlighting the challenges faced by people in rural areas. Crossings, directed by Sophie Motley, is an evening of live music, waltzing and unexpected connections, as two actors dance through a century exploring how we’ve returned, resettled and adapted. On announcing the online programme, director Sophie Motley said: “Village halls are the lifeblood of Pentabus. We haven’t been in them recently but they’ve been around since the last pandemic. To celebrate, we’re sharing two brilliant plays that celebrate village halls – it’s the closest we can get to actually being in one.” Pentabus, based in Shropshire, champions rural young people aged 16 to 25 and offers workshops, masterclasses, work experience and mentorships. To view the shows as they’re released, search for Pentabus Theatre on YouTube.

To see your charity event feature on these pages, please email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 107

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Books&Poetry FROM BOATS TO BOOKS Meet the local author who, following a life on the canals, is now hoping to make a splash in the literary world

Peter Jones, who publishes under the name Hilton Jones, takes passengers across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct


eter Jones is best known to most of us as the man behind the Jones the Boats operation – taking regular passengers on trips across the stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. But there is more to Peter than just being a steady hand on the rudder. He previously spent time as a tax man and in the classroom before his latest venture, writing. Peter isn’t new to the craft – the former teacher, who taught in Ellesmere and St Martins, has dabbled in putting pen

to paper several times and produced many sketches and pantomimes for the Ellesmere Amateur Dramatic Society. In fact, much of his new novel, Scarlet Feather – which he has published under the name Hilton Jones – has been around for a while. “Scarlet Feather was written some time ago, but I didn’t have the time or opportunity to venture into print. Lockdown gave me that and I decided it was the time to go public.” But why the name change? Peter explains: “There are so many Peter Joneses about, I had to think of something different to write under – “Lockdown Hilton is my middle name.”

body in the swollen River Severn. You would expect his interest gave me the to cease at that point, but opportunity Action hero the trashing of his cottage Scarlet Feather is an action sets him off on the path to venture of seeking revenge and he adventure that takes into print” place in mid Wales. The survives while those close unlikely hero is a school to him suffer as the body caretaker who was invalided out of count rises, culminating in an explosive the Army and who tackles a fanatical end of the insurgent group. insurgent group single-handed. The story takes place around Scarlet Feather is available Llanynder – a fictitious rural part of the as a paperback and a Kindle country where Hugh Evans discovers a eBook from Amazon

LOC A L B OOKS The King’s Daughter: A Girl Lost In Time Book 1 by Dai Pryce Author Dai Pryce, who grew up in Flint and now lives in Colorado, has written a book that starts in modern-day Flint before travelling back in time to 1294, during the second Welsh rebellion against Edward I. Flint Castle plays a pivotal role in the book, which tells the tale of a country in violent rebellion against the hated English king through the eyes of Hugh de Beauchamp, the handsome young knight’s squire with a deadly secret, and Megan Lynch, a high-school sophomore from Virginia Beach, who finds herself badly out of her depth after being sent to Wales to stay with her grandmother. Look out for books two and three in the saga, also available now.

‘Guess What’ The Wild Thyme Cookbook by Alf: Growing Young by Roger Jenny Horton Nature-loving home H.C. Hinde economist Jenny Nantwich-based author and Horton believes enjoying good former actor Roger Hinde has food is part of having a wild time, recently selfand her recipes published the second in his series of ‘Guess reflect her travels especially in north Wales and What’ Alf books, a collection of childhood Greece. This 300-plus recipes in this comedy stories set in collection are all economical with time and money and rooted in the Willaston and Nantwich between 1956 and 1961. great outdoors, and are enlivened by family photos and anecdotes, The first book in seasoned with humour and served up the series, Never Going Straight Home, in style. You’ll find old favourites and be inspired to try something new. was very successful in the local area. The second book was published in December and was also doing well Calling local authors… until lockdown forced We want to hear from you! If you are an author the closure of Nantwich living in the Shire area or have written a book Bookshop. Both books are about a local person or place, we would love still available direct from to feature it on these pages. Please email the Roger on Facebook - just details to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. search “Roger Hinde”.

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Our friends at Linghams Bookshop in Heswall, Wirral have once again chosen a couple of great gripping reads to enjoy this summer My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent This is a brilliant but disturbing debut novel from US author Gabriel Tallent. Set in California, the story follows a 14-year-old girl, Turtle, and her father, Martin, who live “off the grid”. Martin has brought up his daughter in a narrow and confining manner. He is sometimes loving and sympathetic, but is often physically and psychologically abusive towards her. When Turtle meets two boys who are lost in the wilderness, she discovers a different way of life. It isn’t an easy read and is quite horrific in parts, but don’t let that put you off – it is brilliantly written and really does show that we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. A Column Of Fire by Ken Follett The saga that has enthralled millions of readers in The Pillars Of The Earth and World Without End continues with Ken Follett’s magnificent, gripping A Column Of Fire. Fire The story takes the reader back to 16thcentury Kingsbridge and the love story between Ned Willard and Margery Fitzgerald, two characters who we follow for more than half a century. Religion is at the forefront of everyone’s mind as the young Elizabeth takes the throne. One of the first things she does is set up a secret service to warn her of plots of treason and invasion, while her cousin Mary Queen of Scots lies in wait in France. As Mary comes more and more under the influence of a brutally ambitious French family, poor choices and dangerous liaisons lead her to the shores of Scotland and her eventual downfall. This book is rich in characters you’ll come to love and hate. Be aware it is 700 pages in length – but we felt truly bereft when it came to an end!

A Winter’s Walk by Helen Sweet Silver bubbles overhead, fading to A distant grey blanket. The road is glistening, Reflective puddles breaking up its smoothness. Come with me. The grassy verges on either side, Asymmetrical beyond. A field of munching woolly sheep Disturbed by my presence. Curious and staring Briefly, but soon returning to their mundane diet. I turn my head. A steeply sloping copse, How many eyes are secretly and anxiously watching And probable relief as I continue? Wild snowdrops here and there Amongst the young green weeds. Up above a buzzard glides The occasional tweet of birds Too early yet for their tuneful spring music. The rushing water jolts me from my daydreaming. A swollen stream hurtling over stones On a mission to join the river. Round the bend and there’s the bridge. Beyond is forbidden territory. Covid has reminded me. Hullo Wales. Dare I cross the border? You may never know. Flood by Jo Young

There is simply no other way It is friendly here But still I shed a tear My photos, my belongings are all gone Along with all my LPs and songs. I am tenacious and determined – a warrior I will become For I have to believe that my time will come I will have help from my daughter To turn the damage from the flood water I will develop new tastes And turn my home into a brand new place Baby Blue by Norman Marshall There, in perfect harmony, slumbering on Egyptian cotton, Lies this quietened baby dressed in blue. Your desired visage, wanted, never to be forgotten, Shines delicately for all in every hue. There, on bleached sheets, he came from Elysian To satisfy your sweetest desires. Sanctified in the highest presidium And promising all that one aspires. I know not his name or its meaning In this Norfolk lavender wafted air, But so obvious is your leaning He will travel far with loving care. You both plucked Adam’s enticing apple Crossing many an ancient land. Your hopes and ambitions mentioned in chapel Will traverse the sapping arid sand. Spices from far Cambodia’s cardamom, Silks from China, stones from a khan, Nutmeg from the Indies, Indonesia’s cinnamon – Nothing can equal this product of woman. Those trees from troubled Lebanon, Statuesque they certainly are, There to see for every one But not as luminescent as this star!

There is always bad blood When there is a flood For people that are affected – nothing will work out for the best This is life at the moment, one mighty test. The rain has hour after hour continually beaten down Slowly but surely, submerging the town The Crow The sandbags we so carefully placed by Anne Douglas Were in fact a sheer time and energy waster Crow sitting on As they failed to stop the torrents the gate post of water Dark eyes on Leaving each person like a lamb the horizon to slaughter What could this But it is those very young and very old boy be spying Who are not so bold Morsels and Through their apprehension – they are tasty road kill so frightened A fine good hearty delight They grasp hands of help and tighten Too good to be believed Where are we being taken – where do A rabbit, a leveret we go? So young, tender and tasty To safety until the water What could this boy be spying? stops its flow. A neighbouring village We want your poems! hall does beckon Share your creativity – we print our favourite Sleeping on the floor poems every issue. Send them to Poetry Page, – with so many people Shire, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 – I don’t reckon 1FR or email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. But here I am told I have to stay

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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.

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

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hank you so much to all those who have written to us in recent months and shared your stories, images and thoughts. We have printed a collection of correspondence here and reading your stories and feedback really does brighten our day so do keep them coming – with pictures if you have them. Send whatever you’d like to share with us to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. If you haven’t been able to get out and grab your copy of Shire recently, don’t panic

– we always have a supply of previous issues that we’re happy to send out, so get in touch if you’ve missed an edition. Just send an 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 to you. Perhaps making sure you get your copy as soon as it’s out would make things easier for you? If so, then why not subscribe to Shire and we’ll send each copy straight to your door. See page 110 for details. Keep safe, keep reading and keep in touch!

Wartime memories preserved in colour

If you’ve seen John Boorman’s 1987 film Hope & Glory, you may recall the evocative sequence where the schoolchildren are marshalled into the nearby wartime air-raid shelters. Shire readers of a certain age may even remember the drill for real, with the excitement of escape from our desks being swiftly supplanted by uneasy claustrophobia as 50 or so classmates huddled closely together in the darkness. But how many readers with such memories were filmed while all this disruption was going on? I was – and in colour too! Arthur Hulme was headmaster of Elworth C of E School in South Cheshire where I was a pupil, and airraid shelter practice became part of our lives. And rightly so, because Elworth was an industrial village with Foden’s Motor Works on the other side of the school’s playground wall. The enlightened Mr Hulme decided to capture the school’s activities on film. Shot in 1941/42, School Life In Wartime shows the children donning gas masks, “digging for victory” in the school garden, knitting blanket squares, collecting salvage, solemnly drinking milk through straws and and demonstrating their prowess in reaching the shelters in record time and disciplined order. When the film was rediscovered, I was privileged to become its custodian; when the Imperial War Pupils at Elworth C of E School Museum archived the original I was given a 16mm copy. Now, 76 years beyond the Second World War, how rewarding it is that the film survives as timely evidence of those half-remembered circumstances that slowly but surely diffused into everyday school life. John Owen

Picture perfect

Thanks for sending me a copy of the September/October 2020 issue recently. I have now just seen the latest issue and as usual it is full of interesting features, which made me wonder if some of your readers George Telford’s latest painting might be interested in seeing one of my latest range of “Nantwich Paintings”. I was so pleased with the Arts & Crafts page you did about me, and thought this image might be of interest to both people local to the area and those less familiar with the town. Thanks again, George Telford

New books column is the write stuff

I just picked up the March/April issue of Shire to see that you had kindly included an excellent write-up of my second Justin Parkes thriller, First Dig Two Graves. I was also pleased to see that you have a dedicated section promoting local authors. Getting noticed is difficult and it is very encouraging to have Shire as a launchpad for we wannabe best-selling authors! Many thanks, Denis Brookes

READER F E E D B AC K Love this magazine, which I found online. How do I obtain paper copies? Jill Shire is available in most supermarkets and farm shops – usually near the till or the door. It’s free, so help yourself! Another great edition of Shire – I loved the dog owner feature as a new puppy person myself! Cath Rodgers I do like Shire magazine but have missed scouring the What’s On section while it has all been a bit quiet. Here’s hoping we’re a bit more back to normal soon! Bill Johnson

Plea for support

My name is Anne-Marie Parry and I’m trying to raise funds for my 16-yearold daughter Molly’s medical treatment and was wondering some of your readers might be interested in her story. In 2013, my beautiful daughter, then aged nine, was away boarding at Ellesmere College. She Molly has chronic fatigue syndrome was a talented piano player and flourishing in all areas of education when she was suddenly struck with flu-like symptoms and never recovered. Two years later, following several hospital admissions and tests, Molly was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. This debilitating condition affects all aspects of her life. Molly’s physical and mental health deteriorated further to the stage where she was reliant on a wheelchair, and a following my own research it is clear to me that stem cell treatment is the best way forward. It is available in Switzerland and has a high success rate of recovery in people under 25. We are now trying to raise funds for this treatment and will be organising a black-tie event, raffle and auction at a later date alongside a funding page set up at www.gofund.me/1c1b866b. I would be happy to hear from anyone who can help us. Anne-Marie and Molly May/June 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 111

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What’s in your stars? Aries

20th March – 20th April Letting go emotionally is perhaps your biggest challenge. You like to be seen as courageous, unafraid and a pioneer of the old school who would have been leader of a wagon train, soldier of fortune or adventurer, so emotions aren’t readily shown. That is changing as Jupiter moves into Pisces, bringing hidden feelings to the surface.


21st June – 23rd July Life can be understood by looking back, but we have to live it moving forward. You’re an individual to whom the past is of great value, and the advice someone older gave you a few years ago is currently appropriate. It will help you make a decision about your future. Solstice marks a midpoint in a season – soon you’ll also be halfway to somewhere!


23rd September – 22nd October As someone with an unshakeable belief in equality, you would have disagreed with the Greek philosopher Aristotle whose concept was of a Greek hierarchy and regarded the rest of the world as barbarians. You would have agreed with his idea of free will, however, which will see you arguing with a colleague over a current division of power. Fair or unfair?


21st December – 20th January In practical application, energy describes the dispersion of power. How you distribute yours is now under scrutiny. By whom, you may ask. The answer is you! You’re responsible for who and what you are, which means looking at your control centre. Organise but don’t give orders – it’s not what you do but how. Being hard on yourself often translates into being hard on others!


20th April – 21st May You’re the second of the spring signs, and are practical, productive and persevering. Usually calm, you can be coaxed but not driven – being forced into anything lights your fuse. Uranus, planet of instability, moving close to your sun sign is having an explosive effect. You can’t stop change but you can invent ways of dealing with a particularly irksome habit pattern.


23rd July – 23rd August You had expectations of life being very different this spring and it is – but not in the way you expected! Progress is slow but have patience – you are pushing through a phase and in time you will be able to arrange your life more appropriately. You are the fifth sign of the Zodiac and 2021 adds up to five – this could be your year after all!


23rd October – 22nd November The history of words has parallels. For example, “mind” and “mental” go back through Latin to a Sanskrit root connected to “moon” and “month”. A new moon in your solar chart in May suggests your mind’s on your significant other’s actions. You can’t predict the outcome, but then what is predictable isn’t always so invigorating!


20th January – 19th February You may think your luck is running out, but it isn’t – it’s just changing and you’re the best sign in the Zodiac to deal with that. Hebrew astrological law called Aquarius by the name Delphi, associated with spiritual contemplation. There’s a hint of something devotional about your current mood, calling for faith in a future plan and a calm state of mind.


21st May – 21st June Sometimes you’re so busy thinking you forget to stop and think. That’s when you need your opposite sign, Sagittarius – become student to that teacher. You’re well informed but you need to be wise with what you know. We learn from parents, school and life, but when the latter contradicts the former discernment is your special need.


23rd August – 23rd September A seed contains within it the whole structure of the tree – you also embody everything you need to be the person you want to be. Jupiter in Pisces symbolises much sensitivity in your dealings with others and will draw out of you much that is often hidden behind your critical eye. You are needed, and it suits you perfectly.


22nd November – 21st December There’s a song with the line “Don’t fence in me in” and that’s what you’ve been feeling lately – restricted. A total lunar eclipse in your sign at the end of May brings things to a head and a chapter to a close. This gives June as the best month for spreading your wings. Solstice approaches and so too does more freedom to express yourself.


19th February – 20th March If you read Aquarius you’ll see I mention luck, but believe me – there’s no such thing. We generate good fortune through the choices we make. For you, Jupiter’s move into your sign gives you the opportunity to optimise creative skills to your advantage. In doing so a personal vision can benefit your community and give you reward.

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 | May/June 2021

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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 family day out at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Win a day at Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, Wrexham

Win a family day out at West Midland Safari & Leisure Park

Create magical family memories at BeWILDerwood in Bickley Moss, a woodland full of fun, imagination and adventure! Get outdoors, explore wonky treehouses and whizz down superslides and zip wires. There are also storytelling sessions and creative craft activities to join. We have a family ticket for two adults and two children to give away.

Experience brain-teasing, mind-bending and eye-opening science and develop skills such as investigation, imagination, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving at the new discovery centre in the heart of Wrexham. We have one family ticket for two adults and two children up for grabs, so you can discover how inspiring science can be!

Closing date: 19th June

Closing date: 19th June

Get up close to incredible animals from around the world at the West Midland Safari Park in Kidderminster. Journey through the African plains where herds of zebra and giraffes roam, visit Wild Asia, home to the armoured Indian rhino, and see the world’s greatest hunters – tigers and lions. We have a family ticket to the safari drive-through adventure available, covering entry to the park. Closing date: 19th June


Congratulations to Elsie from Flintshire, the winner of last issue’s competition prize – a style makeover with Olivia May worth £1,000!

Elsie from Flintshire

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 wrote the BeWILDerwood books? a) Tom Gates b) Tom Fletcher c) Tom Blofeld 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.

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

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By the time our next edition arrives, we’re all hoping to be completely out of lockdown, fully vaccinated, open for business and raring to make the most of a super summer in the Shire patch! And what a region this is to be spending it in – so don’t miss our July and August edition, which will be packed with everything you need to know to make the most of the sunny Shire season

L E T ’ S H I T T H E B E AC H

It looks as if this summer’s holidays are going to be UK based – so where better to have some fun in the sun than at the coast? North Wales offers mile upon mile of shoreline, as well as a scattering of islands to explore, while the Wirral peninsula is also home to plenty of seaside spots. In fact we think the Shire shore is hard to beat, so we’ll be taking a closer look at what it has to offer and how we can make the most of our local coasts.

BOOK IT IN We’ll have another new author to talk to in our summer issue – this time a writer who has blended magic and mystery with Welsh folklore and legend to create a gripping tale of adventure like no other… YO U R T O W N


With the schools all shut – this time for holidays rather than lockdowns – we know you’ll need to explore with and entertain children of all ages. We’ll keep you in the loop with the best local events and activities on over the break, as well as looking at days out in the area and places to visit that will make sure no one dares to say they’re bored!

It’s show time!

Private and public gardens will be bursting into colour as the full summer show of plants and flowers brings out a bright and beautiful spectacle across the country. Whether you need to make the most of your own outside space or find a glorious garden to visit we’ll be on hand with suggestions to keep the horticulturalists happy.


Shire’s July/August issue will feature local artists and exhibitions as always and, of course, our photography competition which seems to become more popular with every edition! Find out if your entry has made it in to print – and if not, check out the topic for the next one, get out there and get snapping. FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You know we love our local food and producers, so we’ll have a packed food and drink section as always – as well as a special recipe from a well-known local chef fresh from an appearance on the television! All will be revealed in the next edition when our special guest columnist presents his awardworthy dish to you, our lovely readers.

As always, Shire will focus on a couple of prime locations within the patch and in the next issue we’re taking a closer look at Denbigh and Wem.

GO WILD We’ll keep you up to date with the latest news from wildlife trusts and charities as well as local projects that are having an impact on our creatures big and small in our wildlife section –where you’ll also find more pics of your cute pets too!

The great escape If your holiday plans were messed up last year, we all hope this summer will be a good chance to get away. Our round-up of holiday parks and destinations will help you choose where you take your post-pandemic vacation. D O N ’ T F O R G E T…

Interior inspiration Our homes and interiors section will be full of news from homebuilders in the area in case you’re looking to relocate, as well as style guides and interior design advice on art and antiques for the home to create a look that is all your own.


Don’t go anywhere until you’ve checked our What’s On guide for July and August 2021 – fingers crossed restrictions will be a thing of the past by then and we’ll be able to get out and about more, so make sure you’re ready with Shire’s What’s On guide when it’s time to go!

Shire wants to hear from you!

1. Tell us about your upcoming events We work in advance, so 1st June is the deadline to let us know about events for our July/August 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.

114 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2021

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Profile for Superstar Publishing

Shire Magazine May-June 2021  

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