Shire Magazine May-June 2024 North Wales

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FREEWHYBUYONE? MAY/JUNE 2024 HEALTH & BEAUTY | WEDDINGS | PHOTOGRAPHY | FASHION | BOOKS Horticultural heaven As the National Garden Scheme gets underway we visit new gardens taking part Amazing art news A major initiative bringing the best of Welsh art together Bright ideas Give your home a fresh new look for summer Two-wheeled action and adventure with Shire as we explore all things cycling On your bikes! WHAT’SON 60 6 0PAGE GUIDE TO LOCALEVENTS 20 2 4 ! 60-PAGE GUIDE The power of equine therapy making a di erence to people’s lives Hold your horses Love your local towns Shire visits Aberystwyth in Mid Wales Win Festival tickets, days out, hotel stays…and more! Turn to page 145 We talk to David Walliams about his Awful Auntie! NORTH WALES Cover MayJune 2024 (North Wales)DB.indd 1 26/04/2024 12:43
Independent Boarding & Day School for ages 9-19 Freedom to Flourish Award-winning education set in a 30 acre Tudor estate, nestled between the mountains of Snowdonia National Park and the North Wales coastline Experience the forefront of education at St. David’s College, where our commitment to learning support and SEN has paved the way for innovative teaching approaches, empowering all students to unlock their full potential VISIT US AT OUR NEXT OPEN DAY | 11TH M AY 20 24 + 44 (0) 1492 875974 Find o ut m ore at ww w. stdavids c olle ge.c o. uk St. David’s College, Gloddaeth Hall, Llandudno LL30 1RD 001_SHIRE North Wales_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 11:18

Publisher Dan Bromage

Editor Kate Speedie

Chief Subeditor

Wendy Reed

Sta Writers

Juliet Davies

Lynda Kenny

Alison Steele


Ella Knight

Meryl McIntosh

Advertising Design

Andy Beavis

Sales & Marketing

Pauline Jones

Jon Hunt

Distribution Manager

Paul Howard

Finance & Accounts

David Kynaston

Nicky Kynaston

Jane Osman


Holly Johnson, John Hargreaves, P Parker, Helen Cooke, Bob Hickman, Lisa Whelan, Adele

Barry, Catherine Buckley, Alice Leetham, Deborah Law, Lee Ruddin, J McKinney


Selected Images by pressfoto on Freepik

Email Shire magazine

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire

SY10 1FR

Tel: 01691 661270


It’s our favourite time of the year here at Shire. There’s so much going on and the chance to spend lots more time outdoors in the fresh air, exploring our fabulous region. We’re also coming into wedding season, so if you’re tying the knot in the next couple of months, our congratulations – and remember to breathe! Our extended weddings section features the region’s top venues and suppliers, so if you’ve forgotten the rings or Mum needs a hat, it’s not too late!

The National Garden Scheme runs throughout May and June and gives garden fans the chance to visit hundreds of stunning spaces that are not normally open to the public. We highlight our favourites on the patch, but there are many more to discover – and best of all, the proceeds go to supporting health charities and vital services

Few activities are better for your health than cycling, and in this issue we take an in-depth look at the opportunities available locally. Whether you fancy a gentle pedal with the family or prefer to hurtle down a mountainside, there are some great schemes out there helping people of all ages, fitness and ability levels get on their bikes. We also visit some of the amazing locations o ering Riding for the Disabled sessions and meet the volunteers

Somehow we’ve found space for all your usual favourites too, so the following pages are packed with homes and interiors, food and wine, art, craft, books and poetry and all the quality content you’ve come to expect. Enjoy! LOVE IT!

SHIRE MAGAZINE is published bi-monthly by Superstar Publishing Ltd. Every e ort 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 © 2024 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188. Print ISSN 2514-3913 Online ISSN 2514-3921 As therapy partners, horses can change people’s lives – read on to discover how


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.

2 Share your reader stories

Have you got an exciting or extraordinary 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.

Breathtaking locations, stunning outfits, quirky cakes – we’ve got it sorted



Everyone’s doing it and you can too! Shire brings you the ultimate guide to cycling in the region.

We have lots of regulars that readers can contribute to:

Reader photos Taken a great shot recently? Email your best e ort and it might get featured! See page 122.

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 127 for more. Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 101 for further details.

Get social Follow, like and friend us on Facebook and Instagram to be first in line for event updates, competitions and more.

Visit our website online at and send submissions and information by email to

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you… TURN TO PAGE 93 for our fantastic subscription o er A free copy of Shire delivered to your door! If you’re having trouble getting to the supermarket and would prefer your copy delivered to you at home, just send us an A4 sae with £2 postage to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. We’ll send you the latest issue by return.
May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3 Welcome MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:11

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6 What’s On

Our packed events listings cover North and Mid Wales, across Cheshire, including the Wirral, and the whole of Shropshire. Check out what’s happening where and when, including all the fun for the bank holidays and May half term.

33 Celebrity

We chat to comedian and children’s author David Walliams, whose bestseller Awful Auntie is touring as a stage show

42 Reviews

Shire’s intrepid reporters have been out and about sampling local shows and events

45 20 Questions

Under the spotlight this time is a Shropshire son and rising star of the comedy circuit

46 Saddle up

Our first in-depth feature in this issue looks at the ways horses can change lives – and at organisations across the patch providing this invaluable support

52 Town visit

Shire spent a day out in Tarporley, Cheshire

55 Holidays

From glamping pods to luxury hotels, cosy cottages to historic inns – whatever your idea of a dream break, we’ve got it covered! And if you’re thinking of investing in a place of your own, check out our selection of owner-exclusive holiday parks.

63 Active

Ever thought of taking up golf? Now’s a great time to give it a go. And we’ve a wonderful walking route for you too.

64 On your bikes!

97 Gardens

It’s a busy time for our greenfingered readers – we talk to the experts about jobs to tackle. And our guide to the best local gardens open for charity.

100 Pets & Wildlife

As always we’ve got plenty of animal antics, with contributions from the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts as well as your pet photos

106 Weddings

Our extended weddings section brings you the best of local venues, suppliers and specialist services across the patch

116 Town visit

We explore historic Whitchurch, in Shropshire

118 Health & Beauty

With advice from the experts in health, well-being and nutrition, this section will keep you looking and feeling your best this summer

120 Arts & Crafts

Introducing a new and exciting development for the Welsh art world as well as craft news, exhibitions near you – and of course your fabulous photos

124 Charity

A look at some of the voluntary and charity organisations that do so much for so many good causes in our area.

126 Books & Poetry

The pandemic inspired many to take pen to paper. We meet one North Wales writer who decided to share her work publicly for the first time in 50 years. Plus local books, book reviews and more of your wonderful poetry.

129 Schools

Our education writers round up the latest news from colleges and schools across the area and keep you up to date with developments across the sector

Our feature on all things two-wheeled will give you an excellent insight into world of cycling – whether you’re racing, mountain biking or just exploring by road.

52 Town visit

Our second destination this issue is lively Aberystwyth

141 Retirement

Top tips on how to get the most of our your later years in our retirement section

72 Food & Drink

We hear from the area’s top chefs and producers, in a section packed with recipes, news and recommendations.

80 Homes & Interiors

Need a change on the home front? From bedrooms to garden rooms, we’re getting ready for summer! Plus, brilliant ideas for Father’s Day (phew!)

145 Competitions

If you fancy your chances of winning some brilliant tickets and prizes, don’t miss our collection of exclusive competitions

146 Letters to the editor

It’s over to you as we feature a selection of the lovely letters our amazing readers have sent in to us

Food & Drink PAGE 72 Equine therapy PAGE 46 Men’s Fashion PAGE 104 20 Questions PAGE 45 MAY/JUNE 2024 Contents
PAGE 6 What’s On Home Shopping PAGE 85 Celebrity PAGE 33 PAGE 64 On your bikes! Women’s Fashion PAGE 105 Contents MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 27/04/2024 11:41


Lighting up Wrexham

Steeleye Span, 7th May The folk giants perform tracks from their new album Green Man together with classics and fan favourites. 7.30pm. Tickets £28.50.

Jimmy Carr: Laughs Funny, 8th June Fast-paced, edgy one-liners and dark comedy from the 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown maestro. 7 & 9.30pm. Tickets £35.

Tommy Blaize, 14th June Known as the voice of Strictly Come Dancing, Tommy steps out on his first solo tour with songs and stories about the dance

legends he’s worked alongside. Expect a ‘Strictly’ incredible evening! 7.30pm. Tickets £26.

Zog & The Flying Doctors, 22nd & 23rd June Zog the dragon, keen student turned air-ambulance, wreaks medical mayhem with Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout as they tend a sunburnt mermaid, a distressed unicorn and a sneezy lion. Based on the popular children’s story by Julia Donaldson. 10.30am & 1.30pm. Tickets £15.

Immerse yourself


Mostyn is open Tues-Sat 10.30am4.30pm, entry is free

At Mostyn Llandudno until 29th June, Paul Maheke’s ‘To Be Blindly Hopeful’ combines drawings, prints, videos and paintings in thoughtful installations, while Cohen and Van Balen’s ‘Daughter of Dog’ is occupied with forms of aggression, love and loss. Until 22nd June you can also shop Mostyn’s Retail Showcase, a curated collection of contemporary craft and print by artists from Wales and across the UK.

On the map…

At Oriel Môn throughout 2024, ‘Mapping Anglesey’ explores the island through maps – from rare 16th-century manuscripts to estate maps and coastal charts. Also on show: until 23rd June Sian McGill presents new works inspired by the Welsh landscape, expressing her deep connection to wild, beautiful spaces. And until 7th July see the short-listed entries for the Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize alongside some of his original work. Open Tuesday–Sunday 10am-5pm. Free entry.


Jimmy Carr sang backing vocals on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Visiting Hours’

Live in Bethesda

Leela James, 11th May R&B powerhouse Leela has achieved seven top 20 singles, including two number ones on the Billboard Charts. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.

Skerryvore, 17th May Hailing from all over Scotland, the band perform a unique fusion of folk, rock and Americana representing their differing personalities and heritage. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.

Pat Thomas & the Kwashibu Area Band, 22nd June Ghanaian highlife legend Pat is revered as the ‘Golden Voice of Africa’. 7pm. Tickets £14. www.

Made in Wales

Ceramic Wales on 15th-16th June promises the perfect mix of pots, plants and food! Run in collaboration with Bodrhyddan Hall, near Rhuddlan, it combines the long-running Bodrhyddan Plant Fayre with the addition of food stalls. There’ll be exquisite pieces of sculpture and vessels to buy, craft suppliers to browse and beautiful gardens to explore. Not to be missed! www.

ON 6 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Ruth Green, ‘Concise Flora’
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Sian McGill




Fun and frolics at Venue Cymru

Awful Auntie, 16th-19th May A new production of David Walliams’ amazing adventure, featuring a small ghost, a huge owl and a very awful Auntie! Various times. Tickets from £21.

Rhod Gilbert and the Giant Grapefruit, 23rd & 24th May Hilariously dark, passionate and way too personal, this is classic Gilbert, squeezing every last drop out of life’s latest curveballs. 8pm. Tickets £38.

Rhod has raised over £2 million for Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardi

Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals, 30th May This exhilarating evening will showcase 12 Strictly favourites, supported by incredible singers and a live band. Expect glamour and sparkle! 7.30pm. Tickets from £38.

Jools Holland, 1st June Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra bring boogie-woogie classics spanning his career. 7.30pm. Tickets from £54.50.

Run away to the circus!

Roll up, roll up for Gandeys Circus’ Hollywood Spectacular at Bodafon Field, Llandudno from 22nd-27th May. Brace yourselves for a seamless blend of circus magic and the glittering glamour of Hollywood. This is a show that demands your attention – a wild rollercoaster to captivate the entire family. From crazy comedy to the graceful acrobatics of the flying trapeze, every moment is a spectacle. Afternoon and evening shows, tickets from £9.99.

Welcome home, Louis!

Steaming into Portmeirion

In the Valley

•4th-6th May, Steam on Road and Rail, Bala Lake Railway Experience an evocative combination of steam trains and steam road traction vehicles.

•4th & 5th and 25th & 26th May, The Castle Garrison, Caernarfon Train to become a page or squire with the Red Dragon Garrison and join in fun activities medieval style. 11am3pm. Normal admission applies.

•10th May, Beatles Complete, Llangollen Town Hall A night of Beatlemania with hits performed by talented Liverpudlians with a Cavern Club residency. 7.30pm. Tickets £21.68.

•10th-25th May, Constellations, Theatr Mix, Mold Sliding Doors meets When Harry Met Sally in Nick Payne’s award-winning drama about the infinite possibilities of love. 2.30 & 7.30pm. Tickets from £10.

Steampunk Wales is visiting the iconic location of Portmeirion on 4th-5th May, the perfect setting for steampunkers from far and wide. Put on your best flying goggles and enjoy a weekend of promenading and socialising, with the odd bit of spontaneous teapot racing and duelling! Show off your creations at the Fashion Show or enjoy a musical evening with the Hornettes. See

Two children per adult ride for £1 at Fairbourne Steam Railway’s Gala Weekend on 25th-27th May, celebrating the 100th birthday of its Count Louis engine. Ruislip Lido Railway’s Mad Bess will be heading north to Barmouth to join him. There’ll be train rides on the narrow-gauge line, with splendid views of Cader Idris, as well as lots of other attractions. Timetable at

•11th May, Llangollen Garden Railway Festival, Royal International Pavilion Browse over 50 stalls, demonstrations and layouts from di erent periods and countries. £12 (up to 3 children free with paying adult). Call 01978 860 828.

Bring your furry friends for a Doggie Day Out at Greenfield Valley, Holywell on 25th May (11am-3pm). There’ll be contests to enter, and North Clwyd Animal Rescue will be there with lots of doggie treats. There’s Railway & Steam Open Days on 26th May & 30th June – and music lovers will enjoy the Family Friendly Festival on 1st June with live bands and activities (1pmlate). £12.50 (over-4s £6.50).

•11th May, Caernarfon Food Festival A fantastic mix of local produce, street food and drinks, craft stalls and live music fills the streets of the town. 10am-5pm. Free.

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•11th May, Colwyn Bay Vegan Market Foodies, artisan market fans and animal lovers can enjoy a whole range of eats, treats and gifts. 10am-4pm. Free entry.

•12th May, Cyanotype Printing, Ruthin Craft Centre Join Mary Thomas to learn the Victorian photo processes of cyanotype, lumen, cyanolumen and phytogram. 10.30am-4pm. £55.

•12th May, Rowen Village Open Gardens Visit 20 varied gardens in the beautiful Conwy Valley with plant stalls and refreshments in aid of the Memorial Hall. £7 (children free).

•16th May, Annual Drinks Party Fundraiser, Knolton Hall, Overton, Wrexham Join Clwyd Special Riding Centre charity at their annual fundraiser. With views of the River Dee and the Denbighshire, Montgomeryshire and Cheshire Hills, Knolton Hall is the setting for a wonderful evening – rain or shine! 6.309pm. Tickets £25 via www. (search ‘Clwyd Special Riding Centre’).

•17th-19th May, Open-Air Cinema, Chirk Castle Pack a picnic, a blanket or folding chair and immerse yourselves in OG Top Gun (17th), Dirty Dancing (18th) or a Grease Sing-A-Long against the castle backdrop.

18th May, Wrexham Artisan Market Browse and support small and independent businesses – from gifts to street food and family entertainment. 10am-1pm. Free.

•19th May, Hafodunos Hall Artisan Market & Open Day, Abergele Culture, shopping, food, live music and entertainment, and a chance to explore the house and gardens. 11am-5pm. £5 (children free).

Days at the races

Wrexham Day, 18th May

Enjoy a day out at the only racecourse in Wrexham – in fact, the only course in North Wales! Gates 1.30pm, racing from 4pm.

Family Fun Evening, 28th May Celebrate the holiday with friends and family watching thrilling races at this rare evening fixture. From 4.30pm.

Ladies Day, 8th June Dig out those divine dresses, suave suits and fabulous fascinators for this iconic fixture! Enter the best-dressed competition in the

Operation Julie, 15th-18th May Breaking Bad collides with The Good Life in this anarchic play with ’70s prog-rock soundtrack. The plot is based on the police undercover operation that resulted in dozens of arrests, the discovery of LSD worth £100 million and the smashing of an international drugs ring. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.

Come and see Beaumaris Castle transported back to medieval times from 25th-27th May Learn spear drills and skills in combat, and see how soldiers would attack and defend the castle. Learn about weapons, archery and medieval food. Look out for the castle executioner, with his grim stories of torture and the jester with his deathdefying tricks. There’ll be a knights’ battle – new recruits are invited to join the Captain, Nicholas Horton! 10am-5pm, standard admission applies.

Paddock Enclosure where the judges will pick a lucky winner. From 11.30am.


Jockey and author Dick Francis rode his first winner, Wrenbury Tiger, here in 1947

Glast-on-Dee Music Night, 28th June Bangor-on-Dee transforms into a festival ground, with live performances, food and drink, activities for kids and a thrilling evening of racing. From 4.30pm.

Dangerous liaisons…

Romeo and Juliet, 14th & 15th June Ballet Cymru reworks Shakespeare’s masterpiece, with exquisite costumes and extraordinary video projections creating a world of danger and excitement as two young lovers are caught in an age-old feud. 2 & 7.30pm. Tickets £16.


is May half-term explore a unique line-up of activities for all ages at Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, Wrexham. Catch their latest public show, Light Fantastic, which uncovers the mysteries of light in an engaging and interactive show led by the talented team of science communicators. Delve deeper into the cosmos with exclusive access to the In atable Planetarium for only £2, where you’ll journey through the universe and witness the beauty of the night

sky as never before. Tickets are £9.40 (under-3s free, family £33).

And don’t forget to mark the calendar for the highlight of the holidays – Xplore!’s own Family Funday extravaganza with Wrexham Museum on 25th May. Come along to Queen’s Square for a day of fun, free family activities!

8 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
All in a knight’s work
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Way to go!

Snowdonia’s Trefriw Walking Festival returns from 17th-19th May, offering 22 varied walks based around the Conwy Valley. The programme has something for everyone, from tough hikes high in the mountains to leisurely rambles. Each day offers something different: scramble up the iconic Glyders; follow the Huw Tom Upland Walk sprinkled with historical remnants and relics, or explore Gwydir Castle and its gardens. Follow



Refreshments are available to walkers in the village hall for a small donation

rivers through gorges and over waterfalls, watch for rare birds on the mountains or practise some mindfulness in the forest. You can even Hike & eBike or try an intro to trail running! All walks begin and end in Trefriw and are led by experienced leaders. Booking is essential.

Showtime at the Stiwt

Sherlock’s Excellent Adventure, 15th May Edinburgh Fringe sensations Our Star Theatre Company present their comedy about a hitherto unpublished case. Join Holmes and Watson on a wacky farcical adventure to defeat Moriarty! 7.30pm. Tickets £18.

Tasty trains

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways have teamed up with Caernarfon Food Festival, and on 11th May you can travel on the ‘Harbourmaster’ service from Porthmadog, stopping off

to savour the event. Minffordd Station hosts a Model Railway Workshop on 18th-19th May with layouts and model-making demonstrations. And on 7th-8th June Cwrw ar y Cledrau Rail Ale Festival returns to Dinas Station with live music and steam trains!

A Celebration of Welsh Voices, 22nd June The Rhos Male Voice Choir performs, with support from close harmony singers Hen Fegin, folk trio Sorela, and Welsh traditional folk singer Linda Griffiths. 7pm. Tickets £15.

Rail and ale

Llangollen Railway’s Diesel & Industrial Heritage Gala on 1st-2nd June showcases its resident locos, with an intensive timetable and Saturday evening service. There’s an Evening Event Train on 8th June, on 29th June the Real Ale Train returns with local craft beers to purchase on board. More information at www.

Heavy is the head…

During the bloody Wars of the Roses, Queen Margaret of Anjou sheltered at Harlech Castle. Learn about her plight as you go back to the 1460s on 4th-6th May. The Plantagenets event on 25th-27th May offers thrilling tournaments with knights on horseback, precision archery, graceful dancing and live music –a non-stop tour of medieval life! 11am-4pm, standard admission applies.

•19th May, Plant Fair, Stamford Gate Hotel, near Holywell Hardy Plant Society Clwyd hosts a range of nurseries’ plant stalls. Maybe enjoy a co ee or a locally sourced meal at the hotel whilst you’re there? 10.30am-1.30pm. Free entry.

•21st-25th May, Home, I’m Darling, Grove Park Theatre, Wrexham Laura Wade’s darkly funny play portrays the realities of a 1950s ‘perfect’ homelife.

•22nd May, Heritage Walk, nr Corwen NWWT has teamed up with Ramblers Cymru for a circular 2-3hr guided walk around Cynwyd. Learn about natural heritage and survey for invasive non-native species along the route. 10am-1pm. Donations appreciated.

•22nd May, Make Your Own Shorts or Trousers, Abakhan Mostyn Learn how to cut fabric from a pattern, sew pieces together, including a pocket, and attach a waistband. 10.30am-4.30pm. £55.

•25th May, Welsh Wrestling, Galeri Caernarfon An evening of glitz, glamour and body slam mayhem! 7pm. £13.

•25th May, Bryn y Maen Show, Colwyn Bay Fun for all the family, featuring vintage vehicles, rural crafts, exhibits and stalls. Entrance fee applies. WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 19TH-25TH MAY

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•31st May, Old Time Sailors, Llangollen Town Hall Sail back to the 1800s with a rabblerousing crew of 17 musicians in an immersive show of traditional seafaring music! 7pm. £15.

•1st June, Deganwy Prom Day

A family fun day with activities, stalls, food and music. There’ll be a Fun Dog Show at noon with lots of rosettes to be won. 11am-4pm. Free entry.

Really Rhyl

31ST MAY – 7TH JUNE Don’t you forget…

•1st June, Chirk Carnival Enjoy the festivities and live entertainment with an artisan market, street food and bar, fairground and arena attractions. 10am-1pm. Tickets via Ticketsource.

•4th & 9th June, My National Gallery, Pontio, Bangor Celebrities, gallery sta and art experts paint a unique portrait of this iconic British institution. 8.15pm (4th) & 2pm (9th). £15.

•Until 7th June, Mark McNulty: ‘A Bay View’, Coed Pella, Colwyn Bay Oriel Colwyn and The Northern Eye present Mark’s photos of 307 people snapped in the Bayview Shopping Centre. Mon-Thur 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-4.45pm. Free.

•7th-9th June, Alibis in the Archive, Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden Enjoy a weekend of all things mystery, with convivial company and speakers including the creator of Taggart. £170.

The Searchers Live in Concert, 9th May Catch the band’s farewell and thank you tour, with hits such as ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ and ‘Needles & Pins’. 7.30pm. Tickets £35.

Tom Allen: Completely, 24th May Enjoy the acerbic wit and riotous storytelling of this household name – a mix of realism and ripe exaggeration. 8pm. Tickets £28.

Top Secret – The Magic of Science, 28th May Hang on to your seats as the Pavilion is transformed into a real-life lab filled with mystery, suspense and lots of mess! 2pm. Tickets £15.

Nadiya & Kai, 15th June The duo will take you on a personal journey, from their childhood memories, competition days, dancing on Strictly and beyond. 7.30pm. Tickets from £28.

Bryan Adams (18th June), Simple Minds (19th June), Manic Street Preachers and Suede (28th June) are just a few of the legendary acts arriving in Llangollen as part of the International Musical Eisteddfod ‘Headliners’ series. The stellar line-up

the navy

Travel through time at Gwrych Castle’s Living History Event on 25th-27th May, hosted by the HMS Wales Reenactment Society. Find out what it was like to serve in the Navy during Nelson’s career. Try musket firing, games, dressing-up and Nelson’s Navy Challenge, and witness the real fire power of the cannons! The Artisan Market on 30th June is a chance to stock up on goodies, with live music.

KNOW? Tom waited tables at a restaurant called Prima Donna

also features double platinum and BRIT awardwinning artist Paloma Faith on 21st June and Yorkshire’s own Kaiser Chiefs on 29th June

Find a full programme for the concerts and all Eisteddfodd events at www.

ings can only get better

Remember when rhythm was a dancer and groove was in the heart? Then grab your bucket hat for the Save The Rave 90s Festival at Anglesey Showground on 29th June. Details at www.

If tributes are your thing, try the Look-A-Like Festival on 30th June – or maybe do both.

Enjoy two free exhibitions at Wrexham’s Ty Pawb until 22nd June. Photographer Mohamed Hassan presents ‘Bom Dia Cymru’, including works co-created with a Portuguese community in Wrexham, and Clyde Holmes’ ‘Uplandscapes’ retrospective is a series of paintings inspired by his remote Bala home. On 31st May groundbreaking musicians Cwmwl Tystion III/Empathy explore Welsh history and identity. Tickets £14 via Eventbrite. Join

12 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Celebrating Welshness WONorth Wales MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 5 26/04/2024 10:25
22-25GorffennafJuly2024 RoyalWelshShowgroundLlanelweddLD23SY SioeFrenhinolCymru RoyalWelshShow Tickets available online 01248 38 28 28 Bangor Kiri PritchardMcLean: Peacock Sadwrn 7 Rhagfyr Saturday 7 December 7:30pm Dyddiadau i’ch Dyddiadur Dates for your Diary Ballet Cymru Romeo a Juliet 14 + 15 Mehefin / June Taking Flight Mae Gen Ti Ddreigiau You’ve Got Dragons 21 - 27 Mehefin / June Cwmwl Tystion III Empathy Iau 30 Mai Thurs 30 May 7:30pm Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru Welsh National Orchestra Croesi Ffiniau Crossing Borders Gwener 12 Gorffennaf Friday 12 July 7pm Pontio Shires April 24 198x140mm.indd 1 15/04/2024 14:54 010_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 11:38

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Grace Williams: Penillion | Ethel Smyth: ‘The Wreckers’ Overture

Percy Grainger: Irish Tune from County Derry (‘Danny Boy’)

Malcolm Arnold: Scottish Dances

Elgar: Pomp & Circumstance Marches Nos 2 & 4.

About the Wrexham

The WSO has grown to its present day membership numbering over sixty players and regularly attracts professional guest conductors and outstanding



Plus all events are included on the new What’s on AppFree for all to use




Registered Charity No 519295
Symphony Orchestra Wrexham Symphony Orchestra are William Aston Hall’s resident orchestra. Founded in 1969 by the late Bryn Williams, then senior lecturer of Music at Cartrefle Teacher Training College in Wrexham.
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Wonders of the wild

Wildlife Gardening Drop-in Morning, Bangor HQ, 8th May Join NWWT’s experts and find out how to create a meadow patch, a pond, a cottage border or mini woodland. 10am-1pm. Donations.

A Morning Walk on the Denbigh Moors, 16th May Explore Gors Maen Llwyd reserve and hopefully see the skylark and other birds as they return from migration. 10am. £2, booking essential.

Coed Crafnant Celtic Rainforest Walk, 28th May

Following the Crafnant Trail, learn about the rainforest, its migratory birds and luscious ferns and lichens. 10am-4pm. £5, booking essential.

Discover Cemlyn, 2nd June A guided walk to see sandwich, common and Arctic teRns nesting at this spectacular colony. 11am-1pm. £2, booking essential.

Star turns at Holyhead’s Ucheldre

Old Time Sailors, 12th May Sing along and dance to traditional shanties. Fancy dress is encouraged, so pull out your best seafaring garb and join in the fun! 7.30pm. Tickets £25.

Gruffydd Wyn, 29th June

The Britain’s Got Talent star performs mesmerising new songs. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.

Little things

Musical Memoir, 15th-18th May

Rhyl & District MTC celebrates its 85th birthday with songs from shows they’ve performed over the years – and shows they’d love to do! 7.30pm. Tickets £10.

Beauty and the Beast, 31st May

Phoenix Performers’ magical panto retains the story’s essence of mystery and romance, infusing it with topical humour and audience interaction. 2.30 & 7.30pm. £12.


Arctic terns hold the record for the longest migration – all the way to the Antarctic

Nurturing the spirit

‘Spiritual Writers’ is the theme of the 10th Annual Poetry & Arts Festival of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society taking place on 13th-16th June. Centred on the village of Aberdaron the programme offers plenty for literature enthusiasts, art lovers and those who want be inspired by the poetry of Thomas and the art of Eldridge, including walks, a workshop, readings, discussions and choral music. Enjoy the beach and sea sports too. See

Land of the giants

Established some 140 years ago, Llanrwst Rural Show on 29th June is a showcase for cattle, sheep, horses, fur and feather, locally produced food and crafts. There’ll be pet dog contests, an axe demonstration, carriage driving, vintage tractors, farm machinery and even Aldabra giant tortoises! Gates 9am, entry £8 (child £3).

•8th June, Caerwys Agricultural Show, Holywell A traditional livestock show, with carriage driving, dog show, vintage vehicles, the Clywd Axemen and Kangaroo Kid stunts. 9am. £10 (child £5).

•12th-15th June, Sweet Charity, Theatr Mix, Mold A groovy, hilarious musical about the hapless but unflappable Charity as she desperately seeks love in 1960s New York. Various times. Tickets from £17.

•13th-16th June, Parafest, Caerwys, Flintshire A feast of para flyers and a family-friendly music festival with live bands, real ales and cocktails, food and an artisan market. Weekend tickets £95.

•16th June, Pensychnant Open Gardens, Sychnant Pass, Conwy A little gem with wildlife garden, cottage borders, archaeological trail and woods. 11am-5pm. £4.

•16th June, I, Spie, Church House, Glan Conwy This spellbinding concertplay is an imagined story of John Dowland as he combines his life as a court musician with Elizabethan espionage. 7.30pm. £18.

•21st June, Soul & Motown Night, Venue Cymru, Llandudno Keep the faith at this great night of soul classics in the Orme Suite with DJs Garry Carr, Mickey Moonshine and Nige Watkinson. 7.30pm. £12.50. WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 8TH-21ST JUNE

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•22nd June: Teddy Bear Picnic, Bodnant Welsh Footstall-y-Cafn A family day out full of fun – and teddies! There’ll be crafts, a bear hunt and competition for the best bear. £5 (£12 with picnic box).

•22nd June, Denbigh Carnival A funfair, falconry, live music, wrestling, morris dancing, animal antics, prestige gaming and more make for a great family day out. Noon-5pm. Free entry.

•22nd June, Beauty and the Beast, Erddig, Wrexham Chapterhouse Theatre’s new adaptation features original music and sparkling humour in the delightful setting of Erddig’s Rose Garden. 5.30pm. £22 (child £13.20).

•23rd June, Ukefest, Memorial Hall, Llandudno Junction A one-day festival of top British ukulele talent, workshops and playalongs, featuring Phil Doleman and the Mersey Belles & Beaus. 11am-8pm. Free entry.

•Until 23rd June, Sian McGill, Oriel Môn, Llangefni New work inspired by the Welsh landscape, expressing a deep connection to wild and beautiful spaces. Tue-Sun. 10am-5pm. Free.

•28th & 29th June, Doctor Dolittle, Oriel Plas Glyny-Weddw, Llanbedrog An exciting new family musical performed with flair and wit by Illyria in the great outdoors. Learn how to talk to the animals! 7pm. £18 (3-14s £12).

Wales on show

FOCUS Wales takes over Wrexham from 9th-11th May with a mind-expanding mix of music and events. Awarded Best Festival for Emerging Talent, the international showcase festival marks its 14th birthday as it welcomes over 20,000 visitors to the city. Over 250 artists from across the world will appear in a variety of venues, as bands old and new take to the festival’s 20 stages. Headliners include Spiritualized, The Mysterines, The Royston Club and more.

FOCUS Wales Film Festival will showcase new

films, offering interactive industry events and networking opportunities.

Festival passes from £75, day passes from £40, individual events bookable via

Music to delight your ears

Very Santana, 11th May Enjoy beautiful guitar melodies and the creative, unique, diverse and challenging songs of Carlos Santana, recreated by this band of skilled musicians. 7.30pm. Tickets £21.50.

There’ll be ships and brigands aplenty at Conwy Pirate Festival on 8th-9th June. Watch as they sail into the harbour, guns blazing, as land-based artillery returns fire and the garrison protects the medieval castle. There’ll be pirate-themed games, a smugglers market and live music. Where can you get a better family-friendly pirate event that’s free?

In the evening, the Old Time Sailors return with a rousing singalong at a ticketed event on the Quay (£20 via Eventbrite).


Wrexham’s own Royston Club formed in 2019 and have already played Glastonbury

Budapest Café Orchestra, 28th June This snappily attired, unconventional band delivers traditional Balkan and Russian pieces, Romantic masterpieces and Gaelic folk in their own fresh and surprising way. 7.30pm. Tickets £20.

All things Celtic

Catrin Finch & Aoife Ní Bhriain, 10th May The virtuoso duo explore a musical world of creative possibility, challenge and discovery, linked by the cultural, linguistic and political ties of their home countries. 7.30pm. Tickets £22.

John ac Alun yn Dathlu 35, 14th June Celebrate 35 years of Wales’ most beloved country duo, with support from their musical friends and local funnyman Dilwyn Morgan. 7pm. Tickets £15.

Vintage day out

There’s fun for all the family at Anglesey Vintage Rally on 18th-19th May at the Agricultural Showground. Alongside the steam engines, vintage vehicles, tractors, commercial vehicles, classic cars and motorcycles, there’ll be craft stalls and demos, live entertainment, fairgound rides, an artisan market, beer tent and great food. Gates open 10am. Tickets £10 (under-16s free). www.

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Seasonal highlights not to be missed

National Trust Cymru care for an amazing collection of gardens and parks and with spring flowers in abundance and summer blooms hot on their heels, May and June are two of the best months to visit them. From Italianate terraces and walled gardens to arboretums and countryside estates there’s more than 500 years of Welsh history to uncover and plenty to explore throughout the seasons.


About half of the world’s population of bluebells can be found right here in the UK. See them transforming Welsh woodlands into delicate seas of blue from late March to mid-May.

Plas yn Rhiw, Llyn Peninsula

This picture-perfect cottage garden is the perfect spot to escape into nature. Breathe in the fragrance of old-fashioned blooms, enjoy glorious views over Cardigan Bay, and see a spectacular sea of bluebells carpeting the woodland floor. Please note: The house is currently closed for conservation work.

Wild garlic

Wild garlic can be found growing in lush green swathes beneath the shady canopy of woodland trees - and if you’re close to some in late spring, your nose will soon alert you!

Erddig Hall and Garden, Wrexham

Erddig’s estate is full of footpaths that wind their way through ancient woodlands and alongside nature-rich rivers and ponds. Follow the orange waymarked trail from early May to discover carpets of white flowering wild garlic – and be sure to savour their distinctive fragrance as you stroll.


What would an English – or indeed a Welsh – garden be without its roses? From June onwards they flower in abundance, here’s some of the top spots to see them;

Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Bodnant’s five Italianate terraces were designed at the turn of the 20th century by Henry McLaren, and following recent renovation, they are now blossoming better than ever. See 1,500 show-stopping blooms fill the terraces and breathe in their heady scent as you enjoy sweeping views of the mountains beyond.

Discover more exciting days out near you here:


Castle and Garden, Wrexham

After the Second World War Lady Margaret Myddelton revived this garden by creating a new and colourful planting scheme. Roses were her favourite - especially scented ones - so enjoy a treat for the senses as you explore the petite, but bustling Rose Garden.

Powis Castle and Garden, Welshpool

Take a walk down to the Edwardian Formal Garden at Powis, where a kaleidoscope of colour waiting to greet you as hundreds of roses spill from the borders, grow up hoops, and tumble down at the feet of classical statues.


Wildflower meadows have declined by 97% since the 1930s, however, National Trust Cymru have been working hard to revive these precious landscapes across Wales and have restored 213 hectares to date. You can find a couple of them in bloom from May to August here.

Penrhyn Castle and Garden, Bangor

In the grounds of this dramatic Neo-norman castle, the meadows are awash with wildflowers. Find a quiet spot to enjoy a picnic and immerse yourself in nature as you listen to humming bees and watch the swooping swallows that come to feed on the different insects that are supported by the flowers and grasses.

Plas Newydd House and Garden, Ynys Môn (Anglesey)

Once a muddy rugby pitch, Cae Maes y Frân is now one of Anglesey’s Coronation Meadows, recognised for its abundant, species-rich, wildlife. Explore five vibrant acres that are brimming with naturally occurring plants, grasses, and flowers, all of which support our native bees and other insects, animals, and birds

May half term

Half term is just around the corner and whether you’re reaching for the sun cream or pulling on your raincoat, National Trust Cymru has a whole host of events and activities that are guaranteed to keep your little explorers entertained, whatever the weather.

From wild play areas and activity-filled family trails to hands-on craft activities and colourful woodland walks, there’s plenty to choose from to help you make the most of the warmer, brighter days of spring.

Celebrate National Children’s Gardening Week at Erddig Hall and Garden and Penrhyn Castle and Garden, discover more about butterflies and bees at Chirk Castle and Garden, go headto-head in sporty activities at Plas Newydd Houseand Garden, or join the Tiger Trail at Powis Castle and Garden.

ˆ @NTCymru @NTCymru @NTCymru
©National Trust Images: Joe Wainwright, James Dobson, Trevor Ray Hart, Clwb Camera Dwyfor, Trust Annapurna Mellor, Paul Harris
Bluebells at Plas yn Rhiw Wild garlic at Erddig Penrhyn Castle - Children exploring the garden Chirk Castle - Family time in the garden Powis Castle and Garden
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Penrhyn Castle and Garden


Women of the Willow Globe

Unversed, 25th May What’s a girl to do when she’s not allowed on stage? Enjoy Beckis Cooper’s passionate, intimate and thoughtful exploration of Shakespeare’s well-versed ladies. 7pm. Tickets £14.

e School of Night, 15th June Fun feats of improvised poetry. Dr Seuss, Pinter or Chaucer – you choose! 7pm. Tickets £14.

King Lear Retold, 22nd June With a passionate command of verse and powerful physicality, Debs Newbold’s storytelling will catapult

reads old and new

Newtown Textile Museum re-opens to coincide with e Braid Society’s 30th anniversary exhibition (until 11th May). Members give free demonstrations on 11th May, with a Try Braiding workshop on 5th May (from £25). On 19th May there’s a visit to Steve Attwood-Wright's studio near Sarn, and on 7th June Caroline Martin will demonstrate spinning techniques. Why not dress up and have your photo taken in the Victorian-style bedroom?

Let’s go to the show!

ere’s entertainment for the whole family at Aberystwyth & Ceredigion County Show on 8th June at Capel Bangor. is traditional event attracts over 1,700 livestock entries as well as a host of trade stands. ere’ll be a classic car display, fairground and donkey rides, sporting fun and a speed shearing evening concert with Welsh stars. Gates open 9am. Tickets £10 (14-18s £5).

epic.7pm. Tickets £15.

Dauntless: Grace O’Malley, Pirate Queen 23rd June Debs Newbold gleefully delivers the boisterous and inspirational story of her hero, Grainne ni Mhaille – legendary Irish clan chief and queen of the sea. 3pm. Tickets £15.


Prog-rock legend Rick Wakeman headlines MACH24 on 22nd-26th May, along with Circus of Horrors and Pete the Magician. e motorbike and music festival near Machynlleth is an annual celebration of riding, chilling, great music and movies, as well as home-cooked food and real ales. Join one of the expert ride-outs or relax into your own amazing ride and return to inspiring talks. Tickets are £115.

Something a bit di erent…

Shear delight

Have fun at Llanerchaeron this half term, 25th May-2nd June. Follow a nature trail around the garden and farmyard, or visit the house to learn all about the Lewes family history. Ever watched a sheep get a haircut? Don't miss Shearing 22nd June! Standard uk/visit/wales/llanerchaeron

Green Events in Llanwrtyd Wells hosts the ercely competitive Welsh Open Stone-skimming Championships on 26th May – there’s lots of classes, entry is £5. And on 8th June it’s their famous Whole Earth Man v Horse Challenge. Watch runners and riders race across 22.5 miles of hills and bogs for a cash prize! Join the Drovers’ Walks on 22nd June and you can retrace the footsteps of the herdsmen who once drove their livestock across these mountains to market. ere’s a choice of 12 or 20-mile trails through beautiful countryside – the routes are not waymarked but maps will be provided. For full details and to register see

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All things country

e Smallholding & Countryside Festival returns to the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells on 18th-19th May, celebrating the best of rural life.

e weekend event is a showcase of the diversity of the Welsh countryside and a fantastic day out for families, garden enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in the great outdoors. With a packed

Giants of the past

Retro vehicle fans won’t want to miss Caersws Vintage Rally on 27th May, showcasing the best of our industrial heritage, including tractors, cars, commercial vehicles, stationary engines, motorbikes and more. Hosted by MidWales Vintage Machinery Club at Red House Farm, this is one of the biggest and best displays in Mid Wales. 9am-5pm.

Montgomery Canal Triathlon returns on 18th May, an endurance event along the towpath and canal. Entrants can do the whole course or part, making it a great day out for friends and family, experienced triathletes and those who just enjoy a communal bike ride, paddle or walk.

e challenge includes a 12.5-mile cycle from Newtown’s Riverside venue to Belan; 5 miles by canoe through Welshpool to Pool Quay, and 9.5 miles on foot to the recently reinstated Schoolhouse Bridge, Crickheath. Entry from £6.50 via



programme of livestock and equine competitions, over 200 trade stands, displays, activities and live music, there’s lots to enjoy. Sample the treats in the Food Hall or grab a tasty bite at one of the many stalls. Tickets £18 online (child £5, family £40).


‘Rhythm of Land and Sea’, at Machynlleth’s MOMA from18th May, features Mark Warner’s expressive paintings inspired by the West Wales coast.

From 22nd June you can view entries to the Tabernacle Art Competition, ‘On a Windy Day’. e Amer-Imeri folk ensemble from Georgia perform on 15th May and the tribute Beatles Complete on 7th

Readers, rejoice!


•4th May, Gigspanner, Presteigne Assembly Rooms Former Steeleye Span fiddler Peter Knight performs in this groundbreaking trio – the most quietly brilliant set of musicians in the folk world. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.

•4th-5th May, International Antiques & Collectors Fair of Wales, Royal Welsh Agricultural Showground, Builth Wells One of the largest fairs in the country, with up to 1,000 stands o ering a wide selection of antiques, retro and vintage items. Entry from £5.

•6th May, Spring Bird Walk, Gilfach, St Harmon, Rhayader Join Radnorshire Wildlife Trust spotting birds at Gilfach. Keep your ears open for the call of the cuckoo around Pont Marteg, and pied flycatchers and redstarts. 6-10.30am. £10 (members £7.50) via Eventbrite.

•11th May,

The legendary Welsh musical institution is joined by local soloist Jessamy Ashton. 7pm. £15.

•12th May & 14th June, Mindfulness Walks, Powis Castle Mindfulness coach Catherine guides you through the gardens and woodland areas of Powis on a tranquil stroll. Learn to switch o from the stresses of daily life. 9-11am. £20 (over-16s only).

From crime ction to rock music, paleontology to poetry, farming and nature to the annual big quiz night, Monty Lit Fest on 7th-9th June has something for everyone. Expect a real buzz in Montgomery, with a poetry-themed art exhibition, buskers and musical groups, street food and refreshments. ere’ll be writers’ workshops, book signings, storytelling and hymn singing with Côr Meibion Penybontfawr. e full programme is online at www.

a triathlon
Treorchy Male Choir, China Street Chapel, Llanidloes
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•Until 15th May, Bestiary, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown

A collaborative exhibition of real or imaginary creatures by the Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand and Aberystwyth Printmakers. Tue-Sat 10am-6pm.

17th May, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Judge's Lodging, Presteigne A one-man stage adaptation of the Victorian Gothic thriller, with Jonathan Goodwin as Sherlock Holmes and a host of other characters. 7pm. Tickets £13.80

25th May, All About Bees, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth A great day out learning about the fascinating life of the honey bee and how honey gets from comb to jar. 10am-4pm. £125 (adult and 1-2 children, over-7s only).

•25th-27th May, Steaming, Internal Fire Museum of Power, Tanygroes

A chance to see their magnificent machines in steam power, as well as other engines. 10.30am-5pm. Tickets £10 (under-12s £4).

•26th-27th May, Ceredigion Garden, Craft & Food Festival, Aberaeron Organised by Ceredigion & District Growers Association, there’ll be stalls selling plants, craft and food, plus children’s entertainment. 10am-5pm. Free.

•30th May-3rd June, Fire in the Mountain, near Aberystwyth An earthy alternative festival with a family atmosphere. Join the headliners jamming by the campfire. Weekend tickets from £195.

Soothing moments at Gregynog

National Garden Scheme Spring Open Day, 11th May Enjoy the gardens at their glorious best and raise funds for care charities. Why not indulge in afternoon tea, served from noon-2.30pm?

Llyr Williams: Summer Concert, 8th June e Welsh pianist will perform Beethoven’s sonatas No.2, No.17 e Tempest and No.21 Waldstein, and is joined by violinist Ezo Sarici performing

Tiger in the Castle

Daniel Trivedy’s ‘A Tiger in the Castle’ runs until 31st May in the ballroom at Powis Castle. e artist’s response to the Castle’s colonial connections, the exhibition is described as “a playful form of disruption” and comprises photography, lmed performance and interview.

Powis Castle houses one of the world’s great collections of art and historical objects, assembled by generations of the Clive family during British colonisation of the Indian subcontinent.

Calling history lovers…

Talyllyn Railway invites you to join the Slate Trail every ursday in June. Explore picturesque Fathew Valley and the World Heritage Site in original Victorian carriages hauled by a Victorian locomotive. Guides will talk you through the history of the area, there’ll be photo stops, a tour of the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum and the chance to see Pendre Works. Tickets £42 (child £21).


By the age of 11

Llyr had passed piano grades 1-8, all with distinction

work by Huw Watkins. e concert is a fundraiser for the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales. 7.30pm. Tickets from £14.

Sacred Sound Event, 22nd June Join Gill Evans in celebrating the solstice using voice techniques, crystal harp, sound bowls and more. 10am. Tickets £22.

Coming to Mwldan

Rich Hall: Shot From Cannons, 18th May Montana’s transatlantic messenger returns with new rants, thrilling musical interludes and a formidable knack for laughs. 8pm. Tickets £17.

e Irish House Party, 25th May An Irish show without the clichés! Instead talented musicians and dancers bring you the sounds and fun of Ireland in an intimate setting. 7.30pm. Tickets £20.


Newton Outdoor Festival on 1st-2nd June promises a fun-packed weekend centred on Oriel Davies Gallery. Walk, canoe, cycle, run, picnic, sh, take pictures, garden, sing, dance, try archery, even meet alpacas! ere’s a ceilidh on Saturday from 6.30pm, with rip-roaring music from Monty Folk. Booking essential.

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MAY 25 e-mail: Tel: 01341 250 362 uis” Will return to celebrate its Afternoon Teas on board a Steam Train Step back in time and experience a culinary treat! Select Sunday Afternoons. Tea trains depart Llanfair Caereinion Station SY21 0SF OR BEER & CIDER FESTIVAL This year on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd June Local craft Beers, Ciders and Live Music plus Steam Trains! For more information Ynys-hir Showtime! Revel in the sounds and sights of nature as birdsong is at its brightest and best. Watch Lapwings take to the skies, hear warblers sing in the woodland and Blackbirds trill from the trees. Plan your visit today
RSPB is a registered
England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654. Image by Ben Andrew (
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Making waves at Aberystwyth Arts

Y Dewis, 17th May e cinematic dance experience where you get to choose how the story goes. MC Natura will transport you to Anglesey where the fate of four young people unfolds. 6pm. Tickets £12.

Nick Cope, 15th June e star of CBeebies’ Nick Cope’s Popcast performs his uniquely crafted songs accompanied by guitar and beautifully animated projections. 11am. Tickets £16.50.

Busy bees

Radnorshire Wildlife Trust has a packed events programme in store. On 14th May Janice Vincett will take you around Pentwyn Farm to learn about the di erent bees and how to identify them. And on 15th June Bronwen Jenkins leads a botanical tour of some of the best spots Pentwyn has to o er.

Bronwen is at Burfa Bog on 29th June for a stroll through the nature reserve – join her to discover the amazing ora and learn some ways of identifying them.

Events run 10am-12.30pm and are free, but advance booking is essential.

Fun at Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

Paw Patrol Visits, 11th & 12th May e chance to meet Chase and hear tales of daring rescues around Adventure Bay.

Build in Bricks, 25th30th May Unleash your creativity on thousands of plastic blocks!

Beer & Cider Festival, 21st-23rd June A heady combination of steam trains, local real ales and live music at Welshpool Raven Square Station.

Frozen Jr, 21st & 22nd June Aberystwyth Arts Centre Stage School’s adaptation of the musical that brings Elsa, Anna and the land of Arendelle to life. 2 & 7pm. Tickets £15.

Jimmy Carr: Laughs Funny, 28th June Edgy one-liners from the 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown maestro. 7 & 9.30pm. Tickets £35.


Urdd National Eisteddfod is one of Europe’s largest youth touring festivals, attracting around 90,000 visitors. is year’s edition takes place from 27th May – 1st June on the elds of Mathrafal Farm, Meifod, Maldwyn. Join the audience as over 15,000 children and young people under 25 compete in the performing arts. Plus hundreds of colourful stalls o er activities for all the family – from biking, climbing and sports to a fun fair, live bands and children’s shows.

Support Wyeside Arts

Electrik Live Orchestra: Wyeside Fundraiser, 25th May Reproducing the exciting works of ELO live – hear your favourites such as ‘Mr Blue Sky’, ‘Turn to Stone’, ‘Strange Magic’ and many more. 7.30pm. Tickets £20.

ROH Ballet: e Winter's Tale, 26th May From London’s Royal Opera House, a screening of this award-winning modern ballet classic, packed with the emotional turmoil of a destroyed marriage, an abandoned child and seemingly lost hope for two lovers. e compelling score is by Joby Talbot. 2pm.Tickets £17.


•Until 1st June, Aberystwyth on Camera, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Vintage images from Pickfords Photographers, fondly remembered by generations of townspeople, exhibited for the first time. Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9.30am-5pm. Free.

•1st & 2nd June, Bryngwyn Summer Fayre, Llanfyllin Everything for a great

day out: food and craft stalls, unusual plants, antiques, live demos, kids' entertainment and a fun dog show. 10.30am-5pm. £6 (under-12s free).

•11th June, Identifying Trees in Summer, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter Join Ryan and learn how to identify trees by their leaves, bark and shape and discover the amazing variety of species on the site. 11am-2.30pm. £25.

•22nd June, The Real 'Hay' Festival, New Chapel, Llanidloes A free event with activities for all the family –scything, working horses, archery, arts and crafts, kite flying, pizza, bar and music. 2-9pm. Free.

•23rd June, Tomos Boyles, Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The winner of the 2021 Wales International Piano Competition performs a fundraising concert for Friends of Musicfest. 3pm. Free, donations welcomed.

•23rd June, Llanllyr NGS Open Day & Plant Fair, Lampeter Explore the bog garden, formal water and rose gardens, the labyrinth and more, then browse beautiful plants from local nurseries. 2-6pm. £5 (child free).

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•2nd May, National Garden Scheme, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Malpas Discover the romantic Temple and Folly Water Gardens, the Arboretum, ornamental woodland on Tower Hill, and the new Cholmondeley Rose Garden. The National Garden Scheme raises money for nursing and health charities. 10am-5pm. Tickets £9 (child £4).

•4th May, Biennial Exhibition, Malpas Fabric Arts Group, Whitchurch Watergate Centre All styles of traditional and modern patchwork quilts are on show, both hand stitched and machine sewn, with a range of quilting fabrics and notions for sale. 10am. £3, includes ra e entry.


•4th-6th May, Guided Bluebell Walks, Arley Hall & Gardens Enjoy vast carpets of bluebells, birdsong and many other wildflowers in the magnificent Big Wood, a private wood not usually open to visitors. Walks last 1 hr. 11am & 2pm. £23 (child £10), booking essential.

•9th May, Object of the Month, Grosvenor Museum, Chester This month’s lunchtime talk will discuss a self-portrait by Catherine Harrison, reflecting on women artists and the early 19th century. 1-1.30pm. Free, but donations are welcome.

•10th May, Live/Wire, Northwich Memorial Court, Northwich AC/DC, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, are brought to life with true passion by professional musicians who share your love of this legendary live act, delivering a High Voltage set. 8pm. Tickets £18.

News makers

Crewe’s beautiful Edwardian theatre welcomes some familiar faces.

Operation Julie, 22nd-25th May In the late ’70s, rural West Wales was at the centre of the greatest drug bust in history. Breaking Bad collides with e Good Life in this anarchic play with prog-rock music, performed by nine talented actor-musicians. 7.30pm (plus 2.30pm Saturday). Tickets from £27.

Sir Bradley Wiggins, 31st May Join the Tour de

France and Olympic medallist as he discusses his amazing career, what brought him to competition cycling and everything in-between. 7.30pm. Tickets from £34.75.

TAYLORMANIA, 26th June. ‘Swiftie’ Katy Ellis performs with an incredible live band and dancers in this Taylor Swift Eras tribute concert, an award-winning extravaganza that plays tribute to one of the leading contemporary recording artists of our time. 7.30pm. Tickets from £24.


A wonderful celebration of the Cheshire countryside, agriculture, food and family fun, the Royal Cheshire County Show is at Clay House Farm, Tabley, near Knutsford on 18th-19th June ere are over 3,000 beautiful animals to see and interact with, including the ever popular Horse Show and the incredible Sheep Show – plus the

Leading the way

Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy was a leading light in the ght for women’s su rage. Join the Elizabeth’s Group for a heritage walk around Congleton on 30th June to learn about her links with the town and her triumphs ghting for equal rights. e hour-long walk leaves the museum at 2pm, and returns for a cream tea provided by e Old Saw Mill. Tickets £10 (children free).

Food Hall & Food Live eatre featuring Jean Christophe Novelli. Other con rmed attractions include the Knights of Nottingham, the Red Dragon Monster Truck Ride, Pony Club Mounted Games, the Food Village and Makers’ Market. Open 8am-10pm (Wednesday till 6pm). Tickets £30 (child £12).


With water quality a hot topic at the moment, the second of Nantwich Museum’s Spring Talks on 1st May is very timely. ‘ e River Weaver: the good, the bad and the ugly’ examines how the river, its water and its role in the community have evolved over time. Of vital importance in the development of Cheshire, until the last few decades it would have been hard to imagine the Weaver as it is today with its focus on recreation. Talk starts 7pm, tickets £6 (children free).

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Jodrell Bank is an amazing, unique, awe-inspiring place, with stories to unearth across science, heritage and culture. Famous for its landmark radio telescopes that detect radio waves from astronomical sources in the sky, it offers a great day out for science fans – and everyone else too!

In May and June, Jodrell Bank celebrates the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking album The Dark Side of the Moon with an

unforgettable experience at the Planetarium. This one-of-a-kind event combines cuttingedge technology with the heart of Floyd’s music. Immerse yourself in a mesmerising fusion of captivating visuals and surround-sound, taking you on a 3D journey through time and space! Shows are on 4th, 5th, 18th & 19th May, and 15th, 16th, 29th & 30th June at 7pm and 8.30pm. Tickets £18 (child £14) from


None other than Showaddywaddy bring their jukebox hits and more to Middlewich Folk & Boat (FAB) on 14th-15th June. e weekend festival is now run as a community event, showcasing local bands and promoting local business. Rock ‘N’ Roll Night (Friday) is followed by Rock Night (Saturday), when Queen – One Vision will be smashing out all the classic Queen hits with energy and authenticity. Weekend and day tickets available soon! See

Concert hall favourite

Peter and the Wolf, subtitled An orchestral fairy tale for children, was composed in 1936 after Proko ev’s return to Russia. He should have added ‘…and for grown-ups too’, for this remarkable composition appeals to musiclovers of all ages. It’s performed by the Nothern Chamber Orchestra at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight, on 31st May at 3pm. Tickets £17.50 (child £12.50), from

College capers

Looking for a fun- lled day out for all the family?

At Reaseheath’s annual Family Festival on 12th May you can try your hand at den building, brick-laying, tree-climbing, stock judging, ower arranging and lots more, right across the Nantwich campus. With a farmers’ market, food stalls, lawn attractions, a mini zoo and farm to explore, be sure to arrive early! Open 10am5pm. For tickets see

Boogie wonderland

Classic Ibiza at Tatton Park on 29th June is an open-air celebration of White Isle-inspired house, reinvented by a 32-piece orchestra, headline DJs and live vocalists. A diverse crowd of partygoers all contribute to the feel-good atmosphere, promising a night of wholesome euphoria. e fun lasts from 5.30-11pm, and tickets are from £49.50 (child £25) from www.

You get your own private space to spread out, set up and boogie until you’re ready to hit the dance circle…


•10th-18th May, The Girl on the Train, Nantwich Players, Love Lane, Nantwich Rachel Wagsta , Paula Hawkins and Duncan Abel’s adaptation comes to life on stage. Delve into a suspenseful world of deception and unexpected twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 7.45pm. £10.

•11th May, Mick Miller, Owley Wood Recreation Club, Weaverham A night of laughter with the legendary comedian, live in Northwich! 7pm. £15.

•15th May, Tour of The Old Medicine House, Blackden, Holmes Chapel This timberframed Tudor building was moved from Sta ordshire in 1970. The tour includes a walk round the garden (weather permitting), and a display of artefacts illustrating the 10,000 years’ occupation of the site. 2-4pm. £15.

•16th May, Greek Cooking Class, Wesley Centre, Sandbach A fun night out learning how to make amazing Greek food, with head chef Spyros, of St Martha’s Greek restaurant in Nantwich. All ingredients are provided. 6.30-9.30pm. £45.

•17th May, Summer Seascapes: A Watercolour Workshop with Kate of Essoldo Design, Toolerstone House, Sandiway Use the fluidity of watercolours to create vibrant abstract seascapes, then a variety of mixed media tools including inks, metallic watercolours and paint pens to add details and embellishments. 9.30am-4.30pm. Tickets £145.

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•23rd May-22nd June, ‘Paws, Claws, Fins & Feathers’, Visual Arts Cheshire, Barons Quay, Northwich Animal paintings by selected artists. VAC is a Northwich-based arts organisation and Community Interest Company, promoting visual arts in Northwich through a variety of initiatives and events. Thurs-Sat 10.30am-4pm. Free.

•25th May, Nirvana UK, The Hive, Market Place, Winsford After the success of their last outing the band are back with their unbelievable show, playing tribute to one of rock’s most iconic groups. 7pm. From £8.

•25th & 26th May, Marston Canal Festival, Lion Salt Works, Northwich A weekend celebrating the rich history of the waterway that runs though the village and its importance in the production of salt, with crafts, live performances and food. 11am-4pm. Free, just drop in. Donations welcome.

Experience it live!

Chester’s Live Rooms have an impressive line-up of gigs for music fans.

Focus, 4th May Dutch prog-rockers ijs Van Leer, Pierre Van Der Linden, Menno Gootjes and Udo Pannekeet return to the stage, fresh from recording a new album. 7pm. Tickets £22.50.

Hannah Wicklund, 24th May Ethereal textures,

A dangerous dance

•31st May, Polly Gibbons, Clonter Opera Theatre, Congleton Polly’s album As It Is showcases her mastery as a songwriter, referencing soul, gospel and RnB as well as her grounding in jazz, to create a blend of genres. 7.30 pm. From £26.

•1st June, An Evening with Julia Martin as Dame Shirley Bassey, Chester Cathedral An exclusive, immersive candlelit concert by multi-award-winning Julia Martin, set against the enchanting backdrop of the cathedral’s Gothic vaulted ceiling and lit by flickering candles. 7.30pm. From £30.

Even when the whole world’s at your feet, it only takes one false step… Kiss Me Quickstep is a dazzling and sequin-studded play by Amanda Whittington, running from 10th-15th June at MADS Little eatre, Maccles eld – a look behind the xed smiles and fake tan at the real lives of those for whom ballroom is everything. For tickets, see madstheatre



Focus tracks often feature on TV’s Top Gear and ‘Hocus Pocus’ was used for a Nike ad

smokey falsetto vocals, a string section and guitar solos that carry equal parts pain and joy. 7pm. Tickets £15.

Troy Redfern, 21st June e acclaimed British slide guitarist and singer songwriter showcases tracks from his forthcoming album Invocation With Keira Kenworthy (bass) and Nicky Waters (drums). 7pm. Tickets £14.

Stayin’ alive!

For all those who dreamed of going to New York’s Studio 54, Disco Inferno is the spectacular all-singing, all-dancing celebration of everything D.I.S.C.O. From the sequinned glamour girls to the guys in platforms, this electrifying show just screams glitter balls and good times. Boogie on down to Ellesmere Port Civic Hall for 7.30pm on 24th May. Tickets are £25 from

Come along and create a beautiful pottery moongazing hare in the new Love Painting studio at Treetops Nursery, Knutsford on 20th June In true Pottery rowdown style you’ll learn key sculpting skills (pinch, slab and coil) and in the process create your very own masterpiece. Tickets for the workshop, which runs from 10am-3.30pm, are £85 from e class is aimed at all levels and perfect for the complete pottery beginner.

Roman Day is a yearly favourite at Chester Racecourse – the rst xture of the season after Boodles May Festival. Perfect for families, this thrilling race day on 25th May will also see a host of free activities on the open course – accessible with the cheapest ticket, the Roodee enclosure. Tickets from £10-£130.

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e season starts here



8th, 9th & 10th

Saturday 25th


Friday 14th

Saturday 15th

Saturday 29th


Friday 12th (Eve)

Saturday 13th

Saturday 27th


Sunday 4th

Saturday 31st

Boodles May Festival

Roman Day in partnership with Via Roma

The Friday Social

Edinburgh Gin Summer Saturday

Matthew Clark Summer Style Race Day

Ibiza Classics Evening ft Ibiza In Symphony

Soul Sunset Racing ft Craig Charles DJ Set

Midsummer Meeting

Family Fun Day

Powells Ladies Day


Friday 13th &

Saturday 14th

Saturday 21st

Autumn Racing Food & Drink Festival

Oktoberfest Season Finale

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Escape to your own breathtaking coastal retreat on Anglesey.

Nestled amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in Anglesey and with private access to North Wales only green ag awarded beach, Silver Bay Holiday Park offers a wonderful balance of countryside freedom and captivating panoramic sea and mountain views.

Silver Bay’s ve‐star facilities, including The Deck House Restaurant, Indoor Swimming pool and Spa. A fully equipped gym, tennis courts, and the opportunity for various water sports and boating are available for those who like to keep active. We also have a dedicated Leisure Team offering an action packed program of activities for children of all ages.

Bodior Rise at Silver Bay consists of six stunning new plots which include ve brand new lodges and a unique pre‐ loved 3‐bedroom lodge.

Luxury Lodges with a 50­year licence from £270,000 New Caravans with a 15­year licence from £89,995

Each lodge provides an opulent and rened lifestyle with welcoming open spaces, decorated with luxury furnishings and lavish fabrics, combined to create an elegant and timeless escape you’ll want to return to time and time again.

Silver Bay Holiday Park, Rhoscolyn, Pentre Gwyddel, Anglesey LL65 2RZ or visit: FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT 01407 862 045

Luxury Home Ownership at Silver Bay Holiday Park, Anglesey.
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Chester’s Storyhouse plays host to world-class entertainers. Tickets from

Anna Mudeka, 17th May e Zimbabwean born singer, musician and storyteller performs Mama Afrika, the remarkable life story of the iconic South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50.

Morgan and West’s Massive Magic Show for

Kids, 25th May Conjuring capers, larger than life laughs and fantastic facial furniture all crammed into one hour of non-stop fun for all the family. 2pm. Tickets £15 (child £13).

John Lydon: I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right, 22nd June Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten – changed the face of music and sparked a cultural revolution. He will talk about how he sees life, and his unique career, and take questions. 7.30pm. From £37.50.

From 6th-16th June Bolesworth International Equestrian Summer Festival brings international showjumping, live music, premium lifestyle and equestrian shopping, action and family-friendly


reason to be cheerful…

e band that brought you ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)’ and ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’, backing Ian Dury’s poetic lyrics, e Blockheads are a legendary out t that has grown in stature from the days of the Sti tour in 1977 right up to the present day. Catch them at Alexander’s Live, Chester on 23rd June. Tickets £33 from

entertainment to the stunning grounds of Bolesworth Castle. On-site camping and exclusive ringside hospitality available. For times and ticket prices, see


Salford-born superstar Russell Watson takes centre stage on 19th May for a fabulous openair concert at Arley Hall, near Northwich. He will be joined by his band and orchestral ensemble to perform a special programme of Proms classics, including ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Rule Britannia’ and Nessun Dorma – with reworks! Tickets from £40 (child £17.50).

All the classics

What better setting for a car meet than the home of engine production – Crewe! Classic car enthusiasts can take a step back in time at the popular O e Rails meet on 9th June at Crewe Heritage Centre. Featuring European and American cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles, the event runs from 10am-3pm. Entry is £8 (child £6, family £16, members free), with all proceeds being invested back into the museum.


•9th June, Raku: Japanese Kiln Firing, The Potters Barn, Hassall Green, Sandbach Great fun with steam, smoke and flames! Observe and help in the firing process and learn how to glaze a Raku pot. The day includes your finished glazed pots to take home. 1-5pm. £95.

•9th June, Football

Retrospective, National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port Learn about some of the local heroes from Ellesmere Port Town FC, including Joe Mercer. Join in with fun footballthemed activities and maybe learn some new skills! 10am-4pm. £11.75 (child £8.50, family £28.50). Your ticket is an annual pass.

•11th-15th June, Frankenstein, Daneside Theatre, Congleton Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horrorstricken maker. Presented by Congleton Players Amateur Theatre Club. 7pm. £15.

•15th & 16th June, DogFest, Tatton Park, Knutsford Worldclass displays from top canine athletes, free expert advice and workshops, have-a-go activities, shopping, treats, plus plenty of play! 9.30am-5pm. Admission £17.85 (child £11.90).

•20th June, G4: 20th Anniversary, Northwich Memorial Court, Northwich G4 have been wowing audiences with their stunning vocals and incredible harmonies since appearing on the first series of the X Factor in 2004. 7.30pm. From £25.

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•21st June, Rock on Tommy: An Evening with Tommy Cannon, Neston Civic Hal He’s a national treasure! Actor, singer and comic Tommy Cannon played the straight man to the late Bobby Ball as the double act dominated prime-time TV for more than a decade. 8pm. £15.

•22nd June, Paranormal Investigation & Ghost Hunt, Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich It’s reported that many servicemen and women still reside within its dark, concrete walls… Come and join the team at Into the Shadows for a night of paranormal investigation and ghost-hunting. 9pm-2am. £45.

•22nd & 23rd June, Kelsall Steam & Vintage Rally 2024, Churches View Farm, Ashton. One of the largest displays of commercial vehicles in the country including classic, vintage and modern trucks, plus lawn-mower racing, Punch & Judy and a falconry display. Arena events start at 10.30am. From £10 (5-15s £2.50).

•28th June, Pottery Painting, Blakemere Village, Northwich Join in for a relaxing, sociable evening. Bring nibbles and drinks (and glasses!) and relax in your own creativity. 6.30-10pm. £10.

•29th June–6th July, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Chester Little Theatre, Newtown Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Dr Watson set forth with all due haste in this riotously funny adaptation of the Conan Doyle classic. 7.30pm. £12.


Head to Tatton Park’s 50-acre gardens and you’ll nd 12 super-sized Shaun the Sheep sculptures grazing in new pastures. A collaboration with Wild in Art and Aardman, the ewe-nique arts trail is great for families looking for an outdoor adventure! Stay and play at half term on 25th May–9th June: pack a picnic and take part in baa-rilliant games! Spring is a wonderful time at the Farm. Meet

Catch the nature bug

Join Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s home educators’ nature group on 5th June for a fun day out at Bickley Hall Farm, Malpas. Learn about local wildlife and join in hands-on activities. Perfect for children and families looking to connect with nature and each other. Starts 10am, booking essential. £7 per child, under-2s and accompanying adult free.



Hens with red earlobes generally lay brown eggs; white earlobes, white eggs

newborn lambs and chicks and say hello to Little Grey Fergie, the clever tractor who can move all by himself. Tatton Park Farm is Fergie’s home for 2024 and there’s activities to keep little ones entertained. Quackers about ducks? Do chickens ll you with hen-thusiasm? Tatton’s ‘Home To Roost’ workshop on 11th May aims to answer your questions about breeding and showing poultry. See baby chicks and maybe watch a live hatching. Or buzz along to the Beekeeping Taster on 18th May to learn about these extraordinary pollinators. Both sessions run 10am-noon and cost £25 (includes entry to park and farm). Details at


Full of personality, Clare Quinn (Australia) and Lawrence Menard (USA) are the transpaci c troubadours known as ose Folk, who explore sounds from the 1960s folk revival and contemporary Americana. Hear them live on 6th June at Roots at Ebenezer’s on Nantwich Road, Crewe. Roots is a monthly live-streamed concert featuring Americana and roots music from the UK and beyond. It’s free to watch online and features a full concert and interview with the artists. Or be there for just £10! Details at


See Chester from a fresh perspective! Chester Boat’s two-hour Iron Bridge sightseeing cruise heads south from e Groves, passing some spectacular homes and gardens as you make your way out of the city and into leafy Cheshire, turning at the lovely Aldford Iron Bridge to sail back. From £17.10 (child from £7.20). For a full timetable see

Calan, Banter and Greg Russell are among the top acts for the 2024 Chester Folk Festival, from 24th-27th May at e Morris Dancer, Kelsall. Enjoy tune workshops, dance workshops, craft stands, yoga and mindfulness sessions (bring a mat!). Weekend £110 (£134 with camping), day and half-day options.

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29 March –23 June 2024

Find 12 super-sized Shaun the Sheep art sculptures in the gardens! in collaboration with #ShaunAtTattonPark

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The iconic Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank has guarded the Cheshire Plain since 1957. Shire went to explore…

From engineering paper windmills in the drop-in craft sessions to cries of “Dad, can I get a telescope?”, a new generation of explorers is in the making…

waves from astronomical sources in the sky.

I began in the First Light Pavilion, a grassy dome that cleverly mirrors the scale of the Lovell. Families were absorbed in the sound clips, film, plans and photos, all delivered via digital displays.

and flames as the forces of nature were unpicked. These lively sessions will continue in May half-term.

Branwen and her children had travelled from South Wales to visit Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement, near Macclesfield. “My kids love space and there’s always something to do here, no matter what the weather,” she said.

It’s an inspirational place, full of stories of pioneering heritage and cutting-edge science. Part of the University of Manchester, it is both a World Heritage Site and a live research facility. There are four Pavilions to discover –First Light, Space, Star and Planet – alongside outdoor exhibits. See the impressive Lovell Telescope with its 76-metre wide reflecting surface, which detects radio

The auditorium experience Cap Com Go! warned: “May induce feelings of space travel” and didn’t disappoint, immersing me in the Moon Landings. There was a pleasing shout-out to the women “computers” who performed the complex maths needed for the Apollo missions. We Are Stars is a 3-D romp from the Big Bang to the evolution of life, narrated by Andy Serkis.

I met Branwen again in the Curious Kids science show, peppered with bangs

Looking to the future…

Across the site sits the Space Pavilion, where you can listen to sounds of the Big Bang, print a live telescope reading and hear from scientists about their work. There’s room to let off steam too, with 35 acres including an arboretum, ponds and a playground.

As part of its commitment to Cheshire communities, Jodrell Bank will be relaunching its Locals Pass offering discounts across the site, whilst everyone can enjoy free access for a year with the purchase of an online annual ticket.

Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am5pm, last admission 3.30pm. See

The team plans to offer more in the evenings, with events like stargazing and astrophotography. They are currently marking 50 years of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with evening movie screenings.

Mid-May sees a new exhibition, ‘Time is Running Out’, an interactive look at the six big questions posed by climate change. And for the Summer Solstice on 21st June there’s a celebration of author Alan Garner, featuring workshops and panel discussions, followed by an evening with Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent) about her new novel Enlightenment

no and live discover I
Landing on the Moon… Real experiments in front of your eyes! The mighty Lovell Telescope
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Digital displays explain the science


As the stage adaptation of Awful Auntie arrives in Llandudno, Shire caught up with author David Walliams who shared a secret dream

David Walliams is one of our best-known comedians, having shot to fame as co-creator of TV’s Little Britain with Matt Lucas. The show earned international acclaim, bagging three BAFTAs and entertaining audiences in over 100 countries. As a judge on Britain’s Got Talent for 10 years he won a clutch of National Television Awards.

Beyond the screen, David has enjoyed a prolific career as a children’s author since the publication of his first book, The Boy in the Dress, in 2008. His tales have been translated into 55 languages and have sold over 53 million copies worldwide, captivating readers of all ages.

Awful Auntie, which comes to Venue Cymru this month, is the fourth of his books to be adapted for theatre by Birmingham Stage Company, to David’s delight.

Killer owl

He said: “It’s a thrill. They’re the kings of family shows and I trust them 100 percent. With this story in particular you have to be very imaginative moving it to the stage because it’s on a big scale. You’ve got a ghost, you’ve got a killer owl, you’ve got a car chase… The show has to be spectacular, funny and thrilling – I’ve seen it already and it is all of those things.” He admits he’s tempted to get more involved and even has his eye on one of the roles. “Seeing it all again, I’ve realised what an amazing part Aunt

“that pride that you came up with the story that’s been put on the stage by this fantastic group and audiences are loving it –it’s a feeling I’ll never tire of”

a man, so one day I’d like to play Aunt Alberta. But I can’t commit to a production for practical reasons like being a dad and having to do other things, but I’d like to.

“I like creating larger-than-life characters who I think are very suited to the stage. The stage is hyper-real and characters can talk to the audience. You want to boo the baddie, so I get a kick out of creating characters like Aunt Alberta.”

Alberta is. It’s a female part played by It’s

David’s writing is often compared to Roald Dahl’s, which he sees as a huge compliment, crediting the author with inspiring him as a child. He said: “Something I learnt from reading Dahl was that if you can make your villains equally funny and scary, you are on the right path. It’s fun to come up with these things that are pretty surreal but within safe boundaries. Kids like that – it’s quite fun to be scared, but not in a way that’s going to upset you, just in a way that’s going to thrill you. That’s what I’m going for in the story.”

The show’s visit to Wales is followed by dates in Liverpool in June and Birmingham in October, and David says audiences should keep their eyes peeled for a familiar face in the crowd.

“I love watching the show, I love seeing everyone’s reactions. Generally the further you get from London, the noisier the audience – there’s just more of an atmosphere. It’s a warm feeling inside, that pride that you came up with the story that’s been put on the stage by this fantastic group and audiences are loving it. It’s a feeling I’ll never tire of.”

Awful Auntie is at Venue Cymru from 16th-19th May. For tickets see

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©Charlie Clift
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•3rd May, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (cert. PG), Shrewsbury Film Society, The Hive, Shrewsbury Ugyen dreams of being a singer, but teaches in the remotest village school of Bhutan, developing an unusual approach to his lessons. With subtitles. 8pm. From £6.

•4th May, Late Night at the Market Hall, Shrewsbury By night the market is very much a food and drink event, with a great selection of cafes and street food, wine and cocktail bars. No need to book. If you don’t feel like waiting, takeaway is available. 5.30-10pm.

•4th May, Ludlow Co ee School, Ludlow Farmshop A chance to learn about all things co ee. Go behind the scenes into the roastery, taste di erent blends and even make your own to take away.

10am-3.30pm. £40 including lunch from Ludlow Kitchen.

•5th May, Bluebell Walk, Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms Join centre manager Grant on a 3.5-mile walk to one of the best bluebell spots. 10am-12.30pm. £8. Booking essential.

•5th May, Macmillan Cancer Support Bluebell Walk, Soulton Hall, Wem An amazing opportunity to walk through Soulton’s bluebell wood as featured in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, never before open to the public. £6 (child £3).

•7th-12th May, UK’s Open Pool Championship, Telford International Centre The UK’s biggest 9-ball pool event heads to Telford as 256 of the world’s best cueists compete for a $200,000 prize. Defending champion Eklent Kaçi returns. Tickets from £22.


Wonderful Whittington

One of the best local festivals of its kind in the UK, Whittington Music Festival returns from 16th-19th May. is year the festival welcomes violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason and jazz duo Zoe Rahman (piano) and Rowland Sutherland ( ute), alongside many other popular showcases. Following a successful “taster’” concert in 2011, organised by cellist James Barralet and his parents, Whittington Church was deemed the ideal venue and a charitable trust emerged, with Steven Isserlis CBE as honorary patron. Steven said: “As always, the festival o ers a wonderfully fresh and enticing blend of familiar and unfamiliar, presented by a very special group of musicians who will give the music their all. Enjoy it!” Tickets £19 (under-26s free), festival pass £76.


Broseley Community Festival takes over the high street again on 15th & 16th June after a few years’ absence. Featuring food and drink stalls, family entertainment and live music from Rhi Moore, E-Male, Adam Harding, A-Muse Duo, Beautiful Ways, e James Brothers and Saturday headliner Ultimate Madnezz. It’s non-stop fun from Saturday 1pm-11pm, Sunday noon-8pm – and it’s free! More details on the festival’s Facebook page.

Braimah KannehMason is one of seven talented siblings – all play violin, piano or cello It’s a knock-out

A night of quality boxing comes to Shrewsbury’s Buttermarket on 8th June. After last year’s hugely successful tournaments, Doran Boxing Promotions are back with another electric event: all-day championship boxing featuring Lewis Smith and Jack Davis. 3-10pm, after-party till late. From £25. Over-18s only.


Eyton Races on the outskirts of Shrewsbury is a great family day out and a rm favourite for bank holiday entertainment. On 6th May enjoy the excitement of steeple chasing at one of the UK’s leading point-to-point courses. Back your favourite at the bookmakers, sample produce from local food vendors or bring your own picnic. Gates 11am, rst race 1pm. Entry £15 (under-12s free with paying adult). Free parking.


Ellesmere Food & Drink Festival on 29th-30th June showcases quality produce from local and regional producers, suppliers, restaurants and more – from the best in fruit and veg to cheeses, meat products, ice cream, wines and beers, homemade chocolates and preserves. It’s at the Market Hall from 10am-4pm, admission is free. events/food-and-drink-festival

Woman’s own

Austen’s Women bring a brand-new show to eatre Severn on 19th June Lady Susan is a darkly comic tale of Georgian society and the women trapped within it. Based on Jane Austen’s rst full-length work from 1794, created entirely from letters, it’s performed by Rebecca Vaughan. Starts 7.30pm. Tickets £18.

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Always abreast of new trends and initiatives, Shropshire County Agricultural Show is back at the DMOS People West Mid Showground on 25th May, with the aim of highlighting and promoting the vital role our agricultural industry plays in the economy. ere’s equestrian and


International Eisteddfod winners in 2018, Fron Male Voice Choir performs a special charity concert in aid of the NHS at the British Ironwork Centre on 15th June. e choir celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and still has two of its original members. Join them as they share many popular classics. Doors 12.30pm, concert 1.30pm. Tickets £15. www.

Bridge to the past

Ironbridge WWII Weekend on 24th-25th May recreates life on the Home Front and in Occupied Europe, with displays, 1940s entertainment, y-past and more, in support of Combat Stress. 10am-5pm. Most activities free. www.

Walkies at Weston WHAT’S ON SHROPSHIRE


Cows have around 30,000 taste buds. As herbivores, it helps identify poisonous plants

livestock competitions, dog shows, stunt bikes, vintage vehicles, music and shopping, plus a Kids’ Zone with funfair, in atable assault course, Nerf maze and donkey rides. 10am-5pm. Tickets from £18 (under-16s free).

Join the Great British Dog Walk at Weston Park on 19th May –with or without your dog! – and help the Hearing Dogs charity transform lives through amazing partnerships. Hearing loss can have devastating impacts on people’s safety and mental health, and hearing dogs alert their owners to life-saving important sounds, as well as breaking down social barriers for deaf people.

Explore Weston’s 1,000 acres with other dog lovers and their pets on a 3km or 7km sponsored walk, and join in have-a-go agility and games before and after. e mass walk starts at 11am. Tickets £12 in advance, £15 on the day (children free) including free dog bandana.

Into the wilderness

Back by popular demand, Hawkstone Park Follies is hosting a Wilderness Weekend on 1st-2nd June. Discover the secrets of this wild place as you become a nature detective or wildlife wiz by completing fun, interactive nature activities. Please bring a torch! Special guests for the weekend include Shropshire Falconry, Foraging for Ages and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Open 10am5pm (last entry 3pm), tickets £9.50 (under-4s free). Please note the park is unsuitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. www.


•9th May, Calligraphy Workshop, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery Learn a new art with professional calligrapher

Peter Furniss, chair of Shropshire Scribes. No experience necessary, all ages welcome. 10am-1.30pm. £20.

•10th-12th May, Whitchurch Walking Festival 2024 Walks and evening activities for all abilities and interests, sponsored by Whitchurch Town Council, Pellitec and Involved Holidays. For programme see festival.html

•11th May, Dawn Chorus & Survey, Pam’s Pool, nr Bridgnorth Immerse yourself in birdsong, with expert guidance from Andy Spenser, ornithologist and a BTO-registered birdringer, followed by a cooked vegetarian breakfast. 5-9am. £10.

•17th May, My Darling Clementine, Herom Arts, Oswestry A homage to country duos of the ’60s and ’70s, Lou Dalgleish and Michael Weston King have released several acclaimed albums and won Americana Music Artist of the Year. 7.30pm. £20.

•18th May, I Can Disco Dance Workshop, Shrewsbury Quarry Led by Sarah Bright, who was behind 2018’s World’s Largest Charleston, this ’70s themed workout is raising funds for Shropshire Mental Health Support. Fancy dress encouraged! 10-11am. Suggested donation £2.

•18th May–2nd June, Half Term at The Exotic Zoo, Telford Talks, shows and activities daily – build a bug hotel and more! 11am4pm. £8 (child £7).

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•22nd May, Royal Ballet: The Winter’s Tale, Festival Drayton Centre Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Christopher Wheeldon’s award-winning modern ballet classic is adapted from Shakespeare’s story of love and loss. Streamed live. 7.15pm. £16.50 (under-21s £15).

•23rd May, A Night at the Opera, Shrewsbury Abbey

One of a series of sensational #CandlelightConcerts, the beautiful Abbey with its fine acoustic makes the perfect setting for this acclaimed live orchestra. 7.30pm. From £21.

•26th & 27th May, Medieval Live at Stokesay Castle, Craven Arms Step back in time to medieval England and enjoy character tales, discover how noble knights would live. including their meals and preparing for times of trouble. 10am-5pm. £12.50 (child £7.50, English Heritage members free).

•1st June, Ingenuity and Entertainment, Stokesay Court & Acton Scott Hall Join the owners of two magnificent Shropshire stately homes for a Grand Day Out. Discover country house technology at Stokesay, followed by a light lunch, then take the short drive to Acton Scott to learn all about its music machines and enjoy afternoon tea with homemade cake. 11am-4.30pm. £49.50.

•1st June, Stereosonics, Theatre on the Steps, Bridgnorth Get your handbags and gladrags ready for the UK’s best Stereophonics tribute band, featuring all the hits including ‘Dakota’, ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, ‘Local Boy in The Photograph’ and more. 8pm. £20.


Shinfal May Day is a free community event in the Square on 6th May, with live music, local organisations and dancing around the maypole. It’s one of three new events for 2024 from Shifnal Town Council and Love Shifnal in partnership with Shropshire Festivals, with the aim of championing local businesses, creating community cohesion and attracting visitors.

Other dates for your diary are Shifnal History Trail on 20th July – follow clues around the town and discover local history including the Great Fire of Shifnal in 1591 and one of the biggest bank frauds in Victorian Britain. Shifnal Ale Trail will follow in September, a chance to explore Shifnal’s pubs, bars and hospitality venues.

Sally emans from Love Shifnal said, “Shifnal has so much to o er with its businesses, community and facilities.”


The first Midlands Motorcycle and Cycle Heritage Day roars into Shifnal on 15 June!

TAKE FLIGHT Double the fun

A capacity crowd of 55,000 attended RAF Cosford Air Show in 2023, with the same excitement expected in the air and on the ground for 2024! is year’s theme is ‘Take Flight’, so book ahead for 9th June and let your imagination soar. Perhaps you’ll kick-start an interest in a career in the RAF? Develop an understanding of what the service does and get close to cutting-edge technology, with RAF aircraft and unique attractions across the showground and thrilling ying displays. Gates open 8am, advance tickets are £40 (under-16s free).

What a line-up!

Steam engines, lorries, buses, tractors, motorcycyles, pedal cycles, vintage caravans, military vehicles and more will gather at Oswestry Showground on 15th-16th June for Clwyd Veteran & Vintage Machinery Society Vintage Show. Alongside the exhibits there’ll be a fairground, craft stalls, food and drinks stalls, and brand-new for 2024, a husky dog sled show. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets £10 (under-16s £5, must be accompanied by an adult). Cash only please!

Ludlow is the place to be on 10th-12th May, when the Marches Transport Festival takes place alongside Ludlow’s Spring Festival – featuring the Festival Pub with over 100 real ales, tasty treats from producers across the Marches, live music and comedy including many local acts, as well as a stunning display of classic cars, all in the Castle grounds. www.


On 22nd June board the ‘Oriental Express’ for a Chinese-inspired dining experience on the Severn Valley Railway. Departing from Kidderminster Station at 7.30pm, savour the avours of Chinese dishes handcrafted by catering partner Paisley Flour. Dine in comfort and style while travelling through the Severn Valley before arriving at Bridgnorth for a short interlude. Enjoy a drink in e Railwayman’s Arms before the journey back to Kidderminster. Table for two £105, table for four £210.

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For further information call 01743 234050 FRIDAY 9TH & SATURDAY 10TH AUGUST 2024 SO MUCH MORE THAN A FLOWER SHOW TICKETS ON SALE NOW FREE ENTRY FOR KIDS 15 AND UNDER WHEN ACCOMPANYING A PAYING ADULT Charity Number: 501564 For full details please contact: Showground, Park Hall, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 4AB Telephone: 01691 654875 Email: A Great FamilyDay Out … The 137th OSWESTRY SHOW Park Hall Showground Oswestry Saturday 3rd August 2024 FamilyFun FamilyFun Fest AJ & CURTIS AJ&CURTIS Saturday6thJuly Saturday6thJuly Friday5thJuly Friday5thJuly SCOTT MILLS SCOTTMILLS DJSETBYKevin & perry k a t y e l l i s t a y l o r s w i f t t r i b u t e katyellistaylorswifttribute E d S h e e r a n S o n g b o o k EdSheeranSongbook M e r c u r y Q u e e n T r i b u t e MercuryQueenTribute Mermaids Aquapark Circus Fun CircusFun silent disco silentdisco football academy Zeus the t-rex stunt bikes Fairground dance workshops VIP, ACTIVITIES, CAMPING AND SO MUCH MORE! VIP,ACTIVITIES,CAMPINGANDSOMUCHMORE! HOSTED BY HOSTEDBY PRITCHARD PRITCHARD 037_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 11:58

Look out for special events throughout the year

D-DAY, 80TH COMMEMORATIONS, Saturday June 8th, Cae Glas Park

COMMUNITY GAMES, 9th June 11pm to 4pm Cae Glas Park

BULGARIAN COMMUNITY EVENT, Sunday 23rd June 12-4pm, Cae Glas Park

Join us for our Antiques, Interiors and Collectables Auction every second Tuesday commencing at 10.30 a.m.

Tuesday 7th May Tuesday 21st May

Tuesday 4th June Tuesday 18th June

VIEWING TIMES Friday 9.00am – 4.00pm | Monday 9.00am – 4.30pm and the morning of the sale from 9am. Our forthcoming auctions will be held on

If you require any advice or further information, please contact us on 01978
Lux y Self Catering Accommodation in our Bespoke Glamping Wagons Available with Wood-fired Hot Tubs Also Available Hardstanding Touring and Seasonal Pitches at our Award Winning Waterways Marina All enquiries please call us on 01270 812677 The Indoor Market is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the outdoor market every Wednesday and Saturday. Plus we hold the Artisan Market on the last Friday of every month. The new weekly street market has gone from strength to strength attracting some fantastic bespoke stalls. Go to for further information about our town, market and events YOUTH MARKET Wednesday 22nd May, Bailey Head OSWESTRY BEACH EVENT 25 & 26th May 10am to 6pm, Festival Square (Red Square) Car Park. Perfect for the little ones and the young at heart to enjoy some messy fun without the clear up! Grab a deckchair and your bucket and spade and enjoy some beach fun away from the sea!
& ARTISAN MARKET31st May, Bailey Head LATE NIGHT MARKET31st May and 28th June, Bailey Head The Indoor Market will also be open into the evening with food, drinks and live music from 7pm. Come down and enjoy a cocktail and a German sausage
Glas Park
picnic blanket
some free family fun
Bailey Head
PORTHYWAEN SILVER BAND, Sunday 2nd June 2-4pm, Cae
Grab your
and head down to Cae Glas
AND VALUERS 29 Holt Street, Wrexham LL13 8DH • Tel: 01978 353553 • All
have live on-line bidding with
our auctions
038_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:29




Ludlow Assembly Rooms hosts an audience with respected broadcaster John Sergeant on 7th June. Former chief political correspondent for the BBC from 1992-2000 and ITN’s political editor from 2000-2002, John’s long and successful career saw him interview prime ministers Margaret atcher, John Major and Tony Blair. In recent years he has returned to his rst love of light entertainment, on programmes such as One Show, Have I Got News For You and appearance on Strictly Come Dancing. Leaving the competition in week 10, John said: “ e trouble is there is now a real danger that I might win. Even for me, that would be a joke too far.” Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets £20, or £40 including two-course pre-show dinner at Bill’s Kitchen.



John worked at the Liverpool Echo while training as a journalist

Fun, family, food

6th June, D-Day Commemoration, Wittington Castle, Oswestry Visit the Castle as the village commemorates this historic date in WWII. The D-Day operation of 1944 brought together land, air and sea forces in what became the largest amphibious invasion in military history. 10am. Free admission.

BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Elisabeth Brauss performs Beethoven’s Sonata No.18, Proko ev and Schumann at Shrewsbury School on 5th May. Elisabeth made her Proms debut in 2021, has played with e Hallé and was praised by Gramophone for “the maturity and sophistication of her interpretations”. 3pm. Tickets £18 (student £9). www.shropshire


e Beach returns to Oswestry’s Festival Square for Spring bank holiday weekend on 25th-26th May. Oswestry Business Improvement District con rms the Square will once again be turned into a huge sandpit for the whole family to enjoy! Grab a deckchair and your bucket and spade for a day at the seaside – without the tide! Open 10am-6pm.

Steaming into town

‘ e Town at Never Was’ is a fantasy world accessible for just two days each year at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge. On 29th & 30th June steampunk traders take over the museum. Experience the eclectic world of steampunk, with elaborate costumes, fascinating exhibits and live entertainment celebrating sci- , Victoriana and engineering. Open 10am-4pm. Normal admission applies. www.ironbridge.

ere’s the chance to cook along with top chefs at Shrewsbury Food Festival on 29th-30th June

With over 200 stalls celebrating Shrewsbury’s thriving food scene, a dedicated kids’ area and live music, it really is a day for the whole family. Open 10am-6.30pm (Sunday till 5pm). Early bird family tickets £45.

Marbury Merry

Marbury Merry Days on 11th-12th May is a traditional fair with craft and gift stalls, maypole and troupe dancing, a fun dog show, puppet show, climbing wall, vintage tractors and more! is year’s main attraction is the American Civil War Society, with a battle re-enactment and living history village. From 12.30pm, entry £7.50 (under-16s £1, or free with adult).

•6th-10th June, Zippos Circus, Quarry Park, Shrewsbury Zippos can be found touring the UK with a big top show from Easter to October every year. The all-new 2024 production celebrates founder Martin Burton’s 50 years of entertaining families. Various times. Tickets from £9.99.

•9th June, Open Farm Sunday, Battlefield 1403, Shrewsbury Open Farm Sunday is back, celebrating all things farming from machinery to animals, bee keeping and more. There’ll be music, craft stalls and delicious food, and you can visit the farm shop, deli and cafe. 10am-4pm.

•11th & 16th June, The Royal Opera: Andrea Chénier, Wellington Orbit Cinema, Telford (live screening) Loosely based on the life of French poet André Chénier, who was executed during the French Revolution, Giorano’s opera is sung in Italian with English subtitles. 7.15pm (11th) & 2pm (16th). £17.50.

•14th June, TV Smith, Albert’s Shed Shrewsbury Founding member, singer and songwriter of the Adverts, one of the leading bands in the first wave of British punk, who toured with The Damned and Iggy Pop. 7.30pm. £15.

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•15th June, Firework & Aerial Pyro Spectacular, Weston Park Aerosparx display team light up the night sky, combining formation aerobatics with pyrotechnics, alongside GliderFX wingtip smoke, fireworks and a finale spectacular set to music by world champions Fire Monkey Pyro. Gates 7pm, show 9.30pm. £42 per car (up to 6 people).


“We had the best weekend at Alderfest! It felt safe, friendly and there was so much to do for everyone”

•16th June, Half-Price Father’s Day at Hoo Zoo, Telford Visit Hoo Zoo & Dinosaur World for Father’s Day – all dads and grandads are half price! A fun day for all the family with animal talks, realistic dinosaurs, outdoor play area and action barn. 10am-5pm. Dads/grandads £9.98, standard adult ticket £19.95 (£16.95 online), child £18.85 (£15.95 online).

•20th June, Ladies Day at Hawkstone Hall & Gardens Ladies get together for race day celebrations, with a Pimms reception upon arrival followed by threecourse lunch and afternoon tea with cake and scones. Races will be screened live and there’s a live performance from Hayley De Rito. £58.95.

•Open Weekends, Wenlock Priory, Much Wenlock This spring enjoy a trip to the tranquil ruins of Wenlock Priory, an Anglo-Saxon monastery founded around 680 by King Merewalh of Mercia. Take in the Chapter House, Cloister Garden and medieval tiles in the library. Sat & Sun 10am-4pm. £8.50.

•Every Wednesday & Sunday, Hodnet Hall Gardens These stunning gardens o er a medley of environments, each with its own distinct character – from the jungle-like unruliness of the Water Garden to the sophisticated Circular Garden. 11am-5pm. £9 (child £1).

Alderfest on 5th-6th July is set to be the ultimate family weekend this summer. A stellar line-up includes Ultrabeat, Phats and Small, Kevin and Perry and Scott Mills for Friday Night Dance Anthems. On Saturday it’s back to the ’90s and ’00s with S Club, Artful Dodger, Atomic Kitten

Winning watercolours

e International Watercolour Masters 2024 comes to Lilleshall Hall on 15th-24th May. Staged every two years, the exhibition features work from the world’s elite watercolour stars, o cially recognised as being at the pinnacle of their art. Judging has already taken place and winning paintings will be displayed on a giant screen. is popular event also features daily demonstrations, workshops for all abilities and more. Open 10am-4pm. Day ticket £10, 10-day season ticket £75.

and Boyzlife! Plus silent disco, paddleboarding, aquapark, Zeus the 12-feet tall T-Rex, circus skills, hula, jive lessons, crafts and a stunt bike show, all in the idyllic setting of Alderford Lake. Camping available, pitch up with family and friends for a fun weekend. For tickets, see

Quirky birds

Join Sara PiperHeap for a clay sculpture workshop at the Willows Gallery, Oswestry on 29th June. Crows, magpies, king shers or pelicans… whatever your favourite bird, learn techniques such as slab and coil building, pinch pots and using formers, and create your own quirky sculpture – jaunty hat optional! No previous experience required. All tools and equipment provided, plus hot drinks. Why not enjoy lunch in the gallery café? Workshop 10am-4pm, price £85.

Scream queen

On 29th May the Holroyd eatre hosts an evening with celebrated ghost hunter and Most Haunted icon Yvette Fielding as she talks about her experiences and her memoir Scream Queen Yvette will take the audience through chills of supernatural work. Sceptics beware: this fascinating and entertaining evening could change your view forever! Starts 7.30pm. Tickets £12, or £22 with a signed copy of book.

Medieval mash-up

Ye Olde Camp Severn is a weekend designed especially for kids, where they can go wild while you relax!

Running 3rd-6th May at the West Mid Showground, the theme this year is ‘Medieval Mash-up’ with a mythical fantasy twist. A full weekend of entertainment includes a family rave, circus workshops, superhero academy, wizarding school, games, face painting, foam party, crazy golf, crafts and much much more. 10am-5pm. Tickets from £18 (child from £25).

40 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
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Formoreinformat io n: Hopton Kidderminster ourt, Cleo ry Mortimer, DY14 0EF atthe edge festival 19-21July 2024 *Photo Credits: Len Cabral- Jim Hooper, Shonaleigh-Katherine Betteridge *LenCabral DanWalsh CiderhouseRebellion SahandSahebdivani TimeBandits *Shonaleigh ww | | tel:07544044126 Thelongestrunninginternational storytellingfestivalinEngland Immerse yourself in the ancient artof storytelling. Be prepared to have your spine tingled, your jawdropped, yoursenses awakened! Suspend yourdisbeliefandsavourthisdelightful artform withstoriesforall ages Wehaveanamazinglineup of artists including..
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Food & Drink

Discover what Shire’s team thought of the shows and local activities around the patch


A beaming smile was the irresistible response to each of Sibelius’ Five Pieces for Violin and Piano. They were written in a freezing Finland during the horrors of the First World War, but in the playful hands of Madeleine Pickering and Julian Chan they were joyful spring personified.

There was a light touch, too, in Britten’s Suite for Violin and Piano, which included a contemplative lullaby, a sonorous march and a flamboyant waltz.

Darker versions of the emotional depths the violin/piano duo can achieve came in Schumann’s second violin sonata. Madeleine’s profound double stops powered the first movement’s tunes with a

“Darker emotional depths came in Schumann’s second violin sonata. Madeleine’s profound double stops powered the tunes

with a sense of yearning.”

sense of yearning. In the third, her gently plucked pizzicatos created a more haunting, contemplative mood. That was blown away by Julian’s dynamic piano as he swept the violin along in an exuberant ride to a triumphant conclusion.

Poulenc’s only violin sonata, written in occupied France in 1943 in memory of assassinated poet Federico Lorca, swung in mood from tender elegy to fiery tragedy. Madeleine enjoyed playing it, she told the audience cheekily, because Poulenc didn’t like writing for her instrument. “He said violins belonged in orchestras.” Her compelling performance strongly declared otherwise. JH ★★★★★

Show Reviews MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 Get in touch now or simply call (01691) 661 270 There is a huge choice of high quality local food and drink produced in the Shire region, from dairy farms, locally reared meat, fish from the Irish Sea, local varieties of fruit and vegetables, micro breweries, distilleries and vineyards. To get our reader’s attention, have your food or drink business featured in the popular Food & Drink section of Shire.
MAY & JUNE 2024 WARM WELCOME SPACE Venue: Watergate Centre Price: Free Free hot & cold drinks and a friendly space to relax in. Meetup with friends or make new ones. Free WIFI and charging points. Unwind with a book or newspaper Bring your knitting or do a puzzle. Every Wednesday afternoon except school holidays. As work continues to find solutions for the Civic Centre, we’re delighted to share news of our new temporary home - the former police station on Station Road. Work continues apace to bring this fantastic building back to life. Elsewhere, we continue to work closely with Shropshire Council, and the Shropshire Councillors for Whitchurch, as part of the newly established “Working Group” for solutions to the High Street site, to meet community need for our growing town. The Sports / Market Hall, accessed from St Mary’s Street, continues to operate normally for the time being.
045_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 27/04/2024 10:38
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OSWESTRY GLASS COMPANY Contact us for our latest colour brochure Middleton Road, Oswestry SY11 2PN T: 01691 680008 E. 044_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 12:42


Having shot to fame on social media, appeared on numerous TV comedy shows, ticked o a sell-out Edinburgh Fringe show and in the middle of his second UK tour, Shrewsbury comedian Alasdair Beckett-King is wowing the comedy world. Fresh from a homecoming gig at Theatre Severn, we put some probing questions to the local lad.

Full, real name (including any embarrassing middle names)? Alasdair James Beckett-King. And my National Insurance number is—


What do you do? I’m a comedian, children’s author and internet time-waster.


Partner, children, animals – who shares your home life? I live in a wonky Victorian attic with my lover and confidante of many years. We solve crimes together.


Highlight of the past 12 months? This time last year I published my first Montgomery Bonbon mystery for children, and then almost immediately went on tour for the first time. Which was quite tiring, to be honest.


Worst moment of the last 12 months? It really was very tiring. The journey home from Derry was grim 6

If you could come back as any animal, what would you be? Probably a human, so I wouldn’t have to learn any new limbs. I’m too old to have a tail.


Your desert island disc? A coaster. Just because I’m shipwrecked doesn’t mean I don’t have standards. 8

If you could have one superpower what would it be? Invisibility is for pervs, so it will have to be flying. 9

Your all-time hero? Professor Ya e from Bagpuss. Even though the mice annoy him, he still loves them. 10

What is your worst fear? I don’t like spiders or heights, because heights are where spiders live. 11The first thing you’d buy if you won the lottery? A bookcase that leads to a secret room.

What would be your dream job? I would like to be the Hollywood guy who chews a cigar and says, “You’ll never work in this town again!”

If you were representing your country in the Olympics which sport would you choose to do? I think my hair would look good throwing the hammer.

17When did you last laugh uncontrollably and why?

As a comedy professional, I have a very refined sense of humour. (I saw a video of a penguin falling over.)


You’re hosting a celebrity dinner party for four guests – who’s on the list? William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Nina Simone and Sweep (Sooty and Soo not invited).

19Your favourite place in the world? I like Scotland. My face feels at home even if my accent doesn’t.

20What is your proudest moment so far? That’s easy. Being interviewed by Shire Magazine!

Which would you have best chance of winning: Strictly, Bake O or I’m a Celeb…? I see myself leaping out of a

Dead, Guv
What is your favourite drink? I like a nice cup of black tea that makes your eye twitch.
sarcophagus on Antiques Roadshow
Guilty pleasure? I love TV whodunnits like Murder, She Wrote, He’s
and A Corpse, Vicar?
May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 45 20 Questions MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 27/04/2024 10:42

Did you know?

Hold your horses

“People feel safe and relaxed, and that enables them to thrive”

A horse’s heart weighs 4–4.5kg and is about the size of a basketball.

Riding or simply being with horses helps people in so many ways, not least our mental health and well-being. Throughout the region there are many centres offering equine activities and companionship to children and adults with a range of disabilities and additional needs. On the following pages we meet just a few…

Under the patronage of Princess Anne, the Riding for the Disabled Association has had its profile greatly raised, with many more people aware of the benefits it offers. All of the centres rely on volunteers and donations from supporters – so if you love being around horses, or are handy with DIY, or you’re an organisational whiz, get in touch with one of them!

Clwyd Special Riding Centre is a registered independent charity located in Llanfynydd, between Mold and Wrexham, and is an approved RDA and British Horse Society centre. It provides life-changing therapy activities including riding, carriage-driving, hippotherapy (physio on horseback), as well as the BHS’s Changing Lives Through Horses programme and British Dressage’s para dressage.

Beth Woods joined the centre last year as a practitioner in equine assisted therapy – or EAT as it’s known. “I volunteered at an RDA yard as a trainee coach and the chance to attend an EAT course came up,” she explained. “It was something I was eager to learn about, as I had seen how beneficial equine interactions were for both mental and physical health.”

EAT sessions are different from conventional therapy in that therapists work alongside horses, using activities such as grooming, feeding and leading the horse to help participants build self-awareness and communication. Beth’s favourite part about her job is watching people’s confidence shine stronger each week. “It’s all due to the amazing partnerships created with their horses,” she said. “It’s a job I truly love.”

46 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
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Sara Henney has been volunteer coordinator and programme lead at the centre since 2022, having lectured in a mainstream college for many years. “I felt that I wanted to use my skills and experience to give back to those who might otherwise struggle accessing opportunities,” she told us.

“Horses are non-judgemental, as are our staff and volunteers, which helps participants to feel safe, relaxed and comfortable. This is what enables them to thrive.”

Changing lives

The Changing Lives Through Horses programme is aimed at young people aged 8–25 who have become, or are at risk of becoming, disengaged or excluded from education or training, or those with additional needs who need support to maintain their school placement. The programme works closely with schools, local authorities and other referral agencies, and aims to develop and support six key life skills: communication, confidence, teamwork, building relationships, perseverance and responsibility.

“A huge sense of achievement is

gained and many new friends are made along the way, both two-legged and four-legged!” Sara added. “The centre is a lifeline to many families.”

Natural partners

“As herd animals, horses are social by nature. They have a heightened sense of awareness of the rest of their herd, and that ‘herd’ includes the people around them. They are great readers of body language and respond to the slightest change in emotion, energy levels, focus or intention, in a way that can highlight elements of our behaviour that reflect our feelings.

“They are entirely non-judgemental. They offer us patience and another chance when we get things wrong. In each session – no matter what their needs – participants can escape their differences to focus on what they and their horse can do as a team.

“Just being around horses stimulates all the senses; it promotes well-being, and assists in developing language and communication skills. All these qualities make them a great therapy partner.

“Riding a horse, even at a walk, stimulates the internal organs just as ›

“They offer us patience and another chance when we get things wrong”



3.Ludlow & District RDA leads some beautiful riverside treks

4.The Changing Lives group at CSRC

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 47
of Clwyd Special Riding Centre’s riders enjoys time with their pony Henney coordinates volunteers at the centre
1 2 3 4 Feature Horse Therapy MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 11:54


“Just being around horses stimulates all the senses; it promotes mood and well-being, assists in the development of language and communication skills”

walking on foot does. The movement of the horse helps to benefit muscle tone, improve balance and reactions, improves overall posture, coordination and motor function. And carriage driving helps to improve co-ordination, muscle power, balance and relaxation through rhythmic movement.”

Whilst experience with horses is desirable for volunteers, it is by no means compulsory as training will be given. “All we ask is that you are passionate about helping others and have a reasonable level of fitness,” said Sara. “Just a few regular hours can make a real difference – and the act of volunteering can enhance your own well-being too.”

There’s also plenty of opportunities for experienced tradespeople to help with site maintenance!

Amazing achievements

Located at Reaseheath Equestrian Centre, Nantwich & District Riding for the Disabled was established as a registered charity in 2017, and is run by Sheila Saner BHSAI, RDAC, HLVP, who has been involved with the Association for over 40 years.

“I love seeing smiles on so many faces: riders, parents, carers, volunteers and horses. People would be surprised by the amazing achievements of our

riders. Riding or being with horses helps in so many ways – relaxation, calmness, a sense of achievement, fun, competition, exercise and fitness. It improves mental health and you never stop learning new skills.”

Whilst horses are naturally gentle and intuitive, Sheila explained that extensive training is given to animals with the right temperament, pace, suppleness and trust. “Training is also given to all volunteers, including safeguarding, horsecare and handling, as well as our Coaching Pathway for those who want to progress.”

Fund-raising is approached in a variety of ways: grant applications, building relationships with local businesses, organising social events and raffles. ‘We have a long waiting list which shows how our services are needed,” Sheila added.

She urges prospective volunteers to get in touch. “You never know just what you can achieve until you try!”

So rewarding

Di Poole is secretary for Derwen Group RDA, which rides at Walford Equestrian Centre, Baschurch on Tuesday mornings. She said: “We currently have six riders of various ages, capabilities and disabilities. We are very well looked after by the staff

48 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
you know? Horses cannot breathe through their mouth like humans, only through their nose.
1.A young rider gets the chance to meet Princess Anne at Nantwich & District RDA 2.Setting off for a lesson on Lady Gwendoline, with Ludlow & District RDA
1 2 Feature Horse Therapy MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 11:54

at Walford, and whenever possible the students will help during our riding sessions, leading horses or walking alongside riders.”

Di said they couldn’t operate without their reliable volunteers, who turn up week in, week out. “This includes our coaches, leaders, side walkers, tea and coffee makers (very important!), and those greeting the riders and helping with equipment,” she said.

“We all love what we do and it’s so rewarding to see the pleasure and benefits that riding provides for our riders.Some strive to improve their riding while others benefit from the therapy it provides – and enjoyment of course is the biggest benefit!

Derwen RDA relies on donations, and is always looking for volunteers. “If we could find more volunteers, we could offer more places as we have a waiting list,” Di said. “We provide training as we adhere to the RDA regulations, and we do of course comply with safeguarding and DBS compliance. But all enquiries are welcome – from volunteers, riders or contributors!”

Giving something back

Based at Country Treks Equestrian Centre near Cleobury Mortimer, Ludlow & District Riding for the Disabled is an independent charity. Maggie Anderson, group organiser, told us that the group was founded over 50 years ago, and for over 40 years was based at North Farm in Ludlow. She joined in 1998 as a helper.

and the freedom of the outside spaces means a great deal to our riders.”

Volunteers do not have to be experienced with horses, and are given full training involving safeguarding, handling horses and understanding the sometimes complex needs of their riders. The horses are responsive, kind and also well trained!

Finances are always important. “We are responsible for raising all our own funds to meet the day-to-day running costs of the group,” said Maggie. “We organise lots of fund-raising events such as pub quizzes and stalls at local shows. We also benefit from donations and apply for numerous grants.

“We are short of volunteers at present as many of our ‘old-timers’ have retired, and we are worried that in the future we will not be able to continue without new input.

“None of us gets paid, but we are rewarded over and over again by the pleasure we get from watching riders flourish. The

Did you know?

The longest tail on a horse belonged to a mare called JJS Summer Breeze and measured 3.5 metres – that’s over 12 feet!

“Experiencing the sights, sounds, smells and the freedom of the outside means a great deal to our riders”

“I had always been involved with horses and was then only working part time, so I had the time to be involved with something that would give me a chance to give back to others. I am still here!”

The group’s aim is to provide children and adults, whatever their disability, with life-changing opportunities using the therapeutic benefits of horses. Riding provides therapy, fitness, development and chances for achievement and, just as importantly, enjoyment and fun.

Maggie pointed out that riding improves balance, mobility, coordination and selfesteem. “Being able to experience the sights, sounds and smells

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 49
› Feature Horse Therapy MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 4 26/04/2024 11:54
Being around horses at the Cavalier Centre can help develop a newfound confidence
“Watching the magic moments happen when our participants and horses connect is the best” Did you know?

Horses have bigger eyes than any land mammal. They also have a third e elid for e tra protection.

smallest of steps can be huge gains for some. I have also made friends for life from being involved with the RDA. It is a huge part of my life.”

A deeper connection

The Cavalier Centre in Much Wenlock is a fully accessible, state-of-the-art equestrian facility. Activities and events coordinator Richard Belcham has worked here for two years, and was previously a volunteer.

He said: “Watching the ‘magic moments’ happen when our participants and ponies connect is the best part. Their achievements are incredible, I'm so privileged to share in them.

“The horses and ponies are able to connect on a deeper level. They take people at face value, and with no judgement, and that acceptance is transforming for the people we work with.”

The centre’s horses are chosen for their ability to be calm in lots of different situations. “They are gradually brought into work and learn their work as they go,” said Richard. “For volunteers there's lots of training given in all kinds of areas, from leading ponies in sessions to yard work and more. There's also a

Coaching Pathway for those who are interested.”

Fund-raising is a combination of grant funding and approaching foundations with specific projects, running refreshment stalls at events, attending county shows and holding raffles. “We want to continue to grow in both the depth and breadth of what we do,” said Richard.

“We want to enrich and empower people's lives through horses and ensure that people who would otherwise not have access to horses get to experience their transforming nature.

“If you’re considering volunteering, jump in! You won't regret it.”

The importance of the centre is summed up by a participant’s mum: “You have reminded her of her worth, in the way you treat people. That’s the difference with the Cavalier Centre.”

So if you are a business looking for a really worthwhile charity to sponsor, please check out your local RDA – they do an amazing job!

| May/June 2024 SHIRE MAGAZINE
1 2
1. The countryside around Much Wenlock offers riders at The Cavalier Centre amazing views
Feature Horse Therapy MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 5 26/04/2024 11:54
2. Balance training at the centre

Providingequineassistedtherapytopeoplewith additionalneedsthrough...

MechanicalHorseRiding EquineAssistedTherapy BHSChangingLivesThroughHorses BDParaDressage

PlusVolunteering Opportunities

Llanfynydd Flintshire LL115HN

Tel: 01352770446


Website: Followus: @clwydspecialridingcentre

ClwydSpecialRidingCentreLtd.RegisteredCharitynumber:1118241 RegisteredasaCompanyLimitedbyGuaranteeinEnglandandWalesnumber:06033558

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051_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:44

On the hunt for Cheshire’s treasure

One of the county’s most popular villages, Tarporley is sought after for its mix of rolling landscape, good transport links, excellent schools and a thriving high street

The 2,600 people who call Tarporley home are a lucky bunch. The village is made up of properties that range from chocolate box cottages to newbuilds and barn conversions, all reflecting the feel of a genuine Cheshire town.

Created as an urban district in 1894, it has remained popular ever since, particularly with families drawn to its excellent local schools. The centre also boasts four pubs, a

great range of independent shops alongside practical stores and services, and St Helen’s Church. It has retained its attractive built environment thanks to no fewer than 39 of its buildings having listed status – from imposing manor houses and market halls to thatched cottages and even an ancient well.

Controversial club

When it comes to holding on to the past, Tarporley has one controversial claim to fame: it is home to the oldest surviving hunt club in the country, founded in 1762. It still meets annually and names King Charles as its patron. In the beginning it met at Delamere Forest and was mainly focused on hare coursing, but soon switched to foxhunting until the practice was banned. Today’s gatherings are largely social and normally held at its headquarters, The Swan Hotel, with more of a focus on fine dining than chasing animals.

Secret treasure

A prominent feature of the Tarporley landscape is the stunning Beeston Castle, perched high on Beeston Crag, one of a chain of rocky hills stretching across the Cheshire Plain. Historical evidence has been found of people using the site as a dwelling or gathering place as far back as the Neolithic

period, and the earliest signs of a hillfort on the site date back to the Iron Age.

The castle as it is known today was designed and built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, as a fortress to reflect his power. Over the centuries it has been used as a prison, seized by Parliamentarians, regularly searched by those listening to rumours of hidden treasure and is now mainly in ruin and preserved by English Heritage. It is still worth a visit for those who appreciate both the history and the views from the top.

Just a few miles away is Cheshire’s other stronghold, Peckforton Castle, several centuries younger but no less impressive. Built for the Tollemarche family in 1844, it remains beautifully intact and is a popular wedding venue.


Peckforton Castle

Tarporley High School

52 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 DID YOU KNOW? It was confirmed in April that Beeston & Tarporley station is to reopen
The gateway to Peckforton: the castle is understandably in demand for weddings Beeston Castle: worth the climb
Beeston Castle
THINGS TO SEE AND DO Town Visits Tarporley MayJune 2024 WR.indd 40 26/04/2024 17:37


Sun 5th Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza

Sun 12th Picturesque Cotswolds (SH)

Sun 26th Mystery Trip

Mon 27th Llandudno

Thurs 30th Chester/Cheshire Oaks or Chester Zoo


Sat 1st York

Wed 5th Bury Market

Sun 9th Cosford Air Show * (SH)

Sun 23rd Portmeirion Village *

Wed 26th Black/White Village Trail & Hereford Cathedral (SH)

Sun 30th Betws y Coed & Snowdon Mountain Railway


Sun 14th Windermere & The Lake District

Sun 21st Tatton Park Flower Show

Wed 24th Barmouth

Sat 27th Mystery Trip (SH)

Wed 31st New Brighton & Liverpool (SH) – Denotes Shrewsbury Pick-up Available


BEAUTIFUL BOURNEMOUTH 4* Masham Court HotelSeafront Location 20th - 24th May 5 Days from £525.00
KENT Discover ‘Garden of England’ and its lovely coastal towns 3rd - 7th June 5 Days from £599 SAIL, RAIL & SOARING THE AUSTRIAN TYROL Added Value Tour Incl. Free Bar At Main Hotel 14th – 21st May 8 Days from £1135
YORKSHIRE Includes: York Guided Tour, Castle Howard, North Yorkshire Moors Railway & Lots More 3rd - 7th June 5 Days from £539 MAGICAL MAYO Discovery the beauty of the Emerald Isle on this tour to one of Ireland’s Most Scenic Regions 16th – 22nd June 7 Days from £845
HEAD OFFICE 36-38 Beatrice Street
Oswestry 01691 652126 Newtown 01686 626576 Whitchurch 01948 662361
FOR DETAILS DETAILS CALL 01691 652126 or visit
053_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 27/04/2024 11:34


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 o er 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.

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

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

Telephone: 01630 685209 | Mobile: 07860 843341 / 07850 485859

...GET ON A CANAL BOAT Hire for a day, a weekend, a week or longer BOOK YOUR 2024 HOLIDAY NOW Visit 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 £115

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WeofferarangeofoptionsforyourstayinNorthWales.WehaveasmallfamilyruncaravanandmotorhomesiteinNorth Walesandarangeofselfcateringholidayletproperties,sleepingfrom2to22guests.Wearesituatedontheoutskirtsof Corwen,Denbighshire,justofftheA5.It'seasytobook,eitherbookonline orgiveusacall 01490412189

054_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 12:59



Maes Mynan Park in Afonwen is the latest development in the Acorn Leisure Holiday Park portfolio in North Wales. The hidden gem, near Caerwys, Flintshire has access to acres of private parkland, sequoia woods and breathtaking scenery. With plenty of accommodation available to purchase, Acorn Leisure owners Louise and Peter Barlow and their small


Experience a new take on luxury breaks at Purslow Hall Farm. For those seeking the thrill of outdoor living without sacrificing comfort, Shropshire Luxury Glamping offers the ultimate solution. Set amid the stunning Shropshire Hills, this tranquil farm boasts three individually crafted pods, promising a lavish glamping experience.

family-oriented team are inviting prospective owners to visit during a special open weekend on 11th-12th May, when a selection of new plots, show homes, bespoke lodges and caravans will be available to view, from manufacturers including Beverley Leisure Homes, Omar Wessex and Regal. There will also be refreshments, a farmers’ market, and stalls featuring artisan and independent producers.

“Buying a holiday home is a big decision”

Louise said: “Buying a holiday home is a big decision. Understanding the different options on the market, their price points and the advantages of owning a second home on a holiday park are key parts of the buying process and holiday lifestyle journey. And doing so here at Maes Mynan Park, with its stunning views, incredible wildlife, countryside and woodland will give prospective holiday home owners a true flavour of the experience.

“Whether you can make it for the special event or choose to visit another time, discover our 12-month holiday licence, giving you the freedom to escape whenever you choose, whatever the season.”

Wrapped in 100% cotton bed linen and equipped with all creature comforts, guests are ensured a rejuvenating stay. Ideal for families, the farm provides easy access to country walks from the doorstep. The Ludlow pod showcases a modern industrial aesthetic, in denim blues with accents of copper. Its sleek matt charcoal kitchen and washed oak effect furnishings cater to the discerning guest. The Wenlock pod

envelops visitors in a cashmere grey palette, offering a cosy retreat with a contemporary country ambiance. And for those preferring a burst of colour, the Stretton delights with its refreshing green tones and vibrant retro decor. Orla Kiely fabrics and Scandi-inspired furnishing create a level of luxury on a par with its counterparts.

All three pods feature indulgent hot tubs overlooking the breathtaking South Shropshire countryside. Simply pack your clothes and provisions; everything else is taken care of!

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 55
Imagine waking to this… Stunning interiors – and the views are unbelievable
And vibrant Get away from it all in the
The pods are immaculately presented Holidays MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 07:11
heart of

A home with heritage

Discover the charm of Penralley House, a luxurious bed and breakfast in Rhayader, Mid Wales. Offering easy access to the town’s amenities, shops, cafés and parks, this Georgian gem welcomes all, from walkers to motorists, cyclists to birders.

Steeped in history, Penralley House has been a cherished home for generations. Inherited by the James family in 1774 from James Jones, who may have owned it since 1656, they expanded the estate with wealth earned from service in the Royal Navy. In 1862, Maria, daughter of Cmdr Horatio James, married Stephen William Williams, county surveyor for Radnorshire and an architect. He left his mark on Penralley, transforming the rear with Victorian yellow brick. Today the house boasts a striking facade of local granite. Restored by owners Steve and Karen, it retains many original features, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Guests can unwind in the lovely garden with views of the Elan Valley. Explore the local area for outdoor challenges or simply relax and enjoy the tranquillity.



Discover a serene escape at Northfield Holiday Park, on the outskirts of the seaside village of Borth, on the Mid Wales coast. This tranquil caravan and chalet park offers 13 cosy caravans and two spacious timber chalets, all fully equipped and boasting stunning views of Cardigan Bay.

Hospitality is paramount at Northfield, where Andrew and Caroline, owners since 2012, reside on-site, ensuring guests receive top-notch service. Recent Visit Wales inspections awarded the park a perfect score of 100% for cleanliness, service and hospitality. The landscaped gardens are a haven for wildlife, enhancing the idyllic atmosphere.

Borth is six miles north of Aberystwyth and boasts a sprawling sandy beach with rock pools to explore, while the cliffs harbour an array of birds, including peregrines. A brief stroll takes you to a tranquil cove ideal for snorkelling and fishing. Fresh air fiends will delight in the network of footpaths including the coastal path to Aberystwyth. Opposite the park, a pathway leads to a secluded cove and a war memorial perched on the cliffs, with breathtaking views of Bardsey Island. With opportunities for fishing, deep-sea excursions and wildlife watching, Northfield Holiday Park provides the perfect base for a coastal retreat, surrounded by natural beauty and tranquillity.

Hot spots Hot spots


Not to be confused with the historic docks at Ellesmere in Shropshire (see right), the National Waterways Museum occupies part of a 200-year-old historic dock originally designed by Thomas Telford at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

The dock was a major transhipment point for cargo travelling between the port of Liverpool and the inland waterway network. It was also the industrial heart of the Ellesmere Port community.

“Well placed to tell the story of the Industrial Revolution”

As one of the largest, most complete dock complexes in the UK, it is well placed to tell the story of the growth of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and the museum’s collection enhances the ability to tell this story through boats, buildings, objects and an impressive archive.

Visitors can enjoy a guided walk, watch the blacksmith at work, then hop aboard a boat for a voyage through the locks, see how they work and learn about their purpose. There’s also a café to keep you refreshed as you explore.


Ellesmere Yard has unique heritage status as the UK’s only remaining operational canal yards. The site dates back to 1806, when it was the office and workshops of the Ellesmere Canal Company, set up by Thomas Telford, pioneer architect and engineer of the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals in the heroic days of canal and bridge building.

It remains a working yard and base for the Canal & River Trust, who take care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. The site includes a variety of small workshops as well as stores, dry dock, offices and the iconic Beech House. It’s also home to a heritage blacksmith and his company, who run the forge.

“Plans would have a knock-on for local business”

At key dates during the year, the site is open to the public who visit in increasing numbers to learn more about its heritage and collections. Plans to establish a regular destination would have positive knock-on for local tourism and businesses. It could also become the home for new enterprise, studios and eateries. Visit the Facebook page to find out more.

56 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
The interior decor is stunning The fine granite exterior of Penralley House
Holidays MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 07:11
A chalet interior and (top) sea views

Experience pure relaxation in our lavish lodges, complete with private hot tubs. From lakeside strolls to spa indulgence, there’s something for everyone and you can even enjoy hassle-free dining with breakfast and lunch delivered to straight to your door Oh, and bring your furry friends along –at Love2Stay, pets stay free.

With our stellar 5-star TripAdvisor rating and glowing Google and Hoseasons reviews, rest assured, your Love2Stay experience will be unforgettable.

Book now and embark on a journey of luxury, adventure, and lasting memories.

Escape to Love2Stay: Where Luxury and Adventure Await Love2Stay Mid Wales, Moat Ln, Caersws, SY17 5SB 01686 806384 |
057_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:34

Llawrbetws Leisure set in the grounds of 14 acres of idyllic countryside, located just 5 miles from Bala in North Wales.


Regal Retreat 2 Bed | £54,995
Looking for a romantic getaway in North Wales? Look no further than Tyddyn Sydney Bach, a luxury self catering cottage for couples located near Bangor. Recently refurbished and extended to meet Visit Wales’ exacting standards, our 5-star garden cottage features open wooden beams and high ceilings, creating a spacious and welcoming environment. The open plan kitchen/lounge area is perfect for relaxing together, while the double bedroom and bathroom are furnished and equipped to the highest standards. Stay connected with our complimentary WiFi, and enjoy the convenience of towels, bed and table linen included in your stay. Outside, you’ll find garden furniture and a parasol, perfect for soaking up the Welsh sunshine. Just off junction 9 of the A55, ideal for exploring the local area. Call 01248 355180 Self Catering Cottage in Bangor North eld Holiday Park 7 nights self-catering from £150 Bring a pet for just £25 Call us on 01970 871464 hello@north www.north The Star On The Hill combines the warmth, character and atmosphere of a traditional 16th century Inn with a modern dining twist. An A La Carte menu of exciting, seasonal forward-thinking dishes offers balance to our Farmer’s Menu of traditional pub food. Llanfihangel Tor-Y-Mynydd, Usk, United Kingdom Tel 01291 650256 SHIRE magazine The No.1 magazine for holiday parks throughout Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. Get in touch now or simply call (01691) 661 270 Call us anytime 01691 624464 or 07972 066291 Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 9HH Robin and Jane welcome you to Newnes Touring Caravan Park, where they have created a wonderful haven for visitors to escape from their busy lives and get back to the wonders of nature. For adults only. 058_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 27/04/2024 10:51


Discover self-catering in Wales at Tyddyn Sydney Bach, a beautifully refurbished and extended Visit Wales five-star garden cottage designed for two, complete with exposed beams and high ceilings.

The cottage has an open-plan kitchen/lounge, a spacious double bedroom and bathroom, furnished and equipped to the highest standards. Wi-fi, towels, bed linen and table linen are included. The modern fitted kitchen/dining room is comprehensively equipped with a fridge-freezer, dishwasher, combination microwave-oven, gas hob and extractor hood. A good range of table and cookware is provided. The

“Exposed beams, high ceilings… equipped to the highest standard”



“Heritage bedrooms provide a glimpse into the past”

Elgar, Holst and Britten stayed here, as well as writer George Bernard Shaw and prime minister Stanley Baldwin. Renowned for its hospitality, Gregynog Hall in Powys continues to extend a warm Welsh welcome to guests today. Set amidst a 750-acre nature reserve, the Hall offers a peaceful retreat, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surroundings. Guests can choose from a variety of accommodation options to suit their needs. The Courtyard rooms, all en suite, offer comfortable bed and breakfast stays throughout the year. The heritage bedrooms within the Hall provide a glimpse into the past, and are priced at £140 for two per night (£85 for single occupancy). Rooms for up to four are available on the top floor at £200 per night. Evening meals can also be arranged for groups, adding to the festive atmosphere. For those seeking a tranquil escape or planning a special celebration or event, Gregynog welcomes enquiries and reservations.

tastefully decorated lounge has red leather reclining sofas, complemented with side tables and brass lamps, a computer desk and chair, smart TV and DVD player.

Tyddyn Sydney Bach is set in the grounds of a larger cottage on the outskirts of historic Bangor, between the Britannia and Menai Bridge crossings to Anglesey. Its location gives easy access to UNESCO sites such as Edward I’s castles and the Slate Landscape, as well as the Wales Coastal Path. Guests can explore National Trust properties like Penrhyn Castle and Plas Newydd, enjoy watersports on the Menai Strait and surrounding beaches, take a leisurely stroll on the restored Victorian pier or experience adventures like Zipworld or mountain climbing. Whether seeking a romantic retreat for two or an adventurous getaway, Tyddyn Sydney Bach is an ideal choice for your next holiday. For enquiries or to make a booking, call 01248 355 180 or visit

Perfect paradise

For unforgettable holidays, where quality and comfort go hand in hand with firstclass facilities and stunning scenery, Bulmer Leisure Holiday Parks have the ideal destination. Silver Bay is on the Anglesey coast, close to the pretty village of Rhoscolyn. With a pristine sandy beach and crystal-clear waters, this owner-exclusive resort offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure for families seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle.

Indulge in a refreshing swim in the heated indoor pool, unwind in the steam room or revitalise your senses in the state-of-the-art fitness centre. For little ones, indoor and outdoor play areas and the fun-packed Busy Bayer activity hub promise endless excitement. Embark on a coastal hike, explore the Anglesey Coastal Path or hit the beach for some sun-kissed relaxation. Adventure enthusiasts can try kayaking, paddleboarding and windsurfing, with each day an opportunity for new experiences.

The Deck House at Silver Bay offers an exquisite menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. Savour a leisurely dinner or unwind with a drink on the terrace, soaking in the sunset.

At Silver Bay, you are part of a welcoming community. The park hosts regular social events, from barbecues to beach entertainment. Choose from a variety of stylish lodges and modern caravans for sale, offering comfort and luxury for your Silver Bay adventure. www.bulmerleisure. hosts

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 59
Wake refreshed and enjoy the birdsong… It’s a delightful setting Lots of space to soak up those rays The lodges are stylishly furnished
Gregynog Hall has a long history of hospitality
Holidays MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 07:11

Green and serene

If you’re looking for a woodland home-from-home for your family, holiday park experts Bulmer Leisure have a new owner-exclusive development on Anglesey that will be right up your street – or should we say, forest path. You’ll find Woodland Falls on the north side of the island, a short walk from Lligwy, awarded Best Beach in the UK. The combination of woodland and coastal surroundings with high-quality luxury lodges and caravans makes it the perfect getaway all year round.

“Children are safe to enjoy the great outdoors”

The eco-friendly lodges at Woodland Falls bring the family-owned firm one step closer to its sustainability goals. Bulmer Leisure is serious about creating cleaner, environmentally conscious parks, starting with on-site facilities and partnerships. At Bulmer Leisure Holiday Parks, the team provides a safe and beautiful haven, where guests can enjoy unrivalled facilities in stunning natural surroundings. The family pride themselves on maintaining high standards, and the site is monitored with 24-hour security so children are safe to play and enjoy the great outdoors.

Where the mountains meet the sea

Under the stewardship of the Cave-Browne-Cave family for over a century, the Trefeddian Hotel blends tradition with contemporary comforts. Perched between the southern Snowdonian peaks and the Cambrian shoreline, just beyond Aberdovey, the hotel offers breathtaking panoramas. Guests are treated to locally sourced cuisine, top-notch amenities and a warm reception. It’s a haven where visitors can unwind after a day’s exploring.

The Trefeddian has amassed many accolades over the years. Awards such as the Good Hotel Guide Editor’s Choice for Family Hotel and Seaside Hotel in 2022 and AA Hotel of the Year 2018-19 underscore its commitment to service and quality.

Accommodation is truly exceptional

Guests are assured an unforgettable experience marked by attentive service and a welcoming atmosphere. The Trefeddian continues to be a cherished destination for travellers seeking a truly exceptional stay in Mid Wales.


Explore the breathtaking Brecon Beacons with a stay at Beacon Park Cottages, on the slopes of the Blorenge. This private retreat was once a hub of industry, now transformed into part of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. Just a short stroll from the market town of Abergavenny, these charming cottages provide a magical escape in the rural oasis of the National Park, with stunning views of the canal, Sugarloaf mountain and a nearby vineyard.

“Comfort at every turn”

An historic inn

Experience the hospitality and fine cuisine of The Bryntirion Inn, a charming stopover in the gorgeous Dee Valley in North Wales. An ideal base for exploring the coast as well as the scenery of Snowdonia, The Bryn offers well-appointed en suite guest rooms, just four miles from Lake Bala.

Dating back to 1695, this historic inn has a range of real ales including local favourites, and an impressive wine list. Delicious dishes are crafted by the experienced chef, who is happy to accommodate special dietary requirements.

“Genuine hospitality awaits”

Combining bold design and traditional charm, enjoy leisurely breakfasts courtesy of a Nespresso coffee machine, built-in toaster and radio. Explore Abergavenny or venture into the countryside, where trails and towpaths await. After a day of adventure, pamper yourself with Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, then savour delicious local produce from the barbecue or prepared in the handcrafted kitchen. At Beacon Park, you’ll find comfort and relaxation at every turn.

Beyond its warm Welsh welcome, The Bryntirion boasts a family room equipped with plasma TV, pool table and dartboard. Dogs are welcome. The inn also prioritises sustainability, embracing Fair Trade practices and green initiatives to promote responsible tourism.

Gardens and woodlands offer a picturesque backdrop, while a heated outdoor smoking area provides comfort for guests. Monthly quiz nights and open mic sessions on the third Friday of each month add to the vibrant atmosphere. Whether stopping by for a drink, a meal or an extended stay in one of the cosy en suite rooms, guests are sure to be enchanted by the magic of this idyllic corner of the world, where genuine hospitality awaits.

60 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Just a stone’s throw from prizewinning Lligwy beach A warm welcome awaits The Trefedian Hotel, near Aberdovey Everything for a relaxed stay
HOLIDAYS Holidays MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 4 26/04/2024 07:11
Discover Your Perfect Welsh Getaway TREFEDDIAN HOTEL, ABERDOVEY coastal hotel ● luxury self - catering ● indoor pool Unforgettable holidays in Wales since 1904 01654 767213 Sunday Lunch .Bar Snacks .Afternoon Tea 061_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 13:02

When you arrive, your beds will be made and the fires ready to light, you can relax and feel at home, knowing that Glansevin is

Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA19 9HY |

Smithy Park, Abermule Montgomery, Powys SY15 6ND 01686 630657 Bestparks Country Holiday Parks Holiday Home Ownership & Touring Park • Family run park Mid Wales • Adjacent River Severn fishing • Self-catering holiday cottage – sleeps 4 • • Nearby Montgomery Canal • • Canal walk & cycle path • Nearby golf courses | Village location • Village Pub • • Bus service from park entrance • £25o aweek’stouringstay This luxury two bedroom cottage sleeps 4 adults, and has a balcony with superb views over Conwy Bay to Anglesey and the Great Orme at Llandudno The holiday cottage has been awarded 5 stars by Visit Wales, and can be configured as 2 double rooms, or a double and twin. It is set on the adults only Tyddyn Du Touring Park in Penmaenmawr. 01492 622300 | Cae Cyd Holiday Cottage is a stunning barn conversion on the North Wales coast at the edge of the Snowdonia National Park near Conwy. Romantic Weekends | Family Holidays | Business Trips Luxury self-catering accommodation situated across South Wales, offering coast & country. Established in 2022, Well House Cottages have been designed to offer you a blend of modern luxury with charming character. If you’re getting away to explore or take a break from everyday life, our accommodation presents a sense of at home comfort in sought after locations. 07950 135341 Awarded 5 stars by visit wales for all our properties OSTLERS COTTAGE - AVAILABLE NOW! Offers you a unique & comfortable setting in the beautiful Welsh countryside, with privacy & seclusion, that
you can truly make your own. Simple or luxurious; bustling or relaxed; large gatherings or small groups, Glansevin is dedicated entirely to your needs.
exclusively yours. The large grounds are the perfect place to play games, relax in the sunshine, use the sauna or swim in our refurbished outdoor pool.  Indoors, the games room will be ready for the children (adults as well). The drawing room bar will be ready for you to stock your favourite refreshments, we are a no corkage venue, just fill the bar and relax. We are a self-catering venue with a large, fully equipped kitchen, next to the dining room ready for use. We can put you in touch with our wonderful local caterers or you can hire your own.
can walk into the countryside from the gardens, or further afield there are castles, lakes and waterfalls to discover. Delicious eateries, art galleries, deer park & botanical gardens are within a short drive.
stay here offers a slice of Wales at its best.
062_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 13:03


With lighter evenings and warmer weather, now’s the perfect time to take up a new sport that will get you out in the fresh air for hours at a time

Golf, with its pristine fairways and tranquil settings, is a sport cherished by millions worldwide. But for newcomers, the array of rules and terms can be a little daunting, so Shire set out to unravel the basics.

Need to know

Golf is played on a course consisting of nine or 18 holes, the objective being to hit the ball into each in turn in the fewest strokes possible.

• Teeing o : each hole begins with a ‘tee shot’. The ball is placed on a small peg called a tee, and struck towards the fairway…

• Fairway: this is the trimmed strip of grass leading to the green, where the hole is located. Players strive to land their ball on the green with accuracy and finesse, using an array of clubs suited to various distances.

“Respect fellow golfers by remaining quiet during shots”

• Putting: once on the green, the goal shifts to precision putting. Players use a putter to roll the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible.

• Etiquette: golf etiquette is paramount. Players must respect their fellow golfers by remaining quiet during shots and repairing divots (damaged turf) on the course.

On course

The Shire patch boasts a diverse range of golf courses, each with its own character and challenges. Some are expensive and exclusive members-only venues that will challenge a beginner’s

Historical hike

In our walk this issue, provided by The Ramblers, we explore Acton Burnell and Langley Chapel in Shropshire, the location of England’s first parliament, an historic church, a ruined castle and a remote chapel.

Difficulty level: Leisurely

Walking time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Length: 8.6 miles (13.9 km)

skills and bank balance, but many are municipal and community facilities perfect for practising your swing. A growing network of driving ranges has also opened in recent years, giving amateurs and experts alike the chance to perfect their techniques without taking on a full round every time.

Whether you’re drawn to the rugged allure of links courses or the serene ambiance of parkland settings, or want to practise your putting with a sea view, there are plenty of clubs and courses to choose from.


A basic set of golf clubs to get you started won’t cost the earth and should include: Driver: used for tee shots. Its oversized head provides maximum distance. Fairway wood: a 3 or 5 o ers a balance of distance and control for longer shots. Hybrid: combines elements of woods and irons, and aids in achieving better accuracy. Irons (5-9): higher-numbered

reach a road. Take a moment to appreciate the 13th-century parish church nearby, renowned for its impressive monuments, including the brass of Sir Nicholas Burnell dating back to 1382.

Continue your trek by turning left along the road, eventually descending towards houses on the right. Take a left turn signed to Langley Chapel, where you’ll discover a hidden gem steeped in history.

irons provide shorter, higher shots; lower numbers o er a flatter trajectory. Wedges: crucial around the green. The pitching wedge is used for shorter approach shots; the sand wedge helps escape bunkers with its angled face. Putter: the flat face allows for precision on the green.


Start: Acton Burnell crossroads, SY5

Begin your journey at the crossroads in Acton Burnell and head towards the castle, following the signs. Upon reaching the castle ruins, immerse yourself in its storied past before continuing your exploration.

Head back towards the turning circle and proceed left, tracing a wooden fence until you reach a stile. Cross over and follow the path along a hedge until you

Built in 1313, the chapel’s layout is original, preserving a bygone era untouched by modernisation.

As you venture onwards, follow the path through woodland, guided by waymarker posts, until you reach a forest track. Ascend the slope, passing through gates and fields, and marvel at the panoramic views stretching before you.

“The layout is original, untouched by modern life”

Traverse the countryside, guided by the natural beauty that surrounds you. Continue along the whole route and the circular journey will bring you back to the start point. Find the full details of this route and many others online at

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 63
What could be more relaxing? Unspoilt Langley Chapel is a gem The first English parliament was held at Acton Burnell
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Putt it there…

From practicality to passion

Bicycles might have been invented as a means to an end, providing simple transport for millions, but today the scope for cycling is immense – as a way to get around, a competitive sport and a booming leisure activity

Did you know

People who cycle for 30 minutes, 5 days a week take half as many sick days as those who do no exercise

“Its enduring appeal lies in its simplicity, versatility and accessibility, making it a timeless pastime enjoyed by millions around the world”

Cycling has evolved significantly since its humble beginnings. Its journey from a practical means of getting from A to B to a highly popular sport and leisure pursuit is testament to its enduring appeal and adaptability.

The history of cycling dates back to the early 19th century with the invention of the ‘Draisine’ or ‘running machine’ by Karl Drais of Germany in 1817. This precursor to the modern bicycle lacked pedals and was propelled by the rider pushing their feet against the ground. It wasn’t until the 1860s that pedals were added, marking the birth of the bicycle as we know it today.

Over the centuries, they have evolved from the comical ‘penny farthings’ we’ve all seen in pictures into something more recognisable as a modern bicycle.

Initially, bicycles were used as a mode of transportation, offering people an efficient and affordable way to travel short to medium distances. The invention of the safety bicycle in the late 19th century, with its chain-drive mechanism and equalsized wheels, made cycling more accessible to the masses.

This breakthrough sparked a cycling craze, especially among urban dwellers seeking freedom and mobility.

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It's fun and it's improving your health and mental well-being at the same time Cycling MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 14:13

Did you know?

Sporting start

As cycling gained popularity as a mode of transport, it also began to emerge as a competitive sport. The first recorded bicycle race took place in 1868 in Paris, setting the stage for the development of professional cycling.

The Tour de France, established in 1903, remains the most prestigious and iconic road cycling event in the world, showcasing the endurance and skill of cyclists over gruelling mountain stages and challenging terrain.

Alongside its practical and competitive aspects, cycling also found a place in the realm of leisure and recreation. From leisurely rides through scenic countryside to adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking adventures, cycling offers something for everyone. The emergence of dedicated cycling paths and trails has made it easier for enthusiasts to explore the great outdoors on two wheels, whether alone, with friends or as part of organised group rides.

In recent decades, cycling has undergone a resurgence, fuelled by growing concerns about environmental sustainability, as well as health and fitness. More people are turning to cycling as a greener alternative to driving, reducing carbon emissions and congestion on our roads. Additionally, the rise of cycling as a form of exercise has contributed to its popularity, with many embracing it as a low-impact way to improve cardiovascular health and overall fitness.

Cycling’s enduring appeal lies in its simplicity, versatility and accessibility, making it a timeless pastime enjoyed by millions around the world. Whether you're commuting to work, racing against the clock or simply enjoying a leisurely ride in the country, cycling offers a sense of freedom and exhilaration that few activities can match. So why not hop on your bike and join the ride? ›

Fun facts

Check out the following interesting bits of trivia about all things bike!


The Netherlands is renowned as the world's cycling capital, with over 35,000 kilometres of dedicated cycling paths and lanes criss-crossing the country and approximately 22 million bicycles, compared to 8 million cars. Cycling is ingrained in Dutch culture – it's not uncommon to see people of all ages cycling. It's their primary mode of transport.


In countries like Denmark and Germany, cycling isn't just a mode of transport, it's big business. The bicycle industry contributes significantly to the economy, with Denmark's bicycle-related exports valued at over 270 million annually.


In the small island nation of Tuvalu, located in the South Pacific Ocean, bicycles outnumber people! With a population of around 11,000 spread across nine coral atolls, bicycles are the primary mode of transportation for many Tuvaluans due to the flat terrain and compact size of the islands.

“Cycling is ingrained in Dutch culture – it's not uncommon to see people of all ages cycling. It's their primary mode of transportation”
May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 65
Parking’s easier with
a bike
2022 was Year of the Bicycle in Denmark No hills to climb in Tuvalu
Filippo Ganna holds the record for distance cycled in 1 hour, clocking up 56 km (35 miles)
Cycling MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 14:14
The healthier, greener way to commute

Choose your


Whether you're after adrenaline-pumping mountain trails, leisurely family rides or scenic road routes, the Shire patch has cycling opportunities to suit every rider

Mountain biking

For thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts, mountain biking provides an adrenalinefuelled experience amidst rugged terrain and breathtaking scenery. It must be undertaken with care and with all the right protective equipment, but can provide excitement and adventure for those brave enough.

TOP SPOT: Coed Llandegla Forest, North Wales – this mountain-biking mecca has a range of trails catering to all skill levels, from gentle green routes to challenging black runs. With its well-maintained facilities, it’s ideal for riders looking to tackle technical terrain.

Road cycling

For those who prefer smooth tarmac and sweeping vistas, road cycling provides an exhilarating way to explore. Our area is home to a myriad scenic coastal routes and cycle-friendly destinations, forests, shorelines, villages and countryside.

TOP SPOT: North Wales Coastal Route – this official Sustrans route stretches from Chester to Conwy, and offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and Snowdonia National Park. With its relatively flat terrain and well-marked cycle lanes, it's perfect for leisurely rides and scenic coastal cycling.

Club cycling

For cyclists seeking camaraderie, training support and the thrill of organised events, club cycling and sportives offer fantastic opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and push personal boundaries. Joining a cycling club provides a sense of community and support for riders of all levels, offering a welcoming environment for cyclists to improve their skills, fitness and confidence on the bike.

TOP SPOT: Chester and North Wales CTC is a membership group with several informal groups who meet in various locations including Chester, the Wirral and North Wales. In addition to the friendly club rides there’s a wide range of events including tourist trials, audaxes and the President’s Ride.

Did you know?

Family cycling

Families looking to enjoy quality time together while exploring the great outdoors will find plenty of family-friendly cycling options in the region. As an all ages and all abilities pastime it is a great way to get out and explore in one of the safe areas we have nearby.

The speed record for cycling (slipstream) is 183.9 mph, set by Denise Mueller-Korenek in 2018

TOP SPOT: The Wirral Way is a picturesque route along the Wirral Peninsula. Stretching for 12 miles along a former railway line, it features flat terrain, traffic-free paths and stunning views of the Dee Estuary and surrounding countryside.

Sportive cycling

Sportives are organised cycling events that challenge participants to complete a predetermined route within a time frame. These non-competitive rides vary in distance and difficulty, catering to cyclists of different abilities and fitness levels.

TOP SPOT: The Cheshire Cat Sportive is the biggest open road sportive in the UK – a range of routes winding through the picturesque countryside of Cheshire and Staffordshire. With its challenging climbs and scenic vistas, it attracts riders from across the region looking for a rewarding cycling challenge.

Inside action


those who prefer the comfort of home or are unable to venture outdoors, there are still ways to enjoy cycling and reap its benefits. Spin classes are available at most leisure centres and are high-energy workouts led by experienced instructors, providing motivation and challenge. Indoor training platforms like Peloton offer interactive virtual cycling experiences, allowing you to join live classes or access a library of workouts. Investing in an exercise bike is a flexible and convenient option, enabling you to customise your training regime and progress at your own pace without leaving the living room. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to the sport, there's an option for all!

66 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Non-stop thrills Join the pack Escape the tra c
Cycling MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 27/04/2024 10:13

A for all sport Cheri suggests…

It’s never too late to get back on your bike, says Cheri Mills, cycling ambassador and British over-50s cross-country champion

Asurvey by the Department for Transport showed that 67 percent of the UK population aged five years and over can ride a bicycle. So most of us learn as children, and we often stop riding bikes as we become adults. But it is something we can all pick up again – it’s just like riding a bike after all.

Cheri Mills is not only an active member of Welsh Cycling, the sport’s governing body, with multiple roles across various organisations, but also a champion in her own right. She said: “As a lifelong cyclist, I’ve pedalled across the globe clinching victories. I’ve discovered that my greatest satisfaction comes from sharing the thrill and health benefits of cycling with others.”

Cheri is a strong advocate of the opinion that cycling can be enjoyed by anyone. She said: “Currently my projects span a range of initiatives from tailoring training regimens for athletes to help them reach their performance objectives to conducting e-bike sessions for the National Exercise Referral scheme, promoting active lifestyles in Wrexham. I also organise mountain biking sessions for women and girls in collaboration with the Outdoor Partnership and group skills sessions at Oneplanet Adventure. And I proudly serve as an ambassador for Hope Women, a brand championing women’s mountain biking. Through their women-only sessions and insightful blog content, they fosters a vibrant community and support riders at every level.”

No age limit

One role Cheri finds particularly fulfilling is with the senior cyclists she meets in Wrexham as part of the over-60s e-bike

For those seeking cycling opportunities near Wrexham, here are some of Cheri’s recommended destinations.

•Pedal Power at Alyn Waters offers fully inclusive cycle hire with adaptive bikes and features a scenic 1km track.

•Oneplanet Adventure Llandegla has excellent amenities including bike hire and cafe, and world-class trails for all skill levels.

•Active Wrexham provides e-biking experiences tailored for individuals over 60. active-wrexham

•Check out for engaging articles, news and women's mountain biking events.

•The Outdoor Partnership hosts great mountain biking sessions.

project operated by Active Wrexham. She said: “With a fleet of 12 e-bikes, we hold weekly sessions where riders receive guidance to ensure their safety and enjoyment. It’s heartening to witness participants, including the oldest rider at 94, embrace cycling with newfound enthusiasm.

“We have a core group who turn up rain or shine. One lady in particular was very nervous for her first session and hadn’t written a ridden a bike for over 50 years. She has buddied up with three others, they have all purchased e-bikes and now meet regularly for rides. This is very rewarding as a coach and exactly what we wanted the sessions to do.”

“One lady was very nervous and hadn’t ridden a bike for 50 years. She has buddied up with three others and they now meet regularly for rides”
May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 67
Find Cheri on Facebook at Cherimillscoaching “My greatest satisfaction is sharing the thrill of cycling with others” Age is no barrier Cheri in action Cheri Mills
› Cycling MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 4 26/04/2024 14:14

on wheels Women

Cycling is one of the sports in which men and women can be pretty well matched as fitness and skill are more important than strength and size – so it’s no wonder more and more women are taking to their bikes

In the early days of cycling, societal norms restricted women's participation, but the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw women challenging the norm by forming cycling clubs and using the bicycle as a tool for empowerment. Bicycles played a significant role in the women's suffrage movement, offering campaigners a means of mobilisation and independence. Cycling allowed suffragettes to travel independently to rallies, spread their message, and organise protests, highlighting the bicycle's symbolic significance in the fight for women's rights and liberation. Around the same era, the rise in popularity of women wearing trousers also contributed to the advancement of women's cycling – skirts and early bicycles just didn’t mix! Trousers provided greater freedom of movement and comfort while riding, promoting greater gender equality in the sport.

It’s a Breeze!

Despite this, the organisation Cycling UK estimates that 72 percent of all bike trips in the UK are still made by men. This is something British Cycling is trying to tackle with the launch of Breeze, a programme specifically designed to encourage women into the sport. Their spokesperson said: “Breeze is the biggest

programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun. Currently three times more men than women cycle for leisure, so we’ve decided to try and change that. We have over 1,200 volunteer Breeze champions who organise bike rides in their local areas to help thousands more women feel confident and comfortable about going on a bike ride. Since its launch in 2011, Breeze has supported more than 350,000 women to enjoy more than 80,000 community bike rides. ”

One of those inspirational ride leaders is Alex Aiken, area coordinator for North & Mid Wales, who leads groups at every ability level and is passionate about getting more women out enjoying their cycling.

Give it a go

“Breeze is the biggest programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun”

Did you know?

On a bicycle, you can travel three times faster than you can walk, for the same amount of energy

She said: “We now have 70 female volunteer ride leaders (Breeze champions) putting on all sorts of rides and activities for women. We have everything from ‘come along and give it a go with one of our bikes if you’ve not cycled in years’ right through to challenging climbs like Pen y Pass. Being based in North & Mid Wales, mountain biking is also a big part of what we offer and we have rides in places such as Coed y Brenin, Nant y Arian, Gwydir and Llandegla.

“Rides start with beginners’ sessions combining coaching to get you up and running and also some more challenging routes and rides. We also do all sorts of fun things, like we led out the start of the Tour of Britain from Wrexham last year, and we cycle the Tour de Mon each summer.

“Whether you have cycled with Breeze before or are new to the programme, you’ll be made very welcome. To find out more about what we have to offer, readers are welcome to contact me on or check out our Facebook Groups.” anglesey.gwynedd.conwy groups/breeze.powys groups/breeze.flintshire.denbighshire. wrexham

Left: riding out with Breeze
68 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Check out the Breeze Facebook Groups below to find a friendly group ride near you
Cycling MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 5 27/04/2024 10:13

to all Accessible Why bike?

With a bit of help from adapted bikes and supportive leaders, one Shropshire group aims to making cycling fully inclusive

Cycling4All Shropshire is a voluntary group that works with local organisations to provide accessible cycling sessions in Shrewsbury and runs supported cycle rides. They are adamant that anyone can enjoy cycling with the right bike and friendly help.

Group secretary Jean Breakell said: “In partnership with Shrewsbury Sports Village, home to a fantastic 1.1km cycle track, we offer access to a range of adapted bikes, trikes and tandems. Our goal is to encourage and assist those with disabilities, long-term health conditions or confidence issues to participate safely and joyfully.”

In tandem

Jean loves what she does and recalls some favourite memories. She said: “Two years ago, Owen, 21, had never ridden a two-wheeled bike, though he had a trike, and his dad hadn't ridden a tandem. After practising last summer with experienced leaders, they embraced tandem cycling, initially borrowing a tandem from the charity Charlotte’s Tandems. This spring, they bought their own tandem ‘Diana’, enabling them to join C4AS rides and enjoy family outings locally.”

Another success story for the group is Sue, a keen cyclist who lives with Parkinson’s disease. Jean explained: “A lifelong cyclist and now limited in mobility, Sue loves to ride a semi-recumbent around the track. It’s fantastic for her general health and well-being and she has now made a supported ride a couple of miles to the local pub!

“There’s plenty of evidence that cycling is of very positive benefit for people with Parkinson’s and we hope more people will contact us to try out what’s on offer. Especially when newly diagnosed, cycling can be an effective way of remaining mobile.”

Find out more at

There are plenty of reasons to get on your bike – here are our top five!


Improved physical health Cycling is a low-impact exercise that offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, and enhanced joint mobility.

2Mental well-being Cycling is not only good for the body but also the mind. Outdoor activities can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, while boosting mood.

3Environmental sustainability

Choosing to cycle instead of driving helps reduce carbon emissions and air pollution.


Cost-effective transport Cycling is a cheap alternative to driving or public transport. Once you have invested in a bike the ongoing costs are minimal.


Social connection Cycling provides opportunities for social and community engagement through group rides, cycling clubs, charity events or just taking part as a family-friendly activity.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 69
Better for your body Better for your mind Better for your wallet All
Cycling MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 6 26/04/2024 14:14
set for a spin with the Cycling4All team


Making waves

The resort town of Aberystwyth draws crowds of tourists to its long sandy beaches as well as attracting a steady flow of students to its renowned university


at the mouth of the River Ystwyth, hence its name, Aberystwyth is a great seaside location for the thousands of holidaymakers who visit every year. It has everything you would expect from a tourist resort – two stretches of beautiful beach, a promenade and a pier, all of which have made it a top choice for families over the centuries.

But long before the bucket and spade brigade arrived, the town was thriving. The earliest evidence of the area as a dwelling is a Celtic fortress, the remains of which date from around 700 BC. The first properly recorded history of the town dates from 1109, and it was later occupied by Owain Glyndwr, who resided at Aberystwyth

Castle between 1404 and 1408 before surrendering to Prince Harry, the future King Henry V of England.

Lost history

Aberystwyth has been home to several castles over the centuries, many demolished by the encumbent rulers of the time, and was once the site of a stunning mansion called Hafod Uchtryd, partly designed by John Nash. The landscaped gardens were formed by blasting away hillsides to create vistas, while pathways and bridges were built and hundreds of thousands of trees planted. The resulting landscape was much admired and attracted visitors including poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In fact, it is believed to have inspired a passage in his poem ‘Kubla Khan’. The house was demolished in 1955, but the landscape remains today.

Cultural hub


and the university to be evacuated, and the pier and promenade have required significant restoration over the years.

It was the arrival of the rail link to the town that brought about Aberystwyth’s tourism boom, spurring on the development of many industrial and commercial features of the town as well as the UK’s longest funicular railway, which takes passengers up a 1:2 gradient to a park and camera obscura at the top of the town.

The town’s geographical location means it is vulnerable to severe weather and it has suffered substantial damage on several occasions. Storms have led both the town


A culturally rich town, Aberystwyth is home to the National Library of Wales and supports a busy music scene. Its thriving arts centre comprises a theatre, concert hall and cinema, galleries, cafés, bars and shops.


Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Aberystwyth University

Penglais Campus SY23 3DE

Aberystwyth Cli Railway

Cli Terrace SY23 2DN www.aberystwythcli

National Library of Wales

Penglais SY23 3BU

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The pier opened in 1865 – on the very same as the railway line from Machynlleth The castle once sheltered Owain Glyndwr The Victorian pier stands proudly once again
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A French favourite

In his regular column for Shire Magazine, Gary Carter from Shropshire Wine School discusses a rm favourite from across the Channel, Chenin Blanc – and visits the cellars of a leading producer

The second-most famous white grape to hail from France’s Loire Valley – after the superstar Sauvignon Blanc – Chenin is a highly versatile and underrated variety. At its best Chenin displays intense apple, pear and quince flavours. It has the ability to age very well. It is always a highly acidic variety, meaning that in order to make dry wines it needs to be fully ripe, something not always achieved in the cool Loire. Enterprising winemakers therefore produce four different styles of wine from this variety:

• Fully dry (sec) from particularly warm spots such as Savennières, or in a good year Vouvray.

• Off-dry (demi-sec) with the sweetness balancing the acidity, the default style in Vouvray.

• When fully ripe grapes are affected by autumnal botrytis fungus, long-lived and intensely sweet dessert wines are produced in Vouvray, Coteaux du Layon and most spectacularly Bonnezaux.

“Intense apple, pear and quince flavours”

Did you know?

The Loire Valley is the biggest producer of sparkling wine outside of Champagne

referred to by its local name “Steen”, South African Chenin is not as dominant as it used to be as many of the high-yielding vineyards have been uprooted.

• Finally, slightly underripe and high acid grapes are perfect for fizz, so the Loire makes lots of fizz from Chenin: Cremant de Loire, Saumur and Vouvray. You will have noticed that Vouvray can be a dry, off-dry, sweet or sparkling wine. All from a single grape variety and all have the potential to be superb wines! Out of Africa

Although a French variety, Chenin Blanc has a second home, where it remains the dominant variety – South Africa. Sometimes

Although some production remains mass-market and uninspired, increasingly South African Chenin Blanc is a top-quality wine, particularly from low-yielding old bush vines. In this much warmer climate, the high acidity is balanced by lots of fruit, in this case pineapple and baked apples.

South African Chenin Blanc is often fermented and matured in oak (rare in the Loire) and is frequently full-bodied and quite high in alcohol. Unlike its Loire cousin, South African Chenin Blanc is always dry.

Three to try Savennières AOC, Le Clos du Papillon, Domaine des Forges 2022 (Tanners £22.50)

This is bone dry and a serious incarnation of the Chenin Blanc variety.

Domaine des Aubuisières ‘Cuvée de Perruches’ Vouvray 2021 (Majestic Wine £13.99) A pure, well-developed nose of fresh quince and pear.

Darling Cellars Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2021 (Fraziers Wines, Solihull £13.99) Classic South African old-vine Chenin, made in a ripe style; elegant, serious and bold.

Bernard’s son Charles is now the owner
72 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Food MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 14:23
The cellars of Bernard Fouquet produce some of the best Vouvray

Pick of the Producers

In an interesting eco-friendly move, a North Wales whisky maker is keeping some unexpected neighbours happy on the road to net zero

Aber Falls Distillery, at Abergwyngregyn, is just 500 yards from Pentre Aber farm, where Will Davies has a herd of 400 cattle. They’re particularly contented cattle, since they’re now being fed on a diet of malted barley left over after being used to make whisky. The arrangement is certainly taking the eco-friendly spirit to the next level, and seems to be working for both local producers. The herd, half of them dairy cows, can now tuck into four tons of barley from the whisky stills every day, while the carbon saving helps make the whisky from Aber Falls some of the greenest in the UK.


is pumped from 40 metres down – and as this is North Wales, it’s never going to run out”

Green dreams

The distillery aims to be a key player in the campaign to help North Wales reach net zero status. Water is pumped from a borehole, while the distillery’s visitor centre café boasts an array of solar panels.

Head distiller Sam Foster said: “There was already a borehole here so it made sense to use that natural resource, pumped up from 40 metres down. That’s right here on the property, and as this is North Wales the water’s never going to run out.

“With the farm as a neighbour we’re happy to offer them the used barley and they come with a tractor and trailer and collect it every day free of charge. It’s a win-win for both of us. We get rid of a waste product we’d otherwise have to pay to have taken away, and the farmer gets free feed.”

Did you know?

Aber Falls Distillery features on the Eryri / Snowdonia Monopoly board launched in March!

Farmer Will Davies is equally delighted with the arrangement and said: “We use the barley as part of the mix for the dairy cows. It makes up 40 percent of their feed and they do very well on it. It’s a big help getting it free of charge and it’s only just down the lane so it’s easy to pick some up every day.”

Sam added: “Almost all our barley comes from Pembrokeshire but if any farmers closer to home would like to grow a crop we’d be happy to hear from them!”

Aber Falls now has PGI (protected geographical indication) status Sam and Catrin show Ashley Rogers, of North Wales Business Council around the distillery
The distillery exports to 40 countries ©Mandy Jones Photography
May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 73 Food MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 14:23
Sam Foster (centre) and Catrin Butler with Will Davies (2nd left)


Our regular bulletin of hospitality updates from venues, experts, educators and individuals across the industry

Sweet success

A granddaughter has saved her family sweet shop from permanent closure thanks to funding from a local social enterprise.

Yum Yum traditional sweet shop in Cardigan shut down in September. There was sadness among loyal customers as the family business, which was founded by the Osinga family in 2001, was a popular feature on the high street for more than two decades. And now it’s back, with the original owners’ granddaughter Natasha at the helm.

Natasha Osinga called on Antur Cymru Enterprise, based in Newcastle Emlyn, for help to reopen the beloved store and was given guidance and advice by business advisor Barry Morgan, as

“Disrupting the way foodservice companies operate”

high of more than £2 million. According to Harlech, there is growing demand from customers, particularly in the hospitality sector.

Superior skills

“I didn’t want to see it empty”

part of the Cymorth Busnes Lleol / Local Business Support programme, which is funded by UK Government and driven by Levelling-Up via Ceredigion County Council.

Just a few weeks into life at Yum Yum, she is thrilled with the response. “As the store has been in the family so long, I really didn’t want to see it empty or run by someone else, so it was brilliant to be able to bring it back to life. Thanks so much to everyone who has shown myself and Yum Yum so much support. I look forward to many more years in Cardigan,” she said.

Food firm expansion

Local food distribution firm Harlech Foodservice has created 15 jobs at its new Carmarthen depot as part of a £6 million expansion. The wholesaler has other bases in Chester, Merthyr Tydfil and Criccieth, in Gwynedd, and will be creating 150 new jobs overall. Harlech has appointed Nick Sullivan as regional sales manager. Nick, who has three decades of experience in the food supply sector, is recruiting five field sales staff and nine drivers.

Opening the Carmarthen depot was spurred by the company’s growth over the past three years, which has seen sales increase from £32 million to around £50 million, with profit at an all-time

Managing director David Cattrall said they were keen to respond to the challenges faced by hotels, pubs and restaurants with next-day deliveries and competitive prices. He said: “Harlech is disrupting the established way foodservice companies operate by changing the practice of inflated list prices and increasing ‘negotiated’ prices without notice, by offering transparent and competitive prices and excellent service to all our customers.”

A new tourism qualification at Coleg Cambria is set to breathe life into the sector and train the next generation of hospitality workers. The FdA in Tourism and Hospitality Management has been revamped to meet the industry’s demands post-Covid. Learners can study for two years at the college’s Yale site in Wrexham before completing a third ‘top-up’ year on the BA (Hons) International Tourism Management degree or a related course at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

Programme lead Angharad Jarvis said a wide range of careers are out there for graduates, with opportunities in a variety of roles, from restaurant managers and bar staff to leisure park attendants, travel consultants, event organisers and more.

“The course is designed to promote and instil the skills and knowledge needed to succeed,” said Angharad. “The sector has faced challenges but is one of the most important in the UK, especially here in North Wales and the North

“It’s an exciting and rewarding arena to be a part of”

West. It is an exciting and rewarding arena to be a part of.”

Angharad revealed the programme team has forged links with employers across the region, notably Chester Racecourse, The Lemon Tree hotel and restaurant, Wrexham and Pale Hall in Bala. Work placements will be a key factor, as will the college’s popular Ial Restaurant in the £20 million Hafod building at Yale.

Nick Sullivan is recruiting Hospitality is one of the most important sectors in the UK economy
74 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Food MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 14:23
A sweet start for Natasha Osinga

COME AND SEE US at our unique setting at the historic Henllys Hall, just outside beautiful Beaumaris on the Island of Anglesey, where you will find a great choice of traditional and contemporary food and service with a warm Harry’s welcome.

You’ll find our restaurant a unique and unhurried place to enjoy our bistro style food, our award winning desserts and our specially selected wines.

If you are visiting Anglesey on a Sunday our lunches are very popular with visitors and Island residents.

Harry’s Bistro, Henllys Hall, Beaumaris, Anglesey LL58 8HU

Tel: 01248 812976 | Fax: 01248 812976 | Email: | Web:

075_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:46

Simon Doyle is one of Anglesey’s top chefs - he’s known for his traditional local foods with a zippy bistro flavour. After travelling the world and cooking in some famous kitchens he came home to Wales, together with patisserie specialist chef Nia Doyle, and established Harrys Bistro at Henllys Hall in beautiful Beaumaris as one of North Wales must try top eateries.


Simon’s chargrilled asparagus and crispy poached egg with hollandaise - serves 4


Chargrilled asparagus

2/3 bunches of asparagus

2 tbs olive oil

Crispy poached eggs

4 eggs

1 tbsp white wine vinegar (in the boiling water)

50g plain flour

2 eggs, whisked 100g breadcrumbs


• Wash the asparagus and trim or snap the woody ends o the base - there is a natural point on the stem where it will easily break.

• Toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt & pepper.

• Heat a griddle, frying pan or barbeque. Add the asparagus and cook over a medium heat, turning frequently until al dente (5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus)

• Remove from heat and keep warm.

Step One:

• Lightly poach 4 eggs, cook for 3-4 mins, until the white is cooked through.

• Remove gently using a slotted spoon and place into iced water to cool down, then drain carefully.

Step Two:

• Coat one of the poached eggs in the seasoned flour, dusting o the excess.

• Then coat the floured egg in the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Repeat the beaten egg and breadcrumbs to make sure it’s really well covered. Repeat with the other poached eggs.

• Heat a deep fryer and carefully lower the coated eggs into the hot oil using a slotted spoon and deep fry for 1-2 mins or until golden.

• Drain the excess oil o by sitting the eggs on a plate lined with kitchen paper for a minute or so.


125g butter

2 egg yolks

½ tsp white wine vinegar

Squeeze of lemon juice

• Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave and skim any white solids from the surface. Keep the butter warm.

• Put the egg yolks, white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and a splash of ice-cold water in a metal or glass bowl that will fit over a small pan. Whisk quickly, then put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk continuously until pale and thick, about 3-5 mins.

• Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter bit by bit until it’s all incorporated and you have a creamy hollandaise. (If it gets too thick, add a splash of water.) Season with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve.

Harrys Bistro Food for Thought 07.qxp 19/04/2024 12:53 Page 1 A traditional, family-run inn with home-cooked food, real ales and roaring fires
Set in stunning rural countryside • • Ideally suited for Snowdonia • Free wi-fi • • Function room available • Dogs welcome • OPEN ALL DAY FOOD SERVED from 12 noon to 3pm & 6pm to 9pm, and all day Sundays LLANDDERFEL, BALA, GWYNEDD, LL23 7RA Tel: 01678 530 205 Warm, friendly & welcoming 076_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:44

Invited for a pint

With concerns over pub closures looming large, CAMRA has asked to open a dialogue with the new Welsh leader, Vaughan Gething, championing the cause of the country’s pubs and breweries. Recent figures paint a sobering picture, with 73 pubs shutting their doors in 2023 alone, and an additional 10 morphing into something other than their familiar selves.

As Vaughan Gething steps into his role as First Minister of Wales, the Campaign for Real Ale has invited him to talk to them about the plight of Welsh pubs

the nation’s agenda. “We know that he has a lot in his in-tray,” Antona said, “but beer drinkers and pub goers across the country will want the protection and promotion of community pubs and Welsh beer to be among the new First Minister’s priorities.”

In a bid to further the conversation, CAMRA has invited Gething to share a pint at a pub of his choosing, providing a

It’s a trend CAMRA is determined to reverse. At the heart of their concerns lies the issue of business rates, a burden that weighs heavily on the shoulders of pub owners across the nation. CAMRA advocates for a re-evaluation of the decision to reduce support in this area, recognising the vital role pubs play in the social fabric of communities.

Furthermore, CAMRA aims to bolster Wales’ planning system, advocating for protections that would require pubs to obtain planning permission before undergoing conversion or demolition. As it stands, Wales lags behind its British counterparts in this regard, lacking the safeguards to preserve its iconic watering holes.

Time to talk

Nik Antona, chairman of CAMRA, extended a hearty welcome to Gething, emphasising the importance of pub preservation in

relaxed setting for discussions on the future of Welsh pubs, clubs, breweries and cider makers.

Chris Charters, CAMRA’s Wales director, echoes these sentiments, highlighting the pressing need for policy changes to alleviate the burden on pub owners.

“The burden of business rates can be make or break for many beer and pub businesses”

“With prices and costs continuing to rise, and customers tightening their belts, the burden of business rates can be make or break for many beer and pub businesses,” he said.

Chris has added a particular invitation to Gething to explore the possibility of empowering Welsh communities to take ownership of their threatened local pubs, potentially bolstering the ranks of community-run establishments across Wales.

As Shire went to press, CAMRA still awaits Gething’s response, hopeful for a fruitful discussion that will pave the way for a brighter future for Wales’ cherished pubs and breweries.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77 73 Welsh pubs called time for good in 2023
What does the future hold for Wales’ pubs?
Food MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 4 26/04/2024 14:27
First Minister Vaughan Gething

The Lion at Malpas

The focus of village life for over three centuries, in recent years

The Lion has enjoyed a complete renovation by Bear Inns, who also run The Swan in Tarporley.

Bear Inns have spared no expense in updating The Lion at Malpas, in Cheshire, close to the Welsh border. In 2018, landlords Si and Chrissy Lees Jones bought the pub and in conjunction with local operator Woody Barlow set about creating a fabulous home-from-home experience. The bar and dining areas have been refurbished in contemporary country style and 16 luxury rooms added. With so much thought going into the refit, we were keen to try the dinner menu and sample its hospitality with an overnight stay.

Fun fact

Scotch eggs were devised as a travel snack for those heading north by stagecoach.

We arrived at a busy time, but the service was prompt and friendly – it’s clearly a well-run team. Chef Krystian Jurek’s menu is a modern take on British classics with a few surprises thrown in, and very reasonably priced. We could have had duck, prawns, mussels, salmon or Welsh rarebit to start but chose the black pudding and Scotch egg. Both dishes were delicious. A perfectly poached egg was smothered in robust ndjua hollandaise, over a thick slice of black pudding and a muffin. The pickled onions were a winning touch. The Scotch egg was

well executed: a crispy exterior and juicy pork casing enclosing a soft, golden egg. The Lion’s brown sauce was the perfect finish.

The main course, cod loin, was a marvel. For gastro pub dining, this is a whole new level. Pan fried with crispy skin topside, the soft, juicy flakes were served on a bed of tiny green peas with crispy bacon and sautéed cabbage, in a buttery sauce. The revelation was the confit potatoes: layered and deep-fried, bite-sized cubes surrounding the plate that were just delicious.

Other dishes that caught our eye were the mussels, beef burger and buttermilk fired whole chicken – all looked terrific.

We spent a comfortable night in one of the duplexes. The wi-fi was good enough to watch a movie downstairs before we retired to bed in the room above. The spacious, four-star accommodation offers a walk-in shower, freestanding bath and Molton Brown toiletries.


‘To me, an amazing pub is one that has a joyful, lively atmosphere created by its people – not only its guests but those delivering genuinely great hospitality. Our pubs, The Swan in Tarporley and The Lion at Malpas, are places where guests feel they can sit back, relax and enjoy.’

Breakfast was everything we hoped, with table service, plenty of menu choice, real coffee and fresh fruit. We drove home refreshed, and can heartily recommend The Lion at Malpas.

Our menu

Black Pudding, poached egg and nduja hollandaise on a toasted English muffin £7

Scotch egg with house recipe brown sauce £8

Pan roast cod loin, petit pois à la françcaise, crispy confit potatoes, beurre blanc sauce £18

Chocolate delice, hazelnut brittle, Cheshire Farm pistachio ice cream £8

Great deals at The Lion


• Sunday roast for two with a bottle of wine

• Cheese board and a glass of port for supper

• Bed and breakfast

• From just £169 for two sharing


• Bed and breakfast

• Early check-in at 12 noon

• Late check-out at 12 noon

• Free bottle of wine when dining

• From just £129 for two sharing (Sunday-Thursday)

Clockwise from top: the Cholmondeley Room; pan roast cod; Scotch egg Chef Krystian Jurek and (below) his chocolate delice.
78 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Restaurant Review MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 07:45
Right: the courtyard

The Rennet Works, 11 Market Street, Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 0AN 01691 624336 | All Solar Battery installations are 0% VAT All Solar Battery installations are 0% VAT

The Rennet Works, 11 Market Street, Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 0AN 01691 624336 |

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Homes & Interiors

Champions of nature

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, nature knows best. And that’s the de ning principle at Naturalmat, the bed, mattress and topper manufacturer that has just opened its rst northern showroom in Cheshire.

Bringing a combination of luxury, comfort and sustainability, Naturalmat has been helping the nation sleep peacefully for 25 years from its headquarters on the banks of the River Exe in Devon. Now the dedicated team have headed north, to a new location in the heart of the Shire patch, in Knutsford, Cheshire.

From the outset, the team at Naturalmat has adhered to three core principles. They meticulously source natural raw materials directly from trusted suppliers, manufacture everything under one roof and sell directly to their customers, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout. This hands-on approach guarantees that each meets the highest standards.


they discovered nursery mattresses were made from synthetic fibres. Determined to provide a natural sleeping environment for babies, Mark and Peter set to work. Within six months, they launched the first nursery mattress to meet British standards without any synthetic materials or chemical fire retardants.

Passion and purpose

The roots of their mission lie in a simple yet profound realisation by company’s founders, Mark Tremlett and Peter Tindall. Drawing inspiration from Mark’s upbringing in a Devon boatyard and Peter’s passion for sailing, they identified a glaring gap in the market. Despite the luxury of expensive boats, the mattresses onboard were woefully inadequate, crafted from cheap synthetic materials that trapped heat and moisture, resulting in uncomfortable nights at sea. Their solution was ingenious yet straightforward: natural materials. Breathable and moisture-wicking, they offer a healthier, more comfortable alternative. Naturalmat was born, production commencing in a corner of Mark’s boatyard.

The journey didn’t stop there. When Mark and wife Alice were expecting their first child,

“Every component aligns with their planetfriendly ethos”

At the heart of the Naturalmat philosophy is the belief that handmade craftsmanship yields superior products. In their solar-powered Topsham workshop, a team of skilled craftspeople meticulously craft each mattress and bed to exacting standards. The company remains steadfast in its dedication to sustainability, using biodegradable or recyclable materials, free from plastics, VOCs and other harmful chemicals. Sourcing the finest natural fibres, including locally sourced organic wool, they even carve buttons from nuts, ensuring every component aligns with their planet-friendly ethos. Perhaps most importantly, the Naturalmat journey has been one of passion and purpose. It’s testament to the belief that a slower, more thoughtful approach to business is not only possible but necessary.

80 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Each bed and mattress is hand-crafted Co-founder Mark Tremlett
Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 07:05
The new showroom in Tatton Street, Knutsford


Known for decades of dedication to all things windows, Premier Windows and Conservatories has diversi ed and added a new string to its bow – gorgeous Garden Rooms

For over three decades, Premier Windows and Conservatories has been synonymous with quality craftsmanship and exceptional service in the realm of windows, doors and conservatories. Founded in 1989 by Paul and Caroline, this family-run business has remained steadfast in its commitment to providing top-notch solutions for homeowners across Wales.

“A lot has changed in the past 35 years but one thing has not: Premier Windows and Conservatories continues to be a family-run company,” said Ben, the couple’s eldest son, who joined the company 13 years after its inception. “From my parents starting the business to my recent involvement alongside my wife Kelli, our dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction has been unwavering.”

Drawing on their extensive background and expertise in all things window-related, Premier Windows has embarked on a new venture: Garden Rooms. These freestanding, multifunctional spaces represent the culmination of years of experience and a deep understanding of homeowners’ evolving needs.

“After years of providing high-quality windows, doors and conservatories, we saw an opportunity to expand our offering and provide homeowners with even more versatile living solutions,” explained Kelli. “With the rise of remote working and the need for adaptable living spaces, Garden Rooms are the perfect solution.”

Versatile space

Designed with both functionality and aesthetics in mind, Premier Windows’ Garden Rooms offer homeowners a dedicated space for work, relaxation or entertainment right in their own backyard.

“Our Garden Rooms are more than just a structure – they’re a lifestyle upgrade,” says Ben. “They provide homeowners with the flexibility to reclaim indoor space, create a personal sanctuary, or

pursue hobbies without compromising on comfort or style.”

The decision to introduce Garden Rooms stemmed from a deep understanding of market trends and customer preferences.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a shift in what homeowners are

“Reclaim indoor space”
“It’s more than a structure, it’s a lifestyle upgrade”

looking for,” added Ben. “There’s growing demand for versatile living spaces, and Garden Rooms fit the bill perfectly.”

Customer care

Incorporating their signature attention to detail and commitment to quality, Premier Windows ensures each Garden Room is built to the highest standards, offering durability, energy efficiency and aesthetics in equal measure. “As with our windows and doors, we don’t compromise on quality,” said Ben. “Our Garden Rooms are designed to stand the test of time, providing homeowners with a space to enjoy for years to come.”

As Premier Windows continues to expand its offerings, one thing remains constant: their dedication to customer satisfaction. “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do,” says Kelli. “Whether it’s installing windows, doors or Garden Rooms, our goal is always the same: to exceed expectations and provide homeowners with solutions that enhance their lives.”

With their venture into Garden Rooms, Premier Windows is setting a new standard for versatility, comfort and style.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 81
space to be creative A workout zone…
Close the door on work at the end of the day
Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 07:05
Premier Windows is building on a reputation for excellence

Hybrid Phoenix 2900

Llanidloes Store

Border Showrooms, Llangurig Road, Llanidloes, Powys, SY18 6ES (Just off A470)

Telephone: 01686 414000

Monday – Friday 9am - 6pm

Saturday 9am – 5.30pm Sunday: Closed

Aberystwyth Store

Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, SY23 3TN (On A44)

Telephone: 01970 864000

Monday – Friday 9am - 6pm Saturday 9am - 6pm Sunday: 10am – 4pm SL 1741 Shire Magazine Full Page - Dec23.indd 1 24/11/2023 09:15 Open Good Friday 10am to 5pm, Easter Saturday 10am to 5.30pm, closed Easter Sunday, Easter Monday 10am to 5pm All new Hybrid perfect balance of conforming support & cushioning comfort. No need to turn or rotate…. Ever
20% off Sealy mattresses and divan sets* FREE delivery in England & Wales *t’s & c’s apply, in-store offer 085_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1
Spring Sale


e importance of sleep to our health and well-being is well documented –and getting your mattress right is key

In our busy lives, sleep often takes a back seat. But what if we told you that the key to better sleep lies right under your nose – or more accurately, beneath your back? That’s right, it’s your mattress. Shire took a deep-dive into the world of mattresses, starting with a question many of us overlook…

How often should you change your mattress?

Turns out it’s recommended that you replace your mattress every seven to ten years. Why? Well, just like anything else, mattresses wear out over time. And when they do, they stop providing the support and comfort we need for a good night’s sleep. But changing your mattress isn’t just about keeping up with the times, it’s also about finding the right fit for you.

What’s special about Sealy?

How do I choose?

With so many options, from memory foam to innerspring, the choice of mattress can feel overwhelming. The key is to find one that supports your body’s natural contours and aligns your spine, while also catering to your personal preferences. Whether you like sinking into a plush memory foam or bouncing on a traditional innerspring, there’s a mattress out there for you.

One local furniture outlet is inviting readers to explore the world of mattresses, uncovering the secrets to a better night’s sleep and helping you make the right choice for your sleep needs. So if you’re looking to upgrade your sleep experience with topnotch support, test out an extensive selection including the Sealy Posturepedic mattress at your local Hafren Furnishers store, Wales’ largest independent furniture retailer.

Crafted with Sealy’s unique patented technology, each mattress offers genuine comfort, reliable support and durability, for the ultimate in restful nights. Sealy doesn’t just promise comfort, they deliver it through rigorous scientific research. Working closely with the Orthopaedic Advisory Board, they ensure that every mattress

“The AlignSupport system adjusts to your body for personalised deep-down support”

See for yourself at Hafren

encourages proper spinal alignment and enhances sleep quality. Sealy’s Posturepedic range boasts a variety of distinctive features. The AlignSupport™ system adjusts to your body, offering personalised, deep-down support, while UniCased® technology maximises the sleep surface and eliminates that ‘roll-off’ feeling. Inside each mattress, you’ll find a high-quality, durable Comfort Core™, featuring innovative fillings such as gel-infused and MemorySense™ foam, for pressure relief where you most need it.


Experience the comfort first-hand with leisurely testings and impartial advice from knowledgeable bed sales advisors at Hafren Furnishers. Conveniently located in Llanidloes (off the A470) and Aberystwyth (on the A44), delivery is free in Wales and England. Step into the modern Sealy showrooms, where you can test out the Posturepedic as well as the Sealy Hybrid ‘no rotate no turn’ mattress the Sealy Classics range. With options to suit every budget and type of sleeper, you’re sure to find a perfect match.;

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 83 Wake
refreshed and ready to take on the day
Targeted pressure relief
Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 07:06
Sealy’s Posturepedic range at Hafren Furnishers


With summer just around the corner, we all want to make sure our outdoor areas are ready for al fresco entertaining – and where better to relax and welcome guests then a pergola?

time to take it outside – and one garden feature that never fades in popularity is the pergola. Ideal for distinguishing a dining or reclining area, and good for adding shade and structure, they bring an air of sophistication to any garden. One company leading the way in garden furnishing, with outlets across the Shire patch, is Forest Garden. To mark the start of summer they have launched a new range of pergolas to help us get set for sunshine.

In shape

Using data from Pinterest, Forest Garden found that searches for “corner pergola” have doubled, so in response they have launched their Premium Radial Pergola, a new corner pergola boasting

are perfect for zoning garden spaces, and the Modular Pergolas which are ideal for smaller spaces.

Jenny added: “A wooden pergola allows homeowners to extend their living space while embracing the outdoors and creating their own little haven.”

The new Premium Radial Pergola from Forest is a impressive structure with modern design and strong lines and will complete any garden. You could train climbing plants along the horizontal rafters and create a unique spot of shade to relax in and enjoy your garden or for al fresco dining.

It is manufactured from sturdy, pressure-treated timber and features a 15-year guarantee against rot and fungal decay.

The 90-degree design means it’s ideal for making the most of tucked away corners. You could even purchase an additional Premium Radial Pergola to


to use sustainable British FSC-certified timber”

a contemporary design and strong lines. It will suit all styles of garden, injecting a sense of grandeur in any outside space.

Jenny Davis, of Forest Garden said: “Adding a large feature can make a huge difference to the overall look, feel and use of any garden. The Premium 90 Degree Radial Pergola offers statement style and height, and it can be used to trail plants, lights and other decorations, and will comfortably fit seating in its shadow.”

Full collection

The Premium 90 Degree Radial Pergola joins Forest Garden’s Pergola Collection, which also features a Dining Pergola – a modern space in which to entertain, the Ultima Pergolas which

create a semi-circle – or a three-quarter circle or a full 360 degrees, if space allows.

British timber

Forest Garden was established almost 50 years ago and offers garden buildings, fencing, sheds and decorative structures which are available to buy online and from more than 3,000 retail stores across the UK.

A proud advocate for the British manufacturing industry, Forest Garden combines practicality with aesthetics to create better outdoor spaces – regardless of size. What’s more, it’s a carbon-neutral company and is proud to use sustainable British FSC-certified timber, predominately grown and felled from managed forest across Scotland.

84 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Create a haven for summer
Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 4 26/04/2024 07:06
The Premium Radial Pergola is made for corner locations The structure is guaranteed against rot and decay

Lounging around

Take some downtime this spring with our selection of the latest furniture and accessories trends

1. Harlow armchair in Grey Velvet £359, Browns Furniture, Flintshire;

2. Sapphire blue floral design occasional table £49, Make Your House A Home, Whitchurch;

3. Fara cushion in Perle £27.50, The Silver Pear, Ludlow;

4. Trefriw bedspread throws from £195 for 127cm x 178cm, Trefriw Woollen Mills, Conwy Valley;

5. Orla Kiely Dorsey medium sofa from £1,406, Hafren Furnishers;

6. Syrian Amal hand-embroidered cushion £120, The Different Kind;

7. Sheepskin sheep footstool £225, Ewemoo, Swansea;

8. Orla Kiely Callan swivel chair from £777, Hafren Furnishers, as before 9. Lissone velvet chaise longue in Mint £224.99 (sale price), The Range;

10. Mysofa Alfredo corner group in Plush Airforce £1,695, Stokers Fine Furniture, Chester;

11. Tweedmill Alaska pure wool stripe throw £64.99, Charlies Ltd, Welshpool;

12. Scotia footstool £179.95 (sale price), Cousins Furniture;

13. Evesham sofa from£1,095, Shannon Sales, Wrexham;

HOME SHOPPING 2 4 13 9 7 11 8 6 May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 85
1 5 3 12 10 Home Shopping MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 07:10
Chester Street, St Asaph, LL17 0RE | 01745 582254 | FEATURE FIRES & STOVES TRADITIONAL & MODERN RANGE COOKERS OUTDOOR COOKING & HEATING Visit our award winning showrooms for inspirational ideas and advice for the most important rooms in your home. Displaying quality items from exclusive brands you can trust, all at competitive prices and with help from our experienced team. WOOD, GAS & ELECTRIC STOVES GAS & ELECTRIC FIRES AND FIREPLACES WOOD FIRED HOT TUBS & OUTDOOR LIVING YOUR PERFECT HOME STARTS HERE 086_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 27/04/2024 11:00

How to make Dad’s day

Life is finally starting to shift outside for the summer, opening up a new season of garden gadgets that make perfect presents for those hard-to-buy-for dads. And where better to start your search for Father’s Day gifts than at Dobbies. Established in 1865, Dobbies is the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, with 80 stores across the UK.

Whether he spends his time on the allotment growing his own produce, is an alfresco cooking pro who loves his barbecue, or simply enjoys spending summer days in the garden, explore the range and get inspired to treat your dad or special father figure to a gift he’ll love.

Cashbah chair


Make sure outdoor seating is up to scratch for the man of the moment. What

about his own personal throne in the shape of the Cashbah chair?

With Father’s Day around the corner (16th June), many of us will be scratching our heads for the perfect gift. Garden and outdoor specialists Dobbies have come to the rescue with some practical suggestions.


If your dad loves nothing more than grilling up a family feast, why not elevate his experience and gift him an innovative new pizza oven? The Gozney Roccbox is lightweight and compact, so if he’s a fan of camping or picnics, he can enjoy delicious pizza wherever he goes!

Comfortable and stylish, the dark green weave looks great in a peaceful corner or in the thick of the action – wherever your dad prefers to be.

Dobbies secateurs


Whether your dad is an avid gardener or just starting out, he’ll appreciate an upgraded toolkit in time for summer. Dobbies’ new own-brand tools offer great value without compromising on quality and include everything a gardener needs to show their outdoor space some TLC.

5-piece barbecue set in metal box £24.99

For the king of the BBQ, you can’t go wrong with Dobbies’ new own-brand range of barbecue tools. The perfect gift for grillmasters, it has all the right utensils to see him through any grilling challenge!

Blue-Grey oyster mushroom growing kit


If your dad is a foodie who also likes to grow his own produce, give him the best of both worlds with a gourmet mushroom growing kit that will give him a fantastic supply of mushrooms for years to come. Urban Farm-It kits from Dobbies come in a wide mushroom varieties, including turkey tail, shiitake and oyster, and contain everything he needs to cultivate his own mushrooms at home. Suitable for both beginner GYO enthusiasts and seasoned pros alike, it’s the ideal present for the Dad who has everything. Shop the full range or find your nearest Dobbies store at

Gozney Roccbox pizza oven
quiet corner away from it all” The ultimate BBQ set A cut above… Give
day o ! Grow your own
him the
Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 5 26/04/2024 07:06
Reaches 500 degrees


Tempting though it is to tackle home improvements yourself, it can be a costly mistake, according to a recent survey. And apparently our region is in the top ve for failures!

In the realm of home improvement, enthusiasm can quickly give way to frustration and financial strain. According to a recent study conducted by Novuna Personal Finance, DIY blunders have left British homeowners with a staggering £446 million bill.

The survey of over 2,000 UK homeowners aged 23-50 uncovered a landscape riddled with challenges. For many, the desire to spruce up their abode is hindered by a lack of skills and financial resources. Over half of respondents confessed that their

DIY ambitions were stymied by either their limited expertise (55 percent) or the necessary funds (51 percent).

The research paints a vivid picture of DIY apprehension gripping the nation.

“Over half were stymied by lack of expertise”

A striking 66 percent of Brits consider themselves ill-equipped to tackle home improvement projects without assistance. Even seemingly straightforward tasks such as assembling flat-pack furniture (83 percent) or painting and decorating (82 percent) are met with trepidation.

Generation gap

Interestingly, the younger demographic – often presumed to be more tech-savvy and resourceful – exhibits a heightened aversion to DIY endeavours. The study reveals that a significant portion of Gen Z homeowners, aged 23-25, opt to enlist professional help for even basic projects. Only half (50 percent) of this group would attempt assembling flat-pack furniture, reflecting a broader reluctance to engage in hands-on home improvements.

The repercussions of this DIY reluctance are tangible, with crucial projects like kitchen upgrades (51 percent), bathroom renovations (50 percent), and bedroom makeovers (42 percent) being deferred indefinitely. Despite the wealth of online

resources available, including YouTube tutorials, and advice from friends and family, a sense of uncertainty prevails.

Paying the cost

Over a quarter of respondents who opt for a DIY approach claim significant savings, ranging from £1,000 to £5,000. Yet the road to home improvement is fraught with pitfalls, and costly mistakes are an inevitable part of the journey. Novuna’s research estimates that rectifying botched DIY jobs costs homeowners millions, with a third of respondents shelling out up to £200 per repair. Notably, Gen Z bears a disproportionate burden, with 29 percent facing repair bills ranging from £200-£600.

Geographical nuances further underscore the DIY dilemma. Confidence levels vary across regions, with the North East (80 percent), Northern Ireland (75 percent) and South East (73 percent) grappling with the highest levels of self-doubt. In a worrying fourth place is our own region – where 72 percent of people admit to having little or no confidence in their DIY abilities.


Still want to go it alone? Property expert Kate Faulkner shares her top tips…

Make a list

Write down everything you'd like to achieve. Even if you can’t afford or don’t have time to do it all now, it might be more cost effective to get certain jobs done together.

Estimate the costs

This isn’t always easy but advice sites online can suggest a ballpark figure. Always have a contingency of 10% for small jobs and 20% for larger jobs, and shop around to get a variety of quotes.

Learn when to call in an expert

Certain home improvement work requires somebody with the competence or qualifications to carry it out, eg electrical and gas work. Understand what you can do yourself and what will need to be signed off by a professional.

However long you think it will take, double it! In the UK we have some of the oldest property stock. A small job can turn into a much bigger one, and you may uncover other things that need fixing along the way.

imits! 88 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 6 26/04/2024 07:06
Older homeowners have the edge
Great shopping pages and advice for Homes and Gardens Telephone 01691 661270 or email Your business will feel right at home in Magazine Need tiling work done? Free estimates & design service for all tiling jobs from a local, reliable lady tiler. 07340494333 Lou Taplin Tiling Loutaplintiling *10%discountforfirst-timecustomers* 089_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 15:36
FIND YOUR perfectIN LOGGERHEADS SHROPSHIRE HEIGHTS, LOGGERHEADS, TF9 4DJ SHOW HOME NOW OPEN A Wain home is more than just a space to live, it’s a place that lets you be you. All our homes are built for whatever life throws at them – whether you’re looking for a first home, one big enough for a growing family, or a home with larger, lighter rooms and a garden with space to breathe. 2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes Book your personal viewing on 01630 410921 Open 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm DISCOVER YOUR KIND OF PERFECT AT Images used are for illustrative purposes only. WAIN173_NW_AD_AW.indd 1 15/12/2023 13:32 •Six Bedrooms | Four bathrooms •Two reception rooms •Georgian farmhouse- Circa 1792 •Restored & renovated •Circa 4.61 Acres •Planning permission - Extended Kitchen/Garden room •Many original features | nglenoo fire lace •Double garage | ample parking •EPC - D Contact Daniel directly on 01691 674494
ME SCAN ME Dating back to 1792 and showcased on BBC Restorations, Rock Farm has undergone a comprehensive restoration under the stewardship of its present proprietors. This refurbishment has seamlessly integrated many of the property’s original elements, resulting in a meticulously maintained farmhouse boasting stunning vistas spanning across Shropshire and Wales. With the added advantage of planning permission for an expanded kitchen and garden room, there exists further potential to enhance the living space of this already expansive family residence. • Emptying • Installation • Servicing and Maintenance • Jetting and CCTV surveys • Septic tanks and sewage treatment plants SEWAGE SERVICES For all enquiries: 01490 450263 07703606139 090_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 27/04/2024 11:15


Searching for your dream home in 2024? Shropshire Heights, the latest development by Wain Homes in the beautiful village of Loggerheads, might just be the answer.

Offering spacious and stylish two, three, four and five bedroom homes, Shropshire Heights will provide a haven of 128 energy-efficient homes in a beautifully landscaped setting within the existing community. With its picturesque rural location, Loggerheads is a sought-after area, close to the border of Shropshire and Cheshire.

Designed with contemporary living in mind, each home offers high-quality specifications and customisable options, allowing buyers to tailor their new home to their preferences, from luxury kitchen finishes to designer bathroom tiling. Plus, buying schemes, such as Part Exchange and Movemaker are available to help you get moving sooner than you think, hassle-free.

On selected homes Wain Homes also offers Own New Rate Reducer, a new scheme exclusive to newbuild properties, which can unlock the key to lower interest rates and lower monthly

“Over 50 years’ experience in delivering high-quality homes”

repayments in the initial term of your mortgage. Buyers can enjoy significant savings per month.* (Terms and conditions apply.)

With a wide range of local amenities and leisure facilities

nearby, this is the perfect location for family living. Loggerheads and Ashley provide all the essentials, from shops to pubs and restaurants, while Burnt Wood has outdoor activities amidst ancient woodland. The historic town of Market Drayton is less than 10 minutes by car, with a twice-weekly market, fitness centre and golf club. Festival Drayton Centre hosts live events, films and exhibitions. There are highly regarded schools in the area, with

Why Wain Homes?

With over 50 years of experience in delivering high-quality homes across the UK, Wain Homes has a reputation for excellence, and recently received the Home Builders Federation coveted five-star rating for customer satisfaction. Committed to giving back to the communities it serves, the company has contributed over £200,000 to local education facilities and highway improvements.

Excited to see what Shropshire Heights has to offer? Visit the four-bed Hazel showhome, showcasing spacious and aspirational family living. The on-site sales office is open Thursday–Monday, 10am–5pm. Alternatively, you can arrange a personal appointment by visiting or calling 01630 410 940.

Hugo Meynall CofE Primary serving the village, St Mary’s in Mucklestone and Grove School & Sixth Form in Market Drayton.
May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 91
Each top-spec home o ers customisable options Tailored to blend into the local community *Selected homes only. T&Cs apply. Example assumes a 3% homebuilder incentive and is based on mortgage rates available in the market, with a two-year initial period and an LTV of 90%. Savings made in the initial fixed period. Independent financial advice must be sought from a regulated mortgage broker to access this scheme. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up your mortgage repayments. Rates valid as of 16th April 2024. Homes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 7 26/04/2024 07:06

Gold and Silver Roadshow

A very lucky couple called at one of our recent roadshow events with a couple of old gold chains and a silver charm bracelet and a bag of old silver shilling coins. We paid them over £1600.00 just for the coins alone. They turned out to be pre-1947 silver coins that were normal currency a few years ago and are now highly collected. We asked them for their permission to pass on this story on and they were only too pleased to allow us to let everyone know that they might be sitting on a goldmine and not even know it! Like most


4th MAY 2024





7th MAY 2024


4th JUNE


people, who can only dream of winning the pools or the lottery, a lot of normal households have a hidden treasure of old gold jewellery, silver jewellery, teapots, trophies, trays and old objects d’art. Why not get a free valuation from our expert at our roadshow. There is no queuing and our expert will give you a one-on-one appraisal of the value of your treasured possessions in a private area. If you like the valuation our expert will make you the same o er n cas c ou can acce or decl ne a no cos o oursel


5TH MAY 2024



23rd MAY 2024



23rd MAY 2024



24TH MAY 2024



GOLD & PLATINUM DIAMOND RINGS 9ct, 18ct & 22ct Wedding Rings Any Silver Items, Chain Rings and Bracelets GOLD COINS IN ANY CONDITION FOR CASH Sovereigns, Krugerrands, Maples Broken or any condition chains in 9ct gold or any other gold Dental Gold, Gold Teeth, Old Bracelets & Bangles & Pendants ALL PRE-1947 SILVER COINS AND ALL FOREIGN SILVER COINS WANTED At least 10 times face value All Gold Watches and Silver Watches Silver Trays, Silver Teapots, Silver Cigarette Cases, Silver Knives & Forks and Trophies All Platinum Jewellery & Antique Jewellery 07378 965411 092_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:36

Imagine having every copy of Shire magazine delivered to your door as soon as it’s printed. You need 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

Just go to and click “Subscribe to Shire” at the top of the page NEW! You can now set up a new subscription on the Shire website

Or simply fill in the order form below, choose how many issues you’d like to receive, and send with your cheque to:

Shire Magazine Subscriptions, PO Box 276, Oswestry SY10 1FR


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 93 Subscriptions MayJun 2024 WR.indd 1 26/04/2024 17:42

Come and hang out…

Invite friends to chill in the garden with these smart furniture and lighting ideas

1. LG Outdoor Lyon hanging egg chair Charlies Ltd, Welshpool;

2. Zest Outdoor Living Freya companion seat £249.99, Charlies Ltd, as before

3. Landscape LED stone-e ect garden ball from £39.99, The Range;

4. L-shape sectional seating prices vary, Mobek, Llysfaen;

5. Shepherd’s hut from £8,250 (12 x 7ft), Huts n Stu , Montgomery; www.hutsandstu

6. Westbury 4-seater dining set £999, Snowdonia Nurseries, Conwy;

7. Eureka low-voltage festoon lights £34.99 for set of 20, Bents, Warrington;

8. Outsunny swing hammock chair seat £219.99, The Range, as before

9. Café Roma bistro set £149, Bents, as before

10. “Rose’s Roses” antique gold garden bench £375 (sale price), British Ironworks, Oswestry;

11. Zest Outdoor Living Tatton gazebo £1,799, Charlies Ltd, as before

12. London XT solar post light (Anthracite edition) £18, Wynnstay Stores;

94 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Nurseries, LG £395, 6 11 5 4 3 12 7 2 10 9 8 1 9. Garden Shopping MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:36
two years of ownership, woodland is exempt from inheritance tax
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incomes generated from woodland are completely free of income tax and corporation tax.
income tax is liable from sales of timber or the timber element when you sell an entire woodland. Trees for the future
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All in a good cause Plants&Gardens

The National Garden Scheme is in full swing throughout May and June, giving you the chance to visit some amazing outdoor spaces and support charities at the same time

The National Garden Scheme (NGS) now has all its 2024 garden openings available to view online, so it’s the perfect time to browse the beautiful portfolio of over 3,500 gardens and to plan your visits for the months ahead.

Browse by location or garden name, refine by date or select filters for dogfriendly locations and gardens offering plant sales – and make sure to take note of those that are new for 2024, a year the scheme is hoping will be even more successful than the last.

Super support

2023 was a record year for the NGS, with £3,403,960 donated to its beneficiary charities, thanks to the garden owners and county volunteers who worked tirelessly to host open days at 3,389 gardens across

“Owners and volunteers work tirelessly”

the year. The lion’s share, £2,475,000, went to some of the UK’s best-loved nursing and health charities, many of which have continued to provide vital support to the NHS and communities across the UK in the wake of the pandemic and who are now struggling to provide services in the

new cost-of-living crisis.

NGS chairman Rupert Tyler said: “As the nation’s health and social care system continues to battle with the effects

of the Covid-19 pandemic and with deeply embedded systemic challenges, the contribution of the charities that we support has been increasingly vital.”

The NGS relies primarily on income generated by admission at its garden gates and through sale of plants, teas and cake. Additional income streams include fundraising events such as online talks, garden parties and commercial partnerships.

Chief executive George Plumptre said: “We know that the long-term continuity of our funding year on year is very unusual, and our beneficiaries have emphasised that this is a key quality in the support we are able to give to them. It is something of which we are enormously proud. By way of an example, 2024 will see us mark 40 years and over £19 million of funding for Macmillan Cancer Support.” For information and to book garden visits in advance, go to

New for 2024

Gardens new to the scheme this year include these local venues…

Upper Farm Garden, Rushton, Telford TF6 5AG A farmhouse garden with views of the Wrekin and Stretton Hills. Several garden “rooms” are connected by gravelled walkways, with ample seating. Unusual features include a raised scree terrace, rose pergola and bed with 40 varieties of shrub roses, two-sided herbaceous walk, elevated viewing deck and self-sufficient allotment beds. Open 20th & 21st June, 11am-4pm. Tickets £6. Homemade teas available.

Caswallon, Llaneilian, Amlwch, Gwynedd LL68 9NN Historic gardens being slowly restored by new owners, who have uncovered formal gardens, woodland dells, a walled garden, an ancient well, dry stone walls, carved steps, and more every day. Open 29th June, 10am-4.30pm. Tickets £5. Homemade teas available.

Mynydd, Cors Goch, Llanbedrgoch, Gwynedd LL76 8TZ An acre garden planted with trees, mature shrubs, perennials, heathers and bulbs. Another three acres devoted to wildlife including a pond and copse. Wildflower meadow with a good show of wild orchids. Open 11th May & 22nd June, 11am-4pm. Tickets £5. Homemade teas available.

Cherry Tree Arboretum, Woore, Shropshire CW3 9SR Created in 2006 on 50 acres of pastureland scattered with mature oaks, the garden is a showcase of specimen trees with magnolias, peonies, dahlias, lilacs, deciduous azaleas and North American oaks. A series of trails and paths run between meadows and native wildflowers. The arboretum contains 19 of England’s Champion Trees and a staggering 793 Champion Trees of Shropshire. Open 11th May, 11am4pm. Tickets £10, booking essential. Light refreshments available.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 97
Find wild orchids at Mynydd
Gardening MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:34
Caswallon is being restored to its former glory

Here comes the sun!

It’s the busiest time of year in the garden as everything springs to life. Luckily our horticultural friends from Reaseheath College are on hand with some practical tips.

Summer is on its way and it’s an exciting time to be out in your garden. Sowing and planting out bedding in your borders can begin, providing the weather is reasonable. Unfortunately the need to weed is also increasing, but shallow hoeing when it’s dry will get rid of most seedlings. There are many other jobs you can get on with right now too.

In the garden

• Divide herbaceous perennials to improve vigour and create new plants. Divide clumps of hostas as they come into growth.

• Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as choisya after flowering to promote a second flush in autumn.

• Tie in rambling and climbing roses. Laying the stems horizontally will help to produce more flowers.

• Tie in sweet pea plants onto a frame to encourage them to climb.

• Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils, then feed and mulch for a great show next year. Allow foliage to die back naturally.

• Harden off half-hardy plants by leaving them outside during the day and moving under cover at night for a week before planting outdoors.

Keep hanging baskets moist, but don’t overwater as this can wash out the nutrients. According to RHS research, a daily mugful of water is sufficient unless the

Making a splash

Plants to brighten your garden in May and June


Also known as cone flowers, echinacea are a great addition to any garden. Not only are they beautiful and come in many colours, they are easy to care for and work well in a variety of garden styles. Mix with ornamental grasses and day lilies.

English shrub rose

There are so many varieties to choose from, but the delightfully named ‘Tottering-by-Gently’ is a well-established favourite from David Austin. Its single yellow flowers create a spectacular display when

• Plant up hanging baskets but protect well from late frosts. Use good quality compost and slow release fertiliser.

• Top dress container plants to refresh compost and give liquid feed every three weeks.

In the vegetable plot

• Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days, use blinds or shade paint to keep down the temperature and damp down the floor to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.

• Sow French and runner beans, peas, squash and sweetcorn into prepared beds. Continue earthing up potatoes.

• Harden off outdoor tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins ready for planting in early June.

• Pinch out the growing points of broad beans as soon as the pods start to appear to reduce the risk of blackfly

• Mulch strawberry plants to control weeds and prevent fruit from rotting on the ground.

• Enjoy rhubarb while it’s young and tender, but only pick one in three stems to avoid weakening the crown.

the rounded branches are viewed en masse. Repeat flowering, lightly perfumed and attractive to bees, it’s a great addition to mixed borders.

Oriental poppies

These show-stopping hardy perennials will light up your borders in late spring and early summer with flowers in vivid colours and unusual shapes. Even before flowering they add superb texture with their bristly stems and dark green leaves covered with silvery hairs. They love full sun.

Chinese dogwood

Grown either as a shrub or a tree, the star-shaped flowers of Cornus kousa chinensis look great at the back of a border. Its versatility doesn’t end there as it has glowing orange and red foliage in autumn.

98 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
weather is very warm. TOP TIP Sow salad crops in part shade rather than full sun, as hot, dry conditions can make the leaves taste bitter. Mulch strawberries with straw to control weeds
Gardening MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 06:34
Lay ramblers horizontally to encourage flowers
099_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 15:49


The country’s biggest wildlife charity is celebrating three decades of encouraging people to take action for nature. This June’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever.

This year marks a milestone for The Wildlife Trusts’ flagship 30 Days Wild project as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in June. The annual nature challenge has grown from 12,000 participants in its first year to over half a million in 2023. 30 Days Wild has helped people to get outside, enjoy and connect with nature as part of their everyday lives. This June promises to be a bumper edition – people of all ages and abilities are urged to participate and The Wildlife Trusts are offering free herb seeds and an inspirational guide to everyone who signs up to do a small, wild thing every day throughout the month.




on a snail safari, eat your breakfast outdoors, close your eyes and listen for birdsong”

Wildlife presenter Iolo Williams, vice president of The Wildlife Trusts says: “Embrace the outdoors with the 30 Days Wild challenge! Imagine a month dedicated to exploring the wonders of nature, from the majestic red kites soaring above to the humble bees buzzing in our gardens. Let’s make every day an adventure, be it birdwatching with a slice of bara brith in hand or planting wildflowers to support our native wildlife. This June, step outside, breathe in and go wild!”

Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, 30 Days Wild

encourages individuals, families, schools and businesses to connect with nature on a daily basis during what many argue is the best month for wildlife spotting. It could be going on a snail safari, eating your breakfast outdoors or closing your eyes to listen for birdsong, to more adventurous endeavours such as outdoor yoga or forest bathing.

This year’s participants will receive a special 10th anniversary pack, designed to make their 30 days even more fun.

Wild yourself happy Research has consistently highlighted the positive impact of nature on well-being. A study found a significant increase in people’s health, happiness and connection to nature through participating in 30 Days Wild. People reported feeling more relaxed, reduced stress levels and a greater motivation to protect wildlife, which lasted long after the campaign ended.

Sign up to receive your free 30 Days Wild pack and embark on a journey that promises not just a month, but a lifetime of wildness! Visit

Iolo Williams Listen out for the barn owl Get the kids involved too
100 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 © Evie and Tom Photography © Andy Rouse 2020VISION © Alexander Mustard 2020VISION Pets&Wildlife MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:55
Go wild rockpooling – what will you find?
PETS & WILDLIFE To enter, email a photograph of your pet and their name to and the Shire team will pick the winner! A year’s subscription to Shire, worth £24.95! Imagine… your favourite magazine delivered right to your doorstep! WIN 3 6 11 10 2 8 4 13 12 9 CUTE
7 Congratulations to Samantha, owner of Oliver, for winning the Cute Pets competition this issue! 1 1.Fred 2.Molly 3.Archie 4.Jasper and Hamish 5.Storm 6.Kitty 7. Jojo and Piper 8.Ronnie 9. Mr Flu kins 10.Oscar 11.Winnie 12. Maisie 13. Oliver 5 May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 101 Pets&Wildlife MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 06:55


Theearly morning chill is still in the air, but you can feel the warmth of the rising sun on your skin. The light is strong, illuminating the woods around you, making the colours vivid.

Young oak leaves unfurl, glistening, and at your feet hangs a blue mist created by carpets of bluebells.

All around you there are birds singing. Some, such as robins, blackbirds and song thrushes, are loud but familiar; others, such as pied flycatchers and cuckoos, are more exotic. A grasshopper warbler sings from a patch of marsh, an almost mechanical, reeling noise. Lapwings bubble and whistle, hinting that within a short walk there will be another exciting experience to draw you in.

Place of pilgrimage

There are few places where you can truly immerse yourself in nature, or feel a guest in a realm where other creatures dominate. Ynys-hir is one such place. For many, it’s more than just a visit to a nature reserve – it is a pilgrimage.

Spring at Ynys-hir is spectacular. Whether you are an avid birdwatcher looking to spot as many species as you can or just want to stretch your legs through the oak woods to the saltmarsh and estuary, you can do it all. So why not put on your boots, bring your binoculars (or hire some from us) and sit in a hide? Perhaps you’d prefer to do some painting or find a quiet spot for some meditation? There are many ways to enjoy this beautiful reserve.

Dipping and diving

For many of our visitors the highlight of their visit is the bird feeder area outside the visitor centre. Throughout the year, it’s a

In their new regular column for Shire, our friends from the RSPB want to share the wonder and excitement to be found across their reserves at this time of year

flurry of activity, with finches and tits and a robin or two, and if you’re lucky you might see a nuthatch or great spotted woodpecker. Don’t forget your camera to snap some incredible shots.

Each spring we offer a range of self-led and guided activities. From the visitor centre you can hire binoculars and pond-dipping kits. You can also treat yourself to a coffee and a piece of cake or browse our craft fair. We have an exciting events programme,


forget your camera to snap some incredible shots”

including guided dawn chorus walks where one of our wardens will help you see and identify birds, as well as evening walks where we try to find the mysterious nightjar and enjoy its frankly peculiar-sounding song.

Our visitor centre is open Wednesdays–Sundays 10am-4pm. However, please check our webpage for up-to-date information and to find out more about our events:

RSPB Ynys-hir is at Eglwys-fach, Machynlleth SY20 8TA

welcomed the Sustainable Farming Scheme but hope to open up discussion on how it will be funded and supported.

Call for support

Wildlife charities in Wales have joined forces to ask policymakers to support sustainable farming

At what they describe as “a critical time for farming in Wales” the Wildlife Trusts Wales and WWF Cymru have produced a joint statement calling for financial help, as farmers face uncertainty through price volatility and inflationary pressures. They have

Their statement reads: “It is clear that our current food system isn’t working for farmers, nature, the climate, or even for consumers. Nature is in rapid decline on farmland, protected rivers are polluted from agricultural run-off, the total labour force across the agricultural sector reduced by roughly 8,000 over the last decade and farmers are struggling to make their businesses viable. Climate-induced weather impacts such as droughts and floods are costing farmers in Wales tens of millions each year.

Support scheme

“It is vital that

farmers are supported”

“It is vital that farmers are supported to grow sustainably produced food and adopt practices that help restore nature and tackle climate change. Without sufficient funding, farmers will simply not be able to undertake the variety of actions needed by the Scheme to help restore nature and make their farms more climate resilient.”

Woodpeckers feast on larvae, ants and spiders
102 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Pets&Wildlife MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 06:55
The nuthatch walks down trunks head-first
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Top of the class

Whether you’re dressing for a day at races or a friend’s wedding, look the part with our formal finds

1. Barbour Lutz quilted jacket in Navy £199, Vaughan Davies, Flintshire,

2. Hoggs of Fife feather edge leather belt £25.25, Cherry Tree Country Clothing, Denbighshire;

3. Bicycle handkerchiefs £14.95 for two, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear, Church Stretton;

4. The Cedar handmade recycled wood wristwatch £159.99, MOOand BOOM, Whitchurch;

5. Brook Taverner linen jacket from £145, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear, as before

6. Guide London navy & white yarn jacket £189, Anna Davies, Conwy;

7. Blend chinos in Navy £35.99, MOOand BOOM, as before

8. Oliver Sweeney Lastres suede moccasins in Navy £149, John Lewis;

9. KitchenCraft hip flask in Blue Metallic £9.99, Charlies Ltd, Welshpool;

10. Weird Fish Faraway organic cotton printed shirt in Dusty White £29.99, Charlies Ltd, as before

11. Bugatti Gapo smart leather tan shoes £110, Bodenhams, Ludlow;

12. Guide London long sleeve cotton shirt £65, Anna Davies, as before

13. The Bridge men’s wallet £100, Douglas Attire, Ludlow;

14. Moss tailored fit check performance waistcoat in Beige £110, John Lewis, as before

3 4 7 6
1 12 104 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 14 11 FASHION 9 10 8 13 Mens Fashion MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:59

Wear with flare

Turn heads in this season’s occasionwear, perfect for ladies’ day, prize-giving or as mother of the bride

1. Paradox London Damelza crystal handle handbag £45, John Lewis;

2. Clogau Tree of Life white topaz drop earrings £199, Mococo, Deeside;

3. Kevan Jon Mila satin crepe pleat dress in Navy £330, So Chic, Bangor;

4. Menbur stiletto court shoes in Rose £29.99 (sale price), Pavers;

5. Kevan Jon Rhea ombre satin pleated knee-length dress in Raspberry £360, So Chic, as before

6. Nigel Rayment feather & net fascinator in Pink £90, Appleby & Shaw, Church Stretton;

7. Joseph Ribko flowery patterned dress £277, Appleby & Shaw, as before

8. Glitz 1300 pink & navy floral pattern dress (price available in-store), Daniella of Nantwich;

9. Veni Infantino chi on printed midi dress £550 (millinery also available from £69), Out of Town, Oswestry;

10. Veromia floral printed dress with dipped hem £320, Out of Town, as before

11. Moda in Pelle Raeleigh high heel suede sandals in Raspberry £99, John Lewis, as before

12. Frank Lyman Design 238128 pink dress (price available in-store), Daniella of Nantwich, as before

13. Ti Sento Milano bracelet £39, Anna Davies, Betws-y-Coed;

14. Cassandra dress & jacket suit £475, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear, Church Stretton;

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 105 FASHION 2 4 5 13 9 8 12 7 1 14 10 11 6 Womens Fashion MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 07:47


However organised you are, planning a wedding can be quite a task. So Shire sent our team of Cupids to wing their way around the patch locating all the essentials for your big day!


Hafod Farm, near Betws-y-Coed specialises in creating individual weddings in a unique and picturesque setting. Their charming venue is nestled in the heart of Snowdonia and the 500-year-old Grade II-listed Tall Barn serves as the perfect ceremony space, complete with exposed beams and twinkling fairy lights.

Your reception can be held in the New Barn (built 2018) with rustic wooden tables that can accommodate up to 150 seated guests, or up to 190 seated and standing, for your evening reception, and has a fully equipped licensed bar and comfy lounge area.

Outside is a fabulous semi-covered patio, perfect for summer evenings around


Graham and Pru Peers, along with their son Nathan and daughters Katie and Natalie dedicate their time and energy to providing a service that has become the envy of others. With a well-earned reputation for quality and style, the Peers family of Llandudno will always be recognised as one of North Wales’ premier jewellers.

the fire-pit, and beautiful gardens.

The farm has on-site guest accommodation for the wedding couple plus 32 guests, as well as a glamping site. The farm buildings are all repurposed and renovated to be comfortable, quirky and elegantly rustic.

At Peers you can rest assured that the creative flare of the goldsmith, the incredible gift of

“Bring your vision to life”

Weddings are a two-day affair at Hafod Farm, arriving the day before and departing the day after your wedding. From intimate gatherings to grand affairs, the dedicated team is committed to bringing your vision to life, ensuring your celebration is as unique as your love story.

To enquire, please email

the gemstone cutter and the complete conviction of the final piece are nowhere better exhibited than in this treasure house of dreams come true.

Peers offers rings in dazzling combinations of precious stones –diamonds, emeralds, opals, pearls, rubies, sapphires and tanzanites – wrought in silver and gold. They also fashion beautiful earrings and bracelets that could be given as extra-special wedding gifts.

You are assured the perfect fit

Buy these exquisite pieces online or visit the shop in Mostyn Street, Llandudno. For enquiries call 01490 412 486.

The rustic setting of the New Barn
106 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Peerless quality
Glamping for your guests
Weddings MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 14:32


Celebrate in your very own exclusive stately home at Trevor Hall, Llangollen, where unique weddings are a speciality. You can be really creative and design your own with your family and friends, or call on their wedding planner to do it all for you. On the estate is the beautiful Trevor Church, where you can be married or have your marriage blessed, and the Hall can accommodate 24 guests for overnight stays.

With exclusive Marquee Wedding hire you can have Trevor Hall all to yourselves, with its beautiful gardens and spectacular

“Exclusive three-day weekend hire”


Start the rest of your lives together on the River Dee! A ChesterBoat cruise makes a unique venue for your Chester wedding reception, or a stylish way to arrive at your riverside venue. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away on board, have a sit-down meal, or just treat your guests to a cruise before dining elsewhere, ChesterBoat will help plan a bespoke voyage for your big day. Enjoy fantastic onboard dining – from nibbles to three-course meals – provided by quality local suppliers. Your boat can be dressed in ‘Just Married’ life-rings and a wedding ribbon in a colour of your choice, and you might also like bunting, flowers, balloons or your own decorations. Book a DJ or live performer to entertain your guests, or relax to

views over the Dee Valley. If you are planning a more intimate celebration, choose the exclusive three-day weekend hire and enjoy your nuptials with close family and friends in a stunning setting. Photos can be taken at the front of the house, with its imposing Georgian façade and double steps, by the Summer House or by the pond in the Italian Garden. Trevor Hall provides a unique opportunity for you and your guests to relax and enjoy a memorable end to your magnificent occasion. For enquiries, call 07702 400 074 or email

the sounds of the river and wildlife. Alternatively, just sail to the church in style, with a reception drink or nibbles for the journey, or let your guests choose their own drinks from the well-stocked bar. ChesterBoat’s skippers and crew promise a memorable time and have years of experience in making wedding cruises unforgettable for your guests. For enquiries, call 01244 325 394 or email

“A unique venue or a stylish way to travel”
The Hall makes a magnificent backdrop Dine in a luxury marquee Another happy couple! A moment’s reflection before the party begins… Guests will love this fun alternative
Weddings MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 14:32
Enjoy spectacular views over the Dee Valley


Hereford Gold is a friendly, family-run jewellers with over 45 years of experience and offers a wide range of high-quality products and exceptional customer service. They provide new and pre-loved jewellery, from vintage to modern, to suit any occasion, all in high-quality gold, silver or platinum. Gold ranges from 9ct to a few pieces in 22ct yellow, rose and white gold. Why not browse their beautiful earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, watches and brooches?


Have“Will help you create your personalised piece”

For bespoke designer jewellery in Hereford, contact the team who will help you create your personalised piece using high-quality materials for the best results. Call 01432 359 514.


Located in the heart of rural Shropshire, The Hidden Gem offers a beautiful collection of designer dresses for your special day, together with a gorgeous range of hats, shoes and bags that can be dyed to match your outfit. There’s a seasonal selection of spectacular wear for brides, mums, bridesmaids and more. Do you know they have over 100 hats?

Mother and daughter Sue and Carly offer stress-beating packages that include getting your hair and make-up done in The Secret Salon, which specialises in prewedding beauty treatments as well. Why not make an appointment to try on dresses in the privacy of their cosy boutique with friends or family to accompany you?

See them at Shrewsbury’s Albrighton Hall on 22nd September or at Oswestry’s Lion Quays on 6th October – with a catwalk show. For enquiries, call 07971 182 163.

you considered having a wedding cake made of cheese? Allow Porter’s Delicatessen in Llangollen to add a savoury twist to the end of your wedding celebrations. Cheese wedding cakes have really taken off in the last few years, with many couples now preferring cheese to a traditional tiered iced fruit cake. Porter’s will tailor the cheese selection to your taste and supply delicious artisan crackers, chutneys and fruits to dress the cake to your theme. They always have at least 60 different cheeses in stock and can easily source more. Welsh cheeses are a specialty and their classic Welsh cake is always popular. Porter’s can liaise with your wedding venue direct or can set up the cake for you. They also offer gourmet charcuterie boards for your special day and if you’re seeking gifts for your wedding party, they have a wide range of personalised hampers, local handcrafted spirits and craft ales. Get in touch to chat through your requirements, or call 01978 862 990 to book a cheesetasting session at their Market Street Deli in Llangollen.

“Try dresses in the privacy of their cosy boutique”
Something for every taste Tracey and Derek of Porter’s Choose your favourite cheeses
and try outfits
Come as a group
108 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 As understated or sparkly as you wish… Weddings MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 14:32
Don’t miss the catwalk show
109_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 17:10


The Beaches Hotel in Prestatyn is the ideal location for your coastal wedding day, with neighbouring Barkby Beach offering an idyllic backdrop for your photographs. The hotel’s fully licensed Beaches Suite boasts 360-degree views with spectacular natural light, a private seaview terrace, bar and dance floor, and can cater for up to 180 guests. Their experienced and professional wedding coordinator and her team will do their utmost to offer the help and advice you need. Choose the popular Sunset package or build your own bespoke wedding to suit your budget and personal requirements. Enjoy a

reception close to the shore, with mouthwatering menus sourced from quality local suppliers – choose a formal wedding breakfast or a relaxed sunset buffet. Afterwards mingle with guests on your private terrace and watch the sun set over the Irish Sea.


With spectacular views over the Dee Valley, Plas Isaf in Corwen is an idyllic place to celebrate your wedding. Couples may hold their ceremony in the 17th-century barn, offering the beauty and romance of walking down the slate-floored aisle or on a red carpet.

The Beaches Hotel is a family-friendly venue with 78 bedrooms and 13 self-catering chalets, ideal for your guests to make a night of it and experience this beautiful stretch of Welsh coastline. To find out more, call 01745 853 072.

Plas Isaf offers exclusive use of the grounds of the barn and the colourful garden: the fountain makes an impressive backdrop for your photographs and is also



Nanteos is an 18th-century, Grade I-listed country house hotel set in over 30 acres of woodland in Ceredigion, Mid Wales. The epitome of elegance and romance, it offers exclusive use as a wedding venue – your very own country house – with an experienced team on hand to produce an exceptionally warm and relaxed occasion.

Nanteos delivers with a ‘can do’ approach: with fine service and cuisine they promise the most perfect of days for you, whether traditional, modern or even a little ‘off the wall’! Whilst Nanteos offers packages, these are merely a guide as their team can create tailor-made dream days – anything from a smaller, intimate gathering to an all-inclusive extravaganza, and everything in between. And there’s 15 percent off exclusive use hire for all remaining dates in 2024!

“15 percent o dates in 2024”
“Mingle on your private terrace”

where guests can gather with a drink and enjoy time together. The venue is very versatile, with the barn and marquee sitting next to each other – ideal whether you are planning an intimate gathering or a celebratory party for up to 300 guests.

“The dedication of a family team”

Plas Isaf has been developed as part of the Jones family’s working farm, and they help out, complemented by a full team of experienced, trained staff. With the dedication of this family team, every effort is made to ensure that your wedding will be the most memorable day of your life. For enquiries, please call 01490 412 486.

Nanteos is fully licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies. The Music Room is adorned with mirrors, intricate gilding and a stunning Aesop’s Fables fireplace – all in all, it’s the perfect setting

to declare your love for each other in front of friends and family.

To enquire about weddings at Plas Nanteos, please call 01970 600 522.

110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Time together, a moment to treasure The Beaches is right on the seafront Photos by the fountain The historic barn The Plas Nanteos team will help fulfil your wildest dream
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The romantic Music Room
111_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 17:20


Get married under the stars in the 140-seat 3D Dome Planetarium, or walk down the aisle in front of breathtaking Lovell Radio Telescope, the third largest in the world. You could even get married by moonlight and experience a night of magical stargazing as you tie the knot under the real night sky. There’s a range of options and experiences that can be tailored to your dreams.

Jodrell Bank, near Macclesfield is an inspirational place, full of mind-blowing stories of pioneering heritage and cutting-edge science. Now this award-winning UNESCO World Heritage Site can be an awe-inspiring setting for your wedding, taking you and your guests on a voyage to the edges of the universe with a number of unique offerings and experiences.


Gregynog has always been a place where magic happens: the historic house in Tregynon, near Newtown, Powys, is surrounded by beauty with a 750-acre estate and nature reserve. Famed for its hospitality, Gregynog offers you your day, your way.

“Marry by moonlight, gaze at the stars”

Four of the heritage rooms are licensed for weddings, so whether you choose the magnificent Music Room with views across the Grade I-listed gardens, the 17th-century splendour of the panelled Blayney Room or the more intimate setting of the Senior Common Room or Thomas Jones Library, they can make their spaces work for you.

“They build your wedding around you”

Gregynog doesn’t offer standard wedding packages – they want to ensure your day is exactly what you desire and will build your wedding around you, whoever you are and whatever your dream day includes. They also offer catering for wedding parties, including informal Courtyard Café catering with themes such as a Spanish tapas night or a Greek menu. Accommodation for your guests can be provided in 15 fabulous heritage bedrooms, 12 courtyard rooms and a range of options on the upper floors of the house.

To talk about hiring the hall for your special day, please call 01686 650224 or email

The Jodrell Bank team have partnered with some of best suppliers in the North West and Cheshire to make sure they deliver one of the best packages on the market, but with added space sparkle! To find out more, why not give them a call on 01477 571 766.


Set in the foothills of the Bannau Brycheiniog, Glansevin is a beautiful Georgian mansion offering a stunning and unique environment for weddings and civil partnerships. The house can accommodate parties of up to 80, with accommodation for 40 guests staying in the property itself and another 16 in the neighbouring Carriage Rooms.

Glansevin provides a relaxed setting that you can truly make your own: on arrival beds are made, the fires ready to be lit, the outdoor plunge pool and the poolside sauna ready for use and the games room will be set up! Although a self-catering venue, Glansevin can recommend some excellent local caterers, and guests are free to bring their own refreshments and use the bar facility in the main lounge and the kitchen at no extra cost.

The spacious dining room can seat up to 80 guests, and offers a well-equipped kitchen alongside. For larger numbers a marquee for up to 100 guests can be hired on the back lawn. To find out more about the house and discuss your plans, call 07355 510 486.

The Lovell Telescope: an iconic partner for your celebrations The dining room seats 80 Everything will be ready for you
Weddings MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 5 26/04/2024 14:32
Celebrate your love at a World Heritage Site

Find out more call 01743 455319 email

stunning barns, on-site accommodation for up to 32 guests, plus glamping and camping; all set against the magnificent backdrop of the Snowdonia hills.
intimate gatherings to grand affairs, our dedicated wedding team is committed to bringing your vision to life, ensuring your celebration is as unique as your love story. Contact us now to reserve your date and begin planning the wedding of your dreams. Your dream wedding awaits… Offer applies to bookings made on or before 31st July 2024. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Discounted price for a 2-day wedding package £4,000. Email us now for details or to arrange a viewing Hafod Farm Betws Road Llanrwst Conwy LL26 0RA Quote SHIRE20 to receive a 20% discount on the package price of a 2025 wedding. * * Wedding favours for your guests can be a gift to us Love to care Let us be part of your celebration
Hospice wedding favour range
Registered Charity 512394 Promoter: Severn Promotions Company Ltd, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury SY3 8HS. Telephone number 01743 455319. Severn Promotions Company Limited is licensed and regulated in Great Britain by the Gambling Commission under account number 4848. Severn Promotions Company Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Severn Hospice and is operated to raise funds for the care of patients of Severn Hospice. Registered Charity no 512394 16+. Please gamble responsibly. For practical help and support on problem gambling, contact beGambleAware on 0808 802 0133 or visit 16+ TREVOR HALL LLANGOLLEN Exclusive Use Stately Home Specialising in Unique Weddings 113_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 15:55
PLASISAF COUNTRYBARN&WEDDINGVENUE "EVERYONCEINAWHILE,RIGHTINTHEMIDDLEOFAN ORDINARYLIFE,LOVEGIVESUSAFAIRYTALE"... Areyoudreamingofabarnwedding? Our authentic, grade II listed, 17th Century, historical Welsh barn ... nestled in the heart of the picturesque North Wales countryside is perfect venue for your special day ... We'd love to show you around, contact us to arrange a private viewing, or join us for one of our open days. We're so looking forward to meeting you! You'reperfect"Ido's" PlasIsafxx Getintouchfor privateviewing appointements To plan your dream day call Gregynog on 01686 650224 or email Weddings as Unique as You Are DiscoverwhyNanteosis theperfectplaceto say'IDo' Nanteos Mansion, Aberystwyth. Ceredigion. Wales SY23 4LU ExclusiveUseHirestarting fromjust£1750* Includes use of our stunning Music Room for your ceremony, the Bridal Suite and 9 guest bedrooms. 114_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 15:56

Teresa’s Boutique

The business began pre pandemic due to a change in life circumstances.

I’ve always been involved in country life, previously my career was breeding beautiful thoroughbred horses for racing. I grew a very successful stud at the time and bred some very successful winners.

When a stop in the road occurred, I decided to take a different direction!

Teresa’s boutique was created. It all began in a barn on a friend’s farm. She encouraged me to start selling wedding outfits to go with her beautiful handmade hats.

The Boutique is now at 45 high street Shrewsbury and was opened officially by Anna Turner the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire.

I now employ 6 staff. I’m so blessed with them all. We’re a great team.

The Brands we love are ‘Bariloche’ and ‘Tinta. A Spanish brand that specialises in beautifully tailored pieces with colour & classic design & detail.

‘Marble’ are a Scottish brand - well known for their classic, comfortable, casual wear.

k Design a brand with fabulous fabric, design, patterns & colour ! Their fabric is impregnated with silver which prevents odours & stays fresh all day! And it doesn’t crease! Ever

And of course we stock THE No 1 selling ‘Robell’ trousers! There’s a shape and a size for every figure. Robell customers love these trousers!

Tia & Allison are the glamorous brands ! This Season we are stocking the most gorgeous Occasion wear – Perfect for The Mother of the Bride, or for a wedding guest. We have dresses that’ll suit everyone – whatever the occasion

I have met some wonderful ladies since I started trading. Every day there are new customers coming in who have just discovered us ! I’m very grateful to them and I love the chat and laughs that we share. We hold a fashion show twice a year. We will host our 6th show In November It’s becoming a very popular event in our calendar.

Real women models, show casing the Boutique’s clothes, I couldn’t do it without them!

I love Clothes that will look good today, tomorrow and in 5 years.


Phone 07849 680 234

teresasboutiqueshrewsbury teresas_boutique_shrewsbury



45 High Street, Shrewsbury SY11ST

Opening hours

Sunday - Closed

Monday - Saturday: 9.30-17.00

Classic & Timeless well chosen pieces to be worn over and over again

Here you’ll find a carefully selected collection for every kind of woman, including pieces by Barlioche /Tinta Tia, Alison, Marble, Robell Trousers, K Design Dorris, Streich


Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 17.00 pm

45 High Street, Shrewsbury SY1 1ST

Phone: 07849 680 234


A boutique selling an edited collection of clothes, accessories, and gifts, the team are passionate about bringing you only the most special and gorgeous pieces from across the UK and the world.
115_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 15:56

Where past and present meet

Easily accessible from three counties, Whitchurch is one of Shropshire’s most enduringly popular destinations, beloved by visitors and residents alike


The county of Shropshire is not short of market towns, but a perennial favourite is Whitchurch. The town boasts a thriving local community as well as a steady flow of passing trade and tourists, due in no small part to its central location, close to the Cheshire border and just two miles east of the border with Wales.

Easily reached by road from Shrewsbury, Chester and Wrexham, it also has excellent train links, as well as its own arm of the Llangollen Canal. Today’s residents enjoy a bustling centre with a wealth of local amenities, good schools and a stock of housing that spans many periods.

Proud history

Whitchurch has been a popular dwelling place for centuries, with its earliest mentions recorded in the Domesday Book. It is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire and it is thought that its name comes from the Middle English for ‘white church’, after a church constructed from white stone during the Norman period.

The area has a long association with the military. Whitchurch Cemetery includes 91 Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves: 24 from the First World War and 67 from the Second World War, of which 52 are Polish or Czechoslovak – a Polish hospital was located at Iscoyd Park, just over the border in Wales.

Outdoor appeal

For those who enjoy getting out and about, Whitchurch has a lot to offer. The Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle route passes through the town, and it’s also the end point of the Sandstone Trail, a fabulous 34-mile walking route along Cheshire’s sandstone ridge. It’s well signposted and easily completed in three days. Walkers will also enjoy Whitchurch Waterway Country Park, while the towpath along the Llangollen Canal brings you to Grindley Brook staircase locks and the excellent Lockside Café.

Further afield, in a 20-mile radius there are plenty of historic houses, beautiful gardens and wildlife reserves. Within the

town itself a Town Trail has been developed to make the most of the interesting and historic buildings. Leaflets are available from the town hall or Daisydown Gifts next door. Whitchurch is home to a wealth of independent shops, cafés and restaurants, traditional and modern pubs and bars. There is a weekly country market and monthly farmers’ market, and a state-of-the-art leisure centre is due to open in summer 2025.

Greenfields Nature Reserve reserves/greenfields

Whitchurch Heritage Centre 12 St Mary’s Street SY13 1QY

Whitchurch Waterway Country Park Meadowcroft SY14 1BD

Grindley Brook Locks whitchurch-and-grindley-brook

116 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Pick up a Town Trail leaflet and enjoy a wander
Ceramic artist Elizabeth Fritsch CBE was born in Whitchurch
Town Visits Whitchurch MayJune2024 WRDB.indd 40 26/04/2024 17:38
Watch the boats at Grindley Locks

State-of-the-art clinic now open in Abergele


Fast access to

You can see a medical expert in as little as 48 hours – because the sooner you’re better, the

Wide range of tests and treatments

Get access to hundreds of tests and treatments, some of which you can only have privately.

Advanced technology

We use the latest technology and techniques wherever possible to get the best outcome for you.

Credit is subject to status. Spire Healthcare Limited is acting as a credit broker, Omni Capital Retail Finance Ltd is the lender. All named parties are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Spire Healthcare’s registered address is 3 Dorset Rise, London, EC4Y 8EN. Spire Healthcare offers over 300 treatments. See our website for the available treatments at each hospital. Timings given are indicative, actual timings may vary based on consultant and tests required.
Interest free finance – 0% representative APR available Book to see an expert today Search ‘Spire Abergele Clinic’ Call 01745 258 506
proud to announce the opening of its new clinic, bringing first-class healthcare and fast-track treatment to North Wales. At Spire Abergele Clinic you can access leading specialists and a wide range of treatments, when you need them most.
diagnosis and treatment
117_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 15:57
Abergele Clinic



It’s o cial… that refreshing cuppa really is doing you some good, says Tanja Harrison, nutrition lecturer from the University of Chester

Have you had your morning cuppa yet? If so, you have made your contribution to the 100 million cups we drink in the UK each day, according to the UK Tea and Infusions Association.

When you think about tea the black variety most likely springs to mind, with decisions to be made on how many sugars (if any) and whether it should be mild and milky or a proper ‘builder’s brew’. But there’s a whole world of options – in fact, the choice can be staggering!

Tea is the infusion of plant leaves, buds, flowers, stems, roots or dried fruit, and as well as black, green, white and oolong, there’s an almost endless variety of herbal and fruit teas – including peppermint, fennel, rooibos, hibiscus and elderflower.

Thirst quencher

selection of tea alternatives might be the ticket. In addition to being a refreshing change from your usual brew, herbal and fruity teas can also be drunk cold and quench your thirst very easily.

Good for the gut

“For maximum fl avour and beneficial e ect opt for loose tea”

Drinking tea has been shown to be not only soothing but also comes with health benefits. Teas are full of plant compounds called polyphenols, and these have antioxidant properties. Drinking tea (with no or not too much sugar) seems to have a positive impact on cholesterol levels and inflammation. It can also help the immune system.

If you’ve been considering decreasing the amount of soft drinks in your diet but find water boring, filling your cupboard with a

We now also have increasing evidence that the compounds in tea may help to increase the numbers and varieties of beneficial bacteria in our gut, with most studies looking at green and black teas. This stems from the interaction between polyphenols and gut bacteria, the latter acting as a ‘middle man’ and using

the tea to produce additional compounds that are good for our health.

In the bag

While tea bags win hands down in terms of convenience, if you are after maximum flavour and a higher concentration of

beneficial compounds, opt for loose tea. The leaves used for tea bags tend to be more ground down and the bag itself can hinder the infusion. Loose tea leaves are also biodegradable and can go into your compost bin, whilst tea bags from many companies contain microplastics.

This time: the importance of keeping our bodies hydrated

You need to drink eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. This is commonly heard but is actually false. There isn't a fixed requirement – our hydration needs vary depending on factors like age, weight, activity level, climate and overall health. It's better to drink water when you’re thirsty and monitor the colour of your urine, which should be pale yellow.

Coffee and tea dehydrate you. This is not entirely true either. While caffeine is a mild diuretic, meaning it increases urine

production, the effect is minimal in regular consumers. However, if consumed excessively, particularly if you’re not used to caffeine, it may have a slightly dehydrating effect.

You can drink too much water. Despite most of us being told to drink more water, this is actually true. Drinking excessive amounts of water, particularly in a short period, can lead to water intoxication or hyponatremia. This occurs when the balance of electrolytes in the body is disrupted due to diluted sodium levels, potentially causing symptoms from nausea and headaches to seizures and coma. It's essential to maintain a balance and not consume water excessively.

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Health&Beauty MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:53
Feel those polyphenols work their magic…

Eye, eye

There is no doubt that our eyes and our vision are pretty important. So Shire spoke to experts at The North Wales Eye Specialist Centre to answer some common questions about all things optic.

The North Wales Eye Specialist Centre offers professional, high quality, safe and efficient care for all your ocular needs and is the only clinic dedicated to eye care in North Wales. The expert team of consultants have over 100 years of experience in ophthalmology between them and can treat all conditions from glaucoma to cataracts, macular degeneration to eyelid surgery. New developments and treatments are coming in all the time, with the team about to start offering retinal surgery to treat cases of distorted vision and retinal detachment. The centre is committed to providing expert diagnosis and treatment to patients in a timeframe that is convenient to them and in a friendly, relaxing environment. The nursing team is very experienced and specialised in eye care and able to offer advice and guidance both in person and over the phone. The ground-floor clinic is very well equipped with the latest diagnostic scanners, and a stateof-the-art operating theatre is on the first floor of the premises in Abergele.


on cataracts

One of the most common eye complaints the Centre deals with is cataracts and the expert team talked us through diagnosis and treatment options.

A cataract is when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy, due to the breakdown of proteins in the lens. Objects will appear blurry, hazy and or less colourful. The most common cause is ageing. Although people over the age of 60 have some clouding of their lenses, vision problems may not happen until years later. Other reasons you may get cataracts include:

• having family members who have cataracts

• having certain medical problems, eg diabetes

• having had an eye injury, eye surgery or radiation treatments on your upper body

“Cataract is a common cause for vision loss, but it can be treated”

• having spent a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays

• medications such as corticosteroids

• smoking.

Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. Other cataracts can develop more quickly, such as those in younger people or people with diabetes. Doctors cannot predict how quickly a person’s cataract will develop.

When do you need surgery?

Cataracts can be removed only with surgery. If your symptoms are not bothering you much, you might just need a new eyeglass prescription to help you see better. Your optician will advise. You should consider surgery when glasses can’t improve your vision and it prevents you from doing things you want or need to do.

Cataract surgery is done under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. Your eye surgeon will remove your natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (or IOL). When you decide to have cataract surgery, your specialist will discuss IOLs and their various subtypes and how they work.

Cataract is a common cause for vision loss, but it can be treated. You and your ophthalmologist should discuss your symptoms and decide whether you are ready for surgery.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 119
State-of-the-art scanners enable accurate diagnosis
For more information on cataracts or other eye issues visit North Wales Eyes MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:57



2nd & 3rd May, Clair Young, Ceramic Sculptures Clair sculpts animals and birds, inspired by her sailing adventures.

4th & 5th May, Stef Nicoll, Landscapes Stef finds inspiration for her painting in Snowdonia and the Lake District and is open to commissions and discussions.

9th & 10th

New era for art in Wales

May, Eco Silver Jewellery by Sandra Roberts Sandra makes use of silver left by the industry, adorned with stones and crystals. Each piece is unique.

16th & 17th May, Tracey Davies, Watercolour Workshops

Tracey paints portraits and scenes from photographs and hosts watercolour workshops, sharing her skills and passion.

14th & 15th May, Liz at Magpie Fairy Crafts Liz showcases metal tape art gifts and starter kits, guiding enthusiasts through the craft.

21st & 22nd May, Crafty Sisters Handmade jewellery, tote bags and children’s accessories, all unique and crafted with care.

1st & 2nd June, Handmade Polymer Clay Jewellery by Kate @ Noodle and Norman Kate uses hypoallergenic materials, each piece unique in colour and styling, for individual tastes.

8th & 9th June, Eco Silver Jewellery by Sandra Roberts Sandra incorporates stones and crystals into her designs, welcoming commissions and discussion of personal pieces.

15th & 16th June, Thelma Evans, Art Workshops Thelma, with her delicate pastel canvases of local scenes and florals, offers art workshops for enthusiasts to explore their creativity.

20th & 21st June, Marie at Earth Deva Quirky handmade creations and hand-painted mythicalthemed items, including pots and jewellery.

25th & 26th June, Crafty Sisters See 21st May

29th & 30th June, Handmade Knitwear and Gifts by Ally Mo Maureen’s handmade knitwear and Alison’s quirky gift items and greetings cards provide a delightful selection, perfect for special occasions.

Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre, near Mold, open Tues-Sun 9.30am-5pm.

A new dawn of artistic expression is being welcomed across Wales, as the culmination of a groundbreaking initiative is unveiled

Ina resounding testament to Wales’ rich artistic legacy, the National Contemporary Art Gallery for Wales emerges as a beacon, heralding a new era of creative expression and accessibility. Championed by the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, this visionary initiative promises to democratise art and celebrate the vibrant tapestry of contemporary Welsh creativity.

Central to the NCAGW’s ethos is the establishment of a network of galleries, each poised to serve as a cultural hub within its community. Among the shortlisted venues are Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, MOSTYN, Newport Museum & Art Gallery, Oriel Davies, Oriel Myrddin, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Ruthin Craft Centre and Storiel.

Access to all

in communities across our country,” added designated member, Sian Gwenllian. “Great art should be for everyone, and our joint commitment to establish a National Contemporary Art

“Great art should be for everyone”

“The national collection belongs to everyone in Wales,” said deputy minister for arts, sport and tourism, Dawn Bowden. “The new model will allow people to explore the collection within their own communities, whilst also ensuring more people across Wales, the UK and even internationally can have improved access. It will help to boost the visitor economy, support local businesses and jobs, and put Wales on the map.”

“The ongoing cost-of-living crisis shows how important it is that we make our national collection of art freely accessible to people

Gallery is about creating greater access for all whilst showcasing our immensely talented artists.”

Beyond physical galleries, the NCAGW embraces the digital frontier with the Celf ar y Cyd website, a virtual sanctuary curated by Amgueddfa Cymru and the Arts Council of Wales. Here, art enthusiasts embark on a digital odyssey through the annals of Welsh creativity, delving into the stories and voices that shape the nation’s artistic identity.

Virtual viewing

“The Celf ar y Cyd initiative launched in 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” explains a representative. “It’s part of the wider Government-sponsored NCAGW initiative, offering unparalleled access to art and fostering dialogue within Wales’ vibrant society.”

From the hills of Aberystwyth to the streets of Swansea, as the NCAGW unfurls its canvas across Wales, it invites art lovers to embark on a journey of discovery, embracing the essence of contemporary Welsh artistry with each click and every brushstroke.

Find out more at

120 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
The inaugural exhibition: artwork by local families sits alongside the Picassos Aberystwyth Arts Centre is on the shortlist
Arts MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 06:41

Something of an institution for fabric and craft lovers locally, Abakhan Fabrics, Hobby & Home is a staple for sewing and making, with branches across the Shire patch

If you fancy trying a new creative outlet or have been hankering after the perfect fabric for that project, there is one local store that can offer everything you could possibly need.

Trips to Abakhan have been commonplace for most of us over the years – whether to pick up new wool with a grandparent, grab a zip to fix an outfit malfunction or buy essential fabric for a school textiles project. So it comes as no surprise to learn that this family-owned company specialising in fabrics, haberdashery,

yarns and craft supplies is celebrating being a part of our community with a milestone birthday this year – its 60th anniversary.

All the essentials

Abakhan offers an extensive range of fabrics including dressmaking fabrics, quilting fabrics, upholstery fabrics, curtain fabrics and more, in a vast array of colours, patterns and textures. Whether customers are looking for materials for dressmaking, home decor or hobby and crafting projects, a trip to one of the stores is like entering an Aladdin’s cave of colours, textures and widths.

In addition, Abakhan also stocks a variety of haberdashery and hobby items, from knitting and crochet yarns, sewing patterns, threads, needles and pins to buttons, zippers and ribbons – all the essentials for every conceivable sewing and crafting project.

For those less confident in starting their craft projects, the team at Abakhan’s flagship store in Mostyn, Flintshire also offers workshops and practical sessions for beginners to learn the basics and enabling those with experience to master their craft. Classes cover all levels of dressmaking, patchwork and quilting, embroidery and crochet.

Spring Exhibition 2024, ‘Impressions of Wales’, Oriel Glasfryn Gallery, Caerwys CH7 5AF. Until 6th May. Shire readers need to be quick to catch the end of this exhibition, with over 100 pieces on show and available to buy. There’s a great range of styles, from landscapes by Deanne Doddington Mizen, Sian McGill and Gareth Huw Davies to colourful contemporary paintings by Eloise Govier and gyotaku prints by Jane Evans, where sea creatures are captured in ink on rice paper. Sculptor Debbie Nairn demonstrates the influence of nature on form, and the art of sgraffito brings to life the Welsh landscape, mountain weather and ancient stories in the work of Ed Ap Llwyd, exhibiting in North Wales for the first time. Open Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday/bank holidays 10am-4pm.

‘Another View: Landscapes by Women Artists’, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Wirral. Until 18th August. This exhibition examines women artists’ place in the history of British landscape art, a story traditionally dominated by male artists.

A great day out

Also at the Mostyn outlet is the opportunity to rest and recuperate when rummaging in the reels of fabric becomes overwhelming! The on-site café and gift shop provides a cosy and inviting stop, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas. Open seven days a week, Abakhan Mostyn is located on the Wales Coastal Path and even has a children’s playground, so it’s a great day out for all the family. The latest addition to the site is The Abakhan Village, which is host to a range of local businesses such as a hairdresser, beauty bar, chiropodist and a locally sourced fruit and veg shop. The monthly Artisan Market is now back up and running (last Saturday of the month), where local makers, bakers and creators get together and showcase their talents.

The team holds regular family fun days throughout the year, with one planned for May and another in June – details can be found on Facebook.

Abakhan Mostyn is open seven days a week, 10am-5pm (4.30pm on Sunday).

There are currently nine stores in the UK, including the Wirral, Chester and Shrewsbury, and an online store, allowing customers to shop conveniently from anywhere.

From early depictions by amateur artists, it moves through the 19th and 20th centuries, presenting the changing ways women have looked at the world, and how social, economic, cultural and environmental developments affected that. From oil paintings to prints and drawings, works are drawn from National Museums Liverpool’s collection and other institutions. They tell a story of women artists’ growing ambition and development of technique as they gain a foothold in the art world. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm.

Spring 2024 Fine Art Exhibition, Ironbridge Fine Arts, Merrythought Village, Coalbrookdale. Until 26th May. Immerse yourself in a diverse showcase featuring printmaking, drawings, paintings, photography, pottery, jewellery and fused glassware. Artists include the gallery’s own Jenny Gunning and Liz Gunning as well as featured artists Lucia Fraser, Karen Ulph, Faith Chevannes and Linda Samuel. Discover new works from Mark Lord, Paul Gooderham, Liz Simmons, Eric Gaskell, Diana Wayne and Greg AnstonRace. Open TuesdayFriday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-3pm

ART IN YOUR AREA May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 121 Stop and refuel in the cosy café Allow yourself plenty of time to browse! Every colour oftherainbow…
Aladdin’s cave” Arts MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 06:41
sewn up “An


What a fabulous array of interesting images our latest photo challenge inspired! e theme of ‘Journey’ brought out the best in you talented bunch – thank you so much for all the entries. We’ve included as many as we can here and selected our winners. If you didn’t make it into print this time please keep sending your photos to us and we hope you’ll make it into the next issue!

We’ve been inspired by the feature on the preceding pages about the new National Contemporary Art Gallery, which is linking communities in Wales, and for our next competition we’d like to see your pictures on the theme of ‘Community’. It might be a summer event, a place, a group of people… the choice is yours. As always, send them to us at and good luck!

Samantha Brindley John Hughes Stuart Carr Samantha Brindley Kathryn Hall Julie She eld Kathryn Hall Julie She eld John Hughes Julie She eld
122 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Arts MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 3 26/04/2024 06:41
Stuart Carr

Escape to the Wernog Bubble

With a fascinating offer of traditional and contemporary craft courses and unique accommodation,Wernog Wood is an idyllic enterprise in North Wales

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wernog Wood is a hidden gem in the heart of the Clwydian Range, near Ruthin. These 22 acres of beautiful oak and ash woods are teeming with birds and wildlife, and in spring bluebells and wild garlic flank the stream. Visitors often refer to it as “the Wernog Bubble”, a place to zone out from the demands of everyday life.

At the heart of Wernog Wood is its remarkable range of traditional and contemporary craft courses. You can stay on-site in a wood cabin, a bell tent with a proper bed, or pitch your own.

“It all began with greenwood chair-making, a pie-in-the-sky idea inspired by working with Dad in the woods. I wanted to run courses and my partner Rob wanted to ‘do something up’, so we searched and eventually found Wernog Wood,” said Claire.

Rob is a multi-talented craftsman who has built the airy workshop studio and cosy Red Shed from scratch. They explained that Wernog Wood’s ethos is to foster practical skills in a welcoming setting where people eat and work together. “Folks attending who aren’t staying overnight don’t want to go home.” Lunches are home-cooked, and in the evening people make a communal supper, often using the outdoor pizza oven.

Courses are taught by practising artists and craftspeople and tailored to beginners as well as the more experienced. “Our tutors are hand-picked and all at the top of their game,” Claire added. Courses range from rural skills to fine arts and crafts, and include carving greenwood spoons and bowls, making cleft wood furniture and even timber-framed buildings. “One person made a king-sized bed and took it home in a Mini!”

Willow basket making and creating plant supports are ever popular, using traditional weaving techniques.

Wernog Wood also offers hands-on metalworking: try blacksmithing - an introduction to the forge; a welding taster day; hand forging blades for the kitchen; sculpting in recycled metal and, of course, Claire’s specialty, silver jewellery.

A stunning variety of arts and crafts courses ranges from glass, ceramics and stone to photography, drawing, painting and printmaking, leatherwork and textiles – including batik and the Japanese printing technique of katagami. “We’re always looking for new subjects, for example botanical skincare products and an automata workshop where folks can make fun and intriguing contraptions out of found objects and mechanisms engineered out of brass or steel.”

Looking to the future, Claire and Rob are thinking of running evening experiences such as jewellery making and life drawing, and considering requests for guitar making and shoemaking.

A date for your diary: on 3rd-5th September Wernog Wood will be hosting the annual gathering of its tutors in the Wernog Wood Collective, where you can find out about their craft, buy their work – and enjoy homemade cake!

Walkers and cyclists are welcome. The campsite is just 350m from Offa’s Dyke Path and the perfect place to pitch a tent.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 12
Did you know? The Red Shed featured at no 11 in The Times’ list of Europe’s 25 Magical Woodland Escapes
“People get huge satisfaction from making something unique with their own hands,” said Claire. From top: the Red Shed; the wildflower meadow campsite; a greenwood pot; glass fusing; a luxury bell tent; skilful tutors teach lino printmaking and stained glass
Did you know?
Get in touch 07765 251 531 Facebook & Instagram @wernogwood Wernog Wood MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 10:18

Charities&Volunteering Birthday boost

Doreen Ivison, from Wem, has raised over £850 for charity by asking for donations instead of presents for her 95th birthday. Doreen presented the money to Lingen Davies Cancer Fund to help people living with cancer and their families across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales. She chose the charity because her daughter Liz is undergoing chemotherapy at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital’s Lingen Davies Cancer Centre.

daughter Liz Houghton

my birthday – you don’t when you’re 95 – so I just wanted to use the occasion to help others. My friends and family have been very generous and I am grateful to them. This will make a difference.”

“I didn’t need anything myself”

Doreen said: “Lingen Davies is a huge source of support to Liz, so there was never any doubt who I was going to raise money for. They do such brilliant work.

“I have raised much more than I thought I was going to. I was hoping for £250. I decided I didn’t need anything myself for

The money will be used to continue funding projects and equipment to benefit those living with and beyond cancer, as well as raising awareness. Karen Roberts, fundraising and volunteer coordinator for Lingen Davies, said: “I am very grateful to Doreen for choosing to support our fund as she celebrated her birthday.”


Thefounder of Shropshire children’s charity Little Stars met with HRH the Princess of Wales to share how her Baby Bank is helping families cope with the cost of living crisis.

“26 percent living in poverty”

Leanne Simcoe was one of five Baby Bank founders across the country invited to meet the Princess and podcaster Giovanna Fletcher to discuss the work

they do in their communities. For Leanne, this meant the opportunity to bring attention to the 26 percent of children living in poverty in Shropshire. Families are referred to a Baby Bank by professionals including midwives and social workers. The charity supplies donated clothing, and new items such as nappies, toiletries and equipment like car seats.

Evelyn’s gift

Alovestory spanning more than half a century left an incredible legacy for a Shropshire charity.


Haven’s Welsh holiday parks are proud to have donated over £38,000 to the Welsh Air Ambulance Service since 2019, demonstrating their commitment to community welfare and emergency services.

Greenacres, Hafan y Mor, Presthaven, Kiln Park, Lydstep Beach, Penally Court and Quay West joined in an initiative where a portion from the sale of each bag in the onsite mini market was set aside and donated at the end of the year.

The WAAS relies on public donations

to raise the £11.2 million required every year to keep its helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

Colin Archibald, Haven West operations director said: “The Welsh Air Ambulance Service plays a crucial role in emergency response, and we are proud to contribute to their ongoing efforts to save lives.”

“Over 46,000 missions run”

Since its formation in 2001, the service has completed over 46,000 missions. It is on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Find out more at www.

Eric Clare met Evelyn in a Wrexham café as they both reached for the last plate of sandwiches. It was love at first sight and they married in 1964.

In 2021, after many happy years together, Evelyn was diagnosed with incurable stomach cancer. Ten years previously, they had attended an open day at Severn Hospice, and it was there they learned about leaving a gift in their wills to charity. Evelyn thought they should: perhaps they may have to use the hospice themselves one day.

means the charity can help so many others facing heartbreak.

“The charity can help so many others”

Sadly this came true following her diagnosis.

Evelyn is missed by everyone who knew and loved her, and her kindness and generosity

Elodie Home, Severn Hospice’s head of fundraising said: “It’s wonderful and thoughtful way of commemorating a life and supporting patients, families and their carers who need us. We are so grateful to everybody who does.”

Read more at SHLastingLegacy

If you would like a charity event to feature on these pages, just email the details to

A special delivery from Haven Leanne (2nd right) with Giovanna (2nd left) and Princess Catherine Evelyn and Eric
124 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024 Volunteering MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 10:15

Due to expansion and new titles, we are looking for a bright new team member keen to get a head start in publishing. No experience required, only an ability to get along and communicate well with people. Work from your own home, and be part of a team.


If you’re a good communicator and enjoy building relationships, work with our clients and represent the best regional magazine covering Wales and the Borders.

Due to expansion, there is now an opportunity for a new member to join our team.

Work from home, with hours to suit you, liaising with business owners and marketing teams to help them tailor their campaigns in the magazine.

The role is wide ranging and includes:

• market research sales pitches to business owners

• briefing Shire design teams

• social media management

You are a proactive self-starter who enjoys working on your own initiative, and are outgoing and personable. You are highly organised, and have good computer skills. You are hardworking and like to work as part of a team, and you’re ready to learn.

15% off when you spend £15 In-store Valid until the 30th June 2024. Terms and conditions apply Valid for single use only Not available with any other o er
out more about
Shire Magazine
your CV to, marked ‘Work from home’ as the subject. Exciting
you would like to apply, just email
opportunity to join Shire
and work
publishing Four days per week OTE £18K per year
123_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:00



When Covid forced one Welsh woman to spend her time shielding at home, it also spurred her to launch a successful career as a poet

“So many people have a connection with this place”

After writing poetry for her own enjoyment for almost 50 years, Pam Jones is enjoying success as a published poet, with a book in circulation across the world. It’s a great accolade for the writer, who was inspired by the hometown she loves and is now discovering people around the globe who share her fondness for Llanfairfechan.

Carneddau to Coast takes its title from its main poem, and also features some of Pam’s own photos. She said: “I had it published in 2021 whilst I was shielding during the pandemic. Unbelievably it has found homes around the world – Australia, Canada, USA and France to name a few, and the UK.

“Llanfairfechan is nestled between the Carneddau mountains and the Menai Strait. It’s a beautiful place to


Fairy Tale World by Mary Richards

Mary lives in rural Wales, in the quiet countryside. She has three cats and loves reading and gardening, sketching and history. She is very interested in animal welfare and concerned at the increasing number of court cases concerning animal cruelty in the UK.

Her new book tells tales of mystery and intrigue. A powerful wizard finds himself taken for granted and a fancy hat goes on a strange journey – or does it? A new broom takes on a life of its

live or visit and I feel very fortunate to have been born and bred here. Together with my brothers, our taid (grandfather), a retired farmer, would take us and his faithful sheepdog for walks in the mountains. Through his stories and vast knowledge of the area, he taught us so much about the landscape and its wildlife.”

Family link

Pam found writing a good pastime during lockdown. Despite the uncertain times, she was able to collate her poems and photographs, and produce the book. She said: “My mother’s family is descended from the Welsh poet and architect John Jones, who wrote under the name Talhaiarn. Both my father and grandmother dabble in poetry too. It seems it is in my blood!”

own and a bullying billy-goat gets a taste of his own medicine!

Never outstaying their welcome, Mary’s enchanting stories are full of charm, simplicity and a touch of whimsical humour, accompanied by the author’s characterful illustrations.

Fairy Tale World is £7.99

Michael by Gerald Pryce

Jones Gerald is a retired builder, who after spending 60 years in the trade, has turned his hand to writing and now released his third book. He was born in Newtown, Mid Wales, went to the Boys’ High School and became a bricklayer’s apprentice before emigrating

to Australia at the age of 21. He spent many years there, mainly in Perth and the iron ore country to the north.

As he neared retirement, Gerald took up writing, inspired by a childhood meeting with two men who had fought in Egypt during the First World War. This led to his first novel, The Consequence, which tells of the experiences men like these may have had in the war and their lives after. His second book, Sam, continued the story, and his latest, Michael, brings us the final part of the trilogy, taking the reader into the Second World War and beyond.

Calling local authors…

If you’re living in the Shire area or have written about a local person or place, we’d love to feature you on these pages. Email editorial@

126 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Pam in the landscape she loves
Books MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:07



This time: two books that are far from llight reads – although both use the word in their titles!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Now

a captivating TV series, this intricately crafted novel unfolds against the backdrop of World War Two. Doerr’s prose is a work of art, painting vivid images that transport the reader to war-torn Europe. Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, is forced to flee Paris with her father. Doerr skilfully captures her journey of resilience, courage and the extraordinary ways she navigates a world she cannot see. Werner is a German orphan with a talent for radio technology, thrust into the brutality of the Nazi war machine. The convergence of their stories creates a narrative tapestry that explores the complexities of morality, survival and the blurred lines between good and evil.

A Bow to Culture

Ah! The old songs, they are the best

But welcome the new, they will stand the test.

Better to look with hope forward

Than to the rear or be awkward.

Those guitars and harps when still

Are no cure for any cultural ill,

And what is more welcoming than a choir?

Something to enlist in or inspire.

Poems for the boys, ballads for the girls,

One in suits, the other in curls.

Better still, all hand in hand,

Upon the platform for your command.

Songs and music to echo the age,

A moveable diet out of the cage.

Sing along, recite a rhyme

And all is with you and divine.

Norman Marshall

Summer Wedding

A summer wedding day it came

Then joyous wedding bells proclaim

Bride and groom, love and marriage

Here comes the bride, horse and carriage

In wedding dress and veil she came

To join her love and share his name

By gift of ring, vows and kisses

Husband and wife! Confetti and heartfelt wishes

Blessed in matrimony and unity

A happy marriage for all to see

Hand in hand they stand together

Photographed! Memories to last forever

Annette Edwards


Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman

A hauntingly beautiful exploration of love, loss and morality, set in an isolated Australian lighthouse post-World War I. Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel, living in solitude on the island, discover a drifting boat carrying a dead man and a crying baby. Faced with their own heartache from unsuccessful attempts to start a family, they decide to raise the foundling as their own.

Stedman masterfully navigates the ripple effects of this decision, leading the characters and readers into a web of emotional entanglement. The novel’s strength lies in its ability to evoke empathy for all the characters, blurring the lines between right and wrong.

Frustrated Gardener

I’ve got pixies in my garden

They’re messing with my seeds

Last year I set tomatoes

But they all came up as weeds

I tried again with lettuce

Beans and peas I sowed

Although I kept a watchful eye

Nothing ever showed

The lawn went bald in patches

The borders were a mess

It must be pixies doing this

It’s frustrating I confess

There are pixies in my garden

I’m pretty sure of that

Just a minute… there’s one now

Oh no, it’s next door’s cat

Ron Plummer

We want your poems!

Share your creativity – we print our favourite poems every issue. Send to Poetry Page, Shire, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR or email

What does Spring mean to me?

Lighter nights

Now that is necessary – and right!

Strange and unknown weather

A day that could bring us snow, hail and eventual sun – now that is better

Cherry blossom and new buds

Pruning back branches and getting rid of old wood.

The first cut of the grass

The possibility of wearing shorts – now that is sass

But we still have some frost and nights are still cold

Heating on-o -on-o – it’s a story that gets boring and old

A trip to the garden centre to purchase new bedding plants

But first a water butt, as the rain will only add to the water tank

Both I choose – as neighbours I want to tell

Of the blooms I have grown and that they will see

Of the sunflowers that are so cheerful and positive – just like me!

Jo Young

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 127
Books MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 16:07






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Students shared their own experiences


Derwen College in Gobowen is making numeracy relevant and fun with the use of ‘gamification’ in Maths, through personalised Minecraft worlds.

For many people, Maths can be a struggle, but as a vital skill for living an independent life, functional skills coordinator, Leah Bamford created Derwen-craft – an online Minecraft world to combine numerical skills with imagination and everyday problem solving.

“Creative and relevant”
Megan is learning money sklls and maps

As students have progressed, they have designed their own tasks and Maths problems to test each other. Performing

Arts student Megan has built a virtual holiday home and rents out a speedboat. She is learning money skills, map scaling and how to work out the cost of her boat trips using contextual Maths problems. Curriculum manager Jennifer Fawcett-Jones is a keen advocate of teaching creatively. She said: “Teachers at Derwen College are always looking for ways to make learning meaningful and engaging. It’s great to see students enjoying Maths so much because of the creative and relevant way it is delivered.”

Project-based learning at its best

It has been nearly two years since the introduction of a project-based curriculum at Abbey Gate College

Infant and Junior School, and teaching staff are continuously exploring ways to enhance this approach

to education. Learning outside the classroom has expanded to include project link trips, with each year group enjoying days out to local landmarks and museums, and learning outdoors every week, focusing on a variety of skills.

“The Great Fire was recreated on the school field”

A recent example of the overarching nature of project learning for pupils was the topic of ‘The Great Fire of London’ for the Infant 2 class. English, Art and DT work culminated in them building their own Pudding Lane before the Great Fire was recreated on the school field (watched from a safe distance!), leading to discussions around fire safety and how firefighting has changed since 1666.

Many of the students at Concord College, near Shrewsbury are keen to volunteer outside the college, be it for charities, in hospitals or within organisations in the local community. Concord’s assistant principal (professional development & learning), Mr Wilson, described their recent visit to Longnor Primary School.

“Throughout the year, a group of Concord pupils have volunteered at a local primary school that teaches pupils aged 3 to 11. They have been on a regular basis to help the boys and girls with their reading and to assist their teachers. This has proved a wonderful experience, with the young children enjoying reading, talking and playing with the Concord pupils, while these older students have loved giving their time to the school and helping the young children in their education.”

On a recent visit, the Concord students gave presentations to three classes on their home countries and cultures, sharing information about the capitals, food, clothing, celebrations and languages of China, Nigeria and Pakistan.


Haberdashers’ Adams are pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs Ruth Crichton as their new deputy head in charge of curriculum. With over 20 years of secondary teaching experience in the West Midlands, Mrs Crichton began her career as a Geography teacher with a love of the outdoors and the natural environment. She also has 10 years’ experience as a senior leader in both comprehensive and grammar schools, with previous responsibility for the quality of education, teaching, learning and the curriculum.

Departing deputy head Dr Peter Pack retires this summer after a total of 29 years at Haberdashers’ Adams.


Wolverhampton Girls’ High School is a selective grammar for girls aged 11-18 years, based in the heart of Wolverhampton. For over 100 years, the school has been providing excellent free education to girls from across the city and beyond, encouraging happy, confident and resilient young women.

Familiarisation sessions are being held on 20th May and 6th June, when prospective students can visit to gain insight into and support with the admission process and preparing for the entrance test, to be held in September.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 129
Infant 2 built a model of Pudding Lane Mrs Ruth Crichton Raising confident young women
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Making maths into a game


Adcote School for Girls, Shropshire offers a commitment to academic excellence, supportive and nurturing pastoral care and an extensive range of extracurricular activities, all within the grounds of a picturesque and historic campus. The school has just announced the dates for its Summer Camp ’24! Suitable for boys and girls aged 10-17 it offers a programme of on-site and off-site activities designed to foster personal growth and lots of memories. Parents are welcome to attend an Open Day on 6th May.


Thirty rugby players from Ellesmere College, Shropshire touched down in South America on their first tour of the continent, perfecting their skills and taking in the sights of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Led by director of the College’s Rugby Academy, Alex Murphy, himself an ex-professional, the team spent two weeks hopping between countries, taking in the culture and playing against local sides.

The Academy tours every four years and previous sporting development opportunities have been to Australia, Canada and South Africa. This year’s trip was made possible thanks to the support of a number of local businesses, who contributed towards the cost.


growth and lots of memories”

Bright young sparks

Students from St David’s College, Llandudno took part in the Engineering Education Scheme Wales competition, where they were set a brief by professional engineers from ORE Catapult, the UK’s leading innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

The aim was to develop new technologies to

investigate the impact of offshore wind farms, and students designed a small autonomous sea vessel equipped with sensors to track and analyse marine animal populations in the oceans.


The Queen’s School’s Re-Prom, a charity event organised by head girl Natasha Latham in March, raised over £6,000 in support of Evie’s Gift. The fashion show featured new and preloved prom dresses for sale, alongside professional make-up, hair and beauty demonstrations.

“Over £6,000 for Evie’s Gift”

The Year 12 students won the award for Best Use of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] for Sustainability and the Environment at the awards ceremony, which was held at Venue Cymru.

Natasha said: “Evie’s Gift was set up to help families of critically ill children and I am proud to raise money for this great cause. Evie started school with me, but her life was cruelly

from a brain tumour, aged just 13. Every penny raised will go

The great debate

Two students from Christ College Brecon competed in Oxford Schools’ Debating final at the famous Oxford Union. The competition is the most prestigious and challenging schools’ debating competition in the world, with thousands of schools competing in initial rounds across the globe for a coveted place in the final at Oxford University.

Upper Sixth students Tomos Feasey and Jack Organ won their regional round before going up against some of the best schools in the UK, as well as teams from as far afield as Korea, Venezuela and Hong Kong.

Teams are told which side they need to argue, then given 15 minutes’ preparation time before the debate begins. Tomos and Jack put in strong performances, coming third in the second round against tough competition.

Aximaiorro ist ommolut


are given 15 minutes to prepare”

Tourists heading to South Africa
130 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Tomos and Jack argued well Adcote o ers lots of opportunities for summer The group with their award cut short when she died to Evie’s Gift.”
Schools MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 10:07
The event was a tribute to Natasha’s friend Evie
Award-winning education, set in 160 acres of beautiful Shropshire countryside. Day, Weekly and Full Boarding options | For boys and girls aged 7-18 OPEN WEEKS AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOL YEAR. HIGH PERFORMANCE LEARNING SCHOOL (1 OF 30 WORLDWIDE) OFFERING GCSE, A-LEVEL, IB, BTEC EXCELLENCE IN MUSIC, DRAMA AND THE ARTS 7 SPORTS ACADEMIES PREPARING STUDENTS TO BE LIFE:READY T: 01691 626510 | E: Ellesmere College, Ellesmere, Shropshire SY12 9AB SCAN THE QR CODE TO START Award-winning education, set in 160 acres of beautiful Shropshire countryside. Day, Weekly and Full Boarding options | For boys and girls aged 7-18 OPEN WEEKS AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOL YEAR. HIGH PERFORMANCE LEARNING SCHOOL (1 OF 30 WORLDWIDE) OFFERING GCSE, A-LEVEL, IB, BTEC EXCELLENCE IN MUSIC, DRAMA AND THE ARTS 7 SPORTS ACADEMIES EMPHASIS ON THE INDIVIDUAL T: 01691 626510 | E: Ellesmere College, Ellesmere, Shropshire SY12 9AB SCAN THE QR CODE TO START YOUR JOURNEY 131_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:05


Haberdashers’ Adams in Shropshire is one of a few state grammar schools to offer boarding for boys, with a house system and varied enrichment activities that make boarding life exciting, busy and fast-paced.

As a state grammar school there are no education fees to pay, only those associated with boarding, making it an affordable option for many.


After a gruelling weekend of matches Moreton Hall School, near Oswestry brought home the coveted National Schools Lacrosse Champions Cup.

Despite being one of the smallest schools in the competition, Moreton Hall’s reputation in lacrosse is undisputed, with a number of English and Welsh U19 players in the squad. Runners-up at last year’s Nationals, this year they brought home the U19s prize.

Junior boarders are cared for by a housemaster and a team of matrons and tutors, and encouraged to find activities they enjoy to build confidence and friendships.

Senior boarders continue boarding life in a purpose-built home close to the main school entrance, gaining additional independence in preparation for university or the next step in their lives.

Dinner time

The annual Education Dinner hosted by The Drapers’ Company took place at Drapers’ Hall in London, one of the most magnificent venues in the City. The dinner celebrates the Company’s educational links, which include Thomas Adams School. Head teacher of Thomas Adams

Mr Mark Cooper was joined by Sixth Form head students Katherine Oldham and Amy Brough, along with deputy head Mrs Jenni Whitfield and director of boarding Mr Lee Irwin. Former student Happiness Ez also attended. Happiness was awarded The Drapers’ Company (Scholarship) Bursary in Education in 2023 to assist with her university studies.

140 years of SHS

In 2025, Shrewsbury High School will be 140 years old. To celebrate this landmark birthday the school invites alumnae, former staff, parents and friends of the school to several special events.

Festivities commence in December, recreating the annual Carols Around the Tree exclusively for alumnae. In April, current pupils will take to the stage in a celebration production at Theatre Severn, while a celebration lunch and tours of the school will take place in May. The finale is a Celebratory Gala on 3rd May 2025. Party the night away and reflect on your schooldays with old friends. All money raised will go towards the SHS bursary fund. Details online at www.shrewsburyhigh.

U19A captains Emma Barnes, from Oswestry and Karina Henshaw, from Altrincham said: “Winning Nationals 2024 has been a dream come true. It’s one of the best feelings in the world when you accomplish something you’ve worked so hard for.”

“It’s a dream come true”


Tettenhall College scholar and boarder Nicole has achieved a milestone by securing a place at The University of New York, Abu Dhabi. She will be pursuing a major in Economics alongside a minor in Social Research and Public Policy. Having received offers from universities across the UK and Europe, Nicole followed her aspiration of studying at an American university and was invited to attend a candidate weekend in Abu Dhabi.

She said: “I thought the chances were slim but I decided to give it a shot. I was over the moon to find out I had been accepted. I proved to myself that with effort and perseverance, goals can be achieved.”

A lesson in community

Tworepresentatives from the Chester Muslim Sisters Association visited The Firs School in Chester to talk to the children about their work and about food banks in the Chester area.

The children learnt about the religious festivals of Ramadan and Eid, as well as the work being done by the charity to support local food banks. The Firs families have been collecting food donations to be sorted and distributed by the CMSA.

The children learned a lot from the visit

Mr Girvan, head teacher said: “The Firs School community is proud to come together in support of the food bank initiative. By inviting CMSA in, there has been a marked increase in conversation around these celebrations and understanding of other people’s faiths. It also helps our children learn not only about the importance of giving back, but that together we can make a difference and exemplify the true essence of community and care.”

Making friends; a caring team Congratulations, Nicole Emma and Karina worked hard
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Happiness and Mr Cooper

Universities & Colleges


Bangor University has ranked for five subjects in the 2024 QS World University Rankings by Subject, released in April by global HE analyst Quacquarelli Symonds. The company provides independent comparison of more than 16,000 university programmes at over 1,500 universities in 96 locations across the world.

Bangor ranked for Agriculture and

Nurturing talent

“Bangor ranked for five subjects”

Forestry, Psychology, Environmental Studies, Medicine, and Biological Studies. Rankings are based on five key metrics, compiled from responses from employers and academics.

Professor Oliver Turnbull, deputy vice-chancellor said: “This is a comprehensive league table, based on both teaching and research, and helps reflect our reputation among the world’s top universities.”


Senior managers from rail engineering company Alstom joined training providers at Reaseheath College during National Apprenticeship Week, to celebrate the success of the company’s progressive apprenticeship programme. Alstom is a global leader in the transportation sector, and its 37 UK sites include Crewe Works, a major local employer.

Alstom’s apprenticeship development manager, Jon Middleton, and general manager of Crewe Works, Mark Derbyshire, joined apprentices in the workshop, followed by celebrations later when Alstom was crowned Large Employer of the Year at Reaseheath’s Apprenticeship Awards ceremony.


Forestry leaders of the future have the chance to root their careers, thanks to a Harper Adams alumnus.

John Hepworth studied for a National Diploma in Agriculture at Harper Adams in the 1950s, before going on to build an award-winning career in forestry. He decided to fund a scholarship through the University’s Development Trust. Each year, two students receive an award of £2,000, which they can use to fund their studies or educational equipment.

Stephen Dale-Sunley, Rural Enterprise and Land Management student, purchased books as well as 100 saplings. He said: “I

planted these strategically on my home farm, creating shelter belts for livestock as protection from extreme weather.”

John has helped to shape the future of more than 20 students since setting up the scholarship.

Call-up for Cymru qualifiers

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor student

Mared Griffiths has been called up to the Cymru women’s squad for Euro qualifying games against Croatia and

“First full senior camp”

Kosovo. Mared, 17, from Trawsfynydd studies Level 3 Business at the college’s Dolgellau campus and is one of five players selected for their first full senior camp with the Cymru women’s football team, along with Soffia Kelly, Mayzee Davies, Elena Cole and Ania Denham. New manager Rhian Wilkinson announced a strong 26-player squad for Cymru’s return to Cae Ras for the first time since March 2020.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital marked the o cial opening of a new state-ofthe-art gym, to be used by both in-patients and outpatients to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.

Douglas Winterborn, 91, from Dudley, who has been an in-patient at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries since January, cut the ribbon at the celebratory ceremony. Douglas said: “It was a pleasure have been invited to o cially open the gym. I like to come here as often as I can, and the improvements have made a huge di erence.”

A total of £120,000 was invested by the Estates and Facilities Department at the Oswestry-based hospital, including white rock walls, new flooring, upgraded personal protective equipment and fresh paintwork.


Law students from the University of Chester have been shortlisted for the 2024 LawWorks and Attorney General’s Student Pro Bono Awards, in recognition of their volunteer work with those experiencing domestic abuse.

The prestigious national award celebrates the best pro bono activities and this is the fourth year that Law students in the Chester Community Law project have been nominated. Reach out to Survivors: Domestic Abuse is a project overseen by second-year student Chloe Lewis and is run by a team of nine student volunteers.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the House of Lords on 9th May. Good luck to Chloe and the team!

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 135
John Hepworth Bangor also rates high for student satisfaction
Mared’s ready…
Douglas approves the changes Hoping for success fourth time round…
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Second-year apprentices showed their skills


Former Animal Management students at Coleg Cambria, Molly Cartwright and Luke Fearnett, have secured permanent roles at West Midland Safari Park, in Worcestershire. With 165 different species to help take care of on-site, Molly and Luke, who are girlfriend and boyfriend, were delighted to have been offered positions as keepers in the ungulates (hoofstock) section, after a successful period as interns.

“165 different species to help take care of on-site”

Cambria’s reigning Higher Education Learner of the Year, Molly completed an Equine course before moving to Animal Management. She left the college last summer. Luke went on to study for a Level 6 certificate in the subject.

Sadie Thackaberry, programme leader for Animal Management, congratulated the pair. “For both Molly and Luke to be offered permanent jobs at such a pioneering safari park is incredible but fully deserved and an example of how our students go on to achieve great things in this sector.”

The 200-acre West Midland Safari Park welcomes more than 750,000 visitors annually and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

A hole new ball game

Telford College students were offered a unique challenge when Putt Putt Noodle visited the campus. The Asianthemed crazy golf venue, located in Telford Shopping Centre, gave students the opportunity to win prizes such as fortune cookies and free games for scoring a hole-in-one on an improvised putting green.

Over 100 students had a shot at the activity, organised as part of the college’s EMERGE Roadshow campaign.

EMERGE is a twice weekly lunchtime event in the

“Encouraging students to have fun and develop teamwork”

Rendezvous area, and includes games and quizzes to encourage students to have fun and develop teamwork.

Putt Putt Noodle opened in Telford in May 2023 and boasts a varied menu of authentic Asian street food as well as three crazy golf courses.



Formerand current students from the Solar Systems Physics Group at Aberystwyth University travelled to Dallas, Texas to study the recent solar eclipse alongside US scientists. But they were forced to change their plans rapidly at the last minute due to cloud cover disrupting the view. Instead they travelled north-east along the trajectory of the eclipse in the hope of securing a better vantage point.

The latest eclipse was of particular importance to scientists as it coincided


Aninnovative charity fund from the High Sheriff of Shropshire has helped boost 14 youth-led organisations across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin with awards totalling £15,000.

The fund was set up last year to offer grants of up to £1,250 to organisations, community groups and projects that inspire young people to make a positive impact in their communities. Launched in 2023 by High Sheriff Mandy Thorn MBE DL, it will support a diverse range of projects, from environmental initiatives to arts, cultural and sports programmes, including those tackling anti-social behaviours that can lead to crime.

This year’s funding has been supported by Aico, based in Oswestry, who made a significant donation, underlining the company’s dedication to community and youth development.

Mandy Thorn said: “The High Sheriff of Shropshire’s Fund is not just investing in projects, it’s investing in the potential of young people to be changemakers in their local communities.”

Round two of the funding will commence later in the year. For details and how to apply see www.shropshirecommunity

with a phenomenon known as the solar maximum, where the Sun’s surface is at its most active. This occurs only once every 11 years.

The team used cameras developed at Aberystwyth University by Dr Matt Gunn, with funding from UKRI’s Science and Technology Facilities Council.


solar maximum occurs once every 11 years”

The equipment also provided a testbed for technology that would enable scientists to view solar eclipses from space, avoiding problems with cloud cover.

136 SHIRE MAGAZINE | May/June 2024
Luke and Molly Blue skies in Paris, Texas provided ideal conditions for one of the teams. High Sheri Mandy Thorn
Not as easy as it looked…
Schools MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 5 26/04/2024 10:07


Subaru Forester e-BOXER

TheSubaru Forester range has long been the go-to for the hunting, shooting, fishing brigade and farmers who know a vehicle with serious guts when they see one.

The Forester has genuine off-road capabilities, it’s dependable and it’s apparently also bomb-proof. If you need to venture off-road or live in an out-of-the- way place and struggle when the weather gets tough, you will be able to counter those issues. It is a rugged workhorse.

The latest incarnation of the Forester is longer and wider than the car it replaces and this translates to more interior space and, more importantly, luggage room.

My test vehicle was equipped with the infamous Subaru Boxer engine with a capacity of 1995cc, producing power in the region of 150bhp, with lots of torque. This particular derivative is the Lineartronic, a hybrid of sorts – the small electric motor gives you additional punch, assisted by a lithium-ion battery.

The interior has a roomy feel with very nice trim. It’s by no means luxurious, more practical – but when you consider where this vehicle is designed to spend a lot of its time, no-nonsense seats you can brush the mud from no doubt rate high on the spec.

The drive was very smooth and quiet: the automatic gearbox worked a treat. A small circular knob on the transmission tunnel enables you to select various terrains from normal, snow/ice or muddy configurations, all to assist you in extricating yourself in the event of difficulties. The satellite navigation system is not difficult to master, and instructions are clear and concise.

For many, the name Subaru will always be linked with the incredible Impreza rally car. Bob Hickman test-drives its SUV descendant.

“If you need to venture o -road or live in an outof-the-way place and struggle when the weather gets tough, you will be able to counter those issues. It is a rugged workhorse”

The level of equipment on the Forester is quite extensive. In addition to the permanent all-wheel drive, I particularly liked the powered tailgate, handy when loading or unloading luggage, although the rear sill is not too high when lifting awkward items. Another useful feature is the one-touch reclining rear seats: at the click of a button they just fold up, transforming the Forester into a load-carrying capacity vehicle. Climate comfort extras include heated front seats for both driver and passenger and a heated steering wheel. The door mirrors are also heated. The dual cell automatic also has an anti-dust feature for those who are susceptible to pollen. You may also appreciate the reverse camera and front camera to assist when parking – after all this a quite large vehicle.

While the driving dynamics make the e-BOXER a willing companion on the road, the economics are not spectacular. Over 250 miles of varied terrain the computer suggested I had managed to achieve 34mpg. That said, it’s an improvement on the earlier version I testdrove, when I only managed 27mpg.

The Forester e-Boxster 2.0i has an on-the-road price of £40,090. This includes a three-year or 60,000-miles warranty and Subaru generously puts an eight-year warranty on the lithium battery.

Bob Hickman is a lifelong car and motorcycle enthusiast. After a 30-year career as a police patrol officer, latterly as a sergeant patrolling the Midlands motorway, 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. He rides a Royal Enfield Continental GT and drives a 1994 MG RV8.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 137 Cars MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 105 26/04/2024 06:40
Great company but there are more economical drives


A gift from the heart, to the heart

trilogy by Bernard Fredericks (‘Escape; After & Beyond the Blitz’) publications previously introduced in earlier issues of SHIRE, bringing to sharp focus the effect on a fictional schoolboy living through this traumatic period and chronicles in storytelling mode, based-on-fact, personal incidents and identifies events without judgement. (Copies of these books can be obtained from Waterstones, WHSmith & all good bookstores.)

In response to later behests, the author commenced writing a sequel (post-WWII trilogy) in the same format, the first volume of which will be published early this year, with promotions announced in future copies of SHIRE Magazine.

Give a gift to be treasured, Tender words to impart, To the one the you love, From the depth of your heart, Your words i’ll entwine, So original to do, to give as a gift, In a poem from you.

Martin Kaye

“A beautiful and tender tribute to our years of happiness, love, and devotion. Most moving. We cried. We had it framed and it has pride of place on our lounge wall.” Joyce & Albert, 70th wedding anniversary

“Funny and sincere. Captured my mum perfectly.” Claire’s mum, Jacqui

“Absolutely fantastic. The way all the facts were woven into the fabric of the poem was really good.” Susan, 40th anniversary

“The poem was absolutely beautiful.” Natasha, 40th birthday

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Payroll many more specialist services. • Making Tax
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Returns • Incorporations • Succession Planning
Contact us today for a FREE consultation KNIGHTON 01547 528383 OSWESTRY 01691 654353 SHREWSBURY 01743 241581 LUDLOW 01584 875715 NEWTOWN 01686 626534 WREXHAM 01978 310600 Services to help your business grow Michael e Trilogy
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In the skies above the hills of Mid Wales, where buzzards soar and falcons descend, Michael yearned for the freedom that was theirs. So, when the time came he jumped on for the ride… Books can be purchased from the Fabric Shop, Market Street, Newtown, Powys, Powys and e Chirbury Stores, Chirbury, Shropshire, along with online from Amazon, Good Reads and other online bookstores e continuing story of life after the Great War. You can buy a hard copy from, order it from your local bookstore or buy it directly from my website
Trilogy: On Badon Field A Banner of Dark Shadows The Fallen and the Fled
Roman Britannia
present times, building on the rich local mythology and ancient locations of Wales. Are you a local artist? We’d like to share your work with our readers, and tell your story. Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch or 01691 661 270 Email
The Fallen and the Fled is the third book in a series of three novels set during the
and in
Brian Stone at
138_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:14

Company car benefits and exemptions Personal finance

Most employers and employees are aware of the additional costs of providing company cars and the tax implications they create. However, for many employees it remains a popular option. It is worth noting that not all hybrid cars have the assumed 2% for company car benefits. If CO2 emissions remain within 1-50g/km then the percentage can range from 2%-14% dependent on the electric mileage range (the distance the car can go before its batteries need recharging). As hybrids have a higher list price compared to the equivalent petrol or diesel car, it usually creates a higher value of benefit in kind (BIK), so bear this in mind when choosing a car. Where employees are provided with fuel for their own private use by their employers, the car fuel benefit charge is applicable. This is determined by reference to the CO2 rating of the car, applied to a fixed amount. For 2024/25 this is £27,800. The benefit is not applicable when the employee pays for all their private fuel use.

“Not all hybrids have the 2% benefit”

The standard benefit charge for private use of a company van is currently £3,960. There is an additional van fuel benefit charge of £757 for a van with significant private use. Since 2021, the van benefit charge has been reduced to zero for vans with zero emissions.


There are circumstances where it can be possible to offer employees car benefits that are exempt from tax. These include:

•Cars available for business journeys only The car should only be available to staff during working hours for employment-related duties or to travel to a temporary workplace. The business must also clearly tell its employees not to use the vehicle for private journeys and to check that they do not.

•Cars adapted for an employee with a disability These cars are exempt if the only private use is for journeys between home and work and for travel to work-related training.

•‘Pool’ cars Employers are not required to pay or report on ‘pool’ cars. These are cars that are shared by employees for business purposes only, and normally kept on the business premises. Employers must ensure the pool car rules are observed.

D.R.E. & Co. has offices in Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Newtown, Wrexham and Knighton.


The new tax year that started on 6 April brought a range of changes that could affect your financial planning. While many allowances and tax bands have been frozen once again, in reality these freezes are tax increases as the government has effectively allowed inflation to determine how much greater a proportion of your income and estate should pass to the Treasury. Had the allowances and bands all been increased in line with inflation, they would be rising by 6.7% for 2024/25, using the yardstick of inflation to the previous September. However, not all elements of the tax system are frozen:

•The dividend allowance has halved again to just £500, a tenth of the level at which it started life in 2016/17.

•The capital gains tax (CGT) annual exemption has also halved, to £3,000, the same as1981/82.

•If you are self-employed, you will pay income tax on the profits you make in the tax year rather than across your financial year. You may also be paying an element of extra tax because of the spreading of profits in the 2023/24 transitional year.

“Save tax by rearranging ownership of investments with your spouse or civil partner”

•The pensions lifetime allowance (£1,073,100 generally) has disappeared from April. However, you’d be forgiven for thinking it has continued because of new restrictions on tax-free lump sum payments. In any case, the Labour Party said in 2023 that it would reinstate the lifetime allowance if it forms the new government.

•If you live in Scotland, some of your income tax bands will widen, but others will shrink. You will also gain a sixth income tax band, the 45% advanced rate band, covering non-savings, non-dividend taxable income between £62,430 and £125,140. Above that figure, the top rate will rise to 48%.

Tax planning is often focused on the end of the tax year. However, there is a case to be made for ‘year beginning planning’. For example, you may be able to save tax over the year by rearranging ownership of investments with your spouse or civil partner. Similarly, if you place funds in an ISA or a pension now, you avoid having to consider any income tax or CGT on that element of your investments for the rest of 2024/25.

The above was provided by Hartey Wealth Management Ltd. Registered office: Hilliards Court, Chester Business Park, Chester CH4 9QP. Tel: 0808 168 5866. Hartey Wealth Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 139
DRE Hartey MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 145 26/04/2024 06:38

Retirement Living in


Get in touch now or call (01691) 661 270 Find out more at Promote your retirement communities and homes among retirees seeking their dream retirement destination. With SHIRE’s readership, you can reach the ideal demographic, ensuring maximum visibility and impact. Whether you specialise in luxurious amenities, picturesque settings, or innovative age-friendly designs, SHIRE provides the ideal platform to reach your audience.
Are you a local artist? We’d like to share your work with our readers, and tell your story. Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch or 01691 661 270 Are you a local author? Do you have a story to tell our readers? We’d like to know more… Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch or 01691 661 270 140_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:15

Retirement Living


Sadly many marriages end in divorce – and whenever that happens, and however things are divided, it can have an impact on pensions

“A pension can be divided even if you are already drawing it”

If a couple is divorcing, money in pensions may be considered as part of the division of assets process. Even if retirement seems a long way off, it will have to be looked at and can get complicated, as Cheryl Haywood of Cheshire-based SAS Daniels explains.

“For many people, their pension can be their largest asset after the matrimonial home. If one party has significantly more in pension funds than the other at the point of separation, there will be consideration given to whether a pension sharing

order would be appropriate. This effectively distributes a pension fund between two people, so that the pension generates an income on retirement for both parties. It is common for solicitors to advise that a pension expert reviews what percentage of the pension is needed to provide equality of income for both spouses.


“This is not a form of pension order, it’s simply a way in which the court takes into account that one party will retain certain pension benefits and the other will receive a larger share of the other assets, for example, the family home. Offsetting is sometimes considered when a pension is small.

“On occasion, a spouse may wish to argue that a pension built up prior to the marriage, or after separation, is a non-matrimonial asset and therefore should not be divided. Whilst the court can ring-fence this asset, it will depend on the circumstances of the case and if the other spouse’s needs can be met from alternative assets. It is also worth knowing that a pension can be divided if one or both parties are already drawing it.”

For further guidance on anything discussed in this article, please contact Cheryl Haywood at SAS Daniels on 01260 282 314 or email


Scientists are on the brink of a “massive breakthrough” in developing a vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease

. The revolutionary jab, designed to eliminate toxic proteins from the brain before they inflict damage leading to the most prevalent form of dementia, is currently undergoing trials on patients in the early stages of the disease. If successful, the vaccine could be widely accessible within five years.

Alzheimer’s poses a significant health challenge, affecting an estimated 540,000 people in the UK alone. It manifests through a gradual deterioration in memory, cognitive abilities and functional capacity, robbing individuals of independence and quality of life.

Early trial participants report transformative effects after receiving just three doses of the vaccine. Research is being conducted at five centres across the UK as well as several centres in Europe and the US. The initial findings of the vaccine’s impact will be unveiled at a forthcoming conference in Philadelphia in July. The new vaccine, ACI-24, works by stimulating the body’s immune system to target and clear toxic amyloid proteins from the brain. Comparable to how the Covid vaccine bolsters our body’s natural defences, it aims to intercept damage before it occurs. Should the trials prove successful, scientists envisage a future where the vaccine could be administered preventatively, offering a beacon of hope in the quest to combat Alzheimer’s.

May/June 2024 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 141
Senior solicitor Cheryl Haywood
Retirement MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 1 26/04/2024 14:47



older has its downsides, but with people living longer and fuller lives these days, there are also ample opportunities to take advantage of schemes set up for senior citizens

Hittingyour sixties is a significant milestone. But there is a lot to look forward to in the UK, especially if you’ve also managed to retire and have plenty of time to make the most of it. From healthcare provision to leisure activities, these perks aim to enhance the quality of life for those entering their “golden years”.

One of the most significant advantages of reaching the age of 66 in the UK is eligibility for the State Pension –albeit this will be reviewed and probably change in the future. This crucial financial support provides a regular income, covering essential expenses such as housing, utilities and groceries.

In addition, seniors in the UK qualify for various entitlements that contribute to overall well-being.

“Retail chains o er extra points to older shoppers”

Healthcare is a fundamental aspect: at the age of 60, individuals become eligible for free prescriptions, offering relief from the burden of medication costs. Moreover, the NHS Health Check programme provides free health assessments to those aged between 60 and 74, ensuring early detection and prevention of potential health issues.

Out and about

Seniors aged 60 and above also benefit from concessionary travel schemes across the UK. In England you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach State Pension age, and in Wales you get one when you reach 60. For those who prefer to take the train, there’s the option of the Senior Railcard, which offers

a substantial discount on rail fares. With a Senior Railcard, individuals aged 60 and over can enjoy one-third off rail fares, making journeys across the country more affordable. Additionally, special offers on railcards are frequently available, allowing for even greater savings. For instance, Tesco Clubcard holders can purchase a one-year railcard for £15 instead of £30 using their points.

For those whose main residence is in London, the Older Person’s Freedom Pass grants free travel on buses and trains in the capital and local buses nationally.

On the coach network, National Express offers the Senior Coachcard, providing a one-third discount on standard and fully flexible fares across the country. This option ensures affordability and convenience for seniors exploring the UK’s scenic routes.

At your leisure

In addition to travel discounts, seniors can enjoy various leisure benefits. Many hairdressers offer discounts for older adults. Main cinema chains also provide discounts for seniors, allowing them to enjoy the latest movies on the big screen at a discounted rate. Additionally, restaurants often have special offers and cheaper days where seniors can dine out and enjoy delicious meals at a more affordable price.

Several large retail chains, such as Boots, offer extra points on every purchase to older shoppers, and most football stadiums have a reduced price ticket available for senior supporters.

There are financial gains to be had as well – especially for those on lower incomes who can claim Pension Credit. This is itself is a useful top-up to income, but also opens up access to more state support schemes. If you’re over 75 and on Pension Credit you can claim a free TV licence, a reduction in council tax and help with the costs of dental treatment and glasses.

Another perk – available to all older people, currently aged 66 or older – is the winter fuel payment that the government makes every year towards heating costs. This is not means tested and, depending on circumstances, ranges from £250 to £600.

As society continues to recognise the value and contributions of older adults, it’s essential to celebrate these milestones and embrace the opportunities that come with them. Age is not just a number, it’s true – but it all helps when it comes to balancing the books.

At last you’ve the freedom to explore
Retirement MayJune 2024 WRDB.indd 2 26/04/2024 14:47
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A lifestyle tailored to you Residents’ quality of life is at the heart of everything we do, enabling each individual to lead independent, fulfilling lives. If you’re considering a care home, call 0330 818 6181 or visit Trusted to care Deewater Grange, Chester Oxbow Manor, Shrewsbury 143_SHIRE_MJ2024.indd 1 26/04/2024 16:18


the highlighted letters to find


Di culty: medium


7 Town on Tremadog Bay with a 20 Across captured by Owain Glyndŵr (7)

10 Edward ____, MP for Eddisbury and former MP for Crewe and Nantwich (7)

11 Home to ____, 1980s sitcom starring John Thaw (5)

12 Paddington Bear’s sandwich filling of choice (9)

13 Senior o cial in the House of Lords who carries an ebony sta (5,3)

15 Constant companion of Yogi Bear (3-3)

18 King of Wessex who burned some cakes, according to legend (6)

20 See 29 Across

2 & 14 Down Wirral coastal town near the mouth of the Dee (4,5)

3 Maker of arcade and video games, such as Pong (5)

4 Protagonist of a novel by Jane Austen (4)

5 City that straddles the Bosphorus Strait (8)

6 Poet who knew why the caged bird sings (7)

8 Wine region in northern Spain (5)

9 Alexander von ____, explorer and naturalist with a species of penguin named after him (8)

14 See 2 Down

16 Britpop band whose debut album was Definitely Maybe (5)

Sudoku rules

1. Every square has to contain a single number.

2. Only numbers 1 to 9 can be used.

3. Each 3×3 box can only contain each number from 1 to 9 once.

4. Each row and column can only contain each number from 1 to 9 once.


23 Bone at the base of the spine (6)

24 Edible succulent weed recommended as an amulet against demons by Pliny the Elder (8)

27 The highest hill in Shropshire (5,4)

29& 20 Across National Trust-owned medieval fortress near Welshpool (5,6)

30 Edmond ____, French playwright and poet who wrote Cyrano de Bergerac (7)

17 Austrian Romantic composer of the Trout Quintet (8)

19 Sport played with a stick and ball derived from a Native American game (8)

21 Type of lettuce in the Asteraceae family (7)

22 Communications satellite that inspired a 1962 number-one hit by the Tornados (7)

25 Egyptian city that’s the site of a dam (5)


31 Queen of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Uranus’ largest moon (7)

1 Class of angels, often associated with the putto in Western art (7)

The highlighted letters when rearranged spell SANDBACH

26 River that runs through Glasgow (5)

28 ____ Chomsky, American linguist, philosopher and political activist (4)

29 The white tissue around citrus fruits (4)