Days in Shropshire

14:15 Alyson Tart 3 Comments

I had dreams of my maternity leave - using it to get out and about London to visit museums and the sites, perhaps with an occasional weekend trip. Paris anyone?

Then baby arrived and I realised quickly that it might not work out as I had imagined. And I've been very happy with that, as I have to say there is nothing better than having a baby curled up against you as they sleep contentedly.

However, when Paul had to take a trip for work within the UK, I decided I'd rather tag along (somewhere with room service!) than sit at home alone with the baby for a few days. So we packed up the car with baby, dog and lots of baby gear and hit the road.

We were staying in Whitchurch at a golf resort and spa; I thought we might be able to walk into town to see the sights, but it seemed as if both town and sights weren't exactly in walking distance.

So the first day, we packed up the car again and headed out for a small trip - to dip my toes into handling baby and dog out on my own outside my 1 mile comfort radius in Chiswick.  We visited checked out English Heritage for a site near us to visit and stumbled upton Moreton Corbet Castle.

Originally built in the 12th century, it's stone facade was built in the 13th century and remodeled in the 16th century.  It fell into disrepair when the family moved in the 18th century, and while it is managed by English Heritage, it is still owned by the family.  There's not much importance to it, which I think is almost more interesting! Imagine someone coming to look at the ruins of my house 500 years from now!

The next day, feeling more confident, we decided to go out for a walk for the dog at Fenn's Whixhall Bettisfield Mosses. It claims to have one of the biggest and best raised bogs in Britain (whatever that means), but we were looking maily for a place for Belle to run around and let loose.

We drove in and parked by the canal. We decided to start our trek there and walked along the canal path. About 10 minutes into our walk, we crossed over the border from England to Wales. From there we decided to head inland.  Our whole walk, we had only crossed paths with one other couple walking with their dog, but once we headed into the mosses we were completely alone. It was muddy out there, but that made no difference to Belle - she was in heaven! We wandered for a while but then a huge rain cloud was approaching so we dashed back to the car and decided to make it a night in, room service and all!

So that Paul could get in on some of the sightseeing, we had booked one extra night in Whitchurch. So Saturday morning, we slept in (as much as you can with a 2 month old baby) then squeezed in one final sightseeing stop at Beeston Castle. I had wanted to visit it during the week, but oddly enough it was only open weekend days.

The castle offered two walks - the woodlands walk and the castle walk. So we decided to take the woodlands route, thinking it would be scenic and something Belle would like. We were right on both counts - Belle sprinted, jumped logs, ran back, chased squirrels and was generally the happiest dog alive as we walked through trees full of the autumn reds, oranges and yellows. Where we were wrong in our thoughts was that the path would take us to the castle. She told us a 30 minute walk and 25 minutes later we ended up right back where we came in.

A little rain was starting to sprinkle and the baby was getting quite heavy to carry but we persevered, intent upon getting to the top of the castle.  When we got to the top, while the castle wasn't much, the views were worth it.  With views stretching across 8 counties, it reminded me of the simple beauty of the English countryside, filled with greenery, fields and of course sheep.

Unfortunately the rain was looming, so we snapped a family photo and scurried back down to leave. Before we left, we were persuaded to purchase an English Heritage membership though, meaning we'll have lots more English adventures in the next year!

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