Charmed I’m Sure: Ludlow – a proper old English town

It was like travelling back in time visiting Ludlow yesterday. As we drove up from Pontypridd in South Wales to the county of Shropshire we saw a change in the landscape from one of steep and tightly packed valleys full of terraced houses to a more expansive and flatter rural landscape with rambling old farms on deep rust- red soil in the furrowed Spring fields.

De Greys bakery where we bought our cakes. Established 1570.
De Greys bakery where we bought our cakes. Established 1570.

It was quite a long drive and we passed Merthyr Tydfil, Abergavenny and Hereford to get to our destination of Ludlow.
The minute we left the carpark and started to wander the streets the traditional old black and white architecture signalled a very different town that we were about to experience.
It was a real town, with proper shops run by independent traders, some of whom had managed their family business for years.

The wildly overhanging upper storeys of Ludlow buildings are to be seen all over town.
The wildly overhanging upper storeys of Ludlow buildings are to be seen all over town.

I painted these onions that I photographed in Ludlow.
I painted these onions that I photographed in Ludlow.

Many bakeries, butchers, bookstores, old English pubs and taverns pulled us here and there – I was overwhelmed by appealing views to photograph everywhere I looked.
I photographed beautiful architectural subjects from clock towers with weathervanes on top to a battered old fishmongers delivery bicycle propped up outside the shop.

Windows bricked up to avoid the Window Tax of 1696-1851 !!!
Windows bricked up to avoid the Window Tax of 1696-1851 !!!

Delivery boy's bike outside fishmonger's window with its old cold slab for keeping fish cool.
Delivery boy’s bike outside fishmonger’s window with its old cold slab for keeping fish cool.

Do you remember town like this where there were such shops? I do – and not so long ago either. It made me feel a bit sad that we have lost all that to the huge supermarkets.

P1130124Everywhere people were bustling to and from shops getting goods, chatting on corners to friends, exchanging hellos, having a drink in the busy pubs and manning the rich variety of market stalls and shops all over the town.

Strings of onions hanging outside on of the many greengrocers.
Strings of onions hanging outside on of the many greengrocers.

P1130122It was quite cold but the sun was out at intervals during the day creating strong shadows when it did which made for dramatic shots when taking photos. Many buildings had windows bricked up from long ago when the Window Tax was in force.There were signs in several shop windows that told of a rich cultural life here as well with concerts, art lectures, creative classes and more.

Classical Georgian architecture is a strong feature in Ludlow. This overlooks the market place with its regular market days.
Classical Georgian architecture is a strong feature in Ludlow. This overlooks the market place with its regular market days.

All the way up in the car we talked about doing more drawing and painting and in Ludlow that day was an art exhibition by the local art society. We were blown away by the work of Keith Noble, RSMA (Royal Society of Marine Artists). All fired up again about painting the sea, harbours, beaches and the like we pledged to do more trips purely dedicated to painting which I am looking forward too.
On the return journey we took a tiny detour down an old farm track to visit the famous Kilpeck Church.

Crenellated with gargoyles and hung with an impressive old and very ornate wooden door it lay at the bottom of a lane with a sprawling old red-brick and black and white farm at it’s side.

The farmhouse and buildings that are so beautiful next to Kilpeck Church
The farmhouse and buildings that are so beautiful next to Kilpeck Church

By this time the wind had really picked up and the sun had finally given up for the day so we whipped around the building to get some photos and a feel of the place before hurling ourselves back into the warmth of the car to scoff cakes (the BEST Bakewell Tart I have EVER tasted)we had bought in Ludlow at De Greys (dating back to 1570) and have some hot coffee. Bliss.
So, more drawing and painting talk as Anne drove us back down. We had been inspired by the old architecture, funny little doorways and steps and butresses, the huge black and white buildings that arched crazily over the streets below and bulged and buckled strangely on account of their magnificent age. This was a town to really enjoy and immerse yourself into. We would be back on a warmer day and explore the castle which we missed today. Thank you Ludlow.

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9 thoughts on “Charmed I’m Sure: Ludlow – a proper old English town

  1. Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your site accidentally,
    and I’m surprised why this coincidence did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

    1. Yes – it is a hidden secret really and that’s what adds to it’s charm. You just don’t expect this cultural, gastro and beautifully preserved town to pop up out of nowhere!

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