Monday, June 01, 2009

A Shropshire Ramble (part 1)

Ludlow.

A small market town with a mixture of medieval and Georgian buildings, a reputation for culinary excellence, a small racecourse and Ludlow Brewery. With as many as 18 other local breweries the area seemed just the place for a short break.

Ludlow has many fine old pubs, serving good food, unfortunately many are tied to Marstons, and much as I quite like Jennings Cumberland Ale, it's not what I really want to be drinking in Shropshire, so it's off to Ludlows finest ale house, The Church Inn. An excellent line up of regional ales await, Hobson's, Ludlow, Wye Valley and Weetwood, plus 2 guest pumps, which in the course of a few nights offered Abbeydale and Wentworth (S. Yorks.), Cathedral (Lincs.) and Teme Valley "Talbot Blond" (Worcs.) - since seen in the Star for about two nights only. All the beers sampled were excellent, food served and accommodation too.

The Church is not the only free house in Ludlow, as it has a sister pub - The Charlton Arms, next to Ludford Bridge. The Charlton is also a mecca of local ales, Hobson's, Ludlow, Wye Valley and Three Tuns from Bishop's Castle, excellent food and accommodation also available. The pub is currently being extended (only cosmetic work remains to be finished) to capitalise on the stunning riverside location overlooking the Teme. Drink and watch dozens of swallows feeding on the wing, dippers and wagtails on the riverside and even kingfishers.. (oops, wrong blog..).
The Teme is also an excellent river for fishing.

Bar conversation at both pubs frequently revolves around the racing at Ludlow, it is a pleasant enough race course, but typically only serves up Fosters in the bars, it surely can't be too difficult to get some Ludlow ales, especially as the brewery can supply their ale "bright" and probably a good deal cheaper than keg lager!

Anyone with an interest in the Ludlow area, and a love of pubs, could do no worse than seek out "The Pubs Of Ludlow And Neighbouring Villages" by Tony Hobbs (Logaston Press, isbn 1873827830). When walking around Ludlow it looked to me that every other building could once have been a hostelry, this well researched and entertaining book shows that at one time or another this was in fact the case! Lots of photos and a historical background too.

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