Fancy sleeping where your favourite writer lived, worked or holidayed? Simon Whaley suggests six of the UK’s best literary stays.
They stand, like two rows of regimented soldiers, lining the long ridge of Shropshire’s Linley Hill. It was once thought these sentinels were planted by Napoleonic prisoners of war, but tree-dating technology proves that these beech trees were planted circa 1740, long before there was […]
“Every time someone opens these lock gates,” says Mike, the engineer, “we lose 40,000 gallons of water.” We’re standing at the bottom of Lock 72 of the Trent & Mersey Canal in Middlewich, Cheshire, thanks to one of the Canal and River Trust’s Open Days.
Check out the Spring issue of Country Walking magazine, for my ‘middle’ route around Newcastle on Clun. It roams the ‘middle’ of nowhere, found somewhere along the ‘middle’ of Offa’s Dyke.
Hollywood came to Shrewsbury in 1984, to film an adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. My article in the December 2016 issue of Best of British magazine takes a tour of the exterior film locations, including St Chad’s Church where it’s possible to find a real […]
Gummer’s How, at the southern end of Windermere, is one of those fantastic viewpoints in the Lake District that doesn’t require the ascension of Everest in order to see it. A steep road leads up from the A592, near Fell Foot Country Park, to a […]
I was delighted to discover that my Out Of Place entry in the Senior Travel Expert website’s travel writing competition was placed as a runner up. And lovely to see some names I recognise in the runners-up list with me too!
“Is it true monkeys like bananas?” my nephew, Ashley, asks as we watch a gibbon swinging on a rope high above our heads. Thankfully, we have an expert to hand.
As Celtic Life International correspondent Simon Whaley explains, there was once a whole lotta shakin’ going on in the quaint Scottish community of Comrie. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, nothing moved. I stamped my feet. Nothing. I jumped. Nothing. Thinking I needed more […]
STRICTLY COME LEKKING Witness early morning dance contestants compete for the avian equivalent of the Glitter Ball Trophy in the black grouse lek, says Simon Whaley.
“We need more kangaroos,” the manageress said to her assistant as I stepped into the shop. Puzzled why a card shop in Ludlow would have any need for Antipodean animals, I paid for my postcard and left. I’d read the Mortimer Trail was a good […]
“Uncle Simon, why is there a goat on top of that castle wall?” My nephew stares at the white adult goat fifteen feet above us. A series of frantic bleats fill the air and, suddenly, three sure-footed kids join their parent on the narrow, stony […]
It’s not difficult to see why Church Stretton is known as Shropshire’s Little Switzerland when there’s been a fresh dusting of snow overnight. If weather forecasters predict snow in Shropshire, you can guarantee Church Stretton will get some!
My photo of a misty South Shropshire, as seen from Ragleth Hill, appears in the February 2016 issue of Outdoor Photography, under the Viewpoints section.
‘Capability Brown was invited back to Weston Park in 1766 to undertake a second contract,’ says our guide, ‘for which he was paid £1,725.’ Scanning the beautiful one-thousand-acre parkland in front of us, I nod in approval. At that price I might ask him for […]
Revel in Ruskin’s favourite view, traditional pubs, cosy atmosphere and a corner of Cornwall in Cumbria, says Simon Whaley …
“I know New England is famous for it’s autumnal colour,” drawls the American tourist standing next to me in the grounds of Rydal’s St Mary’s Church, “but your Old England display is pretty spectacular too.”
Follow in the footsteps of the mysterious Black Vaughan, a shape-shifting spectre who may have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, says Simon Whaley…
Slow Journey County: Cumbria Slow Journey Destination: Radical Steps Slow Journey Distance Travelled: 86 steps (ish) Radical Steps. Such an unusual name, it seems, as I take the first step. It feels pretty solid underneath. Nothing radical there. It’s damp. Perspiring, even. As if […]
Look out for my piece in the September issue of BBC Countryfile magazine about the Heart of Wales Railway line.
Turn to the back page of the latest (August 2015) issue of Country Walking magazine to see my photo of the view from Shropshire’s Stiperstones, and why I like the Stiperstones so much.
This month’s Outdoor Photography magazine (July 2015) has one of my photos as one of the Viewpoint selections. It was taken last year, one summer’s evening, as I was wandering along the banks of the River Teme, around Ludlow Castle. Like all photography, it was […]
The June 2015 issue has one of my photos for it’s Viewpoint section. It’s an image of the Long Mynd, taken from ragleth Hill in the evening sunlight (proof that the sun does shine some days!). This was taken on one of those wonderfully calm […]
Sign of the Times was published in Australia’s Great Walks magazine (Feb/Mar 2015) Britain’s countryside offers some fantastic walking experiences, but in the past a wander through the great British outdoors could sometimes be spoilt by a hostile pub landlord, or an antagonistic landowner. […]
As flowers blossom along the route, take a drive through black-and0white clad villages in a tour of architectural history, with Simon Whaley. The heart of an oak tree is almost as hard as iron, making it the ideal house-building material. Herefordshire’s 40-mile Black […]
In 1925, Clough Williams-Ellis spent less than £5,000 buying a parcel of land, which he described as, “a neglected wilderness.” Today, on its 90th anniversary, we call it Portmeirion.
Ninety years ago Clough Williams-Ellis acquired the site that became Portmeirion. Simon Whaley discovers how Country Life came to influence the way it looks today. If it wasn’t for COUNTRY LIFE magazine Portmeirion would look a little different today. Ninety years ago, Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis […]
Slow Journey County: Cumbria Slow Journey Destination: Claife Heights Slow Journey Distance Travelled: 0 Steps. My immediate thought was of radioactivity. It was a series of unmistakable clicks. But where from? Standing on Claife Heights, overlooking Beatrix Potter’s favourite tarn (Moss Eccles), I was puzzled […]
Slow Journey County: Shropshire Slow Journey Destination: St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow Slow Journey Distance Travelled: 132 feet (about 200 steps!) Climbing to the top of a church tower and surveying the surrounding parish landscape offers a God-like perspective of the local community. In rural towns […]