Elan Valley – The People’s Friend – Bonus Bits!

This week’s issue of The People’s Friend has my Elan Valley travel piece as the front cover image. If you’ve never been to the area before, I hope it whets your appetite – or should I say ‘wets’ your appetite 🙂 

As is always the case, when you go off and explore an area you can never include everything in the finished article, so here are some photos that didn’t make it into the published feature.

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Captivating Crickhowell – Bonus Bits!

My feature about the Welsh Border town of Crickhowell can be found in the current issue of The People’s Friend, and as with all such pieces, there’s only so much that you can fit into three pages, and only so many photos. So here’s some bonus bits that didn’t make the cut …

Captivating Crickhowell in the issue dated 2nd March 2019 of The People’s Friend

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Lovely Ledbury

It’s double-issue time at The People’s Friend this week, with a bumper 144 pages in this week’s issue (dated 8th December). It’s the one with my travel article, Lovely Ledbury on the front cover.

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Pilgrimage to Plymouth

Simon Whaley enjoys a journey around this delightful Devonshire City.


‘Climb the oak tree,’ says the tourist guide, ‘but think laterally.’ She winks as she hands over a map of Plymouth city to help me explore. I have to admit, it’s been a few years since I last climbed a tree. But this wasn’t quite what I was expecting to do in Plymouth.

This Devonian city is sandwiched between two rivers – the Plym in the east and the Tamar to the west. It overlooks Plymouth Sound, a natural bay with deep water channels, perfect for commercial shipping and the Royal Navy’s warships and submarines.

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Blackcurrant Jelly


Donald drummed his fingers against the steering wheel of his Ford Focus, his eyes fixed on the school entrance. 

Any minute now, those doors would fly open and hundreds of happy kids would stream out, overjoyed at their freedom. Then he would see his Suzie emerge, alone and despondent from the challenges she’d had to cope with today.

His stomach cramped as if someone had pushed their hand inside him, wrapped their fingers around his intestines and then squeezed.

Fingers. Everything was about fingers. Ever since that day three months ago. 

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On The Waterways

On The Waterways appeared in The People’s Friend Special

“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.

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Going Ape!

Going Ape - The People's Friend - 20th August 2016

“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.

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Along The Welsh Marches

Along The Welsh Marches - The Peoples Friend - 27th February 2016
Along The Welsh Marches – The People’s Friend – 27th February 2016

“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 ridge. “And how did they get up there?”

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Charming Church Stretton

Charming Church Stretton - published in The People's Friend - 16th jan 2016 issue
Charming Church Stretton – published in The People’s Friend – 16th jan 2016 issue

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!

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Lakeland’s Autumnal Colours

Lakeland's Autumnal Colours - published in The People's Friend Autumn Special 2015
Lakeland’s Autumnal Colours – published in The People’s Friend Autumn Special 2015


“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.”

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