Ellesmere in North Shropshire has always been an important settlement. Those clever ancient Britons found that the magnificent glacial Mere was an ideal place for some genuine rest and relaxation. You know the sort of thing – a spot of fishing, gentle boating and gazing at the views and wildlife.
Ellesmere still draws people in today for exactly the same reasons. There’s much more to do today than simply standing and staring at the Mere, spectacular though it is. For a start there are formal gardens and woodland walks with art and sculpture trails to take in. There’s the motte and bailey of the castle grounds – good place for a picnic. What’s more you can buy all you need to eat from any one of the delicatessens or cafes in the town.
Heron Watch has always been synonymous with Ellesmere so you can get back to nature from the comfort of the indoor viewing area.
Ellesmere and the Canal
However it’s hard to imagine that this pretty little market town in the heart of the Shropshire countryside was actually the catalyst for one of the greatest canal networks in the country and subsequent feats of breathtaking engineering that challenged the great Thomas Telford but it’s true. The town even gave its name (very generously) to Ellesmere Port to confirm the fact – more of this to follow.
Over the centuries Ellesmere has developed into a vibrant market town with numerous Georgian and half-timbered buildings surrounding the medieval streets. Ellesmere’s shops are many and varied, with the type of shops that other towns let go of years ago and there’s not a ‘mall’ in sight.
Ellesmere prides itself on its individual and independent shops – some have been in the same family for generations and you only last that long if you know how to value your customers. There are antiques, crafts and gifts, and many other shops striving to tempt you and fresh local produce from the delicatessen. The weekly market still runs since it was granted its charter in 1221 by Henry the Third and occasional antique fairs and craft sales complement the retail scene.
All shopped out? Then there are plenty of cafes, pubs, inns and restaurants when you can sit down and recharge yourself before venturing out again.Whether it’s a new or older business Ellesmere is full of helpful retailers and staff who actually want to serve you – now how refreshing is that?
Walking in Ellesmere
Ellesmere has so much wonderful countryside. If you fancy a walk, why not follow the canal from the wharf, through Ellesmere tunnel and past two other meres. Blakemere and Colemere. You can even make a complete circuit of Colemere!
Ellesmere Sculpture Trail uses sculpture to interpret the landscape of Ellesmere. Over the last 12 years artists have been commissioned to interpret the distinctive landscapes and heritage of the Mere and its woodlands, the hills of Castlefields and the turn of the 19th Century Canal with its Maintenance Yard. There are now a total of 25 sculptures in the trail covering about 3 miles of walks which are open to the public every day free of charge. The Mere and Canal trails are fully accessible, Castlefields is over grassy gradients with historic views over the Mere.
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