My wife and I had originally booked our stay for May 2020 and were so looking forward to a break in a part of the country we had never really explored. However, the first lockdown of the Covid-19 Pandemic soon stopped that in its tracks.
Communication with Julian, one of the owners, was fantastic and we were given the option of a full refund or carryover of the booking to May 2021. So, with an optimistic let’s do next year instead we transferred the booking, never in a million years did we imagine what a close call that was to be!
Our break was 17th May 2021 - 22nd May 2021, that was a really lucky choice as it turned out, as we started our break on the day the 3rd Lockdown was eased and pubs, restaurants and other attractions opened fully that day.
The cottage is set into a hillside on the Kerry Ridgeway with a sweeping scenic panoramic view of the rolling Shropshire countryside. A view I never got tired of looking out over. On the map it seems that if you’re in the kitchen it’s Wales and in the Living room England, but the actual border is outside.
Prior to leaving we had had frequent communication with Julian, who was at pains to make our break a comfortable, memorable and safe one. We had originally been a party of four but our daughter and her partner were unable to come so we had the place to ourselves.
The cottage itself is an old drover’s inn which has been sympathetically modernised to a very high standard and really was a comfortable and cosy home away from home.
The Kerry Ridgeway and most of the surrounding lanes are single track and passing places are few and far between. This results in a very considerate style of driving from everyone, and short of stopping for conversations about the weather, encounters with other vehicles were without incident, courtesy over speed being the best practice.
In the cottage visitors’ book, there was some criticism about the amount of traffic, we never experienced any issues whatsoever and rush hour consisted of two farmers in one all-terrain quad- type vehicle going into the field opposite the cottage twice a day. They were very pleasant to chat with and very considerate when doing the morning livestock checks. Other traffic consisted of people, who strangely found it enjoyable to put one foot in front of the other and actually walk to somewhere from somewhere else then walk back again. When we sat outside enjoying coffee and the view, we had many long chats with locals as they went to their fields to tend horses and then returned back again.
We chose not to use the internet while away and unplugged from the information superhighway for all but the last day, but it was available and the download speed was a reasonable 9 mb.
The cottage has a Freeview satellite box and access to Netflix etc, if you want them. We just chilled and listened to music and talked to each other. During our stay on some days the weather was atrocious with torrential rain and howling gales, inside the cottage we were totally oblivious as you couldn’t hear the wind a blowing or the rain a lashing.
Having stayed in a secluded cottage before in Scotland we came prepared and brought a good supply of victuals to see us through, and we cooked our own main meals every day except the last one when we opted for a take away from Bishops Castle 3 miles away.
The cooking facilities were sufficient for our needs and unless you intend preparing a lavish banquet should suffice for most people.
The shower was very similar to a jet wash and the water pressure enough to remove a layer of skin, leaving you refreshed and squeaky clean, the water pressure did surprise even me!
Opposite the cottage is the old drover’s livestock enclosure in which the owners have built a summer house with power and we sat in there one evening, wine in hand and watched one of the most dramatic sunsets ever, as storm clouds broke up into a deep red and purple sky.
The cottage has a really old look about it, as it should, however original features have been kept during the modernisation, so it has boat loads of character with all mod cons.
It is also atmospheric, cosy and romantic, I have never felt so relaxed during a break before and it was with some sadness that we left. We had thought about barricading ourselves in a trying for squatter’s rights, but common sense and reality got the better of us.
So, if you want a break away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, a base to explore and somewhere you can unplug and unwind then this is it.