Category Archives: walk

Heart of Wales Line Trail

Heart of Wales Line Trail Accommodation

The Heart of Wales Line Trail is a new long distance walk that weaves its way along the beautiful Heart of Wales railway Line. This 150 year old rural railway, mostly single track, starts in the the Shropshire Hills. It then passes through green valleys, past wooded hillsides, over viaducts and finally ends on the South Welsh coast.

The new trail starts at Craven Arms and ends at Swansea. At 141 miles long, it would take you about 10 days to do the whole walk. Or you could use the train to access sections of the walk. If you don’t want to do the whole trail, read more about other walks from Hopton House here

Heart of Wales Line Trail - looking over a wooden stile to a grassy field and clear deep blue skies
Stile above Hopton Castle looking towards Clunbury Hill

Why Hopton House B&B is the perfect place to start your journey

  • We’re just a few minutes walk from Hopton Heath Railway Station
  • Pre order a supper platter to eat in your room after a days walking (£30 for 2 people – can be made vegetarian/vegan/pescetarian on request)
  • Packed lunches provided on request ( £6.50 each )
  • Water bottles refilled from our filter tap
  • Homemade lemon drizzle cake and shortbread biscuits waiting in your room
  • Fully controllable heating in both rooms
  • Large baths and separate powerful showers
  • Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and soap provided
  • Forget me not box of essential items you may have forgotten
  • Comfortable 6 foot wide beds and sofas and chairs to chill out
  • Heart of Wales Line Trail guide book and local maps to borrow
  • We can wash and dry clothes on request
  • Boot trays and outside hose
  • One ground floor dog friendly room

Find out why one Guardian journalist fell in love with the Heart of Wales Line here.

For a full description of the route and links to the timetables on the Heart of Wales Line, visit their website here

Need Help Planning Your Trip? Click here to drop Karen an email today!
4 images showing the B&B bedrooms and bathrooms at Hopton House B&B

If you’re planning to do the whole walk, then Hopton House B&B is perfectly situated to start your journey. Being just a few minutes walk from Hopton Heath Station, you can easily get the train to Craven Arms. Stay here as an overnight stop between Craven Arms and Bucknell or you could stay a couple of nights. Take the train up to Craven Arms on your first morning and walk back , then walk onto Bucknell the next day.

For those of you who just want to do sections of the walk, we’re obviously in the perfect location to do that. With maps and and copies of the Heart of Wales Line Trail guidebook to borrow, you can plan your trip.

5 Walks in the Shropshire Hills

5 Walks in the Shropshire Hills

We are lucky to enjoy the most amazing countryside here in the Shropshire Hills and the best way to get out and explore it is on a walk. As Shropshire is still relatively undiscovered, the countryside is perfect if you want to escape from the crowds. I’ve put together 5 walks in the Shropshire Hills that you can from Hopton House B&B.

A ewe and her lambs in the Shropshire hills on a glorious spring day
Near Rhos Fiddle Nature reserve listening to skylarks

There are walks of all types, from short circulars to long distance trails. The most exciting new walk is the Heart of Wales trail, with walks from one railway station to the next on the lovely Heart of Wales Line.

1. Heart of Wales Trail

Hopton House is a couple of minutes walk from the station at Hopton Heath. It’s a request stop, so you need to put your hand out to ask the driver to pick you up!

You’ve got a couple of options. You can walk to one of the next stations, then get the train back or get the train and walk back. You can either travel north to Broome or Craven Arms or south to Bucknell or Knighton.

It does need a bit of careful planning as there are only a few trains a day. The timetables are here.

The trail is described here. We do have ordnance survey maps and copies of the trail book that you can borrow.

We don’t normally offer one night stays at Hopton House, but if we have availability mid week and you’re walking the trail and just need 1 night, please drop me an email and I’ll see if we can fit you in.

There are no pubs or restaurants within walking distance, but we do offer platters to be enjoyed in your room. You can choose from a local cheese, ploughmans, smoked salmon, vegetarian or vegan platter all served with homemade granary bread. The cost is £30 for 2 people and needs to be booked in advance.

5 walks in the Shropshire Hills - A pair of boots from someone lying down in a Shropshire Meadow on a beautiful May Day bed and breakfast shropshire
Taking a break in a field looking across to Clunbury Hill

2. A short walk to Hopton Castle

We’re about 25 minutes from the castle at Hopton Castle. This is the walk a lot of guests enjoy when they arrive to stretch their legs  or in the morning to work up an appetite for breakfast. It’s mostly up a fairly quiet lane but part of it can be across fields. The castle is open to the public with no charge. It was featured on Time Team a few years ago. You can watch the episode on YouTube here.

Since that episode was filmed, a lot of work has been done to make the castle safe to visit, including installation of information boards and a car park.

Shropshire Castles - picture shows ruined castle on green mound, reflected in pond against blue sky - Bed and Breakfast Shropshire
Hopton Castle in early spring

3. Shropshire Lad Walk

The poet AE Housman wrote a small volume of poems called A Shropshire Lad. It was very popular and sold in it’s millions at the beginning of the 20th century. This walk is based on the section:

‘Clunton and Clunbury,
Clungunford and Clun
Are the quietest places
Under the sun.’

Christopher Sommerville wrote up the walk and described it here. He starts the walk in Clun but we’re very close to the mid section of the walk, so you can walk it from the house.

The pubs or tearooms in Clun are a good place to stop off for lunch or I can do a packed lunch if booked in advance.

Shropshire Castles - picture shows green mound with ruined Clun Castle on the left and blue skies with why clouds - Clun Shropshire
Clun Castle

4. A Walk to Purslow Wood

Purslow Wood is one of my favourites to take Saffy for a walk. It’s lovely at all times of the year, but particularly lovely in October and November when the red oaks are at their most magnificent.

I tend to drive up to the woods and park up at the entrance. It’s about a mile from us ( turn left out of our drive, past the first road to Hopton Castle, then turn left by the farmhouse and the entrance is just on your right up the hill )

However if you want to walk it, the Bucknell Walking Group have described it from Hopton Castle here. I wouldn’t recommend walking on the road I drive to it as there are no verges.

5 walks in the Shropshire Hills - Autumn woods. Red oak leaves completely covering a track through the woods
Purslow Woods at the end of October

5. The Long Mynd

Church Stretton is called Little Switzerland. It’s a beautiful part of the Shropshire Hills with loads of walking opportunities.  A few years ago it was featured on a stamp as one of the most parts of the UK. It’s 12 miles from us and is about a 30 minute drive.

It is particularly stunning in Autumn and Winter. Church Stretton has lots of restaurants and cafes and is a dog friendly town.

View from the top of the Long Mynd - South Shropshire Bed and Breakfast
Views from the top of the Long Mynd in Winter

You can get the train ( or a combination of bus and train ) from Hopton House to Church Stretton if you didn’t want to drive. Again it takes careful planning as there aren’t many buses or trains a day.

If you fancy trying any of these 5 walks in the Shropshire Hills, Google maps is a great way of planning your train and bus journeys from Hopton House.

Dog on path in woods covered in leaves

Autumn in Shropshire

We’ve been enjoying  a lovely autumn in Shropshire. I’ve been taking the opportunity to take lots of lovely dog walks in the woods.

Purslow Woods, which you can walk to from Hopton House, but I tend to cheat and drive the 2 minutes up there, is looking magnificent. It’s full of sessile oak which has the most amazing coloured leaves right now. A lot of them have fallen, but in a few weeks time, when all the leaves have fallen, there’s a thick carpet of them to kick through.

We have  lots of availability for the rest of the autumn. The autumn duvets are on the beds and each room has completely controllable heating, so you won’t go cold. Book now for a late autumn break!

Here are some of my favourite autumn photos

a collage of autumn photos including apple pancakes, chickens, a butterfly and lot s of leaves - bed and breakfast shropshire

 

5 autumn knitting patterns

5 Autumn Knitting Patterns

AUGUST 2019 UPDATE

Hi, I’m Karen and thank you for checking out my 5 Autumn Knitting Patterns blog post.  I’ve recently updated it with some of my latest knitting projects, so it’s now 6 patterns!

I run a small contemporary B&B in beautiful South Shropshire, England ( the view below is the one I wake up to every morning ). Shropshire isn’t on the tourist map – it’s just next to Wales – but once people visit they fall in love. Over 70% of my B&B guests are repeat visitors. Click here to find out more about Shropshire and why my guests keep coming back  here.

I taught myself to knit again 4 years ago and have become a bit addicted to beautiful patterns and lovely yarns. I also love to cook, spend time with my husband and rescue dog, Saffy,  take photographs, enjoy wildlife and just love the countryside.

Enjoy a long weekend in the country in Shropshire this autumn. Wrap up warm and enjoy a long walk kicking up leaves

If you’re on Instagram please do follow me for more of beautiful Shropshire

Back to the original blog, which does contain some affiliate links for wool – I have a yarn habit to maintain but I only link to yarns I love.

Whilst I don’t want to wish summer away too soon, I do look forward to autumn.  It’s my very favourite time to go away. We usually head to the English countryside, spending the day taking long walks,  kicking leaves and enjoying the countryside. I like to finish the day with a long soak in the bath with a good book. Then an evening curled up knitting in front of the TV.

When I start packing for my holidays these days, the thing I get most panicky about ( I have my capsule wardrobe sorted thanks to Pinterest ) is what knitting I’m going to take with me. To save you the same panic,  if you’re packing for a relaxing break away in the country,  I thought I’d share my very favourite top 5 autumn knitting patterns for you to enjoy. A couple  of the patterns are particularly suited to travel knitting.

If you want to enjoy a few days relaxing in the Shropshire countryside this autumn,  check availability, book a few nights at Hopton House and pack your knitting needles today!

1. Decorate your house with knitted pumpkins

5 autumn knitting patterns | knitted pumkin

I normally buy a few mini pumpkins to decorate the house in autumn, but last year I discovered this pumpkin knitting pattern. I’ve become a bit addicted to knitting these, which is good because everyone loves them and wants to take them away.

You can use any weight wool you have handy. Your pumpkin will be smaller or larger depending on the wool you use.

I knitted a beautiful little green pumpkin using one of my favourite yarns, Rowan felted tweed DK, I love it in avocado. You can buy it online from LoveKnitting here

Green knitted pumpkin - pumpkin knitting patter. 5 knitting projects to bring on your autumn trip to Hopton House B&B here in Shropshire

2. Wrap up in a beautiful Guernsey Wrap

5 autumn knitting patterns | wrap yourself in a Guernsey wrap

I’ve made 4 of these Guernsey wraps now. It’s my go to wrap for when I get a bit chilly. In fact I’m wrapped in it now as I update this blog. The wrap also works really well as a chunky scarf.

I made the first wrap with the recommended wool, but the second 2 with DROPS Nepal, which is a lovely springy alpaca / wool blend and is also very cheap!

My very favourite orange Guernsey wrap was made in this lovely West Yorkshire Yarns Spinners Croft. The leftovers also proved useful for a few pumpkins too!

Burnt orange knitted Guernsey wrap on kitchen table

3. A beautiful simple shawl in 2 colours

This is Passegiata by Woolenberry. It’s a really simple, but so effective,  knit.  The pattern uses a fingering wool but I use Malabrigo Rastita, which is DK, as I had some to use up from another project.

Teal and light green shawl, wrapped round a tailor's dummy

4. Get ready for winter with a knitted hot water bottle cover

5 autumn knitting patterns | hot water bottle cover

This is a fabulous free pattern for a knitted hot water bottle cover. It’s quite clever as you can adapt it to any size of hot water bottle. You can make it plain or add your own coloured design or cables.

5. A Quick Shawl fit for a bride

This beautiful shawl is made out of 1 100g skein of sock type yarn. It’s rosewater by Woolenberry and took me just a week to knit. I bought the yarn in Seattle on a holiday to the West Coast to the states. It’s Madeline Tosh Merino Light. Unfortunately the colourway, Cove, is discontinued but they have lots of other beautiful colours.

Grey blue lace rosewater shawl hanging on white wall

6. Groovy DK Portland Shawl

I feel in love with this yarn on our West Coast trip.  We were in Portland and I found a very posh yarn shop. My poor husband was stuck in the local Starbucks for a while. I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of the yarn but it’s 100% alpaca and came in 300g skein, which they kindly wound for me. The pattern is Groovy DK 

It is a really simple knit with just rows of knit and purl. It’s a great travel knit and I got through quite a lot of it on the long plane journey back to Heathrow.

Green groovy shawl on table with Emma Bridgewater greenfinch mug

5 autumn knitting patterns | some great knitting patterns to knit when the weather turns cooler | great Christmas presents

Please note that this blog post contains some affiliate links. I only ever link to products I use myself and recommend 100%! I don’t make a lot from this but it all helps with my rather large monthly vet’s bills

Autumn Walks in Shropshire

I do love Autumn and I always get a craving to head to the woods for a nice long walk. From now and into November, the colours start to look beautiful, whilst the days are generally still warm ( if not it’s a great opportunity to snuggle up in a chunky jumper and get the scarves and gloves out – you’ll have guessed I love Autumn clothes too! )

Autumn walks are also a great opportunity to forage too. Blackberries are good until the end of September. Sloes need a frost before picking ( if there’s no frost and they’re ripe you can mimic the frost by putting sloes in the freezer ). Most people will know you can make sloe gin ( or vodka ) from sloes – here’s the recipe if you’ve not made it before – but sloes are also great turned into sloe jelly, using up windfall apples.

We’re lucky to have lots of beautiful woodland autumn walks in South Shropshire. You can of course get to the woods straight from the house – there’s a great write up of a circular 8 mile dog friendly walk from the house to Hopton Woods here.  My 2 elderly dogs aren’t up to 8 miles these days so I tend to drive to one of the local walks and just do a shorter walk. Purslow Woods is a couple of minutes drive with a place to park the car or head up to Hopton Woods with larger  car parks and plenty of different circular walks. There’s also a great shorter dog friendly autumn walk ( the sessile oaks are really beautiful in autumn ) at Clunton Coppice. Details are here.

I’m always happy to point B&B guests in the direction of a good walk so if you can’t find one to suit you, please do ask when you’re here. We also have lots of maps and walking books which we’re happy for guests to borrow.

View from Purslow Woods
View from Purslow Woods