4 weeks ago we welcomed Ralph to our little family here at Hopton House. He’s another rescue dog, a 9 month old golden retriever crossed with a border collie ( probably ). If you’re on Instagram, you can follow the adventures of Saffy and Ralph here.
Like Saffy ( read more about Saffy’s arrival here ), he loves meeting new people. So he’s always available for a cuddle. But we know not everyone likes dogs, so guests only get to meet the dogs on request. Our garden is split into 2 and our dogs stay on their side. And the dogs can’t go near the guest rooms, which are both outside in a separate annex.
Saffy, our German Shepherd / Rough Collie cross is beside herself and loves having someone to play with. So our main problem, apart from pulling on the lead, is trying to stop her from constantly nagging him to play! For a 9 month old puppy, Ralph is actually very calm.
Unfortunately, because he still pulls quite a bit on the lead, I have to walk Saffy and Ralph separately. This means I’m getting lots of exercise, walking up our lovely lane and enjoying the autumn colours. Luckily Ralph is very keen to please, and also very fond of roast chicken, so he’s learning quickly.
If you want to bring your own dogs to Hopton House, we have one ground floor dog friendly room, the Barn Room.
If you like to walk your dogs in the woods. We have both Hopton Woods ( about a 6 minute drive to the car park ) or Purslow Woods ( less than 5 minutes drive ) from us. For on lead walking ( or very well behaved dogs ) our daily walk is along the lane to Hopton Castle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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!
After a very busy summer and September we’re now into October. We’ve been enjoying some glorious weather, with beautiful morning mists and golden sunsets, and are loving seeing the colours gradually changing in the garden.
We were fairly full for October at the B&B but we’ve had a few last minute cancellations so we now have good availability, including our dog friendly downstairs Barn Room which is normally fairly well booked out throughout. Click on the Book Now! button for more details.
Remember if you’d rather not go out in the evening we can leave a platter in your room; choose from cheese, ploughmans or smoked salmon. This for just £25 for 2 people.
As it’s nearly Christmas I’ve got some last minute B&B New Year special offers.
Shropshire is a beautiful place to visit and a great place to recharge after Christmas or enjoy a quiet New Year.
Put on your scarf and mittens and head out for a long walk, explore one of or market towns, stopping off in a lovely café for hot chocolate and cake, or just linger over breakfast and watch the birds, then chill out in your room and enjoy the Hygge! The heating is on all day and there are plenty of books and games to borrow.
If you’d rather not go out in the evening we can supply a local cheese, smoked salmon or ploughman’s platter. There are wine glasses in the room and we can slip some champagne flutes in there too.
Last Minute B&B New Year Special Offers
The winter is always a very quiet time of year here at the B&B, so I’ve created some special offer codes for stays between now and the end of February 2016. Press Book Now on the website and put in your promo code below.
10% off a 2 night stay – use promo code TwoDay10
15% off a 3 night stay – use promo code ThreeDay15
20% off a stay of 4 nights or more – use promo code FourDay20
If you can’t manage to stay with us before the end of February, then I’ve got a special promo code to use. Book your 2016 stay of 2 nights or more and pay your deposit before the end of December 2015 and get 5% off your stay. Use promo code DecTreat
Please note that only 1 promotion code can be used at a time and the discount applies to bed and breakfast rate only, not to any additional items purchased such as platters.
Good News – If you’ve already booked with us for next year, I’ll apply the 5% discount to your stay but please remind me if I forget
Bed and Breakfast Shropshire, B&B near Ludlow and Hopton Castle