A couple of times a week, I take the long way round to work and a very different walk it is. A trip to Ludlow town is always a pleasure, it is so easy to moan about the steep streets, (I’m sure they put a brick under its slabs last night!) and to forget to look. My husband has given me a love for architecture which enhances any town centre visit. Ludlow just keeps on giving.
I start my journey by walking up Frog Lane towards the town walls. What a great name! Even if it was named for its damp water meadows. I wonder if it’s inhabitants were thought to have webbed hands and feet?
I turn left, passing the tiny black and white cottage, conscious that I am walking the boundary of the old leper colony, its gardens and hospital. I so want to think it was a place of peace as well as isolation.
The town wall gardens are vibrant, with their newly minted greens and blues, the Blue bells look as if enamelled against the bricks.
A woman is pushing a buggy and walking her dog and talking on her MOB all at the same time. I wonder if she noticed the shadows cast by the trees over the pavement, or heard the birds twitter patting in their branches.
Wheat sheaf Inn passed, looking spick and spam with its new coat of paint I turn under the last remaining gateway and enter Ludlow. It always makes me smile to remember that we live “beyond the pale”, outside the town’s protecting walls. Although if I remember some of my local history right, most of the local rouges lived inside the town. Perhaps we were better off outside, if looked down on, literally.
What’s not to like about Broad Street? It has been voted the most attractive street in England, and it certainly enchants me. Not just the gracious Georgian sweep with those enticing hidden walled gardens, but the gorgeous glass façade of the Wesleyan chapel, the yellow paint of the medieval, the Victorian pillared and covered shopping arcade, Bodenhams, leaning and creaking on the top corner, as if its holding up the café next door. (Always be De Greys to me). A Ludlow institution now sadly gone.
The Butter Cross is the icing on the Broad Street plate, though not in the street but looking down it, as if keeping an eye on the comings and goings. When it was the home of local government, I’m sure they kept it all in their sight.
So, left at the top and the real purpose of my visit, buying local produce for the café. First stop Walls the Butcher’s. Charlie’s on form today and singing at the top of his voice from the cellar.
They certain cram a great range of locally produced and butchered meats from a very tight space. They are there from about 6.30 most mornings, and I have never known them to be anything but helpful and cheerful.
We are very fortunate to have three local butchers in the town when many towns have to rely on super-market meat. Now one of the best pieces of advise my husband ever gave me, and bare in mind that this is from a man who has worked in the catering industry most of his life, is ; “Always look the person you are buying your meat from in the eye.”
Next on the round is Prices the Bakers. We have been using Price’s a long time. They were still baking in the old original bake House in Quality Square then. Turning into the square on a cold morning to the aroma of bread and cakes baking was wonderful.
Their shop was formally an old coaching inn and has some great history hidden behind its walls. But I am on a mission and today just order and receive freshly baked bread.
Last stop is round the corner in Mill Street to Farmers Fruit and vegetable emporium. It really is the way to shop for perishable goods. I love the range they have, the seasonal quality and the display of flowers entices me in.
The Butter Cross clock is chiming out over head as I make my way towards Galdeford and Green Pea.