Shire Magazine Nov-Dec 2021 by Superstar Publishing - Issuu

Shire Magazine Nov-Dec 2021

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Give something back to the causes you love


The season of giving…


Our ultimate guide to shopping local this Christmas



wrapped up

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Festive feasting Xmas recipes to try from local chefs and producers Deck the halls Make sure your home is snug for winter Tree-mendous How to choose the perfect Christmas tree Having a laugh With the hilarious Peter Kay

Use your time wisely…   

Curl up with a good book Dabble in a new craft Prepare your garden for winter

WIN A Christmas Hamper, Wrekin Craft Gin and Illuminations Trail tickets Turn to page 137


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Publisher Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Chief Subeditor Jo Williams Staff Writers Helen Gordon Adele Barry Sarah Waterfall Juliet Davies Lynda Kenny Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Subeditor Chris Miller Advertising Design Sarah Norman Sales & Marketing Pauline Jones Claire Duffy Distribution Manager Paul Howard Finance & Accounts David Kynaston Nicky Kynaston Jane Osman Contributors John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, P Parker, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney, Bob Hickman, Lisa Whelan, Adam Gaunt-Evans, Eryl Jones


elcome to your festive edition of Shire! The last year has flown by, but the season of cheer is almost upon us and we can’t wait to make the most of it and help all our readers to do the same. This Christmas we’ll be hoping to spend more time together than we were allowed last year, so whether you’re going out with friends, hosting a Christmas party or gathering the family for a festive feast, this issue is packed with everything you need! With dinners not diets on our mind at this time of year, we celebrate all things local when it comes to festive food and drink. Our main feature takes a look at the many bakers, brewers, butchers and producers in the region who are gearing up for Christmas, while our food and drink section rounds up some delicious recipes from chefs across the area. In our other main feature, we celebrate the season of giving in a different way. We take a look at the various ways in which you can give something back – to other people, animals, nature, communities and places that you care about – by offering your time and skills to local causes. Volunteering is great for you as well as for the organisations you support: it gives your mental health a boost and helps develop skills at the same time. All your favourite sections are here too, so settle down and read on for everything you need to know about homes, interiors, arts, books, schools, fashion, health, holidays and so much more! Have a very happy Christmas from all of us at Shire!

IN THIS ISSUE A good cause Discover how volunteering can help local charities and your wellbeing on page 88

Email Shire magazine

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270

Christmas shopping

We round up the best local places to get everything you need for the big day, from page 52

SUBSCRIPTION RATES ONE YEAR – £19.95 TWO YEARS – £34.95 Print ISSN 2514-3913 Online ISSN 2514-3921 SHIRE MAGAZINE is published bi-monthly by Superstar Publishing Ltd. Every effort is made to ensure that the information and advice contained in these articles is correct and appropriate, but no liability or responsibility for loss or damage to any person acting or refraining from action in reliance on or as a result of anything omitted from such articles can be, or is accepted by, the authors, the publishers, their employees or any other persons connected with Superstar Publishing Ltd. Views expressed by contributors to Shire magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine or of Superstar Publishing Ltd and should be attributed to the authors concerned. Save as expressively permitted by law no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written authority of the Publisher, acting for Shire magazine. Privacy Policy published online at © 2021 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188.


What’s going on? Don’t miss our comprehensive guide to all the events taking place across the region, from page 6

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…

Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st December is the deadline for events you’d like to feature in our January/February issue.



Reader poems Do you like penning the odd line? So do we! Send us your poems – we’d love to include them on our poetry page. See page 133 for more.

Share your reader stories. Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We’d like to feature it in the next issue. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two as well.

We have lots of regulars readers can contribute to:

Reader photos Taken a great shot recently? Email your best effort and you might get picked! See page 110.

Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along

A free copy of Shire delivered to your home! To help readers during this difficult time, if you’re having trouble getting to the supermarket and would prefer a copy delivered to you at home, please just send us an A4 SAE with £2.00 postage to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. We will send you the latest issue by return.

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 96 for further details. Get social Follow, like and friend us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first in line for event updates, competitions and more. Visit our website online at and send submissions and information by email to

TURN TO PAGE 51 for our fantastic subscription offer!

November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3

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Contents N OV E MB E R / DE C E MB E R 2 021 6 What’s On Check out what’s happening where, including all the festive fun, pantos, parades and grottos you need

PAG E 1 1 3 PAG E 6 0

17 20 Questions We’ve put our queries to one of the UK’s favourite panto dames

Festive furnishings

24 Llandrindod Wells Come for the picture-postcard looks, stay for the fantastic sense of community 41 Peter Kay We speak to one of the nation’s favourite comedians about his life in lockdown and the launch of the audiobook version of his best-selling autobiography 50 Reviews We’ve been so excited to get back out there and report from local shows and events including a Harry Potter spectacular!

PAG E 7 8 Top recipes

PAG E 2 4

51 Subscribe To Shire! Discover how you can get your favourite magazine delivered straight to your door

Llandrindod Wells

PAG E 8 5

COVER FEATURE 52 A Local Christmas Whether you’re looking for gifts, Christmas trees, delicious food or seasonal tipples, the Shire area can provide it all


60 Homes & Interiors Does your home need a new look for the festive season, or are you aiming for a cosier living space? We’re here to help PAG E 5 2 Local delights

74 Merry & Bright What better way to put yourself in the spirit of the season than with bright red decor and furnishings? 77 Green Living Who’s doing what in the area to help our environment, and the ways in which we can all do our bit for the planet

PAG E 1 2 6 Fitness benefits PAG E 8 8 Giving back

78 Food & Drink Some of the region’s top chefs, bakers and makers share their top Christmas recipes to keep your friends and family full 84 Paw-fect Presents Don’t forget your pets – here are some great gift ideas 85 Plants & Gardens We look at the best types of Christmas tree, varieties of holly and ivy to help your garden feel festive all year, and a few essential jobs for the garden too

PAG E 6 Christmas events

PAG E 4 1 Peter Kay

Contents NovDec jwCMDB.indd 1

COVER FEATURE 88 Thanks For Giving ’Tis the season of giving, and that makes it the perfect time to give back to your community by volunteering for a good cause

95 Pets & Wildlife A state-of-the-art equine centre opens in Denbighshire, plus your latest pet photographs 98 Over The Farm Gate Eryl Jones shares his thoughts on the changing seasons 101 Holidays Ideas and inspiration for a lastminute autumn getaway – or to start planning for summer 2022 108 Active Read one woman’s inspiring story, plus Clive Williams shares another great local walk 107 Days Out Feeling adventurous? Check out the adrenaline-packed delights at Adventure Parc Snowdonia 108 Arts & Crafts Meet the sculptor who’s creating stunning pieces from his north Wales studio, plus your pictures of togetherness 113 Time To Shine The best outfits and accessories for party season 114 Winter Woollies Stay warm with the latest stylish knits for men 115 Motoring Bob Hickman shares his views on the Audi A6 S-line 117 Top Of The Class The latest news from the area’s schools and colleges as the first term of the academic year comes to a close 126 Health & Beauty How to stay fit this winter, plus we bust some beauty myths 129 Charities & Volunteering Good deeds and fundraising around the Shire patch 130 Retirement Living An app that can help heart patients avoid hospital visits, plus the latest from the area’s care homes 132 Books & Poetry Author Martin Kaye talks about his latest series, which draws on the region’s myths and legends 134 What’s In Your Stars? Check out your horoscope provided by Gloria Mans 135 Letters To The Editor We hand over to our readers 136 Puzzles Exercise your brain with our crossword and sudoku 137 Competitions Don’t miss your chance to win an amazing prize!

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Christmas fun at The Pavilion, Rhyl

Jason Manford: Like Me, 27th November He’s back! It’s been a busy few years for Jason since his last smash-hit stand-up show but fans of his Absolute Radio show will know that this nationally acclaimed comedian hasn’t changed a bit in that time. 7.30pm. Tickets £32.

Cinderella, 8th-31st December You shall go to the ball this Christmas! A favourite for panto season, starring Hayley Tamaddon (Coronation Street, Emmerdale) as the Fairy Godmother and Balamory’s Andrew Agnew as Buttons. Times vary. Tickets from £11.50. www.rhyl

Galeri Caernarfon has all the moves

George Egg: Movable Feast, 5th November A new comedy-andcooking show from the awardwinning stand-up, who makes gourmet food on stage. George demonstrates ways to procure items from the buffet trolley, beat rip-off restaurant prices at the airport and even shows you how to turn unexpected roadworks into a picnic. It’s cheeky, anarchic and creative. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10.

Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita, 20th November Cuban-born piano virtuoso Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora maestro Seckou Keita perform a unique fusion of Latin and Africaninspired music. Joining the duo is Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles. 7.30pm. Tickets from £15.

Blazin’ Fiddles, 26th November Performing a virtuosic selection of diverse Highland and Island voices, the Blazers pack all the power, passion and sensitivity of Scotland’s traditional music into a single show. The liveliest and warmest of hootenannies! 7.30pm. Tickets from £16. Met Opera Live: Eurydice, 4th December The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus, who tried to harness the power of music to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the underworld, has inspired composers since opera’s earliest days. In this live screening, composer Matthew Aucoin carries that tradition into the 21st century with a captivating new take. 5.55pm. Tickets from £12.

Virtual music festival

This year’s 50th North Wales Internation Music Festival is being staged as a hybrid event. Six live concerts were filmed in the festival’s traditional home, St Asaph Cathedral, and others have been recorded elsewhere, and these will be shown free of charge online from 15th November to 15th December.

Concerts include London Tango Quintet, NEW Sinfonia with pianist John Frederick Hudson, Ensemble Cymru, UK Gospel Choir, composer Paul Mealor, folk musician Gwenan Gibbard, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Catrin Finch with Seckou Keita.

Race into winter Frosty weather may be here, but there is still great sporting action at Bangoron-Dee Racecourse.

Tote Raceday, 10th November This eagerly anticipated fixture will have a thrilling race card – the perfect tonic to beat the winter blues. Gates open at 10.30am. Sky Sports Racing Race Day, 27th November This highly anticipated late autumn race day has an exhilarating race card and the very best in hospitality on offer. There’s no other place to be

Room at the top

Join the Mountain Coach, Charlie Wardle, for an Aber Falls and Snowdon hiking weekend on the 13th and 14th of November. This is a great opportunity to tackle the mighty Snowdon and see some stunning parts of north Wales. The group will meet at 1.30pm at Aber Falls for a beautiful walk of about two and a half hours, including the waterfalls with an overnight stay at the Caernarfon Marina. Tickets from £85.

before the Christmas break. Gates open at 10.30am. Christmas Special, 10th December The last race day of 2021 will be a spectacle you won’t want to miss! Horse racing during the month of December isn’t common, so enjoy all the thrills surrounded by the stunning Welsh winter landscape. Gates open at 10.30am.

A reindeer safari

Indulge your imagination with a wonderful adventure from the comfort of your own car at the Reindeer Lodge, Mold, between 27th November and 24th December. Enjoy a drive-in theatre show and the illuminated lakeside and enchanted woodland lighting trail. Visitors will be able to view the reindeer in their paddocks, and the safari is completed with a hidden Elf Village and drive-through Toy Workshop, where Santa has a gift for every child. Entry from £35 per car.

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Variety at Venue Cymru

Ocean Film Festival, 19th November A carefully curated selection of short films that celebrate our oceans. 7.30pm. Tickets from £14.50.

Rob Brydon: A Night Of Song & Laughter, 9th November Rob regales audiences with hilarious tales from his distant and recent past, plus a selection of songs. 7.30pm. Tickets £40.50.

That’ll Be The Day Christmas Show, 11th November The best pop Christmas classics and traditional festive songs with hilarious comedy routines. 7pm. Tickets from £25.50.

The Overtones, 10th November Catch the multiplatinum selling vocal harmony group on their 10th anniversary tour. 7.30pm. Tickets from £30.

Katherine Jenkins, 17th November Performing songs from her 14th studio album, Cinema Paradiso. 7.30pm. Tickets from £28.50.

School Of Rock, 22nd-27th November Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical based on the movie starring Jack Black. Wannabe rock star Dewey Finn poses as a substitute teacher. 7.30pm. Tickets from £19.

Holidays in Holt

Put pen to paper

Waterfalls and whisky Get the festive spirit on a tour of Aber Falls Distillery, Abergwyngregyn. Explore the first whisky distillery in north Wales in over 100 years, learning about its 100% single malt Welsh whisky and sampling award-winning gins and liqueurs. Tours run between 10am and 4pm, seven days a week.

Santa’s magical farm

Santa and his elves will be at Greenacres Animal Park in Deeside from 4th December. Help the elves make reindeer food, enjoy unlimited rides on the fairground and chill with Mrs Claus in her movie room. All good boys and girls will receive a present. The park is open weekends and daily from 21st to 23rd December. www.

Christmas is coming to Bellis Brothers in Holt. There’s a Santa’s Grotto on Saturdays from 27th November to 18th December, and you can have breakfast with Santa on weekends in December and from 20th to 23rd December. Other highlights include bellringers in store on 11th December.

Weave your way to Ruthin Craft Centre

Basketry: Rhythm, Renewal & Reinvention is on dispay at Ruthin Craft Centre until 9th January, offering a visual slice of contemporary UK basket making. The exhibition includes works by 35 makers over three galleries, demonstrating what is being made today – and by whom – across basketry’s beautiful variety of shapes, materials and weaves. Admission is free. For more, visit

Caffi Isa in Mynydd Isa holds its first Big Word Weekend from 12th to 14th November. Events will cover fiction, nonfiction, comedy, poetry and comics, with special appearances from Jess Doyle, Gaynor Jones, Ian Prowse and Dr Miranda Kaufmann (pictured above). See Facebook for details, including event prices and times.

Marvellous markets in Colwyn Bay

2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th November, Crafternoon Club, The Lost Sheep Company, Colwyn Bay Fibre-crafting sessions are great for improving wellbeing and making new friends. Every Tuesday, 2pm-4pm. £5. www.

7th November, Fireworks Display, North Shore Beach, Llandudno Enjoy the spectacle of fireworks over the sea. 6.20pm. In the event of bad weather, 8th November at 7pm.

7th November, Ariel Lanyi, Piano, Theatr Clwyd, Mold The Dudley International Piano Competition winner and Berliner Philharmoniker soloist performs pieces by Mozart, Brahms, Albéniz and Beethoven. 7.30pm. From £10.

7th November, Wildfowl & Wader Walk, RSPB Conwy, Llandudno Junction Join the warden to discover the birds of the estuary. Join for high tide and challenge your bird-identification skills. 11am. Booking essential. £8 members, £12 non-members.

Visitors to Colwyn Bay have two markets to choose from this winter. The artisan market hosts an eclectic mix of arts and crafts, as well as food and drink. The local market, meanwhile, sells homewares, fashion, plants, fresh food and more. Both markets take place on 20th November from 10am until 4pm, with a Christmas special on 11th December.

8th November, Lampshade Making Workshop, The Crafting Cow, Plas Pentwyn, Wrexham A lampshade kit is included, but you’ll need to supply your own fabric. 6.30pm-9pm. £30. www.

12th-14th November, NovemberFest, St Mary’s Church Hall, Mold The real ale festival is back, with over 30 ales, lagers, ciders and wine.

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14th November, Anglesey Trail, Newborough Forest, Anglesey The half marathon, 10k and cani-cross events are set among stunning forest and sea views. There is also a lively event village. £27.95.

14th November, Mold Artisan Market, town centre Showcasing creative crafters, makers and foodies from the local area. 11am-4pm.

•17th November

& 15th December, Colour Wheel Workshop, Galeri Caernarfon An adult art session with artist and tutor Jwls Williams. 10.30am. £10.

21st November, Beaumaris Antique & Collectors’ Fair, Beaumaris Leisure Centre Anglesey’s biggest monthly antiques fair with up to 50 tables. 9.30am-4pm. Entry £1.

Winter at Theatr Clwyd

National Dance Company Wales: Here, 5th & 6th November Immerse yourself in an hour of dance that will make you groove, giggle and gasp. Featuring magical illusions, colourful costumes and live music. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10. Possible, 19th November National Theatre Wales presents a playful and profound piece of storytelling that blurs one man’s reality with live music and surreal, cinematic visuals. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10. Beauty & The Beast, 19th November-15th January The rock’n’roll panto is back, with bonkers frocks,

Winter garden at Plas Newydd

Enjoy the ever-changing sights at Plas Newydd, Anglesey with a walk around the garden, and discover secluded spots where you can take a moment and enjoy the views. There are two hides along the paths by the Menai Strait, from which you can observe the varied birdlife in the woodland and along the shoreline. www.

Remembering loved ones this Christmas

27th November, Christmas Fun at Ruthin Goal Museum Christmas-themed market with hot food and drink. 10am-4pm.

•27th November, Betwsy-Coed Trail Challenge A

choice of half marathon, 10k, 5k and cani-cross, From £20.

27th November, Fame Jr, Llanfairfechan Town Hall Theatre, Conwy A bittersweet but inspiring story of artistic students. 7pm. From £8.

Joygernaut, 24th November Written and performed by Andy Craven-Griffiths, using elements of physical theatre, comedy and even origami. 7.30pm. Tickets From £10.

Keep dancing

24th November & 2nd December, Wreath Making, Fron Goch Garden Centre, Caernarfon Create a traditional Christmas garland. 9.30am. £35. www.

dazzling sets and anarchic panto puppets. Times vary. Tickets from £15.

St David’s Hospice in Llandudno is holding two special events to celebrate the lives of loved ones. Families can dedicate a light on the tree at St David’s Hospice Rotary Tree of Lights, which takes place in Rhos-on-Sea on 28th November. Then on 4th December, join the Christmas Memories Walk along Llandudno seafront. Entry is £16 adults, £12 children. For details, visit

DID YOU KNOW? Possible was created by awardwinning playwright Shôn DaleJones

Music and movement for health and fitness are very much in mind at Pontio in Bangor. On 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th November join National Dance Company Wales for its Dance For Parkinson’s. And on 18th November, Heb Ffiniau, led by dance practitioner Sarah Mumford, focuses on relaxation and exercise.

Off the beaten track

Mountain leader Jason Wango presents Happy Stroll Snowdon, a guided, circular walk on 20th November. Starting at 7.45am, you’ll ascend Snowdon by the lesser-known Rhyd-Ddu path. At the summit, enjoy a well-earned lunch before descending via the Ranger path. The route is challenging, but the pace will be steady. No climbing or scrambling is required, but some sections require extreme care. Tickets cost £30 per person from

It’s party time at Ty Pawb – excellent! Record Fair, 27th November. Thirty stalls from the UK’s top record dealers. Funk, soul, jazz, rock, pop, hip-hop, Motown and more, plus live music and a bar. Free entry.

Christmas Party Night with Rhythm Train, 17th December Dance till you drop at a fabulously festive evening of live music from one of the UK’s top party cover bands. 7pm. Tickets £12.

Christmas treats at Dobbies

Dobbies Wrexham is transformed into a festive winter wonderland from 4th December. Walk through the magical outdoor display and be welcomed by Santa himself in his grotto. Every child will receive an ageappropriate gift and special photos can also be purchased For the full Dobbies Christmas experience, tuck into a Santa’s Breakfast too. Book via

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MOSTYN Shop: The place to find unique cards and gifts for everyone! MOSTYN, 12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno LL30 1AB 01492 868191 Open 10.30 - 5 Tues - Sun Or visit our online shop

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DID YOU KNOW? Baskery have supported Seth Lakeman and Robbie Williams


Music for all tastes

The Blue Sky Café in Bangor is back, offering an exciting line-up of live music into the winter: Baskery, 3rd November Three Swedish sisters – “the queens of banjopunk” – with a sound that oozes style and playfulness. 7pm. Tickets £13.20. Washboard Resonators, 17th November. The Leeds duo have been described as “a ragtime street band meets a Hollywood musical on a theatre stage somewhere in around 1932”. 7pm. Tickets £11.

Crackin’ Christmas cruises!

Get ready for some indulgent feasting this Christmas at Llangollen Wharf. There’s a Luxury Festive Afternoon Tea on 27th November, 5th December and 19th December, while the Christmas Party Boat sets sail on 11th December, with a retro buffet and festive tunes from across the years. All cruises board at Llangollen Wharf at noon, returning at 4pm, and tickets cost £29.95.

November, •27th Writing

Millie Manders & The Shutup, 25th November Cross-genre punk that is hard to ignore. 7pm. Tickets £13.20. Martin Harley, 3rd December Martin returns to Blue Sky with his incredible blues slide guitar sound. 7pm. Tickets £17.60. Funke & The Two Tone Baby, 9th December. A one-man phenomenon, frenziedly mixing folk, beat-boxing, blues and electro-pop – a truly unique act that needs to be seen to be believed! 7pm. Tickets £13.20.

Crafting in the countryside

Bodfari’s Woodland Skills Centre offers the chance to learn woodcrafts in the heart of the Clwydian Range. Make bird nest boxes on 20th November, bird feeders on 21st November and Christmas crafts on 27th November and 4th December. For prices, see

Work inspired by the Marches A new, engaging arts and crafts exhibition, Pushing The Boundaries, is at Theatr Clwyd in Mold until 15th

January. The collaboration sees six printmakers – Emma Aldridge, Alison Craig, Jacqui Dodds, Carolyn Hudson, Christine Matthews and Estella Scholes – and enameller Jill Leventon, from across Wales and England, responding to the landscape that straddles the present and ancient borders that connect and divide them. The artists began taking walks together in 2019, investigating places that inspired them in the Marches and Borders, creating work using different techniques. The group’s work is also crossing borders, with an exhibition at Qube Oswestry this September and a further exhibition at Mid Wales Arts early next year.

Mostyn exhibitions

Ecopoetry, Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden A masterclass with writer in residence Isabel Galleymore. 10am. £55, which includes lunch.

27th November, Kris Drever @ Among the People, Northop Village Hall The Scottish singer performs acoustic folk from his current Where The World Is Thin album. 7.30pm. From £14.

27th-28th November, Christmas Artisan Market, David Hughes Community Centre, Beaumaris Hunt for those one-of-a-kind artisanmade gifts. 10am-4pm.

Mostyn in Llandudno hosts two thought-provoking exhibitions until 6th February. The Ultimate Kiss looks at Jacqueline de Jong, one of the crucial figures of the post-war avant-garde, while Anathemata is a study in corporeal epic poetry by avant-garde artists Antonin Artaud, Pierre Guyotat and David E Jones. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Snooker loopy?

The 2021 Betvictor Scottish Open World Snooker Tour takes place at Venue Cymru in Llandudno from 6th to 12th December. A strong field is once again expected to battle for the Stephen Hendry Trophy at this year’s event. Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Williams, John Higgins and Anthony McGill could all be in the line-up. For prices and booking visit www.

27th November, 4th, 11th & 18th December Christmas Bistro Evenings, Snowdonia Nurseries & Garden Centre, Glan Conwy Enjoy a threecourse evening meal with a festive twist in the Olive Tree Restaurant. 8pm. £35.

28th November, Frost Fair, High Street, Mold Showcasing a selection of the very best crafters, makers and creative bakers. 11am-4pm. www.

30th November22nd December, Christmas Winter Wonderland, North Wales Garden World, Kinmel Bay Every weekend, come and see Santa and his friends. £6.95. Call 01745 338222. See Facebook for details.

2nd, 3rd, 16th, 17th & 23rd December, Supper with Santa, The Jester’s Tower, Conwy Tuck into a yummy cassoulet supper. There will be festive fun and storytime with Father Christmas and a chance to chat, ask questions and take pictures with the Big Man. 5pm. £15. Book via

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3rd December, A Choral Christmas, St Giles’ Parish Church, Wrexham Join the Fron Male Voice Choir and Lleisiau’r Afon for an evening of Yuletide choral music. 6.45pm. From £11. December, •3rd Festive Wreath

Workshop, Bodnant Welsh Foods, Tal-y-Cafn Andrea from Luna Flower talks about structure, flowers and foliage and how to arrange them. £55.

4th December, 5k Santa Dash, Llandudno seafront Get yourself in the Christmas spirit. Registration from 8am. From £

4th December, Christmas Fayre, Ruthin Town Square All-day event for all the family, including market stalls, school choirs and fire-eaters! Lights switch-on at 5pm.

5th December, Clwydians Santa Dash, Moel Famau The 5km route takes you up to Moel Famau. Participants can walk, jog or run. Registration from 8am. £16 adults, £10 children.

Festivities at Theatr Colwyn

Elf The Musical, 4th-6th November Buddy, raised by elves in the North Pole, goes on a journey to discover who he really is. Times vary. Tickets from £13.70. The Haunting Of Blaine Manor, 12th November Prepare to be terrified! Written and directed by Joe O’Byrne. 7.30pm. Tickets from £15.50. Arrival: The Hits Of Abba, 1st December Combining Abba’s trademark harmonies,

Appreciate the smaller things

Dr Erica McAlister from the Natural History Museum delivers this year’s Lacey Lecture at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on 20th November. “The Small Things That Matter: The Life & Times Of Flies” looks at the flies in your garden and discusses the impact of these much-maligned creatures.

11th December, Medieval Christmas Torchlit Parade, Conwy Knights and medieval characters carry flaming brands down Castle Street, finishing in Lancaster Square. 5.40pm.

11th December, Artisan Market Does Christmas, Town Centre, Ruthin Last-minute and unusual festive gifts. 10am-4pm.

11th & 12th December, Mince Pie Specials, Bala Lake Railway, Llanuwchllyn Decorated steam trains travel alongside Wales’s largest natural lake for a beautiful 45-minute journey with delicious mince pies! Booking essential. For information visit

Award-winning trio. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.50.

Be creative in Conwy

A stone’s throw from Conwy Castle, Tân y Ddraig Ceramic Café invites you to get your hands dirty this winter at its Introduction to Ceramics from 3rd November. Over six weeks, participants will gain an understanding of the ceramic design, construction and decoration process. Tickets cost £120, including all tuition, materials, tools, storage of work, and firings. Book in the café or at

Songs and laughter at Neuadd Ogwen

Neuadd Ogwen in Bethesda has an exciting and eclectic line-up this winter. See acoustic performer Ben Caplan on 5th November, followed by comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean on 27th November, while Band Pres Llareggub celebrate Twixmas on 28th December.

Give back at Erddig Christmas is sorted in Rossett Enjoy the gift of giving

•11th December, Llandudno Gin

Festival, Venue Cymru Enjoy a carefully curated selection of small-batch, handcrafted gin. 1pm-11pm. From £10.

DID YOU KNOW? When Elf The Musical premiered, Cheers’ George Christmas with Blake, Wendt played 4th December Relax to the harmonious sounds of this BritSanta authentic replica costumes and interactive video projection. 7.30pm. Tickets from £20.

Escape in Snowdonia

If you’re looking to de-stress before the Christmas rush, Large Outdoors has two getaways in Llanberis. The Yoga & Walking Weekend, from 12th to 14th November, blends guided walking with beginners’ yoga sessions, with prices from £235. The Christmas Walking Holiday, from 23rd to 28th December, combines lovely walks, sociable evenings and plenty of good cheer from £545. For the full programme, visit

this Christmas by leaving a donation for the Wrexham food bank at Erddig’s Reverse Grotto, open at weekends from 4th to 19th December. While you’re there, say a quick, socially distanced hello to Father Christmas, who’ll be around to say thank you for helping families in need from 11am to 4pm. For more information and events, visit www.

Join the festive fun at Rossett Hall Hotel near Wrexham. There’s a Wreath Making Evening on 2nd December, Breakfast with Father Christmas on 11th and 19th December, Christmas Lunch with Bublé on 12th December and Christmas Carols at Oscars on 19th December. You can also indulge in a Festive Afternoon Tea daily through most of December. Booking for all events is essential. Visit www.everbrightgrouphotels. com/rossetthallhotel.

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A song and dance at Pontio Giselle, 27th November Ballet Cymru presents a new ballet based on the eternal story of Giselle, the young girl who falls in love with the wrong person and pays a terrible price. 7.30pm. Tickets from £11. Cwmwl Tystion/Riot!, 30th November Inspired by a poem by Waldo Williams, Welsh musicians come together to perform an immersive live performance about rioting in Wales, incorporating elements of jazz, hip-hop, avant garde and Welsh folk music. 7.30pm. Tickets from £12.

Unique seasonal makes in Mostyn

Get your creative juices flowing at Abakhan in Mostyn, Flintshire. Try Christmas Crochet on 5th November, Make Your Own Leggings on 7th November, make a Bargello Christmas table runner on 13th November and cushions on 26th November. Tickets can be booked online at

The Furrow Collective: We Know By The Moon, 15th December Four talented and individually prominent performers drawn together by a shared love of the traditional songs and balladry of England, Scotland and beyond. Prepare to be bewitched by eerie storysongs and seasonal carols that revel in the strange and wonderful traditions of these isles. 8pm. Tickets from £11.

Fine festive food

If you’re looking to impress with your cooking skills this Christmas, the Cookery School at Bodnant Welsh Foods has all you need. All demonstrations, which take place the heart of the Conwy Valley at Tal-y-Cafn, begin at 10am and cost £15 per person.

The Stiwt gets back in the swing! Soul at the Stiwt, 12th November Former Drifters Michael Williams and Ryan King come together with Motown’s Jordan King. They’ll have you dancing in the aisles and reliving old classics. 7.30pm. Tickets from £14.

The Welsh Chamber Orchestra, 25th November Anthony Hose conducts a programme featuring Nathan James Dearden, a young composer described as “a champion of his generation” and whose music is said to be “hauntingly beautiful”. There will also be “Prélude Le Déluge” by Saint-Saëns and “Symphony No.85 (La Reine)” by Haydn. 7pm. Tickets from £11.

DID YOU KNOW? The Furrow Collective won Best Group at the 2017 Radio 2 Folk Awards

The Wizard Of Oz, 4th-31st December Follow the yellow brick road to the Stiwt where LHK Productions will whisk you over the rainbow in its wizardly panto! Join Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion as they meet the wonderful wizard. Times vary. Tickets from £14.

Ancient and new finds


11th December, Murder Under The Mistletoe, Theatr Clwyd, Mold Assist the inspector with his investigations, trade clues with fellow guests and figure out who is responsible for this Christmas murder! 7pm. Tickets £20.

11th, 12th & 18th-24th December, Santa’s Special Train Ride, Rhyl Miniature Railway Every child will meet Santa and receive a festive gift. Times vary. £12. Book at www.

17th December, Steven Moore, St Giles’ Parish Church Wrexham The percussionist performs a selection of preludes, encores and Christmas classics. 7pm. www.facebook. com/StevenMoorePercussionist December, •A17th Christmas

Events at Oriel Môn in Llangefni include a Christmas Craft Fair, from 6th November to 24th December. While you’re there, why not catch Parc Cybi: A Landscape Through Time, which runs until 16th January and looks at the archaeological exhibition of finds from the Parc Cybi site in Holyhead. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Travel back in time at Penrhyn

Party with Andy Powell, Brymbo Sports & Social Club, Wrexham Meet and greet the Wales and Lions legend. A meal and disco is provided. 7pm. From £11.

17th-24th December, Aladdin, The Rhyl Little Theatre Rhyl Traditional pantomime madness, with stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses! Times vary. From £10.

18th, 19th, 22nd & 23rd December, Breakfast or Afternoon Tea with Father Christmas, Abakhan, Mostyn Each child will visit Father Christmas in his grotto and receive a special gift. 9.30am11am & 1.30pm-3pm. From £3.50.

Penrhyn Castle’s Victorian Kitchens at Christmas, which takes place at weekends from 27th November to 19th December, are guaranteed to get you in the spirit! The fire will be lit to warm up the traditionally decorated “downstairs” kitchen and the smells of freshly baked treats will fill the rooms. The event is free, but normal admission applies. www.nationaltrust.

22nd December, Goldie Lookin Chain: Straight Outta Lockdown, Venue Cymru, Llandudno The GLC is officially Britain’s biggest rap group, known for classics like “Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do”. 7.30pm. £19.

Until 24th December, exhibitions at Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, Pwllheli The arts and heritage centre highlights the work of two contrasting artists: Wendy Murphy and Katherine Jones. Also showing are pieces by Charlotte Posner, Niki Pilkington and Danielle McIntyre.

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Wrexham Symphony Orchestra Orchestra in Residence at Wrexham Glyndŵr University

cyflwyno / presents







‘It is Getting to Sound a Lot Like Christmas’ Sunday 12th December 2021 at 3pm Length: 60 to 75 minutes – No Interval Location: William Aston Hall, Mold Road Wrexham

Conductor: Mark Lansom Soloist: Rachael Marsh (Soprano) All Tickets are FREE to this WELCOME BACK CONCERT. Tickets are available from

The concert programme is popular Christmas Music which includes these pieces e new A whol

family pantomime experie


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A Christmas Festival Leroy Anderson O Holy Night Adam/Dwight (arr Lansom) The Christmas Song Torme/Wells (arr Lansom)




A Most Wonderful Christmas Sheldon Christmas Overture – Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson

Venue Cymru, Llandudno Dydd Sadwrn 11 Rhagfyr – Dydd Sul 2 Ionawr Saturday 11 December – Sunday 2 January





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Eric Potts has starred as a dame in festive pantomimes across the country for 29 consecutive years. This Christmas he’ll be delighting audiences of all ages as Widow Twankey in Aladdin at Venue Cymru in Llandudno – and he’ll be directing the show as well! We put our questions to this genuine panto legend childhood. I’ve visited circuses across the country and every year I go to big circus festivals in Monte Carlo and Budapest.


If you were representing your country in the Olympics, which sport would you choose? I used to love badminton but I don’t think I could reach the reaction speeds needed these days. I’d love to try archery. With my current waistline that might be more realistic!

1 2 3

What is your full name? Eric Douglas Potts. What is your current job title/role? Artistic director of Imagine Theatre, and an actor and writer.

Describe your home life… I live in the lovely Rossendale Valley in Lancashire with my wife Jacqui, a primary school headteacher, my younger daughter, Isla, who works for a major HR company in Wilmslow, and our Cavachon, Truffle. My eldest daughter lives in Ireland.


What has been your highlight of the past 12 months? Being appointed to the role at the fabulous Imagine Theatre, where I had been writing and directing for a few years.


And the worst moment of the past 12 months? Having last year’s panto appearance at the Opera House in Manchester cancelled as I was driving to the first rehearsal.


If you could come back as any animal, what would you be and why? An elephant. I just think they are beautiful, gentle creatures who share so many of our human emotions and values.


What is your favourite drink? I do like a nice cup of coffee. We treated ourselves to a machine which produces a really lovely cup. I am also partial to a single-malt whisky.


Which competitive reality TV show would you have the best chance of winning: Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off or I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here? Well, as I wait for the introduction of Strictly Sumo I think I would have to say the Bake Off – I’m not a great baker but I do enjoy rustling up a Victoria sponge now and again. I’d love to have a go at Strictly but I’m not sure my knees would agree.


What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate! I try to ration myself but after a stressful day I do find it eases away the tribulations.


When did you last laugh uncontrollably and why? Yesterday, at a video clip of a dog running on the pitch during a women’s cricket game and stealing the ball, resulting in everyone chasing it to get it back. It made me absolutely howl.





What would be your desert island disc and why? “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. It’s a beautiful song but also holds many happy childhood memories as a favourite family song while growing up on the west coast of Scotland. It immediately takes me back somewhere I loved.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Time travel. I go to so many different places as part of my job and I always think it would be fascinating to see them in years gone by – or indeed, how they will be in the future.

Who would be at your dream dinner party? It would have to be Victoria Wood (taken from us far too soon), Billy Connolly, Edward Hopper (the artist behind my favourite painting, Nighthawks) and the politician Nye Bevan.

Who is your all-time hero and how have they inspired you? My maternal grandfather, George Banks. He was kind, clever, funny, gentle and hugely supportive of us when my father sadly passed away when I was 13. He and his wonderful outlook on life will always be with me.

Where is your favourite place in the world a? I love Italy in general but there is a village at the end of Lake Lugano called Porlezza which is the most beautiful, tranquil and restorative place I’ve ever been. (It also has an award-winning ice-cream shop!)




What is your worst fear or phobia? Heights – I’m terrified of them. I’m fine flying as that is in an enclosed space, but put me high up on any open structure or on a cliff-edge and my knees turn to jelly.


What’s the first thing you’d buy if you won the lottery? I’ve always dreamed of having a Bentley, but a lovely family holiday would come first. I also support three charities and I would love to give them a nice lump sum each.


What is your dream job, other than your current role? A circus ringmaster! I have been a circus geek since

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What is your proudest moment? For all the fun and excitement I’ve been lucky enough to have in my career, watching my two daughters doing well and being happy cannot be topped.

Aladdin is at Venue Cymru from 11th December to 2nd January. Call 01492 872000 or visit

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4th November, BBC Now Series: Violinist Madeleine Mitchell, Aberystwyth Arts Centre The performance will include Vaughn Williams’s “Symphony No.5”, which was composed during the Second World War. £20. www.

•4th November, Writers’ DropIn, King’s Head, Abergavenny A monthly meeting for any passionate or aspiring writers.

5th November, Glitteringly Decadent Disco, Aberystwyth Cliff Railway Dance the night away and submit up to three of your favourite tunes to the requests playlist. £15, including buffet.

5th November, Stargazing Weekend, Cambrian Mountains Two days of astronomical tuition and observation of the wintry skies. All levels of experience welcome. Wigwam accommodation included. £479 per wigwam cabin for four people. www. darkskywalestrainingservices.

6th November, Welshpool Town Council Firework Display, Maes-Y-Dre Recreation Ground The event is free, although donations will be accepted. Gates open 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

11th November, Kiki & Carmelo, Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri perform covers and original songs in this live acoustic performance. 7.30pm. £20.

Musical shenanigans at The Globe

W Alw v Y

The Globe at Hay has a diverse range of acts booked in for Saturday Shenanigans in November. From folk to powerhouse blues and spicy indie pop, there is something for all musical tastes. Tickets can be bought on the door, with earlybird prices available for advance bookings.

Explore ceramics

Join a course on 13th and 14th November with ceramics expert Alison Finnieston, who will help you explore creativity and make an original piece of art. The cost is £100 including materials and firing. Lunch and accommodation are available to book on request. Places bookable via

All the fun of the winter fair

This year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair takes place from 29th to 30th November. Once again, the showground at Llanelwedd will be full of visitors, competitors and livestock over the two-day show. Whether you are hoping to buy a prizewinning beast or get started on your Christmas shopping, there is something of interest for everyone. General admission cost £16 for adults, and £5 for children.

Join a real ale trail

The Real Ale Ramble takes place in Llanwrtyd Wells from 27th to 28th November, in conjunction with the Mid-Wales Beer Festival. The ramble begins from the town square and you can follow one of two waymarked routes of 12 or 20 miles (from £11), or one of two guided routes of five and eight miles (£6 each). For more information, visit

Enjoy a wild drive through Wales

Join a guided Wild Wales 4x4 Explorer Tour on 13th November from Aberystwyth to Rhayader. The route is considered suitable for most vehicles with low range and minimum all-terrain tyres, and takes in some classic routes as well as lesser-known trails. Entry costs £95 per car, and gift vouchers are available. www.

A one-man festive treat at Wyeside Guy Masterson brings the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol to life in his own memorable style, playing most of the characters himself ! The production takes place at Wyeside Arts Centre on 26th November. Tickets cost £14, with concessions available.

Follow in Percy’s footsteps

As well as enjoying a walk around the walled garden and lake, younger weekend visitors to Llanerchaeron near Aberaeron this December will be delighted to follow Percy the Park Keeper’s winter trail. The classic tale of Percy and his animal friends has been enjoyed for generations, and activity packs can be purchased for £2. Normal admission fees apply. Booking is not necessary. uk/llanerchaeron

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WHAT’S ON MID WALES DID YOU KNOW? Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” video has 1.1bn YouTube views


Aberystwyth Arts Centre highlights Bolshoi Ballet: Spartacus Live, 7th November The legendary Russian ballet company is giving dance lovers the opportunity to experience their show live on the big screen. 3pm. Tickets from £10.

Sarah Millican: Bobby Dazzler, 7th November The upbeat comedian has a new show for

2021, written during lockdown. 8pm. Tickets £27.50. Iolo Williams & Martin Hughes-Games, 11th November Natural history broadcasters Martin and Iolo present this informative and amusing wildlife show packed with fascinating facts and fun. Full of real-life stories from

the wonderful world of wildlife and television presenting. 8pm. Tickets from £18. Whitney: Queen of the Night, 13th November The acclaimed Whitney Houston tribute plays all the big hits accompanied by a live band. 8pm. Tickets from £25.50. www.

Discover waders and wildfowl

Join the RSPB’s experts at Ynis-hir reserve near Machynlleth on 6th November for a trip out to the saltmarsh hides to observe the waders and wildfowl that visit during the autumn and winter months. You can get tips on birdwatching, and learn about how the reserve manages its winter winged visitors. The event isn’t suitable for small children and owing to the location, visitors are advised to dress appropriately for rugged paths and Welsh weather. The event starts at 8.30am, and binoculars are available for hire. Tickets are £12.50 for non-member, and include standard entry to the reserve.

Handmade greetings cards

Join Llanerchaeron’s gardener Meg for a Christmas card-making workshop on 27th November and make extra special cards for your loved ones. Tickets cost £25, including a mince pie. www. uk/llanerchaeron

An evening of comedy and climbing

Comedian and climber Andy Kirkpatrick talks about his climbing adventures around the world at Theatr Brycheiniog on 7th November in Mind Your Head: Holidays From Hell. Tickets from £17. For details, visit

13th November, The Devil’s Violin, Bleddfa Centre, nr Knighton A story of our perception of beauty and the value of kindness, performed on violin and cello. 6.30pm. £14.

14th November, Afternoon Tea, Plas Nanteos Mansion, Aberystwyth Enjoy a truly decadent afternoon tea in lavish surroundings. Noon3pm. £24.95 per person. Book at

19th November, Hand Stitching with Suzi Stitch, Make It In Wales, Cardigan A relaxed one-day workshop with the founder of Make It In Wales, learning various hand-stitching techniques. £74, including materials.

Plan your garden

The Grace Crabb Company in Machynlleth has a number of workshops designed to help your garden grow, including Planning Your Winter Garden on 18th November. The workshop costs £65.

20th November, Catfish, The Globe at Hay, Hay-onWye The UK and British Blues Awards winners play the Globe for the first time. 7.30pm. £12.

Secret Santa 12k

The Secret Santa Series’ Tinsel Twelve 12km run takes place on 4th December, setting off from Perth Y Pia in the Brecon Beacons. All runners should bring a small wrapped gift to the value of £5 to take part in the Secret Santa. As well as a gift, a mince pie and mulled wine will be waiting at the finish. Entry £30.

25th November, Abergavenny Farmers’ Market, Market Hall, Abergavenny One of Monmouthshire’s first established farmers’ markets takes place on the fourth Thursday of every month. This vibrant market offers topquality produce and crafts from local producers. 9am-noon.

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2nd December, Late Night Shopping, Barmouth After the Christmas lights switch-on with live music, shops and many pubs and hotels stay open to bring in the Christmas cheer.

4th December, Marathon du Mulled Wine, Brecon Beacons A half marathon with mulled wine waiting at the end. Setting off from Perth Y Pia, Llanbedr. £42. Car parking £5.

6th December, Flicks In The Sticks: The Polar Express, Welshpool Town Hall A family Christmas classic. 6.30pm. £4 adults, £1 children when with a full-paying adult.

11th December, Walk & Talk Drawing Session, Llanerchaeron, nr Aberaeron Sketch as you take a leisurely stroll around the gardens, accompanied by gardener Meg. No advance booking required, normal entry fee applies. Noon-1pm. www.nationaltrust.

11th December. Macrame Christmas Tree Making, Make It In Wales, Cardigan Morning and afternoon crafting sessions are available with expert tutor Alice Thomas, who will show you how to make beautiful decorations. 10am & 1.30pm. £49, including materials to make four trees.

Wales Folk Award winner performs in Builth Wells

Martyn Joseph, winner of best original Englishlanguage song at the 2019 Wales Folk Awards, plays Wyeside Arts Centre on 11th November. Energetic, passionate and compelling, the guitarist/vocalist has sold more than half a million records. Tickets £18.

See the year out in traditional style

Head to Llanwrtyd Wells on 31st December to experience the ancient Welsh tradition of Mari Lwyd. No booking is required – just turn up in suitable attire! The procession leaves the town square at 10pm.

Winter Fair at the Workhouse

Crefft Cymru holds its annual Winter Arts & Crafts Fair at Y Dollyd, Llanfyllin’s Workhouse, on 27th November. The fair will feature artisan crafts and food and drink, and coincides with the turning on of the lights. Admission is free, with £3 payable for car parking.

DID YOU KNOW? Other Wales Folk Award winners include Lleuwen, Alaw, Pendevig and Vrï

Enjoy Messiah Tipple tasting at Dà Mhìle Distillery in Aberystwyth

Family owned and operated Dà Mhìle Distillery in Llandysul is open weekly for gin-tasting sessions. Visitors can learn about the distillery and taste four of its main gins. The company also produces other spirits, which are available to buy from the on-site farm shop along with other produce. Sessions must be booked in advance, with various days and times available. Tickets are £5 per person (minimum two people).

Bikes and beers

The Real Ale Wobble in Llanwrtyd Wells on 20th November marks the start of the Mid-Wales Beer Festival. Perfect for cyclists and beer enthusiasts alike, the noncompetitive event offers a variety of routes suitable for all abilities, with checkpoints along the way where beer tokens can be exchanged for local beers, soft drinks or water. Entry costs £20 and booking is essential. Check-in from 8am at Bromsgrove Hall.

Aberystwyth Choral Society performs the great choral masterpiece “Messiah” at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 11th December. The choir will be joined by a live orchestra and four international soloists, promising a great live music experience. Tickets cost £12 for adults and £2 for children, with concessions available. For more information, visit www.

Make your escape in Newtown

Beyond Breakout in Newtown offers a variety of escape room experiences for all the family. Visitors can choose their escape room scenario and play in groups of up to six people. Virtual experiences are also available, which allow you to take on the challenges at home. Currently a Christmas-themed escape room is available, suitable for the whole family. Advance booking advised. Prices vary according to the number of players.

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Art tour heads around Newtown

Over summer, Mid Wales Arts Centre in Newtown ran a series of Sculpteen workshops inspired by social reformer Robert Owen, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth. An exhibition of the work created is on display at the Mid Wales Arts Centre, and will then visit various locations around the town, including the library, the market hall, Theatre Hafren and local schools. The exhibition runs until 6th November and there is a chance for viewers to vote for the work they feel most reflects the spirit of Robert Owen and his achievements. See Facebook for details.

Go Christmas shopping in a castle

Enjoy a preview of the Christmas decorations in Powis Castle’s entrance hall and state dining room, delight in some festive singing and warm up with a hot drink and a mince pie on 3rd December. You’ll find everything you need for a magical Christmas, including decorations, cards, gifts and foods in the courtyard shop. The castle, restaurant, gift shop and Christmas shop will be open until 8.30pm. Last admission at 8pm. Entrance is payable by all, including members. Adults £5, children £2. www.nationaltrust.

Cracking market in Welshpool

Enjoy a steam train ride through the scenic Fathew valley on Talyllyn Railway on 5th, 12th and 19th December, followed by a two-course roast turkey meal. Afternoon passengers can order a Christmas hamper or afternoon tea. To book, visit

Classical music delights

Welsh Chamber Orchestra performs at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 18th November. Four oeuvres are on the playlist, including Mozart’s “Symphony No.40 in G Minor”. Tickets from £12.


All aboard for tinsel ’n’ turkey

In a change from the livestock usually found at Welshpool’s Smithfield market, on 4th December it will host the Christmas Cracker Fair. More than 100 stallholders will be present, selling gifts, crafts, food and even Christmas trees. It is also an opportunity to raise funds for local charities. Open from 10am to 4pm. www.


Welsh Wrestling in Llandridnod Wells

Need a break from Christmas TV? Take in some live-action Welsh Wrestling at Pavilion Mid Wales in Llandrindod Wells on 27th December. Watch as professional wrestlers slam it out at this family fun sports entertainment evening. Tickets £11 adults, £8.50 under-16s.

14th & 15th December, Peter Pan: The Wrath Of Hook, Victoria Hall, Lampeter A swashbuckling family pantomime that promises to be spectacular, top-quality entertainment, with lavish sets and a seriously funny script. 7pm.

22nd, 23rd & 24th December, Santa Specials, Talyllyn Railway These special 90-minute train journeys depart from Tywyn Wharf and include a meetand-greet with Santa, a little refreshmen, and lots more! Early booking essential. £16 adults, £16 three to 15 years, £5 underthrees.

Various dates, Open Mic, Caffi Alys, Machynlleth Monthly evening, with 15 minutes or three songs per performer. Food from 6.30pm, open mic from 8pm. See social media for dates.

See Hay in a different light

The Hay Festival Winter Weekend takes place from 24th to 28th November. More intimate than the spring event, it offers five days of conversation, candlelit storytelling, comedy, music and family workshops. Added winter sparkle arrives on 26th November as the town’s lights are switched on by a special guest. In-person events will take place in accordance with current Covid-19 protocols. For the full programme, visit

Winter opening hours, The Silver Mountain Experience, nr Aberystwyth The familyoriented attraction, which is full of myth, legend and interactive features, remains open during winter between 10am and 4pm. From £16.95 adults, £11.95 children, with a 10% discount for tickets purchased online. www.

Various dates, 1898 Club, Welshpool The newly refurbished venue has lots of events including club nights and live music. Advance tickets are also available for the exclusive champagne lounge. See social media or

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All’s well in Wells This elegant town in the heart of Powys has attracted day trippers and permanent residents for centuries thanks to its spa waters, picture-postcard looks and idyllic setting used as billets, while refugees and wounded soldiers were also accommodated in the town. In the postwar era Llandrindod DID YOU suffered a similar KNOW? It’s twinned depression to the with two other rest of the country, spa towns, Bad losing much of its Rappenau and industry. Becoming Contrexéville the administrative centre for Powys boosted the economy Y Gwalia, which opened as a hotel in 1902, is now a municipal building with an influx of new employment in the 1970s and it has seen landrindod Wells – sometimes known steady improvement since – in fact, the town locally as simply “Dod” – is the centre was voted the happiest in Wales in 2017. of the Powys region and an important spot Perhaps this can be partly attributed for the area. It was first established as a spa to the town’s readiness to embrace the town in the 19th century when the apparent era in which it flourished – its Victorian healing qualities of the local spring waters heyday. Many local landmarks still proudly attracted visitors to the area resulting in an showcase the Llandrindod Wells of economic boom, leading to the building yesteryear: the Metropole and Glen Usk of Llandrindod Hall luxury hotel. hotels, the Albert Hall theatre, Llandrindod Its appeal dipped after a while but this railway station (built in 1865) and the was reversed when the Heart of Wales county council building adjacent to it. railway made Llandrindod accessible from The town’s inhabitants also relive its south Wales, the Midlands and northwest former glories in an annual Victorian Festival England. Visitors arrived from May to that has grown to become one the largest of September to take the waters at the Rock its kind in the UK. Many locals celebrate by Park and Pump House Hotel, while being dressing in Victorian, Edwardian or other entertained by orchestras. Hotels, restaurants antique costumes, and many of the town’s and shops sprang up, and the economy shops and businesses dress their windows boomed. In the 1870s, an ornamental lake or otherwise join in the spirit of the event. was formed by draining marshland near the Pump House, and tourists also enjoyed golf, Strong spirit horse racing and air shows beside the river. Llandrindod Wells continues to thrive Harder times despite challenging times thanks to the strength of its community spirit. The town During the First and Second World Wars, many hotels and boarding houses were has no fewer than 100 community groups

responsible for everything from green spaces to theatrics, and they all pull together to create a packed calendar of local events – festivals, summer carnivals, firework displays, raft races, singalongs and talent nights, as well as all manner of Christmas fun. Llandrindod is also the location of the National Cycle Museum, which has around 250 cycles of all vintages demonstrating the development of the bicycle through the ages. At the lake, where there were once deckchairs and Victorian ladies, there is a huge metal dragon sculpture spouting water, model boats and pedalos in the summer. There’s no doubt Llandrindod Wells will continue to draw on its past to create a strong future for many generations to come.


The lake’s impressive dragon sculpture THINGS TO SEE AND DO Llandrindod Wells Lake Park LD1 6BL, 01597 822 600 The National Cycle Museum The Automobile Palace, Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells LD1 5DL, 01597 825531 The Radnorshire Museum Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells LD1 5DL 01597 824513

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Celebrate Christmas at Chester Cathedral

The Annual Christmas Tree Festival Saturday 27 November to Tuesday 4 January 2022 ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Chapterhouse Theatre Saturday 27 November and Wednesday 8 December

A special screening of the family favourite accompanied by a magnificent orchestra.

‘A Christmas Celebration in seasonal words and music’ Saturday 4 and Saturday 11 December

Christmas with Belle Voci Monday 20 Join us for our Christmas concert and enjoy December a selection of traditional and popular words The opera stars return and music for Christmas. An enjoyable evening for all the family.

with their Christmas extravaganza.

Discover more events at

The Snowman image © Snowman Enterprises Limited

The Snowman Tour Saturday 18 December

WE’RE DREAMING OF A WHITE 2 course £20.50

Festive Menus

3 course £26.50

Kids Crafts

Visits from Santa

01244 304 650

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The lanterns at Chester Zoo Set off on a great Christmas expedition to discover exotic illuminated wildlife and animal characters at Chester Zoo on selected days between 12th November and 23rd December. The magical evening event gives you the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light. Let your imagination run wild and discover

Firework and laser display at Blakemere

See the sky above Cheshire light up as Blakemere’s firework display takes place on 6th November. Families can also walk through Cheshire Woodlands and enjoy a mini laser light show. The visual experience runs at regular intervals from 5.30pm to 8pm. There is also a fairground, food and drink plus late-night shopping in the Edwardian Courtyard. Gates open at 5.15pm and the firework display starts at 7pm. Family tickets cost £21, over-16s £7, under-16s £5, under-twos free. Book at www.

incredible spaces, each filled with colourful lanterns, spectacular costumed characters and Christmas scenes. Timed entrance is available between 4pm to 8.15pm. Tickets cost £13 for adults and £11 for children; under-twos are free.

Panto fun at Northwich Memorial Court The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, 13th November The timeless classic makes its way off the page and on to the stage with a menagerie of 75 loveable puppets. 1pm & 3pm. Tickets from £11.

6th November, Neil Howard Stage Rally and Fireworks, Oulton Park Rally cars take on several stages and the circuit’s legendary water splash section. As the rally ends, one of Cheshire’s most spectacular fireworks displays gets under way! From 8am. Adults £19, children £11, under-13s free.

7th November, Changing Places walk, Congleton Museum Using images of Congleton taken over the past 100 years, this walk will show you how the main streets of the town have developed to meet the changing needs of its inhabitants. 2pm. Adults £4, children £1, members £2.50. Booking essential.

Sleeping Beauty, 7th-31st December Anton Benson Productions returns with another magical pantomime. This year’s show also marks 10 years of everyone’s favourite comic, Ryan Greaves, in Northwich. Show times vary. Tickets from £13.

Visit Santa’s enchanted grotto Visit Chester city centre’s only enchanted grotto this Christmas, in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, and immerse yourself in a magical winter wonderland experience. Bookable slots are available from 26th November to 24th December. Follow the path to discover Santa’s grotto, where you’ll have an unforgettable visit with the

DID YOU KNOW? Adopting an animal at the zoo makes a wonderful Christmas gift!

Until 14th November, Nature & Climate Change, Chester Grosvenor Museum An exhibition exploring how nature is affected by climate change, and how it’s one of our greatest allies in facing the challenges to come. Tuesday-Saturday, 10.30am5pm; Sunday, 1pm-4pm. Free entry. grosvenormuseum.

big guy himself. Every child gets a gift from Father Christmas, straight from the North Pole via Weasel & The Bug independent toy shop. You’re welcome to snap away during the experience with an optional souvenir photograph available to commemorate your visit. SEN sessions are available for children with additional needs. Tickets cost £10 per child and £5 per adult. Book your place now at www.experiencechester.

19th November Nantwich Christmas Lights Switch-On Market Take a stroll around the 35-plus stalls featuring an eclectic array of seasonal produce, bespoke and handcrafted gifts. There are also artisan markets on 20th November and 11th December. 12.30pm-7.30pm.

27th & 28th November, Lantern Walk, Norton Priory, Runcorn See the museum and gardens in a whole new light, as incredible light installations bring the woodlands alive and the medieval remains of the priory play host to a fantastical fire garden.

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The beautiful parkland at Bolesworth Castle in Tattenhall will be transformed into a stunning festive scene from 26th November to 24th December. The unforgettable after-dark experience includes a one-mile Christmas light trail, Santa’s grotto, reindeer, fairground, a lights and laser show, a Christmas market and covered ice skating.

Nostalgic nights at Live Rooms Chester Martin Kemp’s Back to the 80s, 18th November The Spandau Ballet star takes to the decks, spinning the best of the hits from the 1980s. 7pm. Tickets £20. Over-18s only. The Bryan Adams Experience, 10th December A celebration of the hit songs and enduring popularity of Bryan Adams. Formed in 1997, this four-piece band replicate live performances that can only be surpassed by Adams himself. 7pm. Tickets £10.

Firework spectacular at Gulliver’s Head to Gulliver’s World Resort in Warrington on 6th November for a special fireworks event. Enjoy hours of theme park rides, attractions and entertainment, followed by a spectacular display in the evening. Themed areas across the park include Safari Kingdom and The Lost World of the Living Dinosaurs. Open noon to 8pm. Entry £24.

Festive delights at Chester Market Chester’s Christmas Market takes place from 18th November to 22nd December, featuring more than 70 stalls housed in traditional wooden chalets. With everything from seasonal crafts and decorations to delicious food and beverages, the event is sure to leave you feeling festive. The market opens at 10.30am and closes at 6.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and 8pm Thursday to Saturday. www.facebook. com/ChesterChristmasMarket

DID YOU KNOW? Bolesworth hosts a major annual international showjumping event

Visitors can also book the champagne island, which give great views of the castle. Entrance costs from £19 for adults and £12.50 for children (three to 12 years). Under-threes are free. Extra charges apply for Santa’s grotto, ice skating and the champagne island.

Magic and marathons at Pyramid James Phelan: Mindblown!, 26th November Viral sensation James Phelan brings you his new smash-hit magical prank show. 8pm. Tickets from £11.50. An Evening With Nick Butter, 27th November The first person to run a marathon in every country shares his amazing tales. 7.30pm. Tickets from £19.

Meet Father Christmas at Quarry Bank

Meet Father Christmas, 4th-19th December A special half-hour session of festive storytelling and crafts, including a family visit to Father Christmas and a gift. From 10am. £10. Normal admission applies. Percy The Park Keeper’s Winter Wander Trail, 4th December3rd January Join in the fun with Percy and his animal friends and give nature a helping hand around the estate. Open from 10.30am to 3pm. Trail tickets £2, normal admission applies.


Rob Brydon: A Night of Songs & Laughter, 8th November With a live band, Rob shares his musical journey from south Wales to the West End. 7.30pm. Tickets £36. Katherine Ryan, 2nd December Hear the Canadian comedian’s hilarious new perspectives on life, love, and what it means to be Mrs. 8pm. Tickets from £24.50. Ultra 90s, 17th December Classic chart, dance and club anthems, from Snap to 2 Unlimited. 9pm. Tickets from £26.

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27th & 28th November, Knutsford Christmas Market Featuring more than 120 traders each day, selling the finest foods, drinks, crafts and gifts from the local area, this is the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping. The Saturday market coincides with the Santa Parade at 5pm and the Christmas Light SwitchOn at 6pm. Saturday, noon7pm; Sunday 11am-4pm. www.

28th November, Wreath Making, Mojo Creative Workshop, Lymm Make a show-stopping artificial wreath for your front door that you’ll be able to use year after year. 2pm-4pm. £45.

3rd & 10th December, Christmas Wreath Making, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens Create your own Christmas wreath under the guidance of head gardener Barry Grain, using foliage from the Cholmondeley Gardens. The course takes place in the café, where mince pies, mulled wine and hot drinks will be served. 10.30am-12.30pm. £40.

•3rd-5th December, A Christmas Carol, The Harlequin Theatre, Northwich Suitable for all ages, the quintessential Christmas story has been adapted specifically for the Harlequin Theatre. Can Scrooge realise the error of his ways before it’s too late? 2pm & 7.45pm. Adults £11, under-16s £6.

4th December, Christmas Wreath Making, The Goshawk, Chester Get into the Christmas spirit and discover the art of making your own festive wreath. 10am-noon. £45, including refreshments.

Spectacular show at Winter Watch Parade

DID YOU KNOW? The parade through Chester is led by the Lord of Misrule

Dating from the 1400s and once held at Christmas, Chester’s Winter Watch Parade now takes place on the first two Thursdays in December, which this year is 2nd and 9th December. Marvel at

dance performances and sword fights, as well as the elaborate costumes. The fun starts at 7pm. www.

Dunham Massey’s magical evening

Celebrating words in Chester

The illuminated trail through Dunham Massey’s festive gardens returns for its fifth year from 19th November to 2nd January. More than one million lights, lasers and seasonal sounds will fill the air along the trail. Timed entry is available from 4.30pm. Adults from £21, children £13.50, under-twos free. www. /dunham-massey

Chester Literature Festival returns to Storyhouse from 6th to 20th November, with fun and thought-provoking events, performances and conversations. This year, the festival – one of the longest-running literature events in the country – has a packed programme of visiting poets, writers, broadcasters, wordsmiths and actors. For show times and ticket prices visit


Shopping Spectacular, 9th & 10th November Over 60 handpicked stalls offering delicious food and stunning gifts. All ticket proceeds will support a family affected by childhood cancer. Doors open at 9.30am. Tickets from £8.50. Watercolour & Sketching Days: Christmas Sparkle, 29th & 30th November Suitable for everyone from beginners to intermediates,

Delights at Delamere Forest

Discover sparkling tunnels of light, walk under giant baubles and beneath trees drenched in jewel-like colour in Delamere Forest, Frodsham, from 26th November to 31st December. Pause for a moment of reflection in the fire garden and gaze at the flickering flames. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled, especially if you have little ones, because you might even glimpse Father Christmas along the way. Open from 4.30pm to 8.45pm. Adult trail £19.50, children £13.50, parking £8. To book, visit

with lots of demonstrations and techniques to view. From 10.30am. Tickets £65 including art materials. www. arleyhalland

Explore Roman Chester

Tour Chester with a Roman soldier, who will guide you on a journey through the city’s Roman heritage. Gain a unique insight into life in Roman Britain and see sights including the amphitheatre and remains hidden away in the basements of the high street shops. Tours depart at noon and 3pm and last 90 minutes. Tickets from £8 for over-12s, £4 for children five to 11 and £20 for families. www.roman

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2021 Chester Racecourse Christmas Party nights have been frozen at 2019 prices!


CHRISTMAS AT CHESTER R ACECOURSE Enjoy a delicious three-course meal, inclusive drinks package and live entertainment from just £78 per person* *Prices includes VAT

To Book Call 01244 304 660

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A Christmas garden trail

One Snowy Night 27 November 2021 – 3 January 2022* Join Percy the Park Keeper and friends in Tatton Park’s winter gardens this Christmas. Toast marshmallows by the fire with Percy before finding his surprise present under the Christmas tree. Let the beautiful wintery scenes and tasty treat make you feel festive and full of cheer.

k Bootickets r you online *selected dates

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Live theatre at Crewe Lyceum

Stick Man, 22nd & 23rd November What starts as a morning jog becomes quite an adventure for Stick Man. How will he ever get back to the family tree? Times vary. Tickets £18.50 adults, £16.50 children. Roy Wood and his Rock & Roll Band, 2nd December What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with a man who has helped

Christmas at Chester Cathedral

Christmas Carols, 4th & 11th December A concert with a selection of traditional and popular songs for Christmas. 7.30pm Tickets from £10, including mulled wine and a mince pie. The Snowman, 18th December Immerse yourself in the irresistible animated tale, accompanied by a live orchestra. Performances at 1.45pm, 4pm and 6.30pm. Tickets from £16 adults and £12 children. Belle Voci, 20th December The opera stars return for their annual Christmas extravaganza, joined by sublime vocalists and musicians. 7.30pm. Tickets from £14.40.

shape our musical Christmas? 7.30pm. Tickets from £32.

DID YOU KNOW? Amelia Lily has been in the stage musicals Joseph and Shrek

4th, 5th, 11th, 12th & 18th-24th December, Santa’s Magical Drive-In, Tarvin Sands Reindeer Centre, Tarvin A 40-minute, fun-packed musical pantomime that is sure to bring you some cheer. You will need to have a working, tuneable radio in your car that can receive an FM signal. Shows from noon. From £20 for a car plus two people to £70 for a car plus seven people.

Sleeping Beauty, 10th December-2nd January Starring Bobby Davro and Amelia Lily. Show times vary. Tickets from £21.75.

Party time with Chester Boat Chester Boat sets sail every Saturday. Choose your theme and your date, and sail back in time through your favourite musical era, from 1970s to Motown, 1990s to Mamma Mia! Cruises depart at 7.30pm and tickets cost £33.50, which includes a glass of wine, a buffet and a disco.

Chester’s firework extravaganza See two firework displays at the Lord Mayor’s Firework Extravaganza at Chester Racecourse on 6th November. A display for toddlers at 6.45pm is followed by the main event at 7.30pm, which is set to music. There will be a wide range of food vendors on site too. Gates open at 5pm and entry costs £5 per person when booked in advance (£7 on the day).

Winter highlights on stage at Chester Little Theatre

The Next Doctor Cosmos, 4th-6th November Alice is a woman with a secret: once upon a time, she lived a double life as Doctor Cosmos, the most powerful superhero in the known universe. Murder On The Rerun, 4th-11th December In a dark chalet, friends are playing sardines. Then Jane is found dead at the bottom of the stairs… Tickets from £5.

9th December, Tabley Carol Concert, St Peter’s Chapel, Tabley House, Knutsford The Border Singers will once again lead the singing of beloved carols and festive songs, interspersed with amusing and seasonal readings for the Christmas season. Followed by mince pies and madeira. 7.30pm. Adults £17, Friends of Tabley and volunteers £15.

12th December, A Christmas Carol Recitation, Capesthorne Hall, nr Macclesfield Get into the Christmas spirit with a recitation of Charles Dickens’ ghostly tale. Not suitable for under-fives. 2.30pm. Adults £12.50, children £6.

Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere Abbeywood Gardens has lots to offer, including six acres of informal and formal gardens. Children can enjoy the 2km wildlife walk, incorporating 27 acres of mature and newly planted woodland. There is also a garden café and an outdoor children’s play area. 9am-5pm, closed Fridays and Saturdays. Adults £6, concessions £5, children free.

Lyme Park, Stockport The house, parkland and gardens at Lyme are open for you to enjoy a winter day out. 9am-4.30pm (house closed on Wednesdays). Adults £8, children £4, families £20.

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•Manley Mere, Frodsham Have a fun day outdoors. Climb along the woodland adventure trail, which is suitable for children and adults alike and takes around two to three hours to complete. 10am-5pm. Trail tickets £12, under-fours free.

Nantwich Museum This •quirky gallery has a programme of temporary exhibitions throughout the year for visitors to enjoy. Open TuesdaySunday, 10.30am-4.30pm. Free.

Comedy and dance at Storyhouse Susie Dent: The Secret Lives of Words, 6th November A journey into the curious, unexpected, and downright surreal origins of the words we use every day with the lexical star of Countdown and 8 Out 10 Cats Does Countdown. 7.30pm. Tickets £24. Cupid’s Revenge, 13th November The latest dance theatre comedy show by the groundbreaking performance company New Art Club is a joyful, physical and verbal outburst against the forces

One Snowy Night: A Christmas Garden Tale, 27th November-3rd January A feelgood family event based on Nick Butterworth’s much-cherished book. You’ll need a trail sheet, winter woollies and a keen eye.

Father Christmas at the Farm, 27th November21st December Not only will you meet the big man himself, but there’s also a live nativity scene to enjoy in the stable. Hop into Santa’s sleigh for a selfie and make reindeer food at the mill.

The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall There’s more than ice cream here: from Strawberry Falls Adventure Golf, Daisy’s Garden, Rocky Road and Silvercone racing track to Mini Scoop, Mini Tractors, and Gemstone Cove. 9am-5pm. From £1; additional charges apply for some attractions. Entry must be pre-booked.

Chester Ghost Tours Take a night-time journey every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and visit the eerie haunts of Chester’s mysterious and murky past. 7.30pm. Adults £10, concessions £9, families £25.

Oliver Twist!, 4th December-16th January A street-savvy production of the Charles Dickens favourite. Big-hearted joy, feelgood songs, pursesnatchers and dogs – all live from the gutter this Christmas. Shows times vary from noon to 7pm. Tickets from £18.


Brewhouse & Kitchen, Chester Join a beer or gin masterclass or beer and food matching. From £25 per person. www.

Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich The boat lift is one of the “Seven Wonders of the Waterways” and with its fascinating visitor centre, coffee shop and new play area, it’s an unmissable place to visit. Parking from £2 for three hours.

that masquerade as love. 8pm. Tickets from £14.85.

DID YOU KNOW? Susie Dent has appeared on over 4,500 episodes of Countdown

Northern Chamber Orchestra, 10th December A festive concert in the Tenants’ Hall, with festive songs sung by the Choir of St Nicholas Catholic High School, Northwich, and carols for everyone to join in with. Concerts at 3.30pm and 7pm.

Christmas Carols in the Stableyard, 19th December A free event for everyone, with singing accompanied by the King Edward Musical Society Band and Choir. Pop into the gift shop for some last-minute Christmas gifts. Garden entry costs £8 for adults, £6 for children, plus £8 for parking.

Christmas quest at Beeston Castle

Fun science for all

Visit the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes for an interactive experience for all ages. A host of exhibits and multimedia programmes bring a range of subjects to life from science and maths to engineering and technology. For opening times and prices, visit

Close encounters of the shark kind

Walk through an underwater shark tunnel at Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks, and watch as a kaleidoscope of sharks and fish swim over your head. Aquatheatre presentations featuring divers and a fish feed take place daily too. For more information, visit

Explore Beeston Castle with the family-friendly Christmas adventure quest from 27th November to 2nd January. Find the clues dotted around the castle and discover fun facts and festive folklore. Adults £9.90, children £6.

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DID YOU KNOW? Church Farm’s attractions include an indoor beach!

New for 2021, the Santa Experience at Church Farm in Thurstaston is an 80-minute journey around the farm by tractor and foot, with colourful characters, real reindeer, special effects, farm animals and a very special visit to Santa. The beautifully lit-up farm will have songs, dancing and

audience participation, plus chocolate gifts for children. There is a refreshment area where you can buy drinks and snacks and photo points too. There are various dates throughout December and tickets cost from £14.


Get hands-on with animals!

Action Transport Theatre in Ellesmere Port runs Drama Droplets, for ages seven to 11, every Wednesday during term time and Drama Drop-In for ages 12 to 17. All groups are free and there are no auditions.

Feed the animals at the Tam O’Shanter urban farm in Bidston Hill. The farm is open daily 9.30am to 5pm. For details, visit www.


Silver Screen weekday films at The Light Cinema in New Brighton are aimed at guests aged 60-plus but are open to anyone who wants to catch up with friends or meet new people. Each ticket includes a complimentary tea or coffee, and each screening is socially distanced. Autism-friendly screenings are also returning soon.

Artistic licence

Pigmentum in Moreton has creative activities for all ages and abilities, including crochet on Wednesdays and wellness on Thursdays. Search Facebook for @PigmentumWirral.

See the ’Light

Join the knowledgeable guides in the village of Port Sunlight for a special 90-minute walking tour. Get a real insight into village life, and hear fascinating stories of the past and present. Tickets cost £7.

Curtains up at Gladstone Theatre Crissy Rock, 4th November The Benidorm star is also one of the most outrageous standups of her generation. 7.30pm. Tickets £18.

Billy Mitchell & Bob Fox, 12th November A warm-hearted show ideal for audiences of all ages and musical persuasions. 7.30pm. Tickets £16. Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps!, 5th December This musical adaptation of Nicholas Allan’s book is the perfect combination of witty humour, fantastic music and festive

sparkle. 1pm. Tickets from £11.50.

Jack & The Beanstalk, 11th-31st December Dreamworld Entertainments returns with what promises to be the theatre’s biggest panto ever! Tickets from £14. www.

2nd-3rd November, Wirral Bazaar, Thornton Manor With 70-plus stallholders, you’re bound to find gifts for all the family! There are also refreshments and live music. Proceeds to North West Cancer Research. 2pm-8.30pm on the 2nd and 9.30am-3pm on the 3rd. £5.

3rd & 17th November & 1st & 15th December, Live Traditional Jazz, The Irby Club, Irby Live jazz from the Original Panama Jazz Band every first and third Wednesday of every month. Includes raffle. 8pm. Free. Call 01829 751815.

6th November, Mr Pratt’s Hybrids, Ness Botanic Gardens, Neston Steve Lyus and Ness Botanic Garden’s former botanist Tim Baxter take an in-depth look at new developments in hybrid species. 2pm. Members free, non-members £2. www.

6th November, Linocut & Print Christmas Cards, Chemist & Co Studio, Hoylake A creative workshop with textile artist Catherine Carmyllie, who will teach you how to make and print a set of 10 festive cards. 12.15pm. £35, including materials such as cards, tools, inks, and lino.

11th & 14th November, ForgetMe-Not: A Wartime Concert Experience, Heswall Hall Featuring vintage performer Lilli Moore. Profits to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Times vary. From £15.

20th November, Defibrillator Fundraiser, West Kirby Arts Centre Like A Hurricane perform to support the appeal for a 24-hour community-access defibrillator. Snacks provided, and a raffle. 7pm. £10. www. westkirbyarts

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3rd & 17th December, Cocktails & Candles, The Barn, Heswall Back by popular demand, this is the long-awaited return of The Barn’s collaboration with Blind Pig and Wirral Candle Co. The format is simple: drink three cocktails while making a beautifully scented candle! Times vary. £35. Email sammy

12th December, Organ Recital Series, Dome of Home, Wallasey Organist Christian Spence and the canons and sisters of ICKSP perform Bach and Daquin for Advent and Christmas. Free. 4pm.

12th, 19th & 24th December, Festive Family Carvery, Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa Treat the family and enjoy entertainment by dancers and a DJ playing favourites from The Nutcracker, Frozen and The Grinch, plus a visit from Father Christmas with a selectionbox gift for the children. 12.30pm. £30 adults, £15 five to 12 years, £5 under-fives.

13th December, Poets Corner: Midwinter, Hillbark Hotel, Frankby Featured in many poetic works, midwinter is a significant time of year in many cultures, marked by festivals and rituals celebrating the symbolic death and rebirth of the sun, as the nights grow longer and the days grow shorter. 10.30am. £8.

18th December, Festive Gin Tasting, Tappers Gin Distillery, Birkenhead This festive evening will start with a brief tour of the distillery, followed by a tasting led by Dr Steve Tapril bringing everyone good cheer, with the special Figgy Pudding Christmas Gin as part of the line-up. 7pm. £30. www.tappers

Wander through the Winter Wonderlight As darkness falls on the historic gardens of Thornton Manor, the grounds come alive with a glittering sprinkle of Christmas magic in Winter Wonderlight, a visually stunning, multi-sensory walk-through spectacular. The event takes place on Thursdays to Sundays from 26th November to 19th December, with entry from £16.50. Visitors can stroll under the stars beneath magically illuminated tree canopies, transformed by moving light. Look

A different market every weekend!

The Christmas Market at Woodside Ferry Village in Birkenhead takes place every weekend from 13th November to 17th December, and is the perfect place to buy gifts that aren’t available on the high street. Each weekend will see different independent businesses attend. The markets are open 11am to 6pm. For details, visit www. woodsideferry

DID YOU KNOW? Thornton Manor was the home of industrialist William Lever

out for sparkling tunnels, flickering flames and mesmerising displays as they cast the stunning landscape in a whole new light – you may even spot Santa and his elves along the way! A breathtaking light show finale brings the night sky to life. Complete your Christmas treat under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine, hot chocolate and other traditional winter warmers. Book your place at

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Help needed

Want to make Wirral a more environmentally friendly place? Wirral Environmental Network would like to hear from you, especially if you’re a gardener or furniture repairer or have finance skills. Visit www.wirralenvironmental for more.

West Kirby Farmers’ Market takes place from 9am to midday on the fourth Saturday of every month – with a Christmas market on 18th December – in St Andrew’s Church Hall and its car park. It showcases more than 20 local producers, who bring a huge range of produce including fruit, cheeses, yoghurts, eggs, pies, cakes, pastries, beers, ciders and more. www. westkirby farmers


That’ll Be The Day, 1st November A rollercoaster ride through the golden age of rock’n’roll and pop. 7.30pm. Tickets £28.25.

Eclipse: Pink Floyd Experience, 19th November With a complete performance of Pink Floyd’s epochmaking album, The Dark Side Of The Moon, plus music from The Wall, Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell. 8pm. Tickets £20. Christmas Party Night: Nya King as Whitney, 2nd December Looking and sounding like the queen of music herself, Nya gives a live performance that will leave you astounded! 7pm. Tickets £46.75 (including a three-course meal).

Christmas Party Night: Take On Take That, 3rd December With authentic costumes, outstanding vocals and fabulous choreography, Take On Take That will whisk you away on a whirl of nostalgia that you’ll Never Forget. 7pm. Tickets £46.75 (including and a three-course meal). Beauty & The Beast, 4th December2nd January Starring Melanie Walters (Gwen West in Gavin & Stacey) and Sean Jones, known to audiences for his award-winning role as Mickey in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, this enchanting panto will delight all the family! Times vary. Tickets from £16.75.

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Peter Kay, one of the country’s best-loved comedians, tells Shire about his lockdown project to spread smiles by recording his autobiography as an audiobook in an effort to try and cheer people up a bit. So hopefully it will lift people’s spirits. We all need a laugh. Especially without McDonald’s doing porridge.”

Working from home

Peter recorded the whole book from home, which he says made for a relaxed experience all round.

“Hopefully, it will lift people’s spirits. We all need a laugh. Especially without MCDonald’s doing porridge”


he Sound Of Laughter is not only the title of Peter Kay’s best-selling autobiography – it is pretty much a guaranteed response to the stories within it too. The book observes the absurdities and eccentricities of family life: elderly relatives, garlic bread, cheesecake, weddings, funerals and all the other familiar tales the Bolton comedian has regaled us with over the years. And now you can enjoy all the mirth and merriment without even having to read a word, because Peter has recorded it as an audiobook. Peter has won numerous awards for his TV work, including Car Share and Phoenix Nights, and has had three number one singles. He also holds the Guinness world record for the biggest-selling stand-up comedian on the planet, while The Sound Of Laughter still holds the record for the biggest-selling British hardback autobiography of all time, selling over two million copies. However, it took 15 years for him to record the audiobook, for which he jokingly blames Covid: “I blame the pandemic! Mind you, people are still blaming the pandemic for everything. You know, I still can’t get porridge at McDonald’s because of the pandemic. What’s all that about? It’s oats in a microwave!” The truth, he admits, is that “Audible approached me during the pandemic to ask if I’d like to record The Sound Of Laughter

“I could record at my own pace and that made the whole experience much more fun as I was able to drift off the subject matter and have a different view about it all these years later. I’d never read the book since I wrote it in 2006. It was fascinating, like reading something that somebody else had written. Although weirdly, even though I knew what was coming next, I’d forgotten so much of what I’d written.” Then again, Peter says, he never intended to write a book in the first place. “But I found out that a book was already being written about me. I wasn’t happy so I decided to write my own. If anybody was going to write about me, I thought I’d probably be the best person to do it. “I felt completely out of my depth when

I wrote it. I didn’t start writing until March 2006 and it had to be completed by the June. I spent the first few weeks constantly clicking on the thesaurus, looking for better words. I was so self-conscious – I didn’t even have my English GCSE – but then I began to find my own voice, and everything fell into place. It turned out I really enjoyed writing. I just wanted to make it as funny as possible.” Peter’s second book, Saturday Night Peter, was also a best-seller, but the comedian hasn’t written anything since. “I suppose life gets in the way,” he says. “Becoming a dad changed my priorities. The trick is getting the balance right in your life. I think a lot of people were forced to realise that during the pandemic. A lot of people’s priorities will have changed forever now. Hopefully for the better.” Peter Kay’s The Sound Of Laughter is available to download from Audible

November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 41

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4th November, JABS: Behind The Screens, SpArC Theatre, Bishop’s Castle A light-hearted play from Sally Tonge. 7pm. From £6.

5th November, Bonfire & Firework Extravaganza, Bomere Heath Cricket Club, Shrewsbury With food stalls from club sponsor Battlefield 1403, a mini funfair and bungee trampolines. Gates open at 5pm. £5 adults, £2.50 children. See Facebook for details.


Love2stay Shrewsbury is hosting a family-friendly Bonfire Night celebration on 6th November. As well as a low-noise fireworks display, there will be marshmallow toasting, and you can even try axe throwing! See social media for details.

Three days of Christmas cheer at Derwen College

6th November , The Johns’ Boys Male Voice Choir, The Holroyd Community Theatre on Saturday The multi-award-winning choir will be performing a wonderful selection of choral repertoire. 7pm. £18.

6th November, Mad Jack’s 5 Run, Attingham Park A fun run that finishes with a run or wade through a pond 50cm deep. Online entry preferred. 10.30am start.

6th November, Forever Elton: The Greatest Hits tour, Theatre on the Steps, Bridgnorth With dazzling costumes, piano, and a live band, this tribute to the music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin has been touted as “better than the real thing”. 8pm. £17.

Derwen College, near Oswestry, is pulling out all the stops with its biggest and best Christmas Fayre ever from 26th to 28th November. The festive extravaganza offers something for everyone, including a guest appearance from Santa himself and shopping on Friday until 8pm.


On 6th November Alderford Lake, Whitchurch, hosts a Bonfire Night extravaganza with a fireworks, along with outdoor food stalls, funfair and live music. Gates open at 5pm, with the bonfire at 6pm, sound-sensitive display at 7pm and main fireworks at 8pm. Tickets £11.95 adults and £9.95 ages three to 16. Free parking.

Get your winter woollies on!

A Christmas Jumper Run takes place in the Quarry Park, Shrewsbury, on 28th November, with proceeds going to Severn Hospice. The race starts at 10am and participants will have the option of running 2.5km, 5km or 10km. There are no age restrictions on any of the races, and all abilities are welcome. Finishers will receive a Christmas-themed medal. Enter at

Real Christmas cracker

Folk band The Churchfitters present an alternative way to ring in the festive season with their Christmas Cracker. Making music from anything they can lay their hands on, including saucepans and metal saws, the group will perform a selection of traditional and original festive songs. The fun evening takes place on 17th December at Bishop’s Castle Town Hall. Tickets cost £14.


DarkFest at Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton, on 12th & 13th November offers unusual creative experiences, with night-time photography, singing in the dark, a silent disco and more. Events are free or modestly priced. See the DarkFest Facebook page for more information. For tickets, visit

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ROYAL BALLET FAMILY TREAT The Nutcracker is a family favourite at Christmas time and is one of the DID YOU most delightful ways for KNOW? children to discover the The Nutcracker was enchantment of ballet. first performed The story of Clara, in St Petersburg a girl on a magical in 1892 Christmas Eve adventure, is accompanied by sparkling music and even dancing sweets! Watch the full company of the Royal Ballet performed this much-loved classic ballet via satellite at SpArC Theatre in Bishop’s Castle on 12th December. The matinee performance starts at 2pm and last two hours 40 minutes, including an interval. Tickets cost from £8. For more information, visit

Candle-lit Christmas concert

Promoted by Shropshire Music Trust, leading UK choir Ex Cathedra present an evening concert, Christmas Music by Candlelight, on 3rd December at St Chad’s Church, Shrewsbury. Music and readings will be performed by candlelight in what is sure to be a stunning performance. Tickets cost from £11 to £25. For more information, visit

Memorial appeal

ENSA Memorial Appeal is raising funds for a memorial at the National Arboretum to honour men and women from the entertainment industry who did so much to boost morale during the Second World War. Events include a Remembrance Sunday luncheon on 14th November at the Wroxeter Hotel. Tickets are £25. www.jumble sundayluncheon


Watch a panto from your car at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury, on 28th December. Horrible Christmas features historical figures as they try save Christmas. Tickets are £49.50 per car.


6th & 7th November, Frost Fair, Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms A wide selection of gifts and crafts from local Shropshire crafters. 10am. Free. www.shropshire

6th & 7th November, Hank Marvin Street Food @ Social Street Kitchen, Shrewsbury The popular pop-up returns with a great lineup of food and drink vendors and entertainment. Noon-10pm Saturday, noon-8pm Sunday. See social media for details.

6th & 7th November, Ludlow Fine Book Fair, Ludlow Racecourse Beautiful books and associated supplies. Refreshments available. 10.30am-4pm. Free entry.

8th November, An Evening with Sarah Moss, Booka Bookshop, Oswestry Sarah talks about her new novel, The Fell, set during lockdown. 7.30pm. £15, including signed copy of the book.

Winter wanders at Dudmaston Hall


On select dates in December enjoy the beautiful atmosphere at Weston Park near Shifnal with the illuminated woodland walk and pop-up market. Advance tickets only, with timed arrival. Standard tickets are £14 or £45 for two adults and two children.

Visitors to Dudmaston Hall in Quatt can join Percy the Park Keepers’ Winter Wander this December. Children will enjoy following the trail with links to the much-loved stories. Activity packs cost £2 from the café at Comer Woods. A small car parking charge is payable. www.nationaltrust.

13th & 14th November, Oswestry Antique & Collectors’ Fair, Oswestry Snowground A wide range of antiques for sale. 8.30am-3.30pm Saturday, 9am-3pm Sunday. £3.50.

Until 15th November, The Marches Scribes: Writers, Readers, Thinkers, Dreamers, Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms This exhibition uses calligraphy to represent the theme. All pieces on display are available for purchase. Free entry. 10am-5pm. www.shropshire hillsdiscovery

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Award-winning Markets The Indoor Market is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the outdoor market every Wednesday and Saturday. Plus we hold the Artisan Market on the last Friday of every month. The new weekly street market has gone from strength to strength attracting some fantastic bespoke stalls.

Annual Bonfire & Firework Display Sat 6 November 2021

Oswestry Christmas Live Friday 3 December 2021 One of the largest and spectacular night time events in the County. Huge amusement rides, Christmas stalls, late night shopping, Santa’s Grotto, live music stage, fireworks and much, much more. Fantastic night out for all the family.

Oswestry Christmas Parade 7pm. Huge annual event held at Brogyntyn Park and managed by volunteers, the Borderland Rotary. All proceeds to local charities.

Christmas Light Switch On Thursday 18 November 2021 From 4pm. Local schools and musical groups perform on the large stage held on the Bailey Head to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas Lights often with special guests. Great family night out.

Saturday 4 December 2021 11am

Shropshire Santa 5k Run Sunday 5 December 2021 8am Smithfield Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 2EG. The event HQ & start/finish are a short walk from several car parks in the town centre.




Come & Christmas Shop at Whitchurch we have a wealth of independent retailers in our town.

10am to 6pm Saturday 27 November 2021 (5pm Christmas Lights Switch-On)

Whitchurch Civic Centre

Christmas Artisan Market Friday 17 December 2021 9am - 3pm. A collection of quality local craft and food producers held in Bailey Street and the Bailey Head with a Christmassy feel.

For further information call 01691 680222 or visit:

Contact Civic Centre directly on 01948 665761 #ShopWhitchurch

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THE PLACE FOR FUN Milton Jones, 9th November Him with the shirts from Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo and Radio 4. Fast, absurd and very funny. 7.30pm. Tickets £29. Country Superstars: The Dolly Parton Experience, 12th November A highly professional tribute show, taking a comprehensive trip through country music history. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.

Christmas comes to Coalbrookdale

The Winter Wonderland Grotto returns to the Museum of Iron on selected dates in November and December. There are plenty of photo opportunities before meeting the big man. Each child ticket costs £10 and includes a gift from Santa and entry for up to three adults. To book visit

DID YOU KNOW? Dolly Parton says she has written more than 3,000 songs

Michael Portillo – Life: A Game Of Two Halves, 23rd November The former politician tells his story. 7pm. Tickets £20. Aladdin, 9th December-2nd January Aladdin battles the evil Abazanar. Times vary. Tickets from £15.

See the safari park after dark

West Midland Safari Park hosts its evening lantern trail on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 5th December. The 3km trail has 1,000 lanterns, lit-up landscapes and animal installations. Arrival times are between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are £18 adults, £15 children. www.wmsp.

Afternoon delights

A festive afternoon tea is on offer at Hawkstone Hall and Gardens on selected dates in November and December. The hall will be a scene of Christmas decadence and full of festive cheer created by the Shifnal & District male voice choir. The tea costs £32.50 per guest, and booking is essential. For details, visit


20th November, Stonehouse Brewery Tour, Oswestry Tour and tasting session lasting one to two hours, including two full pints. Noon. £25. Call 01691 676457.

20th November, Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop, Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms Learn the when, what, where, why and how of pruning fruit trees in the centre’s mature community orchard. Boots and gardening gloves essential. 10am-1pm. £25. To book, visit www.shropshire

20th & 21st November, Shrewsbury Chocolate Festival, St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury Independent chocolatiers will be present for this chocolate lovers’ heaven. 10am-5pm.

26th-27th November, Photography Night Shoot, RAF Cosford Several aircraft will be fabulously lit outside at night for some brilliant photos in this exclusive ticket-only event. Refreshments available. Over-16s only. 5pm-9pm. £40.

The Santa Experience at Park Hall Farm near Oswestry brings Christmas magic for little ones along with all the fun of the farm. Book your time slot to see Santa, and spend the rest of the day enjoying the attractions. Children’s tickets cost £19.95 and include a visit to Santa and a gift, a drink and treat, the flying reindeer school show and access to everything at the farm. Accompanying adults are also charged.

26th November, Santa Safari, West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley A four-mile safari, plus see Santa in his grotto. Book your slot at

27th November, Hector’s Greyhound Rescue Winter Wonderland, Oswestry Memorial Hall Fundraising event for Hector’s Greyhound Rescue with lots of stalls, refreshments, carol singing, and a Santa Paws grotto. 10am-1pm.

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1st December3rd January, The Panto Adventures Of Peter Pan, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury A festive family treat full of laughs. Book your tickets – the croc is ticking!

Christmas market with a difference •

3rd December, James Bond Themed Night, Lion Quays Hotel, Oswestry An evening of dining, casino games and dancing. 7pm-1am. £45, including a welcome drink and three-course meal.

Shrewsbury Prison – rated Shropshire’s number one tourist destination on TripAdvisor – hosts a Christmas market on 11th December. Enter through the 200-year-old gates into the courtyard and venture past the prison’s largest wing, which housed criminals for 200 years. There will be 50 stallholders offering gifts, crafts, clothing, games, toys and street food. Entry is free, but must be booked in advance (and does not include entry to the prison).

Historical festivities

•4th-5th, 11th-12th &

18th-24th December, Breakfast with Santa, Apley Farm Shop, Shifnal Enjoy a hot buffet breakfast and chat with the Big Man. Booking essential.

7th, 14th & 21st December, Tinsel Tuesdays, Ludlow Market A traditional Christmas gift market. Get in the Christmas spirit with music, mulled wine and festive food. See social media for details.

Get hands-on with history and enjoy all the sights and sounds of a medieval Christmas in Ludlow on 27th and 28th November. Step back in time and see jesters, fighting knights, storytellers and more. More than 100 stalls will be selling unique gifts and treats. Opens 10am on both days, and closes at 9pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday. Tickets from £14 adults, £8.50 children. Timed arrival booking required.

DID YOU KNOW? The prison is mentioned in A Shropshire Lad by AE Housman


Composer and trumpeter Byron Wallen brings his Four Corners band to SJN at the Hive on 13th November to perform music from their latest album, Portrait: Reflections On Belonging. Tickets from £23.

Beneath the waves •

11th-12th & 18th-24th December, Traditional Nativity, Rays Farm, Bridgnorth See baby Jesus in the stable along with the other nativity characters. Booking is essential. £9.50 adults, £11.99 children.

15th December, Doorstep Carols, your street! Following the huge success of last year’s Carols on the Doorstep, created in Shropshire in response to Covid-19 restrictions, you can sing along this year and raise money for charity at the same time.


Join the UK’s only New Year’s Eve midnight run in the Quarry Park, Shrewsbury, on 31st December. Kickstart your new fitness regime at the strike of midnight while the sound of fireworks and revelry echoes around you. Choose between 2.5km, 5km or 10km.

The Ocean Film Festival returns to Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, on 11th November with a collection of short films from above and below the water. Themes include seafaring voyages, watersports and marine conservation, and the festival aims to inspire people to explore, respect, enjoy and protect the oceans.

A musical evening at St Alkmund’s

Shrewsbury Cantata Choir returns to performance at St Alkmund’s Church in Shrewsbury with an uplifting programme featuring Handel’s Dixit Dominus. The choir will be supported by an orchestra as well as soloists. Audience members are asked to be double-jabbed or to have taken a negative lateral flow test before attending. Tickets cost £12.

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Apley Farm Shop

Apley Farm Shop is small local business, run by local people. We pride ourselves on fresh, local and delicious products for our customers. Pre-order with us via our email Pre-Order the perfect hanpers for your loved onees

ery h utc s B now a stm ders ble! i r Ch or aila av

01952 581002 Apley Farm Shop, Norton, Shropshire TF11 9EF

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Christmas at Ludlow Farmshop

Christmas Orders

Hampers & Gifts

Time to order that turkey ready for a fabulous Christmas? You can browse our Christmas Food brochure and submit your order in store or online.

We have a gorgeous range of gifts, perfect for the foodie in your life - our 2021 range has many old favourites, as well as some new ones we are sure you will love.

Ludlow Farmshop 01584 856000


Christmas at The Clive

Events & Vouchers

The Clive has so much going on this Christmas - Festive menus & Afternoon Tea, a glorious NYE tasting menu and hangover busting brunches.

Looking for an experience gift? Look no further, we have event tickets and vouchers galore for Ludlow Farmshop & The Clive Arms. Visit clivecollection.wearegifted. to find out more

Bromfield, Shropshire, SY8 2JR


The Clive Arms 01584 856565

T: 01743 450 700 E: W:


12th - Antiques, Interiors & Books 14th - 1st Feb - Timed Auction Militaria


6th - Antiques, Interiors & Books 14th-2nd Aug - Timed Auction Militaria


9th - Antiques & Interiors 23rd - The Spring Auction


7th - Antiques & Interiors 21st - The Autumn Auction


14th-2nd May - Timed Auction Modern & Contemporary Art



4th - Antiques & Interiors 13th-29th - Timed Auction Asian Art

20th-6th Nov - Timed Auction Modern & Contemporary Art 28th-20th Nov - Timed Auction Asian Art


9th - Antiques, Interiors & Books

JUNE 15th - The Summer Auction


7th - The Christmas Auction

All auctions start at 10am

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DID YOU KNOW? Sarah sings a song, “Diesel Mouse”, to remind her which fuel to use


Sarah Millican: Bobby Dazzler, 10th November Cheeky Geordie lass Sarah has spent the last year “writing jokes and growing her backside” and is on tour with a brand-new stand-up show. 8pm. Tickets £29.50. Over-16s only. Elf The Musical, 17th-20th November Awardwinning theatre company Get Your Wiggle On

performs this musical adaptation of this festive family favourite. 7pm, plus 2pm on Saturday. Tickets from £16. Calling Planet Earth, 21st November A New Romantic symphony taking you on a journey through the music of the 1980s. 7.30pm. Tickets £26.50.


Shrewsbury Festival of Literature takes place from 26th to 28th November, featuring a wide range of events including guest speakers, poetry readings and open-mic nights. Many of the events are at Shrewsbury Library or the Hive. Visit for more.

An evening with Toyah

Toyah Willcox performs her hit singles and latest songs, as well as sharing tales from her career, at Festival Drayton Centre on 19th November. Tickets from £22.

See Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge decorated in traditional holly and ivy, paper chains and decoupage baubles. An outdoor ice rink is also available for a little extra winter fun. To book your slot, visit

21st December, Winter Solstice, Soulton Hall, nr Wem Celebrate the shortest day of the year at sunset at Soulton Long Barrow.

Tribute to the queen of comedy

See Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood at Wem Town Hall on 19th November. For prices and times, visit


Get your skates on in Ironbridge

17th December, Christmas Artisan Market, Bailey Head, Oswestry Local craft and food producers bring with a Christmassy feel. 9am-3pm.

Wales Comic Con hosts the Telford Takeover at Telford International Centre on 20th to 21st November. There is a large and diverse guest list, with well-known faces from film and TV as well as those who work their craft behind the scenes. Cosplay costume is welcome, and prizes will be given to the best dressed. Weekend tickets cost £54.99 for adults and £19.99 for under-14s. Autographs and photo ops available.

Much Wenlock Christmas fayre Enjoy a quintessential Christmas fayre in Much Wenlock on 4th December. Over 100 stalls will be open from 10am, along with live performances and children’s entertainment. A candlelit procession takes place down the high street with carol singing in the town square from 4.30pm.

Shropshire Wine School, The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury The school has a full diary of events and courses, ranging from introductory wine-tasting up to professional qualifications.

Soldiers of Shropshire Museum, Shrewsbury Castle A familyfriendly display with a spectacular collection of uniforms, medals and more. Daily, 10.30am-4pm except Thursdays and Sundays. £4.50 adults, £2 children, free for former members of Shropshire regiments. Booking not required.

Whitchurch Walkers This walking group offers two regular group walks a month, as well as small group walks for members. New members are always welcome. For details, visit

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If you have a show in the Shire area, we can send a reviewer – and your show can appear on these pages too! Email editorial@ We look forward to hearing from you!

Discover what Shire’s team thought of the concerts, live events and theatre shows they’ve seen over the past couple of months at local venues TASTE CHESHIRE, CHESTER RACECOURSE

We arrived at this food festival on a sunny Sunday with empty tummies, and we weren’t disappointed. The many stalls offered samples, with larger meals available from catering vans. We started with Greek souvlaki – soft pitta bread filled with tender ONE PIANO, FOUR HANDS, MARKET DRAYTON FESTIVAL CENTRE Sitting at the piano, John Gough and Tom Kimmance appeared joined at the hip. In Mozart’s “Sonata in D major”, they demonstrated the power and variety of sounds achievable with four hands while playing with the sensitivity and intimacy of the closest chamber ensemble. Then it was into Schubert’s masterpiece “Fantasie in F minor”. Huge mood swings in this profound, autobiographical piece were realised with a fine unity of interpretation; the

chicken and lamb, tzatziki, and salad. It was delicious. The children spotted the bubble waffle stall and ordered three huge, freshly made waffles filled with chocolate, strawberries, and sauce. It’s the first time ever they haven’t finished a dessert. Luckily, I was on hand to help. There were cooking classes from local chef Brian Mellor and TV’s Chris Bavin (Eat Well For Less), as well as workshops designed to get children excited about food. They got to make dishes including beef burritos, salmon noodles, and biryani. We all returned home full and happy! AB ★★★ moments of joy as light as air, those of angry resignation hitting us like a power hammer. The pianists continued with nimble versions of Dvořák, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and York Bowen, ending with an arrangement of Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” that threatened to raise the roof. JH ★★★★★

HARRY POTTER: A FORBIDDEN FOREST EXPERIENCE, ARLEY HALL & GARDENS, CHESHIRE This after-dark woodland trail was created by award-winning theatrical designers from Warner Bros. Before entering the trail, which takes around an hour to complete, there are quaint wooden outlets serving mulled wine and hot chocolate. On the trail, sound effects and smoke add to the atmosphere, with the dark forest illuminated by thousands of lights. There are lots of magical creatures lurking in the trees

A DAY AT CHESTER RACES Chester hosts 15 flat race meetings a year from May to September, as well as numerous events throughout the year. Whether you are a keen horse fan or simply fancy a day out with a difference, a trip to the Roodee (the racecourse’s proper title) is always entertaining.

We spent the day as a family in the County Long room where we were looked after by wonderful staff all eager to make our day the best experience possible. There are two restaurants, 1539 and the White Horse, on site and it’s also possible to bring a picnic to enjoy as the horses go thundering past. It is genuinely a thrilling environment to be in, and easy to get caught up in the excitement. The beautiful beasts and their magnificent speed kept children and adults spellbound over the day – a super celebration of equine excellence! IS ★★★★

MOONLIGHT FLICKS AT CLAREMONT FARM, WIRRAL A night at the cinema is always a treat, but an outdoor one adds to the excitement – especially when you’re off to Claremont Farm with some excitable children to watch Jurassic Park! It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve seen the dinosaur classic – thanks to the excellent sound and production from Moonlight Flicks, we still jumped out of our seats at several points during the movie. Every viewer gets a pair of high-quality headphones, pre-charged to last the duration. I thought watching

a film outside might be a less immersive experience, but with sound seeming to come from all directions, the opposite was true. The headphones also had red lights on, so if you looked around in the darkness, the audience could be mistaken for dozens of glowing eyes of velociraptors looking back at you… Spooky! KS ★★★★

including centaurs, nifflers and a hippogriff, as well as the Weasleys’ flying Ford Anglia. The children loved the interactive parts, which included waving a wand to make a patronus appear. The huge griffin was a hit and they loved how it bowed back to them when they lowered their heads. Giant spiders fell from the trees (there is an alternative route around for any arachnophobes) and a unicorn magically appears through the trees. It’s a magical evening, suitable for all ages though some parts may be a bit scary for smaller children. The trail runs until 15th December. AB ★★★★★

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l a c o L A mas t s i r h C



Where better to go Christmas shopping than in your local area? We round up where to find quality, locally made treats, from food and drink to gifts, trees and decorations – and everything in between…



charcuterie, gourmet foods and hard-to-find ingredients for ere in the Shire region, we customers, Porter’s is a family-run delicatessen in Llangollen, where are spoiled for choice when locally produced foods, wines and beers feature highly. It’s open every it comes to local produce. In a day until Christmas and specialises in bespoke gift hampers and relatively small geographical artisan cheeses. Visit or call 01978 862990. area, we have coastal, mountain and moorland terrain, incorporating a take a butcher’s variety of soil types and weather systems. Whether you prefer turkey, beef, goose or lamb, Jamie Ward’s This amazing landscape offers a home to everything Traditional Family Butchers in Chirk can provide you with a from the hardiest to the most delicate, resulting in locally made delicious Christmas dinner, and can put together hampers too. food and beverages by which we are truly blessed… All meats are sourced locally, supporting the surrounding farming Looking for amazing dairy products, bread, meat, industry. Call 01691 772602 to request the Christmas brochure poultry and game? Head for or visit Ludlow Farmshop, where Lord Newborough, owner of the Rhug “We are spoiled farming, a passion for great Estate near Corwen, has been a passionate food and retail come together for choice when supporter of organic farming since the 1990s. to create an award-winning “Rhug Estate organic turkeys and geese are it comes to experience. The beef, free to venture out every day on to clover-rich 4 lamb and Gloucester Old organic pasture, and feed on the finest organic local produce” Spot pork come from oats grown on the farm,” he says. “Stress-free the farm, along with the animals produce the highest-quality meat.” To milk used to make the cheese and dairy order your Rhug organic turkey or goose, visit products. Visit Gearing up to produce its special Christmas hampers, Daisy & Aiming to source the very best cheeses, Tilly’s in Bayston Hill near Shrewsbury has an extensive selection of locally sourced fruit and veg, fresh meat and fish, sausages and hams, a large selection of butters, cheeses, milk and eggs, as well as fine wines, beer and cider. There’s also find a large selection of 5 vegan and gluten-free produce. Visit If you’ve ever driven through Nesscliffe, Shropshire, you may have seen Brisbourne Geese – the birds are reared free range on fields adjacent to the old A5. On collection, each goose is oven-ready, complete with cooking instructions. Order yours at or call 01743 741672. The Shropshire Hamper Company is run by the team that organises the award-winning Shrewsbury Food Festival. Using its connections with the finest artisans in the county, it brings together the best independently produced 1. Brisbourne Geese products available – and as a result, the company’s 2. Ludlow Farmshop Christmas hamper is filled with fabulous locally 3. Shropshire Hamper Company produced festive food and drinks. Check them 4. Daisy & Tilly’s out at 5. Porter’s Deli


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1. Celtic Spirit


2. Ludlow Gin 3. Hencote 4. Pant Du 5. Three Wrens



hether you want a warming liqueur, a refreshing cider, an aromatic gin or a celebratory wine, you can source it locally. Celtic Spirit, officially the oldest spirit company in Wales, is now based on the beautiful isle of Anglesey, having previously been located in south Wales. It shares its Llanfaethlu premises with Condessa Welsh Liqueurs, which specialises in the production of award-winning liqueurs and spirits. Visit the new distillery shop, the Copper Pot, to see its great selection of drinks, gifts and hampers, and sample the companies’ ever-growing range of tipples at the boutique bar. For more information, visit Ludlow Gin uses the finest natural botanicals, and absolutely no artificial colours or flavours, to produce its six gins and three liqueurs. If you’re looking for a real winter warmer, its limited edition Mulberry, Damson & Winter Spice Gin Liqueur is produced using mulberries from the owner’s garden and damsons from the National Trust Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire as well as gardens across Shropshire. For more information, visit Three Wrens was launched from a small woodland distillery in Cheshire, with its gins made by hand in a 50-litre copper pot. The gins are all single-shot distilled, meaning a concentrate is never used, and each one has a strong focus on natural ingredients – none are artificially flavoured. You can find Three Wrens Gin on sale at Castle Farm, Cholmondeley, as well as at the online shop at Shropshire is renowned for its superb cider. Hare Moon Cider is made from apples grown, pressed and bottled at Wigginton Farm in St Martins. Apple varieties such as Dabinett, Langworthy, Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill are grown in the orchards, free of sprays and fertilisers, and traditional and fruit ciders are available. Visit for more information.


“British wine may still be in its infancy, but if the Romans could grow vines here there’s no reason we cannot rival France, given time!”


heard it on the grapevine

Modern British wine may still be in its infancy, but if the Romans could grow vines here there’s no reason we cannot rival France, given time. There are already a number of vineyards in our region. In 2009, Andy and Dora Stevens, owners of a small private estate at Hencote in Shropshire planted a hobby vineyard comprising 160 vines. By 2015 it had expanded to 24,000 vines, producing a delicious selection of award-winning red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. For more about the vineyard, visit Pant Du in Caernarfon, meanwhile, is a family-run vineyard and orchard, established in 2007 by Richard and Iola Huws. Nine acres of vines and 18 acres of apple trees have been planted on the former farmland, transforming the slopes of the Nantlle valley. There are six different varieties of vines, specifically chosen to work well with the soil and climate in north Wales, producing white, red and rosé wines, while the 3,200 apple trees help to make five types of cider. If soft drinks are more your style, Pant Du also produces three varieties of apple juice. There’s a small on-site shop or you can buy online at

DID YOU KNOW? The number of UK distilleries grew by 124 in 2020 – up 28% on 2019 – doubling the number of distilleries in the UK in just four years


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1. Mostyn Gallery t’s as much fun buying presents as it is giving them – or so 2. Tweedmill we’re told! And when you can choose from so many wonderful, 3. Trefriw Woollen Mill original, artisan, locally made gifts, it’s a pleasure indeed. 4. Mulberry Alpacas Having selected products from the best artists and craftspeople, 5. Moo and Boom the shop at Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno has a new seasonal focus, Gifts from Wales & the Borders, which runs until 2nd February. The shop sells an eclectic range of gifts and treasures, including woodwork, knitwear, jewellery, glassware, artworks, locally baked bread, fruit limited-edition prints and a beautiful mix of handcrafted and veg, preserves and pickles, 3 contemporary items to suit every budget. Mostyn supports dressings and sauces. You can find hundreds of independent makers, and any income generated decorations, cards and wrapping paper by the shop is invested back into the gallery’s exhibition and in Christmas shop, then refuel in the café, community programmes. Visit for details. where Christmas lunches are served from mid-November. See for opening times. Located near St Asaph in Cosy up for Christmas with Trefriw Denbighshire, Tweedmill Shopping “MOSTYN supports Woollen Mills in Conwy Valley where you Outlet brings together everything hundreds of can buy traditional Welsh tapestry bedspreads, you need under one roof: travel rugs and tweeds woven on site. Its women’s and men’s independent makers fabrics are made into throws, cushion covers, clothing, a farm capes, hats, caps, bags and purses, and it shop, garden in its retail spaces” also stocks a wide range of bought-in pure centre and wool knitwear and accessories, sheepskin goods and gifts. Check cafés! The farm shop has an opening times at or call 01492 640462. incredible choice of Welsh produce – a wonderful Handcrafted treats selection of artisan foods If you’re looking for antique and handcrafted gifts, make a including handmade cakes, trip to Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre near Mold. This independent, family-run business is located in a beautiful rural location in a building steeped in history. There’s something for everyone in its huge collection of antiques and vintage treasures, cabinets stocked with crystal and china, and DID YOU KNOW? furniture (big and small) from the Victorian era to the 1970s. The average British Take a look at to plan your visit. adult spends Moo & Boom in Whitchurch, meanwhile, brings sustainable around £475 on lifestyle and wellbeing to the high street. All its products are Christmas presents sourced with sustainability in mind, and it also upcycles furniture each year and uses old fabrics to make cushions, bags and aprons. This Christmas, it has a special stock of woolly hats, socks, candles, jewellery, ceramics and food, as well as beautiful and sustainable Christmas decorations. It is also running a series of festive workshops – visit for details. How about buying a gift where you can also go and see where the raw materials came from? Mulberry Alpacas, based in Higher Penley near Wrexham, has a small, prizewinning herd of alpacas from which it produces quality alpaca fibre in a variety colours. It processes only the finest fleeces into yarn – much of which will carry a label with the name of the alpaca it came from – and knitwear. The company currently has special offers on socks, duvets and pillows. You can visit the farm to shop and see the alpacas, or browse and order online at 5 54 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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here’s nothing like a real Christmas tree, and along with ivy, holly and mistletoe they’re grown throughout the Shire region, so everything you need to decorate your home for the holidays can be found right on your doorstep. selection of garden centre products, building and A Christmas tree farm, with the scent of the trees filling the pet products. Carlton is a garden centre for all seasons air, is the perfect place to start the Christmas season and get and has a wide range of gift products, as well as seasonal items you in the mood for the festivities. Trees at Winston Farm in such as fresh and artificial trees, wreaths, grave pots, Christmas Ellesmere, Shropshire, range in size from 3ft to an amazing lights, decorations and festive gifts. You can also pick up a bag of 30ft, and variants include Scotch pine, noble, blue spruce, logs for that cosy fireplace to gather around. For more information, Nordmann and Norway spruce. The farm will also supply free call 01978 852896 or visit netting and log bases for your chosen tree, and while you’re there don’t forget to meet – and feed – the reindeer! Winston one-stop shop Farm’s Christmas tree farm opens on 30th November. To check Looking for a store that has everything you need for Christmas times, call 01691 622316 or visit under one roof ? Gordale in Burton on the Wirral has everything You’ll certainly enjoy the magic of preparing your home you need to decorate your home for the holidays, with inspirational for Christmas when choosing your tree and wreaths from the displays, room settings and festive themes to help Woodworks Garden Centre in Mold. TuRN to page 85 you select the best products for your home. Premium Nordmann trees are available Here you’ll find baubles, tree trims, tinsel, from 27th November, with prices starting for Shire’s handy wreaths, swags, ornaments, candles, Christmas from £36 for cut trees and £45 for pottrees of all shapes and sizes, fairy lights for grown ones. And if you get chilly while guide to the indoors and outdoors, animated figures, crackers, choosing your tree, the Woodworks best types of Christmas cards, advent calendars, Christmas Café has added a flavour of Christmas tableware, napkins and tablecloths. It’s one of to its menu, and tasty treats can be christmas tree the biggest displays in the North West! enjoyed by the log fire in the cosy garden For opening times and details of the products available, café. You can add the finishing touches to your festive scheme visit with a beautifully decorated, handmade noble fir Christmas wreath; these can be ordered to suit any festive style, with prices from £29.99, and are available from 1st December. For more 1. Winston Farm information, visit or call 01352 752555. 2. Gordale

Direct from the farm

If you’d like to buy your Christmas tree from the grower, the Backford Christmas Tree Farm near Chester is open daily from 20th November between 8am and 8pm, and has a wide selection of trees on display. It has Nordmann, Fraser and lodge pole pine varieties on site, as well as noble firs available on request; all are needle-retaining varieties. It also sells the traditional Norway spruce and a selection of pot-grown trees. To keep your tree looking good for as long as possible, it also stocks waterholding stands and a selection of containers and tree skirts. Complementary decorations available include a selection of handmade wreaths, table centres and grave pots, which can be made bespoke to order. If you can’t make it to the farm, you can arrange delivery. All the details of how to do so can be found at Independently-run family business Carlton Garden Centre, located in Llay near Wrexham, was established nearly 50 years ago. Its range of products has expanded over the years and it now boasts a vast

3. Woodworks Garden Centre 4. Carlton Garden Centre



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“gift vouchers are a great way to make Christmas cheer last into the new year”


gift that offers something to look forward to is a brilliant way to make sure the Christmas cheer continues into the new year, and there are vouchers to suit a host of recipients. Whisky lovers will be thrilled to get the opportunity to look around Penderyn Distillery, Distillery which produces award-winning single-malt whiskies and spirits in Brecon and Llandudno, and hosts tours and masterclasses in both locations. The hour-long tour takes you around the mill, mash tun and single copper-pot Penderyn still, and you can also sample some of its products in the Tasting Bar. The distillery masterclasses, meanwhile, offer a fully interactive experience including a tour and a blind nosing activity. Book vouchers at If pampering or relaxing is more your style, Lion Quays Resort near Oswestry has a fantastic selection of vouchers available for spa days and individual treatments, overnight or weekend stays, and afternoon teas. Check them out at Want something a tad more active? Adventure Parc Snowdonia has an inland surf lagoon, pump track and climbing walls, as well as a glass-fronted Surf Side bar, diner and deli, the Wave Garden Spa and Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia. Vouchers can be 4 ordered at

City-wide spending

If the person you’re buying for is more city than country, the Chester Gift Card is the perfect solution. It’s accepted in more than 100 places across the city, from clothing and beauty services to cafés, fine-dining establishments and hotels. Chester Gift

DID YOU KNOW? More than half (50.3 per cent) of people redeem their gift cards within a month of receipt


1. Shropshire Distillery 2. Adventure Parc Snowdonia 3. Chester Gift Card 4. Plas Menai 5. Lion Quays

Cards can be bought online from or at 3 Chester’s visitor information centre. Finally, the perfect gift for gin lovers can be found at the Shropshire Distillery in Ellesmere: a gift voucher to experience one of its new gin school and distillery tours, led by Emma Glynn, one of the UK’s few female distillers. “Our tours give gin lovers an exclusive look at the hard work that goes in to producing small batches of quality gin, while the gin school provides a novel hands-on experience,” says Emma. “There are plenty of opportunities to sample our delicious gins as well!” During the gin school experience, participants can create their own bespoke gin using a copper still and botanicals of their choosing, and can take their own wax sealed bottle home with them. To book, visit

Calling all Christmas gift-seekers! Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre provides the ultimate in outdoor adventure experiences, offering the largest selection of outdoor activities and courses in UK. It caters for everyone, from children as young as eight to sessions specifically for seniors, regardless of experience or ability. If you know someone who wants to try something new, would like to develop their skills or is simply always looking for their next adventure, there is bound to be a session or course to suit. Adventure Weeks and Adventure Days can be designed for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience. There are also half-day activity sessions, family adventure weekends and week-long youth adventure holiday camps. Plas Menai has a huge range of epic activities and technical courses on offer, from sailing and windsurfing to powerboating and sea kayaking, as well as instructor training courses throughout the year. Plas Menai is also offering jet ski training, snorkel skills and more in 2022. It’s always best to learn from a qualified instructor, and Plas Menai has the very best. If you know you want to buy someone an experience, but can’t decide which activity they’d like, leave it up to them and give them the gift of choice with a Plas Menai open options gift voucher. To see the vast choice of activities for yourself and to purchase an unforgettable gift, visit

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brisbourne-geese-advert-140x97.qxp_Brisbourne 1/4 Page advert 140x97mm 06/10/

Traditionally reared geese and turkeys, with superior flavour and texture! A family run Shropshire gin distillery producing high quality gin from our converted farm sheds. Providing distillery tours and Gin school experiences.

Gin Vouchers Gin Tours Gin School





Over 40 years rearing the finest quality poultry From one day old our birds spend their whole life on our farm They graze and roam freely and are fed on specially prepared feed, without the use of growth promoters or additives Members of The British Goose Producers

Sydney House Farm, Kynnersley, Telford TF6 6EB I 07743478446

To place an order please call us on 01743 741672 Email:

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Daisy & Tilly’s at Christmas


Hampers Foodie Gifts Wonderful Christmas foods Fine wines & craft beers Page 1 : Front Cover Christmas flowers & wreaths Orders taken for meats, fish, pies, fruit, vegetables & cakes


13a Lyth Hill Road, Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury SY3 0EW

Mon to Sat: 9am to 7pm Sunday: 10am to 4pm Page 5

Page 7




Page 3 5

Page 7

Christmas Orders Now Being Taken (orders taken until 2nd December) Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce! Hot and Cold Sandwich Bar @ludlowgin

Unit 1, St Mary’s Precinct, Church Street, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5HX T: 01691 772602 @jamiewards.butchers

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s a m t s i r l Ch


ALoacarkets & M

s t n e ev 1. Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre 2. Derwen College 3. Apley Farm Shop 4. Enchanted Grotto 5. Tatton Park


othing gets you in the festive spirit more than browsing around a Christmas market, watching a seasonal spectacular or taking the little ones to visit Santa. This year, Derwen College near Oswestry is pulling out all the stops to put on its biggest and best Christmas fayre yet – three days of jolly, festive cheer, including a guest appearance from Santa Claus himself, from 26th to 28th November. Some of Shropshire’s top artisan producers will be there, alongside merchandise from Derwen College’s own garden centre and gift shop, Christmas trees, seasonal plants, handmade wreaths, decorations, poinsettias, cards and hampers. For more information, visit The beautiful town of Nantwich has three Christmas markets: a mini version on 19th November running alongside its Christmas lights switch-on, and the Nantwich Artisan Christmas Market on 20th November and 11th December, featuring local specialist makers and traders. See You can also stock up at West Kirby Christmas Market on 18th December, from producers who grow, rear, cook, ferment, make and bake the best-quality, freshest and most interesting local produce. Visit


Chester’s independent toy shop. SEN sessions are available for children with additional needs. To book your spot, visit

Down on the grotto

As part of Father Christmas at the Farm at Tatton Park, Knutsford, you can see Santa and his elf helpers in their festive grotto, enjoy roaming entertainers, live music and the Christmas Café, and make your own magical reindeer food to take home. Wrap up warm for Tatton Park’s One Snowy Night: A Percy the Park Keeper Christmas Garden Tale, and toast marshmallow by the fire before heading off to see Percy’s surprise present by the Christmas tree. Advance bookings are required for all these events. See for dates and times. 4


yuletides of yore

Love history? Step back in time at Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre at Ludlow Castle on 27th and 28th November, where you’ll find more than 100 stalls selling Christmas gifts and unique treats. You can also see thrilling entertainment featuring jesters, fighting knights using swords, mace and quarter-staffs, storytellers

© Ashleigh Cadet

“chester’s enchanted grotto is a magical winter wonderland experience in the Grosvenor Shopping centre” and a fire show – and try your hand at archery and axe throwing. Booking is required; visit Visit Apley Farm Shop in Shifnal on 27th and 28th November for its Christmas market, which promises to be full of local craft stalls, food and drink tastings and Apley stalls. Santa will also visit the shop every weekend before Christmas from 27th November. Booking is essential; check dates at or call 01952 581002. If you’re visiting Chester between 26th November and 24th December, head to the Enchanted Grotto, a magical winter wonderland experience in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. Every child gets a gift from Father Christmas – straight from the North Pole via Weasel & The Bug,


DID YOU KNOW? A forerunner to today’s Christmas markets, the December Market in Vienna was first recorded in 1298

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Homes&Interiors Festive flair at home

feature in hallway, or on a kitchen island. They’re not delicate, they’re almost like picking up a piece of marble. We’ve sent them all over the world to the top designers.” For a more permanent festive look, Holly suggests hanging Fornasetti wallpaper to create a stunning feature wall, which will be enjoyed not only at Christmas but every day of the year. Choose a design with deep red and green tones, and perhaps accents of gold. One of Holly’s favourites is the Chiavi

Interior designer Holly Johnson, from the Holly Johnson Antiques Showroom in Knutsford, offers some of her tried-and-tested tips for how to have a very vintage Christmas


here are lots of creative ways to incorporate vintage Christmas decorations into your home with simple touches, like fresh greenery, sparkly ornaments, and special decorations and accessories. One simple way Holly Johnson accomplishes an effortless, old-world Christmas look is with some festive candles, Holly’s Knutsford showroom cushions and throw blankets, giving your home a warm feel. She also suggests using greens, golds and reds throughout the home. If you love Christmas candles, some of Holly’s favourites are from the Rory Dobner collection. This includes beautifully scented, lidded candles in ceramic containers which are hand-decorated with Rory’s intricate ink illustrations. The individually illustrated candle lids are decorated with 22-carat gold on the top of the lid and the rim of the candle container. Once you have used the candle, the container can be reused to hold sugar, trinkets, tea or coffee or as an ornament. This Alice In Wonderland candle (pictured) would add a lovely vintage touch to any Christmas table.

A touch of glass

A beautiful glass vase is the perfect accessory to make your Christmas decor feel special. Holly suggests placing a Murano vase in your home for an extra festive feeling. Holly says: “Murano vases are great for decoration and they change in the light – in the morning they will appear differently than at night. Sometimes they can become the main

Fornasetti’s Chiavi Segrete

Segrete (pictured), which combines two influential Fornasetti motifs: mystical, dense leaves concealing golden, antique keys. This design has a magical quality, drawing the eye through and around the leaves to discover the secret keys within. Muted shades give way to natural tones of spring undergrowth, with seasonal

“The stunning wallpaper uses a unique carouselstyle structure found at Kensington Palace” Chamber Angels

twists of autumnal leaves and wintry greys. Another stunning wallpaper is Chamber Angels (pictured), using the unique carouselstyle structure found on the ceiling of the Presence Chamber in the King’s State Apartments at Kensington Palace.

Rory Dobner’s Alice candle

For more information about some of these vintage items, please visit or visit Holly’s showroom at St Anns House, 1 Old Market Place (off King Street), Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6PD

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hristmas decorating isn’t just about the tree and the dining table. If friends and family are coming to stay, it’s a great idea to decorate the guest bedroom and make sure your visitors feel the festive spirit there too – and don’t forget about your own room, so you feel as Christmassy in bed as you do in front of the tree. You can have lots of fun adding in some Christmas decorations to bedrooms: a wreath on the door, twinkly fairy lights above the bed or festive displays of rugs, cushions, throws and bed linen. Here are a few ideas from the interiors experts at Carpet Loom & Newport Beds to conjure up that festive feeling.

and seasonal. Add soft furnishings such as accent chairs with Christmas colour throws and cushions on. Even better, how about a winter mattress? The Alaska mattress has a winter side made of super-soft fabric that is ideal for colder nights. In summer you simply flip it over for a cooler night’s sleep.

Hang decorations anywhere

Who says decorations are just for the tree?! Make your bedroom festive by

Dress the headboard

You don’t have to go too crazy with tinsel and decorations to make a bedroom feel festive. A lovely garland of foliage will do the trick. Artificial is probably best to avoid pine needles falling on you or your friends during the night. Reed diffusers that give off a festive fragrance will really enhance the decorations too. This season Carpet Loom & Newport Beds is featuring a special locally made “sleep blend” reed diffuser, as well as a Christmas-scented one.

Style with a festive display

Adding a few festive decorations to the bedside tables will help set the Christmas mood. One quick and easy but effective idea is to tie pretty ribbons to the pulls of chests of drawers. Or you can drape tinsel over the bed frame and on the tops of drawers.

Add some homely touches

Make sure your guests’ rooms feel part of the celebrations on Christmas Eve by popping a stocking by their beds. Fill it with a few small gifts for them to open on Christmas morning, such as chocolates or a copy of Shire magazine! If you have a bedstead, then hang them from the foot.

Make it cosy

Fall asleep under soft layers of covers in a blend of Christmas spice colour. Add cushions and throws for extra cosiness – and wake up to Christmas feeling festive

Cosy festive throws and cushions

“Reed diff users that give off a festive fragrance enhance the decorations”

hanging up your favourite decorations – in fact, if you have space include a Christmas tree too. There are all sorts of designs, from small traditional types to wooden ones. Use your dressing table if you have no floor space! They will make the room look and feel really festive.

Everyone at Carpet Loom & Newport Beds would like you wish you a very happy festive season. Visit the showrooms at 79 High Street and the Springfield Estate in Newport, Shropshire. For more visit

Pop a stocking on guests’ beds

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Stepping into the limelight Shropshire Shades has been handmaking bespoke high-quality lampshades for 22 years – and now it’s bringing its superb products direct to consumers


ocated on the outskirts of Telford is one of the country’s best-kept design secrets. Shropshire Shades is one of Britain’s leading contemporary lampshade makers. Since 1999, the small, professional team have been making shades for high-end hotels and bespoke interior design projects, as well as creating shades for several of the UK’s top retailers. Now, for the first time, the business “A huge choice is stepping out from behind the scenes and offering its beautiful of fabrics, creations directly to consumers. shapes Russell Cameron, the coand sizes” founder of Shropshire Shades, says: “Our team has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. We offer our customers a huge choice of fabrics, sizes and shapes and make every shade by hand, with care and attention to detail.”

Pretty and practical

With a wide selection of fabrics, Shropshire Shades’ wares are not just beautiful – there are also many practical options like antibacterial fabrics and acoustic dampening. A Cork shade works well over a dining table “Our Stafford fabric is a marine polyethylene that is fire rated, wipeable and antibacterial. It comes in six earthy, textural, woven materials that suit a natural colour palette,” says Joanne. Local legends The team make shades in all shapes and sizes and All shades are handmade to order in Shropshire and some of the offer a range of accessories so fabrics on offer have familiar names, including Telford and Wenlock. their creations can become Head maker Joanne Lister explains: “Telford, named after pendant lights, wall lights, our home town, is a versatile table lights and ceiling lights. One of the first retailers to fabric, available in 20 colours stock Shropshire Shades is that looks great on all shapes local independent online and sizes. Wenlock is a soft, natural wool felt that we offer store, in seven rich colours to bring Some of the designs on offer which shares its Telford warehouse with the business. added warmth to any interior.” “The appetite for local, handmade, high-quality craftmanship has Less familiar names include Scion Lohko and Colefax increased massively in recent Indra. Joanne says: “Scion is years, and there’s a growing a very British fabric brand, market of interior design which is part of the house fans and home improvers,” of Harlequin. Its Scandisays Russell. “It feels like inspired Lohko design is the perfect time to share our one of our most popular brand and start selling to those with its oversized abstract customers directly through A Colefax Indra shade in blue retro-contemporary design. independent retailers.” Colefax Indra is a lustrous, textured fabric from the British fabric house Colefax & Fowler. Polished and sleek, it uses a satin warp To explore the latest and best and strong woven textures to achieve the effect of hammered Shropshire Shades creations, Quality fabrics and designs metal. We have it as standard in copper, teal and silver.” visit 62 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Move in for Christmas on selected developments

From Cheshire to Staffordshire, we’ve got a range of 2, 3, 4, and 5 bedroom homes to suit you. Available from as little as £279,995.

For more information please call 01270 342 101 or search Bovis Homes Mercia

Our range includes room for home working, contemporary kitchen designs, and large gardens. The latest Bovis Homes communities include green spaces for the green-thumbed and play spaces for the youngsters. Photograph depicts a typical Bovis Home interior. Internal images may include optional upgrades at an additional cost. Price & availability correct at time of going to print/broadcast. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT. Ask our sales advisor for details. 5-star home rating based on the independent annual home owner survey conducted by the Home Builders Federation. GDD62012

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amilla Monk was awarded a national architecture prize for transforming her own home in the Shropshire countryside into the perfect living space for her family. The director of Shrewsbury architectural practice Architecture Ventures wants to encourage people to reimagine the space they already have, rather than assuming an extension is required. “We bought the house 14 years ago, understanding that it had huge potential to become our dream family home,” says Camilla. “It has taken a long time to get here but we now have spaces that support the way that we live. By adding a small extension along the back of the house, we now have a home with ample living space for the six of us, with rooms that adjust to suit our ever-changing needs.” Camilla and her family bought the 18th-century Mount Pleasant for approximately £230,000. After transforming the exterior, interiors and garden space with a £120,000 renovation, it is now valued in the region of £600,000. The project secured Camilla Monk’s kitchen/dining room her the Best Interior

prize at the Daily Telegraph/ Homebuilding & Renovating Home of the Year awards. While an extension was crucial to creating a light-filled, open-plan property, Camilla is keen to stress she would always Light-filled spaces encourage her clients to work within the shell of an existing property wherever appropriate. “I believe “I believe in taking a zero-build approach in taking a to architecture where possible. I work with my clients to help them see what they have, zero-build think about how they want to live, and approach create spaces that support their lifestyle. I where encourage my clients to think outside the possible” norm. Why build if it’s not necessary?” Camilla established Architecture Ventures in 2012 after honing her skills at regional practices, including Donald Insall & Associates. She works primarily in the domestic sector although she has recently been approached to work on commercial properties by business owners inspired by her style.

Visit to arrange an initial, free phone call consultation with Camilla to discuss your ideas

A spin on the spare Spare rooms – often seen as bonuses by those who don’t have them and afterthoughts by those who do – can be a crucial part of your home


ith another cohort of students off to university this autumn, a void exists in many British homeowners’ lives. There are a multitude of spare rooms in the UK, a situation that inspired home decor brand Dowsing & Reynolds to ask: how could you make the most of the space? Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, co-CEO at Dowsing & Reynolds, says: “Spare rooms became handy during lockdown as additional spaces to work and play, but giving them a longer-term purpose can add a real touch of personalisation that you can’t always get with your other rooms. Think about how you want to feel in the room. Inspired to create a new piece of music? Motivated to smash your fitness goals? How best to decorate the space will follow, once you recognise “Be bold, how you want to feel. It could be vibrant take yellow to encourage creative thinking, risks and or deep green to promote relaxation.” expand Dowsing & Reynolds’ interior designers, your Xander Shreenan and Connor Prestwood, have some suggestions for Shire readers potential” who want to transform their spare spaces.

Decide on a purpose

“It can be really easy to fall into the trap of just throwing any old junk in that room just because you can,” says Connor. “This is counterproductive and can cause added stress at the thought

An opportunity to be more creative with your room designs

of clutter piling up, but it’s also a waste of the opportunity to be a bit more creative with your room designs. Think about your hobbies – you have the space, so why not dedicate it to giving yourself the perfect getaway spot for you to do what you love?”

Pick a colour or theme

“Think about your guest bedroom like a downstairs bathroom,” says Xander. “This is a room you can experiment with and make design decisions you’re too afraid to make elsewhere. Try that vibrant wallpaper you’ve had your eye on, or get creative with paint colours and shapes.” When it comes to spare space, seize the opportunity. Be bold, take risks and expand your potential. Just don’t hang around or someone else might decide they have a use for it first! For more design inspiration, visit

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Deeside Country Sport Collectables

We are always looking to purchase Quality Antique and Modern Game Fishing Tackle, Guns & Shooting Accessories, Taxidermy, Sporting Art, Country Collectables & Natural History items. Specialist dealer in Country Pursuit Antiques & Collectables Registered Fire Arm Dealer

Fancy a little tea? Snap up miniature Victorian teaware This November sees some truly special items available at auction from Halls. Ceramics, glass and militaria specialist Caroline Dennard explains


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he Enid and Bruce Moulder collection of toy teaware, an addition to this year’s auction calendar at Halls, is a mixture of delightfully small bone china, porcelain and earthenware tea cups and saucers. These formed parts of sets by which young girls could be taught the formal processes for preparing and serving tea, which was an important part of the 19thcentury social scene: there are paintings of women of this era taking tea with friends, with the hostess’s daughter sat at a small table nearby dispensing A Dunmore pottery toy teapot and cover, tea to other girls. circa 1870, 7.5cm high Often a family would order a full-size service alongside a miniature one for the children, who learned that each piece had its own specific purpose – knowledge that could be the first sign of entrance into adult society. Many of the Staffordshire potteries produced these small pots, and there was great competition to offer new shapes, decoration and patterns, typically following the changing fashions in the full-size sets. Manufacturers also added pattern numbers to the base of the main pieces as a means of identifying their wares. These provide researchers with clear indications as to the manufacturer and there is now a wealth of information available in print and online, which has made it easier for collectors to identify their pieces. This collection began its formation in 1977 with a single child’s tea service purchased at an antique shop in Woburn as a gift from Bruce Moulder to his wife, Enid. Subsequently, a trip to Portobello Market unearthed a similar set marked Minton. With that, the Moulders caught the collector’s bug A Davenport toy teapot and cover, and the collection continued circa 1840, 8.5cm high growing until 2010. Many pieces are considered rare survivors, and this collection’s existence is even more incredible given that the approximately 400-plus pieces are remnants of a larger collection – those that survived a direct lightning strike and subsequent fire. These items will be sold in a timed online auction, which goes live on 5th November and finishes at 6pm on 23rd November. Halls Fine Art, based in Shrewsbury, is one of the most venerable independent auctioneers in the country, having been established in 1845. It holds monthly antique and interior sales and quarterly seasonal fine sales, covering a range of categories from furniture and ceramics to books and jewellery. For a free valuation of your items, call 01743 450700 or email For more, visit

powysplasma November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 65

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Festive fire safety



ou may have already decked be mindful of. Real trees must be taken care of and watered the halls with tinsel and baubles galore, or are at least regularly to prevent them from thinking about doing so in the drying out because dry trees coming weeks. But have you are extremely flammable and also considered the dangers that present a significant hazard. decorations can bring? They With the wintry chill that may inspire festive cheer and comes with the festive period, Christmas spirit, but they are the heating also goes on in most also hazards, and precautions homes. And whether you have should be taken to a gas boiler or a keep this the season cosy log burner on of celebration. the go, you should “Dry Decorations Christmas make sure you have are often made of a working carbon trees are flammable materials, monoxide alarm. extremely Carbon monoxide so should be fl ammable” is odourless, positioned away from heaters and candles. colourless and And while twinkling tasteless, so can only lights around the home certainly be detected with an alarm. help to set the tone at this time To be safe this Christmas, of year, it’s essential to make ensure you have adequate fire sure they are in good working and carbon monoxide alarms order and that the cables aren’t and test them regularly. damaged. Also ensure you don’t Wishing you a very merry overload plug sockets, and turn Christmas and a happy New the lights off when leaving Year from everyone at Aico! the house or going to bed.

Safe tree first

There are few things more festive than a Christmas tree adorned with tinsel, baubles and lights. A real tree, in particular, brings added charm – but it also brings increased risk you should

Aico is the European market leader in home life safety and Andy Speake is national technical manager. Visit, call 01691 664100 or email

66 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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One of Britain’s best-loved designers, Matthew Williamson, has launched a new range of rugs with Cheshire-based outlet The Rug Retailer


ounded over 25 years ago as The Rug Shop, this family-run business changed its name to The Rug Retailer when it opened its online shop in 2006. It has since gone from strength to strength and has now added another exclusive string to its bow with its Iris Ikat Pink 2m latest collaboration, a new collection created by circle, £1,095, award-winning designer Matthew Williamson. designed This features eight new designs in a variety by Matthew Williamson (right) of colourways and sizes, from runners to large-format 2m x 3m rugs. The designs are to satisfy all tastes, inspired by nature, animals and the Californian budgets and decor coastline, as well as incorporating traditional Atlas Sky Blue, from £395 schemes. It will deliver Indonesian and Moorish motifs. Each of the anywhere in the UK hand-tufted rugs is made from a blend of wool for a fixed price of £3.99 per and viscose to create a thick pile that is luxurious to the touch. consignment, which covers all Matthew Williamson is an awardareas apart from the Highlands, “Each hand- winning British interior designer known and for varying costs can arrange tufted rug is for his unrivalled use of bold patterns transportation all over the world. and colours. He established his namesake made from fashion and design brand in 1997, Not only that, being a huge online outlet, a blend of it will offer the lowest prices and guarantee and carries his decades of experience wool and to beat any price found elsewhere online. into interior design, having developed However, for many people an several soft furnishings and homeware viscose” in-person visit is the only way to collections to sit alongside his residential choose – it’s no surprise if you prefer and commercial interior design portfolio. Matthew’s intelligent to see the rug of your dreams for use of colour, pattern and his love for bold and beautiful designs Leopard Love Green, from £395 yourself ! The Rug Retailer has a vast works exceptionally well in his contemporary rug collection. showroom in Warrington and a friendly, knowledgeable team on hand to assist you in finding the right rug Family firm for your living space that brings you many years of pleasurable Stocking thousands of high-quality products, The Rug Retailer is use. See for more information. one of the UK’s leading rug sellers, with a constantly growing range

Letting yourself go green Landlords are finding that making greener choices can attract more tenants


aking sure your home is as green as can be is not just a priority for owner-occupiers – buy-to-let landlords are also taking steps to increase their eco-friendly credentials and reaping the rewards. Jonathan Daines, CEO of, says: “The pandemic helped us to take a new look at human health, including the need to support it in the longer term by facing our environmental responsibilities head-on.” With this in mind, the company has shared its top tips for landlords.

• Replace the bulbs in the house with LED lights. LED bulbs last

five times as long as halogen bulbs and are far better for the planet.

• Low-flow shower heads aerate the water that comes out of them,

giving the feel of normal pressure but only using half as much water.

• Install a smart meter, •

preferably in combination with a learning thermostat. Dual-flush toilet converters are inexpensive and can save up to 50 per cent of water compared with a normal flush. Ensure that tenants have sufficient recycling facilities, with sufficient bins for the property’s occupants.

“These are all small steps, but they quickly add up to help landlords work towards a greener world,” says Jonathan. “You can also consider green leases, where environmental obligations between the landlord and tenant become contractual, encouraging both parties to do what they can to make the property more sustainable.” November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE000 67 November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE

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New Homes


The latest developments from Bovis Homes offer a range of housing options designed to make homeowners comfortable and contented


ovis Homes has sites in development across the Shire area, offering two-, three-, four-, and five-bedroom homes and featuring sustainable green spaces and bustling new communities. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a family looking for room to grow, the team at Bovis will help you find your perfect home. Bovis homes offer higher ceilings, larger staircases and better kitchen upgrades than the average developer – these are the things that make a Bovis home just slightly more special. On top of the unique specification “The of a Bovis home, the company is also offering you the chance to add chance even more finishing touches to your to add property with the Bovis Homes even more Select brochure. From upgrading fi nishing your bathroom with stunning touches” ceramics to adding smooth sliding wardrobes to your master bedroom, there’s a wide range of additional options for you to personalise your new home. If you’re hoping to purchase a new home soon, it can be a stressful time so the experts at Bovis are on hand to help and ensure a smooth process throughout. They’ve adopted lots of buying schemes to make sure you can live in your brand new Bovis home without breaking the

bank. To find out more go to menus/purchase-schemes. Bovis Homes currently has developments in a range of locations. Head to new-homes-in-mercia to browse the stunning new homes available. Comfort and style Bovis is committed to making beautiful, comfortable homes and giving you all the help you need to move in and start enjoying your new place.

Take a look at this list to see where new Bovis Homes communities are blossoming…

Bovis offers higher than average ceilings

• Oteley Gardens, Shrewsbury • Hazelmere, Haslington • Partridge Walk, Stafford • The Steadings, Essington

• Edwalton Fields, Edwalton • Haygate Fields, Wellington • The Quarters @ Redhill, Telford

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People dreaming of building their own home will welcome new proposals, according to one Shropshire expert


roposals for the government to help more people build their own homes have been warmly welcomed by property company Roger Parry & Partners, which has offices in Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Welshpool. Richard Bacon MP’s review of custom and self-build housebuilding has found huge potential in the sector that could deliver Richard Corbett 30,000 to 40,000 more homes every year. The review has also recommended a major “scaling up” of self-built homes to boost the overall housing supply. This could mean homes that can be built in weeks that are better designed, built to the highest environmental standards and with cheaper household bills. Richard Corbett, partner with Roger Parry & Partners, welcomes the review’s findings. “This news comes on top of the government’s commitment of £150m for the Help to Build scheme, which will allow homebuilders to borrow money with lower deposits,” he says, “and also the news that funding is being provided for local councils to create high-quality serviced plots that are ready to go, stepping up self- and custom-build housing projects across the UK.”

Do it yourself

The review was commissioned to improve the housebuilding industry by giving customers more choice, and to make homebuilding a mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country. The Bacon Review puts forward six recommendations:

1. A greater role for Homes England, with the creation of a new Custom and Self-Build Housing Delivery Unit supporting the creation of serviced plots on small and large sites and delivery at scale. 2. Raise awareness with, among other initiatives, a custom and self-build “show park” and a DID YOU more robust approach to legislation. KNOW? 3. Support community, diversity and levelling The UK has up by reigniting the Community Housing around 13,000 Fund and creating self-build more opportunities for homes a year communities to build. 4. Promote greener homes and increased use of modern methods of manufacturing (MMC). 5. Align custom and selfbuild changes with planning reforms. 6. Iron out tax issues to Plan to boost self-builds create a level playing field between this type of home and speculatively built homes. The government had yet to publish an official response at the time of writing but the outgoing housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “This will help get more people on to the housing ladder and ensure homes suit people’s needs while providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.”

New lease of life for hospital

Denbigh’s North Wales Hospital site is about to get a major transformation


he future of one of Wales’s historic buildings looks brighter after Denbighshire County Council planners opened the way for the redevelopment of North Wales Hospital in Denbigh. An application by Vale of Clwyd-based Jones Bros to redevelop the 50-acre site of the Grade II-listed former psychiatric hospital has been approved by the council’s planning committee. Once the deal is finalised, it should open the way for a project which will boost the local economy by £75m and create 1,200 jobs. The main hospital building, described as “an exceptionally fine and pioneering example of early Victorian asylum architecture”, will be preserved under the plans. The 10-year project will restore and convert the central section of the hospital into residential apartments, complemented by a mix of services that could include shops, restaurants, and a gym. Elsewhere on the site, they plan to build up to 300 homes styled on traditional Vale of Clwyd houses, as well as a pub and a new purpose-built home ground for Denbigh Cricket Club.

The former North Wales Hospital in Denbigh

The hospital closed in 1995 and the huge site has deteriorated during ownership by different prospective developers, made worse by regular incidents of arson and vandalism. It had opened in 1848 to provide care for people from across north Wales. By the 1950s it housed over 1,500 patients and employed up to 2,000 staff. Helen Morgan, head of Jones Bros, says: “We believe this scheme can be a landmark development for Wales and as well as providing a real community of high-quality housing for Denbigh it will also deliver skilled jobs and apprenticeships, help develop local supply chains and provide a multi-million pound boost to the Denbighshire economy.”

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With Christmas on the way, look to everyone’s favourite, the Welsh-made Ewemoo footstools. Offerings a range of bespoke footstools in every colour imaginable, these magical and totally unique works of art are a must for any home or office space. From the original sheep foot stools to pigs and cows, there’s a Ewemoo for everyone. If bold bright colours aren’t for you, there are wonderful natural and pastel tones available too. Each foot stool is hand crafted in Wales, with care and attention to details and lots of love. Whether you’re gifting yourself (and who could blame you!) or buying one as a gift, it’s sure to bring a smile to the face of everyone who sees it.

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Order direct or visit us at the following events: Hay Festival Winter Wonderland 24 – 28th November Brecon Craft Fair 3rd Saturday of the month plus 4th December Cardiff Christmas Fair 11th – 12th December

For any questions or queries and to keep up with our latest offers, get in touch I 07778 102238 I

29/10/2021 14:56

Home Heating

STAY STYLISH AND WARM Home heating specialist RN Williams, based in St Asaph, shares some of the brilliantly designed and efficient new models available this winter Heta Inspire 45, £1,249

With its simple design, large viewing window, excellent efficiency and easyto-use air control, the Heta Inspire 45 continues to be one of our most popular stoves. The highly efficient, stylish stove fits comfortably into almost any setting, whether free-standing or in a traditional fireplace. It’s the perfect choice for keeping cosy this winter.

Charnwood Cranmore 5, £1,530

Traditional in style, the Cranmore’s design was inspired by the Regency era and it has a large glass door to allow a great view of the flames. With the latest in clean-burn technology, the Cranmore is exceptionally efficient; it’s also incredibly simple to operate, with a single air control and a sliding firebed for easy ash removal. It’s available as a 5kW or 7kW stove, and there are a number of colour options to complement any room. The Cranmore oozes timeless style and exquisite detailing, and is built to last a lifetime.

Stovax Futura 5, £1,345

With the increased demand for stoves that offer excellent efficiency and being eco design ready, we expect the new Stovax Futura 5 to be a popular addition to our range. Featuring a contemporary curved door and expansive viewing window, this stove has versatile appeal and would be suitable in both traditional or modern homes. Additional features in this highly efficient stove include a convector heat system and single air control.

Everhot Electric Stove, £1,295

Blending classic style with modern efficiency, the Everhot is an elegant and functional heating option. The 20-litre oven is perfect for cooking small dishes, and with more than 20 colours to choose from it’s bound to suit every setting. It simply plugs into a standard 13-amp socket, making it ideal for any space requiring additional heat. The quality engineered steel and cast iron storage construction will provide heat long after the stove has been turned off.

Le Feu Fireplace, £1,599

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly product that’s also convenient, Le Feu fireplaces are a simple and stylish option. Portable, eco-friendly and with no flue required, the beautiful bio ethanol fireplace offers a simple solution to bring warmth and comfort to the home and can be used outdoors too.

DeliVita Wood-Fired Pizza Oven, £1,295

Cooking at home is a much-loved activity and this year we’ve seen an increased desire for outdoor cooking solutions. The DeliVita is a beautifully designed wood-fired oven, handcrafted in Yorkshire and featuring a traditional clay and stone interior. Versatile and easy to use, the DeliVita adds authentic flavours to any dish and is perfect for cooking pizzas, meats, veg and so much more. Available in a range of striking colours, it will also add a splash of happiness to your garden for year-round outdoor cooking. For more information on these products and more, visit

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Merry and bright




It’s the season to enliven your home with vibrant splashes of red





1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.


Scandinavian Woodland reversible double duvet cover and pillowcase set, £34, Dunelm; Heaven Sends wreath, £25.50, Bodenhams in Ludlow; Powys Plasma tool holder on cedar board, £14, Etsy; Rope decoration, £49.99, No.8, Shrewsbury; Bespoke sheep footstool, £130-£160, Ewemoo Crafts; or email Brooklyn table lamp, £148.50, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; Souk embroidered cushion, £32, Roobarb in Bridgnorth, Shropshire; Gisela Graham cake stand, £12, Make Your House a Home in Whitchurch, Shropshire; Pom-pom placemats, £12 for four, Next; Miro chair in Biba Berry, sale price £869, Stokers Furniture in Chester; Majuro cushion cover, £55, OKA in Knustford, Cheshire; Pure wool throws, £185, Trefriw Woollen Mills; The Seasonal Aisle wooden countdown calendar, £39.99, Wayfair; Everhot stove in pillar box red, from £5,700, RN Williams & Sons in St Asaph, Denbighshire;

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Lifestyle and Well-being Store In the heart of Whitchurch offering a wonderful shopping experience

Fabulous gifting ideas now in for Christmas. New In: BYoung Clothing and Jeans.


Visit us for our iconic pure wool products woven on site. Plus super ideas for woolly Christmas gifts:knitted hats, scarves, gloves, socks; sheepskin slippers, gloves & mitts. Shop open: Monday - Saturday or order our products online! Trefriw Woollen Mills, Main Road, Trefriw, Conwy Valley LL27 0NQ T: 01492 640462. W:

True Grace Candles PFK Aromatherapy Crystals and Tarot Glazed Ceramics Christmas Decorations Food Gifting Slippers and Socks Wooly Jumpers, Hats and Gloves Stationary and Journals Soaps and Body Washes Furniture

Christmas Stock is coming out so if you want gift ideas, all with a sustainable footprint then come and see us. Workshops and Classes online to book: Contact us: 10A Green End, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 1AA Email:

Five miles north of Betws-y-Coed on the B5106

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the Carlton Garden Centre We stock everything you need for a fabulous Christmas from decorations to great gift ideas. Fresh Christmas trees, wreaths and grave pots available from 23rd November


Fireworks available for New Year’s Eve, on sale 27th December. 1000’s & 1000’s in stock, start 2022 with a BANG!


Tree decorations • Lights • Fibreoptics Table decorations • Wreaths • Christmas Trees

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GreenLiving Future-friendly farming How a new centre near Ruthin will help farms maintain the local environment safely the changes needed to meet these targets to improve efficiency, which will in turn improve profits and business models,” George says. “Already we have had very positive feedback and are making progress – and we can make even more headway throughout 2022.” The 15-year initiative will pioneer new technologies in agriculture and renewable energy, and will host demonstration facilities where farmers and land managers can learn best practice and see for themselves how they can be applied. The hub will aim to improve the uptake of renewable energy initiatives with a target of 40 projects over five years. Recent figures revealed emissions from UK farms amount to 45.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) a year – about one-tenth of UK greenhouse gas emissions. In Wales, farming and land management accounts for 14% of national emissions. “The farming sector must be congratulated for the enormous strides it has already taken to reduce inputs and improve efficiency, and that has to continue,” says George.. “The net zero farming centre will support them.”

“The farming sector must be congratulated for the enormous strides it has already taken” Project manager George Fisher


he development of a £15m net-zero farming centre at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, near Ruthin in Denbighshire, is expected to help the UK meet its carbon-neutral targets. This new centre of excellence is part of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board’s Growth Deal. For the past few months, project manager George Fisher has been connecting with farmers across the region, listening to their opinions and concerns and offering support and information that will help prepare them for the transition. Although the UK Government has set 2050 as its net zero deadline, the Welsh Government believes it can be done sooner than this and the National Farmers Union (NFU) is aiming for 2040 by encouraging landowners and managers to improve productive efficiency and land management, boost renewable energy and consider options for capturing carbon. “There is a hunger to make

For more information about the centre, visit and

Greenest hall of them all?

Llanbedr has now got a modern and upto-date system to complement That’s what one Vale of Clwyd village their other renewables. It hall can claim after a recent upgrade will last them 25 years – we’ll only he village hall at Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, near Ruthin, need to come dates back to the First World War – but it’s firmly in the round for the 21st century thanks to a brand-new air-source heating system. This has been installed by award-winning green energy company annual service.” The all-new environmentally friendly Llanbedr DC Hafod Renewables, based in Tremeirchion, with help from a The village hall. Gwenda Williams (centre) is one local £6,700 grant from the Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Fund. Clocaenog resident who will benefit from the facility The grant is part of an annual £700,000 bonanza for local Forest Wind communities and businesses across rural Conwy and Denbighshire Farm Fund was launched last year with a commitment to distribute from a fund administered by Community & Voluntary Support grants worth £19m over the next 25 years to community projects Conwy (CVSC). But the sophisticated air-source and businesses across Conwy and Denbighshire. heating isn’t the only renewable aspect of the hall. The money, comes from energy giant RWE’s wind “The village hall farm, whose 27 turbines generate 96 megawatts “The village hall is at the heart of the is at the heart of of green electricity for the National Grid. community and is very well used,” says the chair of the Village Hall Committee, Huw Williams. Fund manager Esyllt Adair says: “It’s a terrific the community “Thanks to Hafod Renewables and the Wind opportunity for the area and for its communities and is very Farm Fund, the hall is as green as we can and businesses, because there is a focus on well used” make it now with the new air-source system, having an economic benefit as well, especially the solar panels, rainwater recycling and plans after the pandemic. So far we have allocated for a green gym outside with eco-friendly equipment.” over £500,000 in three rounds of community funding and we David Jones, managing director of Hafod Renewables, says: “They have also received 27 applications from rural businesses. The did have an old air-source system here but it was always breaking project at Llanbedr is small-scale but it is really important to the down and they were calling us out to repair it – in the end we were community and it’s brilliant for them. It’s a very green village.” doing it free of charge because they’d had so many call-outs. These grants have been brilliant for so many communities, and it means For more information, visit


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Food&Drink Did yo u kn ow?

When at the Shippon in Wrexham, Dominic created awardwinning Welsh tapas

Looking for new dishes to wow your guests with at christmas? We asked local chefs to share some of their favourite recipes with you...

Smashing the

stereotypes Food served in retirement homes doesn’t have the greatest reputation – but one pioneering later-living complex in Cheshire is looking to change all that

Dominic Ash


hef Dominic Ash has worked with some of the UK’s top chefs in some of the most sought-after kitchen roles in the country. He has cooked alongside Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing at Petrus in Knightsbridge, and with his fellow Southport College student from his training days, Laurence Glayzer, at Le Clos du Chateau. Most recently

he enjoyed success as master pâtissier at Peckforton Castle. Now, Dominic is providing the same quality of dining experience for a very different – but just as discerning – clientele: the residents of the Gifford Lea retirement village in Tattenhall. Gifford Lea is breaking the stereotypes surrounding retirement villages to offer pioneering, state-ofthe-art facilities that are more like a hotel than a retirement community. There’s a brassiere and café, wellness spa and pool, hi-tech gym, beauty salon, landscaped gardens and even room service. Taking on a top-notch chef to feed their clients therefore comes as no surprise and Dominic is making sure that preconceptions about the food on offer are well and truly changed. Here he shares one of his favourite meals that always goes down well with the residents at Gifford Lea. For more about Gifford Lea, visit

T re a c l e g l azed s a l mo n

INGREDIENTS 4 x 140g organic salmon fillets 450g celeriac 200g black treacle 250g French mayonnaise 1 bunch of dill, finely chopped 1 lemon Olive oil Salt and pepper METHOD 1. Pin-bone the salmon and remove the skin. Lightly salt it and set aside for four minutes. 2 Peel the celeriac and cut into quarters. Grate the quarters into a bowl and lightly salt, then set aside for four minutes. 3. Pour the treacle on to a baking sheet and roll the salmon in it until evenly coated. 4. Spoon the mayonnaise into a mixing bowl and add a splash of water. Mix the dill into the mayonnaise and water before adding pepper. 5. Add the mayonnaise to the grated celeriac and mix thoroughly so the celeriac is completely coated. Add some lemon juice to taste. 6. Pan-fry the salmon in olive oil, cooking for two minutes on the presentation side and a further two minutes on the reverse. 7. To serve, place a good spoonful of the celeriac in the centre of each plate and top with the warm glazed salmon.

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high-quality food from a new grill Blk Sheep Baa & Grill, the latest venture from local leisure operators One Hundred Knights, launches in Wrexham


ollowing the success of Three Eagles Bar & Grill in Llangollen, hospitality and leisure operator One Hundred Knights has opened Blk Sheep Baa & Grill at Plassey Holiday Park near Wrexham. Based on a former dairy site, the restaurant is just five miles from the centre of Wrexham and has close links to Llangollen, Chester and the surrounding area. Adam Gaunt-Evans, One Hundred Knights’ director of

Trad it io n al Ch ristmas p u d d in g

restaurants and bars, has worked closely with Blk Sheep’s development chef Dan Gaskin and operations manager Katie Ince to develop an appealing all-day menu and dining experience that will cater to a wide range of customers. “The Blk Sheep Baa & Grill brand represents a new generation of British casual dining, where our focus is on serving high-quality delicious food and drinks and creating an enjoyable wholesome experience for all who

INGREDIENTS 200g dark brown sugar 200g fresh breadcrumbs 50g ground almonds 200g suet 100g plain flour 200g raisins 200g sultanas 100g mixed peel 100g currants 10g nutmeg 10g mixed spice 1tsp salt 125ml milk 4 eggs, beaten 100ml brandy Zest and juice of 1 lemon Zest and juice of 1 orange

“Our ethos is all about bringing British traditions to life in a contemporary way” visit,” says Adam. “We’re taking the level of cooking from traditionally high-quality restaurants and applying the efficiency, informality and accessibility of the casual dining sector. “Our ethos is all about bringing British traditions to life in a contemporary way and our diners can expect a new era of dishes, where nostalgia meets modernity.” You can see the menu for yourself and book a table at The Blk Sheep Baa & Grill team

Ch ristmas pie

Wood, Recipe from Martin chef/proprietor at The Bryntirion Inn in la Llandderfel near Ba

INGREDIENTS For the pastry: 400g plain flour, plus extra for rolling 2tbsp caster sugar Zest of 1 lemon 250g cold butter, cubed 1 free-range egg, beaten with 2tbsp cold water 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze

METHOD 1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 2. Add the liquids and mix well. 3. Cover and leave to marinade in the fridge for three to four days. 4. Steam in medium pudding moulds for one hour 45 minutes and allow to cool. 5 Simply steam or reheat on Christmas Day and serve with your choice of brandy butter or cream!

Adam Gaunt-Evans shares his recipe for a sumptuous Christmas pudding, right

For the filling: 400g cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced 2-4tbsp caster or light brown soft sugar (depending on the sweetness of the apples) 200g cranberry sauce 200g mincemeat METHOD 1. Place the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and use your fingers to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and stir with a round-bladed knife until the mixture forms dough. 2. Set aside one-third of the pastry for the lid. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface until the thickness of a pound coin and 5-7cm larger than the pie dish. Lift the pastry over the rolling pin and lower gently into the pie dish. 3. Press the pastry firmly into the dish and up the sides, making

Adam Gaunt-Evans

4. 5.




sure there are no air bubbles. Chill the fridge for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas mark 6. Place the apples and sugar in a pan with 1tbsp water. Cover and cook for five to 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool. Mix in the cranberry sauce and mincemeat, then place the filling in the pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg. Roll out the reserved ball of pastry to make the lid. Cover the pie with the pastry and press the edges together firmly to seal. Using a sharp knife, trim off the excess, then gently crimp all around the edge. Make a few small holes in the centre with the tip of a knife. Glaze with beaten egg. Sprinkle the pie with sugar and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden-brown all over.

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N ot g ot t h e b ot t l e? Roasted p ep p er-c ru sted ven is on h au n ch

Recipe from th e Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa, Chester

INGREDIENTS (serves four) 4 x 150g venison loins 100g unsalted butter Black pepper 2tbsp vegetable oil 2 sprigs of thyme 1 bay leaf 8 carrots 2 swede Cracked sea salt Nutmeg 1kg parsnips Honey Sage leaf

For the jus 1 litre veal sauce 150g blackberries 200ml red wine 100g redcurrant jelly 6 juniper berries Juice of 1 lemon 100ml Chambord (optional) Optional extras 1 Maris Piper potato 2 venison sausages

Pepper-encrusted venison • Prepare the venison loins by coating them in 50g unsalted butter and black pepper. • Add 2tbsp vegetable oil, one sprig of thyme and one bay leaf to a pan and heat to high temperature. Sear your venison loins on each side for approximately two minutes until brown. • Reduce heat to low and cook for a further six minutes (cooking time will vary depending on desired cooking temperature). Root vegetable mash • Peel and slice the carrots and swede and place into a large pan with 50g unsalted butter. Bring the vegetables to the boil and cook until tender – about 20 minutes – then drain and mash. Season with sea salt and nutmeg. Honey-roasted parsnips • Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. • Place the parsnips on a baking tray with sea salt and one sprig of thyme. • Roast for 20 minutes, remove and glaze with honey, then return to the oven for five minutes.

Wine served in anything other than a bottle has long been dismissed as cheap and naff, but a new range is attempting to shift perceptions


lass bottles have been the preferred vessel for wine since the 17th century, and it’s hard for us to get our heads around anything else. Plastic pouches come in handy at festivals, and boxes have also had their moments, but so far no producer has cracked the market for a lighter, easier wine presentation. Now, one company is attempting to do that with Canvino – a fresh, fizzy wine in a can. Canvino is a vegan-friendly, naturally sparkling wine and comes “Perfect for in a recyclable, lightweight can the park, that’s perfect for the park, a party or just for enjoying at home when you a party or don’t want to open a whole bottle. just enjoying Canvino’s grapes are sourced at home” from a family-owned vineyard in the Italian region of Lombardy, and there are two types available: Rosé and Bianco. Canvino costs £3 per can, with with free shipping on packs of 12 or more, and is available from, Amazon and other selected retailers.

Golden glow One Cheshire pub is basking in the glory of receiving a Golden Award from the Campaign for Real Ale, marking 50 years of CAMRA campaigns

Blackberry and red wine jus • Combine the stock, blackberries, red wine, redcurrant jelly, juniper berries, lemon juice and Chambord in a pan. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Strain, setting the blackberries aside for the garnish. Optional extras • Use a spiraliser to shred a potato. Wrap the spirals around the venison sausages in a lattice style. Air-fry or deep-fry, then cut into half to serve. Finishing touches • Plate each serving with one venison loin and half a croquette (if using), parsnips and root vegetable mash. Finish your dish with your blackberry and red wine jus, and garnish with blackberries and a sage leaf. For more, visit

Martin Bailey of the Coach House brewery, Warrington


s part of its 50th anniversary celebrations throughout 2021, CAMRA has been recognising people, groups of people or businesses that have made a significant contribution to CAMRA’s aims, and one of those honoured by the experts is the Coach House

brewery in Warrington. The Coach House was selected because it is a multiple CAMRA national awardwinning brewer and has gone above and beyond in delivering excellence over the years. “We are delighted to have this recognition,” says Martin Bailey, managing director of the Coach House. “As well as being CAMRA’s 50th anniversary, it’s our 30th, so a joint celebration! “I’d like to thank CAMRA for its support, particularly after the last trying year. Most importantly I would love to thank all that work at Coach House for their passion to produce and deliver great beer!”

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Caviar &

Cocktails This Christmas, why not treat yourself or a loved one to some luxurious food and drink options?

Crystal-clear spring water gives the caviar its pure flavour that has won it awards around the world. With prices starting from £20, it’s a luxury product that’s also accessible as a special treat. It is ideal for adding as a garnish to canapés or a fish dish on Christmas Day. It also makes a delicious Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve treat to enjoy with blinis and sour cream. Caviar & Cocktails also has a range of classic cocktails made to traditional IBA recipes and supplied in easy-to-serve pouches. Made only from ingredients you’d use if

“A fast, efficient, no-waste option if you’re looking to serve cocktails to your guests”

Luxury delivered to your door


aviar & Cocktails is a Shropshirebased business that imports the finest Italian caviar and pre-mixed cocktails. It then delivers awardwinning, genuine sturgeon caviar and premium cocktails direct to your door. Adamas Caviar is a sustainably farmed caviar from a third-generation family-run farm in northern Italy.

mixing at a bar, with no additives or preservatives, the cocktails taste just like the real thing – because they are. They make great gifts for those difficult-to-buy for people, as well as being a fast, efficient, no-waste option if you’re looking to serve cocktails to guests over the festive season. Just chill the pouch, shake and pour into a glass over plenty of ice, and your cocktail is ready to enjoy! A range of gift sets is available, and with a choice of three different caviar varieties and 10 cocktails there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy this Christmas.

Pick of the

Producers A £20m sustainable cheese project has got the go-ahead on Anglesey, bringing more than 100 jobs to the area


Dr Graham Jackson from Mona Island Dairy with Lesley Griffiths from the

hanks to a slice of Welsh government funding, Welsh government Mona Island Dairy’s factory in Holyhead is set to become the most sustainable in Europe, running solely on renewable electricity. The funding will support production of Welsh and continental cheeses, and when finished the factory will be the most modern on the continent, capable of producing 7,000 tonnes of cheese a year. Managing director Ronald Akkerman says the move will see the company’s turnover rise to £25m by 2022 and set new standards “The factory will be for the industry, as it looks to blend innovative traditional methods to create cheddar, capable of producing and gouda, edam and a range of artisan cheeses 7,000 tonnes of using milk from local farms. cheese a year” The Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, Lesley Griffiths, is delighted the project is on track to eventually create more than 100 new jobs for the area. “This is excellent news for Holyhead, Anglesey and the wider area,” she says. “It is good to see that milk from local farms will be used in the production of the cheese, which will be a boost for the dairy industry, and it is great to see the measures taken to minimise the impact on the environment.”

Rh u g Estate orga n ic h on eyro ast go os e INGREDIENTS 4-5.5kg Rhug organic goose 3 lemons 2 oranges 1tsp Chinese five-spice powder Small handful each of parsley sprigs, thyme and sage, plus extra for garnishing Olive oil for browning (optional) 3tbsp Rhug honey Halen Môn sea salt The more you can get done in advance, the less stressful the big day will be. The first three steps can be done the day before. METHOD 1. Loosen the string and pull out the legs and wings a little. Remove any giblets or pads of fat inside the bird. Lightly score the breast and leg skin in a criss-cross. 2. Zest the lemons and oranges. Mix with 2tsp Halen Môn sea salt, five-spice powder and pepper to taste. Season the cavity of the goose generously with salt, then rub the citrus mix well into the skin and sprinkle some inside the cavity. 3. Stuff the zested fruit and the herb sprigs inside the bird and pop into the refrigerator overnight, if possible. 4. Calculate your cooking time. You should cook at a high temperature for the first 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature and cook for 20 minutes per kg for medium rare, 32 minutes per kg for well done, plus 30 minutes’ rest. 5. Preheat your oven to 240°C/220°C fan/ gas mark 9. To give your goose a nice golden skin, pan-fry it in a little olive oil. Hold the bird by the legs and press down on the breasts to brown the skin. 6. Place the bird in the roasting tin. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme. Roast for the required time, turning the heat down after 10 minutes to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5. If the goose is starting to brown too much, cover with foil. 7. Baste the bird every 30 minutes or so with the juices in the pan, then pour off the fat through a sieve into a large heatproof bowl. You can save this and use to roast the potatoes and other veg. At the end of the cooking time, leave the goose to rest for at least 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. . 8. When carving use a sharp, long, thin-bladed knife and angle it at about 90° to the breastbone. For more, visit November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 81

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INGREDIENTS 500ml double cream, lightly whisked 150g Champion & Reeves Cherry Nougat, cubed 200g frozen raspberries (removed from freezer for an hour) 200g frozen blackberries (removed from freezer for an hour) 100ml fruit liqueur, either blackberry or blackcurrant 100ml runny honey

W h ite ch oc ol ate, oran ge an d cran berry Ch ristmas ca ke

rks Garden Recipe from Woodwo Mold in fé Ca & e Centr

INGREDIENTS 300g salted butter 200g white chocolate 500g plain flour 4tsp baking powder 1tsp bicarbonate of soda 500g white caster sugar 300ml natural yoghurt 4tsp vanilla extract Zest and juice of 1 large orange 6 large eggs 4tbsp milk

Did yo u kn ow(or?iginally

Cranberries crane berries) get their name from the red patch on the head of a crane

For the compote 200g cranberries 150g caster sugar For the icing 200g white chocolate, chopped 500g salted butter 750g icing sugar 280g cream cheese METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. 2. Heat 150g butter and 100g white chocolate in a bowl over a hot pan, then set aside to cool. 3. Combine 250g flour, 2tsp baking powder, half the bicarbonate of soda and 250g sugar in a large bowl. 4. Create a well and add 150g yoghurt, 2tsp vanilla extract, half of the orange zest and juice, three eggs and 2tbsp milk. Whisk together. 5. Stir in the melted butter and chocolate and divide between into two 20cm cake tins. 6. Repeat steps 1 to 5, so you have four layers in total. 7. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake is clean when removed. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 8. To make the compote, simmer the cranberries and sugar in a small pan until jammy, and cool. 9. For the icing, melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water, then allow to cool a little. 10. Mix the butter and icing sugar together, then add chocolate and cream cheese. 11. Layer the cake and compote, then cover the whole cake with the icing. 12. Use sugar-coated cranberries to decorate. For more about Woodworks Garden Centre & Café, visit

F ru it n ou gat d el ic e

METHOD 1. Select a receptacle that the delice can be Recipe from chilled/frozen in. Preferably, Champion & Re eves it should be cylindrical and about 30cm long and 15cm square. Put it in the freezer for at least an hour before assembling the delice. 2. Put the whipped cream and all the fruit and the nougat in a large bowl and mix together. Add the liqueur and the honey, and quickly incorporate with the other ingredients. 3. Remove the receptacle from the freezer and line with clingfilm along the bottom and all the sides. 4. Pour the mixture into the receptacle and return to the freezer for two hours. 5. Remove from the freezer and turn out the delice – the clingfilm should make this easy to do. 6. Cut the delice into slices and serve as required. It works well with a fruit coulis, chocolate sauce or fresh fruit. Visit for more information

Sp arkl in g En gl ish jell y sh ots le Recipe from Kerry Va ing eyl eh ntr Pe rd, Vineya

This quick and easy recipe is sure to add a bit of sparkle to your celebration! They can be prepared in advance so are perfect for the busy Christmas period. INGREDIENTS 2 leaves of gelatine (or vegan alternative) 250ml Kerry Vale Sparkling Rosé 50ml elderflower cordial Raspberries to decorate METHOD 1. Soak the gelatine leaves in water for five minutes. 2. Mix the sparkling wine and cordial in a pan and warm over a gentle heat. Take care not to overheat. 3. Remove the gelatine leaves from the water and add to the pan with the wine and cordial. Stir. 4. Once gelatine leaves have fully dissolved, pour the warm liquid into individual shot glasses. 5. Place the shot glasses in the fridge and preferably leave overnight to set fully. 6. When ready to serve, remove the shot glasses from the fridge and decorate each one with a raspberry. For that extra wow factor, use English sparkling red wine. This fruity alternative is sure to impress guests! For more information about the Kerry Vale Vineyard, visit

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Penderyn Llandudno Lloyd St. Dissllery Shop open days a week. Tours and Masterclasses available.

Award Winning Adamas Caviar & The Perfect Cocktail Exceptional quality food & drinks delivered fresh to your door Ideal for Christmas entertaining or gifts

01743 650252

Working together to create unforgettable culinary experiences for you and your guests.

01244 304 660

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Live every day your way at Deewater Grange When you move into a Care UK care home you are supported to live life in the way you choose. The team at Deewater Grange find out all they can about your personality, preferences and wishes and create a care and lifestyle plan that’s tailored to your unique needs. Ensuring you enjoy the very best care and quality of life is at the heart of everything Care UK does.

little as you wish. There’s always time for a cuddle with Mabel and Benji, the Deewater dogs. Alternatively, relax over a pamper session in the hair and beauty salon, enjoy a film afternoon in the cinema, or catch up with loved ones over coffee and cake in the café.

Care UK believes that moving into a care home is just another part of later life, striving to make every day fulfilling and fun. You’ll be supported to continue doing the things you love, from light tasks around the home to enjoying regular outings and entertainment, or hobbies like baking, knitting, singing or gardening.

Keeping fit and active is key to health and wellbeing in later life, and Deewater Grange recently staged its own version of the Olympics. Keeping brains

At Deewater Grange, you’re welcome to do as much or as

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active is important too: Kath is the home’s resident Scrabble champion, and Brian enjoys using the giant tablet computer. He says, “I love playing card games and listening to music on the tablet.” Residents also play an active part in the local community. They recently displayed their impressive artistic talents by creating ‘Martha the Mermaid’ for the Huntington community scarecrow trail. To find out more about care at Deewater Grange, please call 01244 459559 or email Deewater Grange care home Huntington, Chester CH3 6BS

29/10/2021 15:16


Find your perfect tree!

During the festive season there’s nothing like a real Christmas tree – so here’s how to find the one that suits your needs perfectly


real tree makes your home smell of the season so it feels festive from start to finish – but which type to choose? The options can be baffling, so here is Shire’s indoor gardening guide to help you pick the perfect Christmas tree this year from those widely available in the UK – with numerous retailers across the Shire patch waiting to provide you with the tree of your dreams!

Nordmann fir

Originating from the Caucasus mountains, where Europe meets Asia, this holds on to its soft, glossy dark green needles for the entire season so its growing popularity is not surprising. Its strong branches also produce the idealised pyramidal Christmas tree shape.

These trees’ inch-long, bluish-green needles give off a strong festive aroma and tend to turn upwards. With its short, stiff branches it is great for heavier ornaments and lasts throughout the season.

Stiff branches

Norway spruce

If you don’t want to spend loads and don’t mind a bit of tree care, this is for you. It has a classic form, a strong fragrance and shiny dark needles – but it does shed. Soft, glossy needles

Douglas fir

If it’s the classic aroma of Christmas you’re looking for then consider a Douglas fir. These trees are also popular for their colour, with a bluish-green needles that release a strong, sweet smell when crushed. They’re popular in the US and have a conical shape.

Noble fir

A strong sweet smell

Fraser fir

This has flat needles that are long, dark green on the top and silvery Perfect for decorations underneath, and well retained. Their scent is pleasant and they form a good shape with strong branches that turn upward – perfect for hanging decorations on.

Long cones

Scots pine

Bright green with stiff, dark green needles on branches that fall open and can accommodate more ornaments. It keeps its needles and aroma for around a month, and is also good for replanting if you want a tree to live in your garden.

Needles that fall open


• • • • • •

Buy from your local Christmas tree farm for a tree that hasn’t suffered too much in transit. Give a shake to check not many needles fall off. Trim the trunk to aid water absorption. Replenish the water frequently. Keep the tree away from heat sources to avoid drying. Take it down before it dries out to avoid needle mess.



he Woodworks Garden Centre in Mold has been awarded full membership of the Garden Centre Association following a recent inspection by the industry body – as well as a Merit Award for Garden Construction. “We are thrilled!” says Iwan Gwyn, manager of the Woodworks Garden Centre. “The Garden Construction category covers the Zest 4 Leisure section within The Mill display area, which features fencing, trellis, timber and sheds and summerhouses. The auditor was extremely impressed by this category including the layout, environment, product, quality and value for money.

“Our café, indoor lifestyle gift shop and plants area also received excellent feedback.” The audit report also commended Woodworks’ cleanliness, product displays and good staff presence. Iwan says: “The team has worked really hard to ensure that we offer an excellent service so it’s brilliant that this was recognised in the report.”

The Woodworks Garden Centre

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Before you start sheltering indoors from the cold, wind and rain, there are still plenty of jobs in the garden that will reward you when milder weather returns


hen it’s dry enough, says Lis Morris, lecturer in horticulture and sustainable technologies at University Centre Reaseheath in Cheshire, carry out these important garden tasks. As she says: “Any effort made now will more than pay off in the spring.”

• November is an excellent time to plant tulip

• Tender plants, particularly those in containers, need protection so

• Keep beds and borders tidy by

move them into a clean greenhouse or into a sheltered position.

• Raise containers on pot feet to

prevent waterlogging and insulate with bubble wrap or fleece if they are likely to crack in icy weather.

• Clear fallen leaves from

paths and patios so they Wrap containers to prevent cracks don’t become slippery; rake them from your lawn to allow light and moisture to your turf. Use the leaves to make leaf mould – waste not, want not!

• Grass will grow if the air

temperature is above 5°C and can harbour mould if it’s long and wet, so run the mower over it when you can (use a high setting).

• Clear out containers and refill

Leaves, get off my lawn! with winter bedding, placing them where they can be admired from the house. Favourites include wallflowers, cyclamen, winter pansies and primulas.

TOP TIP Don’t work on your borders when the soil is sodden – it can cause compaction

bulbs. And it’s also not too late to plant lily bulbs in pots. Bring them inside in spring if you want them to flower early. hoeing off late weeds and mulch round plants for added protection.

• Lightly prune roses and hardy

perennials such as buddleias to prevent wind rock, and consider extra staking for exposed plants.

Plant bulbs in November

• Lift and store dahlias,

cannas and tuberous bedding begonias once they have been blackened by first frosts.

• Help birds by putting out water

Prune roses and hardy perennials

and bird food daily. Clean the containers weekly to avoid spreading disease. TOP TIP Remove old leaves For more on Reaseheath’s horticulture from “Christmas courses see rose” hellebores horticulture (for diplomas and RHS to show off courses) or www.ucreaseheath. the flowers (for degrees)



Plants don’t get more festive than holly and ivy – but you can add greenery all year round with these varieties

This holly doesn’t have the classic leaf shape but it’s an evergreen that can be both a shrub or a small to medium-sized tree. It has thick branches covered in equally thick glossy and leathery foliage.

English holly

English ivy

Chinese holly

Irish ivy

This is the holly most commonly seen growing wild or at home. It has glossy, hard foliage that’s spiky at the bottom and smooth-edged at the top, with leaves usually a deep emerald green. And, of course, it produces an abundance of rich red berries. This also has the rich green, shaped leaves – but no spikes here! The leaves have a leathery texture and are slightly twisted. The white, small, fragrant flowers come in spring and the red berries follow.

The most popular of them all, and known for its unlobed leaves and flowers. There are green, yellow, variegated, hanging and climbing varieties. It does well in full sun or partial shade, and can make an excellent houseplant as well as a great garden grower. This variety of ivy has a simple and heartwarming beauty. Its leaves are of a glossy emerald green, soft in shape, with lobes that make it look almost like a stylised ivy leaf – very traditional and classic.

86 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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29/10/2021 10:10

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Come along to Holly Farm to choose your own Christmas tree, and pick up a handmade wreath. We also have a new shop to explore. Each Christmas we transform our barn here at Holly Farm into an indoor cinema showing festive films on dates during December, with freshly made pizzas, local ales, mulled wine & hot chocolates.

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29/10/2021 15:13

HANDS UP! Many of us have good intentions when it comes to sharing our time and energy, but maybe we should make a point of making it happen and sign up for some volunteering


olunteering used to be the domain of the newly retired and eager gap year students hoping to broaden their experience while doing something worthwhile. But these days people from all walks of life, with all types of skills and talents, dedicate time to helping other people, animals, nature, causes or communities for nothing. In fact, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, an estimated 14.2 million people volunteer at least once a month – and what better time to talk about it than the season of goodwill?

Changing times

Since the start of the pandemic, volunteering has been on the rise, with more and more people pledging to do their bit. Many have done so simply because they could – because for the first time in their usually busy working lives, things changed. People found themselves with time on their hands at the same time that other members of the community needed extra help. Our towns developed networks of people delivering food and running errands for those who couldn’t leave their homes, while simple acts such as joining neighbours for weekly doorstep displays of solidarity and pinning rainbows in windows, enhanced feelings of togetherness that we all hope will last well beyond the pandemic.

Communities pulled together during the pandemic

The benefits to society are enormous. Nine out of 10 people gain from some sort of voluntary activity over the course of a year, from the 162,000-plus voluntary organisations in the UK. The economic value of volunteering is estimated at £22.6 billion. There are many reasons why people volunteer. Those feeling fortunate with their lot in life might simply want to share their good luck, some enjoy keeping busy, many just find it rewarding. One thing is for sure: across the Shire patch there are plenty of organisations that would be delighted to find new recruits and welcome budding volunteers with open arms. If you think you could be one of them, keep reading. And over the next few pages we’ll give you more reasons why it could be a good idea, as well as suggestions on how and where to start.


One organisation that knows more than most about volunteering in all its forms is the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which represents more than 16,000 voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and social enterprises. NCVO doesn’t place volunteers directly but it has a selection of resources to help you find a suitable opportunity. Find out more at Show you care 88 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Do it for… yourself

Volunteering is all about doing something for someone or something else, right? Not necessarily… There are important benefits for the person doing the good deeds too


iving your time and energy for a cause you believe in is wonderful enough in itself – but often the main person to benefit will be you yourself. And that’s another great reason to get stuck in. As a society we’re (slowly) getting better at recognising the importance of mental wellbeing and staying in tune with our own mental outlook, and volunteering may be something that helps us to keep that in tip-top shape. Health experts at Bupa certainly credit the act of “giving something back” with providing a huge boost to our emotional state, and there have been a number of studies exploring a potential link between volunteering and mental wellbeing. According to Bupa, research does seem to show that volunteering has a positive effect in terms of managing depression and enhancing life satisfaction and general wellbeing. This research mainly consists of small-scale local studies, where volunteering schemes have been used as a form of treatment programme for people with specific mental health conditions. Many positive outcomes have been noted, with individuals reporting that volunteering helped them in their recovery. Overall, this paints a picture that volunteering can be valuable for the volunteer as well as for those who benefit from their help. Fatmata Kamara, specialist nurse adviser at Bupa UK, says: “As a mental health g nurse, I have seen firsthand some rin ee nt lu Vo of the benefits people have gained Matters runs from volunteering, which may lie projects across the UK – see behind these research findings.” volunteering

Building a sense of community

“We’re starting to understand that social relationships promote mental wellbeing, and volunteering is a great way to build these”

Take time out to do something different

The benefits of volunteering

Fatmata has observed volunteers reporting positive outcomes such as: • A sense of purpose Helping others can be rewarding and satisfying, and can reaffirm your sense of value and purpose. • Social opportunities It can provide an opportunity to make friends and develop your social life, as well as helping you get to know your local community. As a society, we’re starting to understand that social relationships promote mental wellbeing, and volunteering is a great way to build these. • Learning Volunteering often involves learning new skills, which in itself brings a sense of fulfilment and achievement. • Chance of employment Many volunteering schemes can open doors in terms of employment opportunities. Finding a job – or a new job – can carry with it all the benefits outlined above. • A distraction If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression and are preoccupied with negative thoughts, volunteering can provide a welcome distraction. • Physical activity Some volunteering activities, such as gardening or sports coaching, may involve physical effort. The benefits of exercise for mental health are well established. • Feeling valued Helping others can help promote feelings of value and self-worth, boost self-esteem and increase confidence. • Time out Taking time out to do something different gives you the chance to reflect, reassess and potentially restore balance.

Continued on next page

November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 89

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Do it for… nature

Winging it

Jenny Mottershead



sa ve

The RSPB is one charity we can all do our bit to support. “Spending time outside discovering the incredible sights and sounds of our amazing wildlife is something we can all enjoy – together we can also help save it,” the charity to says. “With 17 per cent of s ur species in Wales under risk of extinction, which includes the iconic curlew, increasing our support and understanding for the wildlife that enriches all our lives has never been more important. “As an RSPB Cymru volunteer, you can meet new people, learn new skills, improve your CV, see – and help – fantastic wildlife and even improve your fitness. Volunteering is also a great way to work towards a career in conservation. You can give as much or little time as you are able, and your work will help us protect our wildlife, now and in the future.” Please email for more information about becoming an RSPB Cymru volunteer or contact any of the RSPB Cymru nature reserves directly. For more information on how you can get involved and be a part of saving nature, visit get-involved.

Go wild

W il d

st in




Wildlife Trust groups across the patch are also regularly looking for volunteers and u Tr offer a range of roles and e f li responsibilities you might be

interested in. Jenny Mottershead, Rhos Pasture arts and heritage officer for Radnorshire Wildlife Trust explains how vital the work is. “Volunteers are a key way for us to help nature thrive across the area,” she says. “We’re extremely fortunate to have fantastic volunteers – people who help us survey and assess the state of nature locally, who help maintain footpaths and fences, help run our shop and help at events and with school groups. “For us, volunteering isn’t simply about increasing numbers – each volunteer brings a unique range of skills, knowledge and experience to the team. Some join to meet others or to gain skills for employment. Whatever the reason, they make a valuable and meaningful contribution to our work. Each person, whether volunteer or staff member, is a vital part of #teamrad.”

Walk this way

If you love the great outdoors, you’ll appreciate the effort it takes to care for the natural environment we all enjoy walking in, but have you considered joining in to promote and protect the areas you love? The Ramblers is is Britain’s largest walking charity, with 20,000 dedicated volunteers already devoting their time, skills, local knowledge w and enthusiasm to enable others ne to experience the joys of walking. Thanks to them, the Ramblers has already achieved so much – from creating national trails and national parks to gaining the right to roam. Volunteers lead more than 50,000 walks every year through 500 groups across England, Scotland and Wales, and also help to protect and maintain 140,000 miles of paths. To find the perfect role for you and see the current volunteering vacancies, visit or email


f wildlife and the natural world are your top priorities, then you will find no shortage of volunteering opportunities that might suit you. So many national organisations that seek to protect our natural environment rely on volunteers to help campaign and raise funds for the essential work they do – as well as taking part in branch activities – and locally we have plenty of helping heroes that will welcome new recruits.

fr ie n


It's not all work, there are laughs to be had too (promise!)

Ma ke

One of the most popular options for volunteering is the environment – whether that means a simple litter pick in the countryside or helping preserve and protect our precious green spaces


The six Wildlife Trusts in Wales have come together to tackle climate change with the help of the young people of Wales. For the next three years, they will work to empower and inspire young people to take action for nature and wildlife in their local area. They are looking for passionate individuals aged nine to 24 who want to gain skills in conservation, help with campaigning or just meet like-minded people, as part of a youth forum. To find out more, check out www.

90 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Do it for… animals

Rehoming an unwanted pet is a long-term commitment and not something to be entered into lightly – but it can bring untold rewards. There are plenty of other ways to help animal charities too


Fu n


nimal charities are always a popular option for volunteering, and dogs in particular have a special place in our nation’s hearts. One charity that will always welcome extra support is Greyhound fu Rescue Wales. If you love ng i s ai dogs, and have the time and dr means to do it, you might consider opening your home to a rescue dog, says Sabina Dunkling, manager of Hillcrest rescue and rehoming centre in Carmarthenshire. “Here at Greyhound Rescue Wales, we often say rehoming a greyhound is like having a very large puppy,” she says. “Often they have not been in a house before and they want to explore everything! They may also need some work to get them housetrained. But with a bit of guidance, time and patience from their adopters, greyhounds and lurchers can learn all their life skills and make fantastic companions.” If you can’t go as far as to take on a dog, you can help the charity in other ways. It has five retail shops and is about to open a sixth, in Abergavenny – which again is down to the efforts of volunteers. Local members pitched in to help with street collections, sponsored dog walks and dog shows to raise funds for the new branch. The charity also holds a virtual Pawsome Auction, where you can bid online on a variety of lots. The next

“Volunteering isn’t simply about numbers. Each volunteer brings a unique range of skills, knowledge and experience to the team” one takes place between 14th and 21th November, and you can find details on Facebook – search “Greyhound Rescue Wales”.

Paws for thought

More of a cat person? Why not show your affection for our feline friends by adopting a cat? Cats Protection in Wrexham is always looking for new families for their residents. It is keen to help as many cats as possible, both during the pandemic and beyond, so if anyone can offer a deserving kitty a home, it will help to free up more space in the centres to take in emergency cases. If you’re JOIN IN! interested in adopting a cat or kitten, email Craft a felt cat for or call 0300 012 0269. Christm as. See / craftforcats

There are opportunities for everyone – right on your doorstep

Continued on next page November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 91

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Do it for… people and places

Here at Shire, we love our local area and we’re pretty sure you do too. No wonder we’ve been inundated with volunteering suggestions from groups already doing their bit to keep our patch as lovely as it is Park protectors

The Friends of Telford Town Park work hard to keep this award-winning park up to its high standard – and have great fun doing it. Chairman Chris Pettman says: “Our ambition is to return the gardens and fountains to their former glory, through gardening, hedge laying, scrub clearing, erecting bird and bat boxes and other general environmental maintenance. There are huge health benefits to volunteering too – being outdoors can lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while improving mental health. “We have a varied mix of ages volunteering, and anyone aged Telford’s Chris Pettman 16-plus is welcome to join us. We meet every Wednesday and Saturday morning in the Chelsea Gardens. Come along or contact me for details. Email or call 01952 270868 or 07837 918013.”

Tower power

One group so successful in its work it has now gained industrial backing is Guardians of the Clock Tower – a determined bunch of people doing their best to preserve the Grade II-listed John Summers clock tower site in Deeside. The building opened in 1907 and was home to Shotton Steelworks’ general office before closing in 2009 and falling into disrepair after being sold to a developer. The group has plans for a heritage skills centre, library, community café and landscaped gardens on the site. It has made great progress and now has the backing of Tata Steel, which is providing free utilities so that volunteers and tradespeople can continue delivering the project. Vicki Roskams is leading the project. “The steelworks has always been a major employer and a huge part of this community, so we are delighted it is so supportive of the project,” she says. “Our thanks to everyone who has helped us to this point, and if anyone is able to volunteer their time or resources to help us take the scheme forward, please get in touch.” For more information or to support the project, email or request to join the Guardians of the Clocktower Facebook page. Clock Tower Guardians

Working to


Whatever floats your boat

Across the area, we have a fabulous network of heritage transport systems in the form of old railway lines and canal networks – and many rely on volunteers. One of those needing support from as many people as possible is the Montgomery Canal. Christine Palin, chair of the Friends of the Canal group, says: “The Montgomery is one of the finest canals in the UK, with a unique natural and built heritage. Nature reserves beside the navigable canal protect its valuable plants and wildlife, and per mile its collection of bridges, locks and other structures is unrivalled. With more support the canal can be extended from Crickheath to join with the landlocked section at Llanymynech to create a sustainable DID YOU tourism destination. The Friends busy KNOW? “Those who know on the canal The canal is a the canal recognise its Special Area of value not just to wildlife and boaters but the Conservation community as a whole. We are asking more for its aquatic people to join with us and tell policy makers plants that the canal should be properly funded so that its restoration can proceed apace.” Show your support at

Health heroes

At the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital another dedicated group of Friends supports the clinical and admin teams, and is always looking for extra pairs of hands. Julie McCabe is a former nurse and volunteers in the vaccination centre. “I do weekends and tend to work alongside the same volunteers and staff,” she says. “They’re a friendly bunch and make everyone’s experience a positive one. It has been a real honour to be involved in the vaccine rollout and is one of the reasons why I’ve nursed all my adult life.” Currently the Friends are looking for people to help with the vaccination centre, coffee shop, screening desk and visiting patients. Potential volunteers can email heather.thomas-bache@nhs. Julie McCabe: “It’s an honour” net or call 01691 404401.

92 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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29/10/2021 09:35

Do it for… the glory!

Our nation’s army of volunteers may sometimes feel forgotten, but there’s a shared sense of pride when their amazing contribution is recognised – as it was for four local groups this year


at la st !

Shrewsbury Drapers

Re co


aybe you need more of an incentive than the promise of a feelgood glow to take the next step and sign up as a volunteer? Well, don’t worry, there are plenty of awards and endorsements for those who do good – from blood donors who earn honours with every five, 10 or more visits to iti gn long-service badges once you’ve been doing your bit for a while. And don’t forget the potential for official honours such as MBEs and OBEs. Joking aside, we have too many heroes of the voluntary sector locally to shout about all of them on these pages, but some who recently enjoyed royal recognition were those groups selected for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) – the highest accolade given to local volunteer groups across the UK. It is awarded to “truly outstanding” groups of volunteers whose level of initiative and impact are exceptional. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community, and the awards are

“Each group makes a real difference to the people of Shropshire” Teatime with Shrewsbury Drapers

distributed by the Queen’s Lord-Lieutenants who represent the monarch in each of the UK’s ceremonial counties. In Shropshire this year, Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Anna Turner JP was delighted to hand out four such honours to Shrewsbury Drapers Company, Shrewsbury Food Hub, Bright Star Boxing Academy and the Red House Community Centre (run by Albrighton Village Halls Trust). She said: “I am delighted that four Shropshire groups have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year. This prestigious award is richly deserved by each of the groups, who have made a real difference to so many people in the county of Shropshire.” Our congratulations to all four groups (see right) – and to all those unsung heroes doing their bit for our communities. Shrewsbury Food Hub


YOU The Shrewsbury Drapers provides sheltered KNOW? housing in 52 almshouses, as well as The Shre w Drapers sbury promoting textile design and preserving the has run almshou heritage of the guild and its historic hall. se since 14 s Major General John Crackett, the current 44 Master says: “Not only is this a superb recognition of all the hard work put in by our volunteers year after year, but also I hope that it will make us better known locally and encourage a more diverse selection of skilled and energetic people to come and help us.”

Bright Star

Bright Star Boxing Academy offers sport, mentoring and education to support people to make positive changes in their lives. Its goals are to aid young people at risk of exclusion or criminal exploitation, in Changing lives recovery and with poor mental health. Director Joe Lockley says: “It’s great to see the impact we’re having is recognised nationally. Everyone involved goes the extra mile to meet the needs of everyone who walks through the doors, whether that be through one of our targeted programmes or to the open boxing club session.”

The Red House

This community centre has provided services and facilities for all age groups in Albrighton, Shropshire, for more than 50 years. It runs a free summer play scheme, Christmas parties for seniors and multiple fundraising events to support the community. Chair of trustees Jenny Community effort Wynn says: “This is wonderful recognition for all our trustees and volunteers, many of whom have worked at the Red House supporting residents for more than two decades.”

Shrewsbury Food Hub

Operating seven days a week, the Food Hub tackles food poverty and waste by sharing leftover food from supermarkets with community groups. The quantity it collects has increased six-fold since it started in 2016, and last year provided enough for 195,000 meals. Katy Anderson, manager and co-founder says: “Our 116 volunteers are the heart of our organisation.” November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 93

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t c e f w a P esents r P


Our round-up of the best gifts for animal and nature lovers 1

3 4 6 7


9 8


13 12 11


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

MyMetalGarden paw print love heart, £12, My Metal Garden; Metal cut-out blue tit, £26.50, Nature In Steel in Bucknell, Shropshire; Wildlife World Tahera artisan nester, £16, Ginger & Browns, Blakemere Village; “Wipe Paws And Carry On” barrier rug, £15, Petcetera in Whitchurch, Shropshire; Build A Bee Hotel gift set, £11.99, RHS Plants; Geometric weathervane, £160, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; The Very Hungry Caterpillar butterfly growing kit, £25, CJ Wildlife in Shropshire;

Garden Shopping NovDec 2021 FINAL.indd 1

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Melissa & Doug build-your-own birdhouse, £14.99, Dobies Garden Centres; Hanging basket bracket, £49.99, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; Doggy Joules plush bone toy, £3.99, Charlies; Brambly Cottage Theiss four-piece garden butterfly set, £19.99, Wayfair; Hedgehog house and planter, £99.99, Royal British Legion Industries Shop; Make A Pizza For The Birds kit, £19.50, The Den Kit Company; Tom Chambers warbler birdhouse, £59.99, Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon;

29/10/2021 12:28


EQUINE EXPERT LAUNCHES REHAB HUB A state-of-the-art horse and rider rehabilitation centre has opened in Bryneglwys, near Corwen in Denbighshire


lite Equine Therapies is the brainchild also works intensively with able-bodied and disabled riders within the UK and of Emma Phillips, a highly experienced therapist who was previously part of the emergency medical team at the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. Emma originally planned to open the centre a year ago, but her preparations were delayed by the onset of Covid-19. Elite Equine Therapies focuses on treatment-led rehabilitation, meeting the needs of both veterinary referral and private clients for 24-hour onsite professional care. Facilities include a dedicated arena with a silica sand and fibre surface, a purposebuilt stable block, a treatment bay and a Emma Phillips horse solarium offering infrared therapy. There is also individual grazing, allinternationally, usually working with weather paddocks and an unloading area. both horse and rider simultaneously. Emma has worked as a human therapist In addition to her qualifications since 18, initially treating riders but as a sports therapist and veterinary progressing to being a physiotherapist, Emma also veterinary physiotherapist holds a level 4 master and and FEI-approved equine GP referral qualification “It has therapist. In addition to as a personal trainer. taken four her specialist rehabilitation “I’m really excited to finally years of hard work, she runs CPD be opening Elite Equine work and and owner learning days, Therapies,” says Emma. “It including massage therapy. has taken four years of hard dedication” work and dedication, with the Few and far between immense added challenges Elite Equine Therapies is located on thrown at us by the pandemic. But it’s so the site of an old Welsh slate barn, exciting to see all my ideas come to fruition where Emma and her team can provide and I’m looking forward to working with horses with both short-term and longer riders and horses over the coming months stays. Treatments include hands-on and years. I am also looking forward to being therapy, massage and electrotherapy, as able to create jobs for people in the local well as strength and conditioning. area and work with local businesses.” Emma works with horses needing both rehab after an injury and pre-hab to help For more about Elite Equine Therapies, prevent injuries in the first place. She visit



ur dogs have spent lots more time with us over the past 18 months. But as we return to our pre-pandemic routines, they may need some help readjusting. Pet insurer Cliverton has the following tips. • Slowly does it Avoid sudden changes in routine – introduce new timings over a few weeks. Also gradually decrease the amount of time and attention you give to your dog. • Know the signs Be aware of behaviours your dog exhibits when they’re anxious. • Don’t make a big deal of leaving or coming home This can get your dog worked up and increase their feelings of anxiety. Calmly pet them instead. • Leave something behind Dogs have a strong sense of smell, so leave them with an item of your clothing to keep them feeling comforted. • Choose your words carefully Teach them a command that lets them know you’ll be back and won’t be gone forever. • Help them relax Consider using products that can reduce feelings of stress and fear.

November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 95

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NEW GREEN SCHEME FOR ALL Wildlife Trust staff are working with the community to launch Green Connections Powys, a new wildlife project in Talgarth


reen Connections Powys is a collaborative Wildlife Trusts project that is helping community groups, small businesses, landowners and councils take action to address climate change and biodiversity loss, and create a nature recovery network across the county. The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities: Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. The scheme was launched with a special event, which included informative and entertaining sessions. Bug expert Phil Ward led a pollinator walk around sites managed by the On The Verge Talgarth community group, while staff from the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales provided a demonstration of scything to cut a wildflower meadow. They also explained the use of green hay and seeds collected from donor wildflower meadows to spread seed into new grassy areas. Montgomery Wildlife staff, meanwhile, kept children entertained making bird feeder discs. “It was inspiring to see and hear how the local One of the informative sessions community has been

Cute Pets

Using a scythe to maintain wildflower meadows

creating mini meadows on road verges and managing green spaces around Talgarth to help wildlife,” says Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s project manager Darylle Hardy. “Over the next year, staff will be on hand across Powys to offer advice and support to other community groups or landowners that want to help nature’s “A very recovery. Please do get in touch.” rich and Councillor William Powell was worthwhile similarly impressed. “It is really event” positive to see all three Wildlife Trusts within Powys collaborating in this way, for the betterment of our natural environment, at this time of climate emergency,” he says. “As a long-standing Wildlife Trust supporter, I was also pleased to see the level of collaboration with local groups, such as On The Verge, Talgarth Community Woodland Group and Tools For Self Reliance, and Talgarth Town Football Club for providing an excellent venue. It was a very rich and worthwhile event – and a credit to all staff and volunteers involved.”


a £25 voucher for Bradeley Green pet store in Whitchurch, to spend in-store or online at

Pixie with her favourite toy


Shetland pony Milo

Fiyero climbing his favourite tree


s tulation Congra wner of o , to Ruth ho wins w Fiyero e’s Cute this issu etition! p m o Pets c

Penny celebrating her birthday Ted

Win some pet treats! To enter, email a photograph of your pet and their name to and the Shire team will pick the winner! Bradeley Green, Tarporley Road, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 4HD

Cocker spaniel Hudson

Star, the Welsh red collie

Terms: The winner will be chosen by Shire and be given the option of receiving a voucher to spend in-store or a digital code to redeem online at The voucher will be valid for six months and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

96 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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29/10/2021 12:07

Santa Paws is Coming to

BRADELEY GREEN YOUR LOCAL PET STORE ‘To give them the life they deserve’

27th & 28th November and 4th & 5th December

Get involved • Adopt a pet • Make a donation • Volunteer Go to our website to find out how you can help 0300 0123 999

Make Magical Memories! Enjoy l Free Mulled Wine & Festive Fancies l

Scan Me to find out more

Pick ‘n’ Mix Christmas stockings to support local charities l In-store offers & much more!

l Games



Open Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm I Sunday 10am-4am 01948 668 100 I Bradeley Green, Whitchurch, SY13 4HD

Gate Expectations Inwood (Cymru) Ltd

` ade to measure

wooden gates and side hinged garage doors

01745 362 444 Come and see us in our workshop! Unit A1, Cefndy Industrial Park, Cefndy Road, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 2HJ

Here at Mulberry Alpacas we have:

Alpaca socks Lovely knitted items Penrose alpaca duvets and pillows Alpaca yarn and fleece Cuddly toys And a herd of freindly Alpacas So, come and visit soon! Mulberry Grange, Red Hall Lane, Higher Penley, Wrexham, LL13 ONA


Tel: 07713 639 447 or 01978 710224 Email: We’re 4 miles north of Ellesmere



Open : Mon – Thurs 9.00am – 4.30pm, Fri 9.00am – 3.00pm Closed for lunch each day 12.30pm – 1.00pm

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DID YOU KNOW? The winter of 1962-63 remains the coldest sin ce at least 1895

The swallows are gone, taking the last vestige of summer with them. But like most country people, Eryl Jones embraces rather than dreads the onset of winter, enjoying the cyclical order of events the changing seasons bring


’m writing at the end of a week the polytunnel the air of a Nativity scene. Nevertheless, I won’t spent on jobs the calendar be shipping in a donkey and some camels any time soon. told me needed my attention. Firstly, it’s a race against time to Predicting the unpredictable garner all manner of wild berries I often get asked at this time of year if we are in for a hard winter in before insects and time render the country. The enquiry is usually prefixed with an observation along them inedible. The ubiquitous the lines of, “I see there’s a lot of holly berries about”. Well, even if blackberry will not only be used every holly tree and hawthorn bush is hoaching with great clusters in pies and preserves, but is also of scarlet berries and every oak tree is groaning under the weight of a tasty variation in bread-andacorns, all it prophesies is a lot of fat birds and squirrels. Nature is a butter pudding instead of sultanas. wonderful phenomenon, but it cannot forecast the weather six months The present Mrs Jones is busy hence. We may well be in for a cold winter, but an abundance of concocting an abundance of jams berries would be a coincidence and nothing more. Country folklore and relishes from the hedgerow and is littered with portents that allegedly predict the severity of the garden harvest. oncoming winter. My own particular favourite is: Eryl Jones was brought However, I “If there’s ice on the pond before Christmas, up on a small Welsh farm “I make chutney thick enough to hold up a duck, and studied agriculture in am in charge Aberystwyth. He became on an industrial of the chutney. Then all you’ll get in the New Year farm manager on a large Regardless of is fog and rain and muck.” scale. It banishes estate and later farmed how sunny This writer is old enough to remember the the end-ofon his own account. the summer is, 1962-63 winter when this charming but inaccurate Eryl does voluntary summer blues” you are always adage was well and truly blown out of the water. environmental work with left with tons A chilly November preceded an exceptionally cold Denbighshire Council of green tomatoes, and friends and icy December – certainly cold enough to create ice of duckand has a passion for the rural way of life. and neighbours are more than supporting thickness. But as anyone who was around at the time happy for me to go and “scrump” will tell you, there was precious little fog or rain around in the first their apples. Add to that half a dozen courgettes that are now the three months of 1963. There was an awful lot of frost and snow. size of U-boats and a dozen or so onions from the garden, and Yes, Christmas is on its way and I fully intend to make a you have the basic ingredients for several different chutneys. I complete pig of myself over the period. As a countryman, I tend make it on an industrial scale. It’s a joyous task, one that banishes to view it more as a pagan festival than a Christian one. Twelve days of feasting from the shortest day till the New Year – a all remnants of end-of-summer blues – and all these home-made celebration that is centuries older than Christmas. Our own veg preserves just make the Yuletide feasting that bit more satisfying. Having cleared the remnants of the summer’s bounty from and poultry will form the backbone of the indulgence and in a dark corner of my new man-shed, I have been fermenting various the polytunnel, it’s time to transform it back to its alternative alcoholic concoctions. Most come with a health warning and one function, which are winter quarters for my sheep. I have a flock of rare breed Dorset Downs, due to start lambing midparticularly violent brew may contravene the Geneva Convention. So may I wish you and yours the very best for the festive period. May December. It’s a real midwinter morale booster having lambs your turkey be succulent and your ding-dong be ever merrily on high. around for Christmas, and with all the hay and straw it does give

98 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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The Old Union Workhouse

River Dee • Personalised Candles, Cards & Lovespoons • Fishing tackle, Clothing & Bait •Day Tickets • Welsh Crafts & Souvenirs • Jewellery • Café Available •• Good selection ofTackle, Christmas Gifts & Cards • Wool Shop • Fishing Maggots & Worms

Warm, friendly & welcoming

• Set in stunning rural countryside, ideally suited for Snowdonia

• A traditional, family-run

• Open all day

inn with home-cooked food, real ales and roaring fires

• Function room available • Dogs welcome too • Free wi-fi

Food served 12 noon to 3 pm & 6 pm to 9 pm, and all day Sundays LLANDDERFEL, BALA, GWYNEDD, LL23 7RA Tel: 01678 530 205





Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, 5pm •• Sun: 5pm•• Closed ClosedWed Wed Mon,Tues,Thurs, Fri,Sat: Sat:10am 10amto ~ 5pm Sun: 11am 11am to ~ 5pm

Corwen Manor

T h e O l d U n i o n Wo r k h o u s e

01490 413196

8 London Rd, Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0DR

Recently refurbished Hotel, Restaurant and Bar! Brand New Glyn Valley Lounge, Large TV, Outdoor Seating Area, New Menu, Pool Tables, Sky and BT Sport. Llanarmon Road, Glyn Ceriog, Llangollen, LL20 7EU

01691 718 896

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Written by Hush Hush Glamping CEO REE F h t Wi siness Bu lan P ate pl Tem


For the same price as a 2-night glamping stay, this glamping guide is packed with information and advice, designed to save you a lot of time, frustration and money by providing the answers you need all in one place.

Instant Download!

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Holidays Newnes Touring Caravan Park

A peaceful haven in Shropshire


Hush Hush’s incredible pods may inspire you to start your own glamping site



f you’ve enjoyed a break or two on a glamping site, you’ll know that it’s an ideal way to get away from it all. Hush Hush Glamping – situated in unspoilt scenery, with wooden pods nestled beneath the majestic Radnor forest, overlooking the vast Radnor Valley – is no exception. The site is set within 90 acres of farmland, and holidaymakers share this space with friendly alpaca, sheep, red kites, the odd hare and the occasional deer. Sleep under the stars and wake up to nature in this stunning dark sky area. A reinvigorating family glamping break A stay at Hush Hush is perfect for reenergising and reinvigorating you, but it offering a glamping guide that is packed may also inspire you to create your own full of information and advice. If you’re little bit of paradise. If you are on the fence about starting thinking about starting up a glamping business, this “It may your own glamping business, guide is designed to save or are in the process of inspire you you a lot of time, effort and setting up your site, the family money by providing you to create behind Hush Hush are happy with the answers you need. your own to help. They understand the The guide can help you excitement, the nerves and little bit of determine whether glamping the 101 questions you may is right for you, whether paradise” have, and they have decided your glamping business will there’s no need to go it alone. be feasible and how to go That’s why they have created a Glamping about starting your new venture. It also Business covers marketing and PR, social media Startup and website design, helping you to Guide just target the right audience and encourage for you! bookings to ensure for maximum return For on investment (ROI). With each purchase, the same you also get a free business plan with price as an ROI calculation, which will show you average how long it will take to see a ROI. two-night For more about Hugh Hush glamping Glamping, including the Glamping stay, Hush Business Startup Guide, visit Set in a stunning dark sky area Hush is

ewnes Touring Caravan Park is the ideal spot for a relaxing holiday. Just sit back and enjoy the beautiful views of the countryside or take advantage of the network of footpaths that take you into the heart of the market town of Ellesmere. The park is surrounded by circular walks and woodlands and, with its nine glacial meres, is a nature lover’s paradise. You can explore the area by walking, cycling, driving or by catching a bus, and if you’re an angler you can enjoy fishing at the Newnes at no further cost. Set in north Shropshire, half a mile (10 minutes’ walk) from Ellesmere, the park is exclusively for adults in search of peace away from the hustle and bustle of family parks. Both caravan and tents are welcome , and there are 60 hook-up points offering individual mains electric and mains water points. Each pitch looks out over the sixacre site, which is lawned and level, giving superb views over the beautiful surrounding countryside and the Welsh hills. Visit



anat Valley Coaches is a family-run travel firm that has proudly been operating in Powys and Shropshire since 1920. As well as daily local services, the company offers a wide range of coach holidays and day trips. Tanat has options for all ages and levels of activity: leisurely day trips to the Llyn Peninsula, a day of shopping at the Birmingham Bullring, or the Victorian elegance of Llandudno. Concerts, festivals, shows, conferences or an ale-trail – there is a packed calendar of events, and you are also invited to get in touch with your own ideas. Tanat also offers a wide range of family-friendly days out during the school holidays: trips to the zoo, the beach and the Royal Welsh Show. For details of local service, day trips and more, visit www.

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yndale Holiday Park is one of the Lyons Group’s newest additions, located a couple of miles north of the bustling town of Towyn, Conwy. The unique, rural development offers seclusion, peace and serenity as part of the Lyons lifestyle promise. The exclusive owners-only park boasts views of the north Wales coast against a backdrop of green countryside. Set in the Escape to north Wales heart of nature, Lyndale is rural activities for owners to popular among cyclists, explore. Enjoy the views from your ramblers and hikers, as “There’s well as those just looking luxury holiday home balcony, or direct access explore the nearby resorts of for a slice of seclusion near a tourist hotspot. from the site Towyn, Rhyl, Prestatyn and – all of which are within Direct access from the to the beach” Llandudno site to the beach allows 15 miles of the holiday park. Got a four-legged friend you guests a fuss-free way to can’t leave behind? Bring them enjoy the seaside. With the mountains on one side and the sea along – the site are is dog friendly too! on the other, there’s plenty of coastal and

f you want to stretch your legs and push yourself while you’re away on holiday in the area, why not have a go at climbing Snowdon? The highest mountain in Wales at an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level, it’s located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd. It is the third most visited attraction in Wales, visited by over 600,000 walkers annually. It is designated as a national nature reserve for its rare flora and fauna. The rocks that form Snowdon were produced by volcanoes in the Ordovician period, which ended 443.8 million years ago, and the massif has been extensively sculpted by glaciation, forming the pyramidal peak of Snowdon and the arêtes of Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd. The cliff faces on Snowdon, including Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, are significant for rock climbing, and the mountain was used by Edmund Hillary in training for the 1953 ascent of Mount Everest. The summit can be reached by a number of paths, suitable for different ages and abilities. If you would rather make a more leisurely trip of it, the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a rack railway that opened in 1896, carries passengers the five miles from Llanberis to the summit station.

Peaceful park and stunning scenery


lawrbetws Caravan Park is an excellent base for exploring north and mid Wales – you can reach all the most notable destinations within 30 minutes. You will find the site on a country lane, amid spectacular scenery, just off the A5 and A494 and close to the world-renowned Rhug Estate farm shop, home of the UK’s first organic drive-through! If you’re looking to get away from it all on a perfect escape to the heart of rural Wales, then check out Llawrbetws’s beautiful setting and great facilities. Set in the grounds of 14 acres of idyllic countryside with panoramic views of the rugged Berwyn Mountains, this is a quiet, peaceful family-run park in the heart of rural north Wales. It’s perfect for those looking for an authentic country holiday with scenery, wildlife and a rural lifestyle. Llawrbetws Caravan Park is Great views situated between some of the

A wonderful rural idyll

most notable scenery in the world: caravans look out on the Snowdonia National Park, the Clwydian Range and the Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Owned and run by Geraint and Jane Evans, who have run caravan parks for over 30 years, Llawrbetws has upgraded facilities including piped gas and WiFi across the site. After the holiday chaos of the past couple of years, now is the perfect time to plan ahead. Book now for next year and start planning your perfect escape.

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2 stunning holiday parks with so much to offer! Luxury holiday home lodges with beautiful views and fantastic facilities

your very own slice

of the countryside

Site fees start from


Atlas Powys


We always have a wide selection of high quality holiday homes for sale. Call today on 01286 830205 to find your perfect home away from home.

Atlas Powys, 2 bed, 36x12 Caravan Packed with extras as standard, this model has been exclusively designed and is now available at Llawrbetws. Designed to be both attractive and practical with a sense of contemporary flair. Llawrbetws Caravan Park is all you could want in an authentic country holiday. Surrounded by scenery, wildlife and top Welsh attractions, we are an excellent base to go and explore. With great road links you are just minutes away from being on the road to Snowdonia, Betws y Coed, Llangollen, Chester and the Welsh Coasts.


Are you a local artist?

We’d like to share your work with our readers, and tell your story.


Hire for a day, a weekend, a week or longer

Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch or 01691 661 270

Visit Tel 07867 790195 anytime


Robin and Jane welcome you to Newnes Touring Caravan Park, where they have created a wonderful haven for visitors to escape from their busy lives and get back to the wonders of nature. For adults only.

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Call us anytime 01691 624464 or 07972 066291 Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 9HH

Spend a day exploring the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal aboard our 10 seater, self-drive Day Boat • Ideal for family celebrations and team-building days • All-weather accommodation • Easy to steer – no experience necessary • From just £110

Tel: 07867 790195 •

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A truly wonderful “watching point”


rwyn yr Wylfa Camping Site in north Wales is surrounded tents, campervans and trailer tents. There are hot by glorious sea views and mountains. Relax and watch showers and separate ladies’ and gents’ toilets as well as family and accessible shower rooms, the sailing boats on the sea or gaze at the fabulous Welsh mountains where sheep and plus a large playing field for ball games. carneddau ponies roam. The views are so lovely Just two miles from the famous walled town “Watch that they have even provided the site’s name of Conwy, it is a great location for exploring the sailing – Trwyn yr Wylfa means “watching point”. Snowdonia and north Wales. Located between the beautiful village of Dwygyfylchi and the Since the site came under new management boats or in 2017 it has been featured in iWeekend, was quarry village of Penmaenmawr, it has pubs, gaze at the one of the Guardian’s top 20 coastal sites and shops, restaurants and takeaways all within mountains” walking distance. There are cycle routes around was nominated for campsite of the year in The Great Outdoors magazine. In 2019 it won the the site and it’s also a paradise for walkers as you can walk direct from the site on to the Campsites Popular Choice award for Wales. Trwyn yr Wylfa accepts caravans, motor homes, Wales coastal path.


Luxury pods in south Cheshire



f you fancy glamping in a perfect little pod in the middle of the countryside, then Bradley Hall is for you. The 106-acre farm in south Cheshire has four luxury glamping pods with unspoilt views of the surrounding countryside. It is an adultsonly site, open all year round, that aims to provide a comfortable, enjoyable stay that leaves you feeling relaxed and refreshed. The pods – Meadowsweet, Cowslip, Honeysuckle and Harebell – are all furnished to a high standard, fully heated and with an ensuite shower room. Each houses a double bed, with bedding and towels, and a kitchenette with

excellent facilities. Outside is a private patio area for dining and a barbecue. Every guest is greeted with a welcome pack consisting of bread from Huxley’s bakery in Malpas, Cheshire butter, Nespresso coffee pods and more. Toiletries are available on request. Meadowsweet pod is just 40 metres away, making it suitable for guests with limited mobility, and has a larger bathroom with grab rails, shower seat and a call system. Up to two well-behaved dogs are permitted to stay in Harebell (conditions apply). Visit www.bradley

f you’re looking for a site that makes the most of the nature, culture and countryside all around, Bryn Bowlio Caravan Park does just that. It is a three-star, quiet country caravan park set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Clwydian Range, next to Loggerheads Country Park with the famous Offa’s Dyke, hill forts and Arthur’s Stone all within easy reach. There are 10 spaces for touring caravans, with toilets, showers

and laundry facilities. There is also camping and two comfortable, well-appointed holiday cottages for hire. The site has free WiFi throughout. Activities available nearby include birdwatching, cycling, mountain biking and canoeing, as well as the area’s many country pubs. Staying at Bryn Bowlio gives holidaymakers the perfect getaway in a hidden gem of a site. www.brynbowlio

Bryn Bowlio is in a beautiful country setting

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To purchase an unforgettable gift this year visit PLAS MENAI THE NATIONAL OUTDOOR CENTRE FOR WALES

Plas Menai, the National Outdoor Centre has a range of courses and activity days for those looking to have fun, develop their skills or even become a fully qualified Outdoor Instructor. In 2022 look out for n Adventure Weekends n Youth Holiday Camps n Dinghy Sailing n Windsurfing n Jet Ski training n Powerboating n Cruising

n n n n



Sea Kayaking Foiling Theory courses Outdoor Instructor Training Bespoke activity packages for groups Personal Tuition

For more information visit or call 0300

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Inspiring people to achieve great things One Shropshire woman has refused to let physical difficulties stand in her way and shows just how much anyone can accomplish with some determination


help motivate people to overcome ince sustaining an irreparable physical and mental challenges. leg injury in 2002, Kelda Wood Kelda received an MBE in 2021 from Shropshire has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, became the for her work with her charity, Climbing Out, which helps people first adaptive woman to row solo who have been through mental across the Atlantic, and was the or physical trauma to rebuild first adaptive woman to reach the confidence and motivation. On the summit of Aconcagua – the highest mountain in South America. day she heard about the honour, she was diagnosed The challenge with breast cancer and she set herself “As I always had to pause her training to have a mastectomy. in 2021 was to “Setbacks like that are part of life. It is all about complete three say, it’s not Kelda Wood MBE figuring out how to move forward,” she says. triathlons. “I have about saying “It just made me even more determined always wanted to compete in triathlons, but I ‘I can’t’, it’s to succeed. As I always say, it’s not about can’t run, I can’t swim very well and I can’t use saying ‘I can’t’, it’s about saying ‘how can I?’ a standard bike,” she says. “Several triathlon about saying Ultimately, Kelda says, “I hope to create some organisers gave me the go-ahead to take part ‘how can I?’” momentum which will inspire and motivate others non-competitively so I learned how to swim in to take on their own challenges head-on.” a new way and Bicycles by Design in Ironbridge has created a bespoke bike for me – I’m very grateful for their support.” Kelda completed her amazing challenge in September Follow Kelda’s journey and stories from other inspirational – and you can read about it on her new platform Creating people at and Momentum, a place for sharing stories and information that will on Twitter @Momentum_4_Life

Riverside ramble Clive Williams guides us to the start of the River Severn for a walking adventure through mountains and forests


t 220 miles from source to estuary, the Severn is Britain’s longest river and walking its full length would be a serious undertaking. However, there are a number of great hikes for all abilities around the source of Severn, in the Cambrian Mountains near Llanidloes in mid Wales. A six-mile drive up a narrow lane from Llanidloes brings you to the Rhyd-y-Benwch car park (free). This has a picnic site, toilets and a helpful information board with colour-coded walking trails that coincide with the colour-coded way markers – simple but brilliant. You can download details of the walks from The walks range from the Cascades (half a mile, all abilities, on a boardwalk

along the river, wheelchair accessible) to the Source of the River Severn Trail (eight miles on mixed surfaces, graded strenuous). The final mile of this walk is on the barren slopes of Plynlimon, and it’s hugely rewarding to reach the post marking the source of the longest river in Britain – and there’s a picnic area too.

The post marking the source of the Severn



ave you ever experienced painful foot blisters after an adventurous country walk? If so you’ll probably be eager to explore ways to avoid this. So what can you do to reduce the risk of blisters? Since blisters are usually caused by friction between shoe and skin, the first things to focus on are well-fitting, good-quality walking boots or shoes; moisture-wicking socks; double-layered socks; and shock-absorbing insoles. Another option to consider is wearing 1000Miles-branded anti-blister socks. These will help prevent overheating and friction, and are designed to cushion and support your feet, using performance technology such as a double-layer construction, with Coolmax fabric or Lycra, and comfort pads. For further advice on your footwear, contact Cherry Tree Country Clothing in Ruthin. www.cherrytree The right footwear helps

106 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Adventure Parc


Which slide will you choose?

If you’re up for serious excitement and are prepared to push yourself out of your comfort zone, a day out at Adventure Parc Snowdonia should be top of your to-do list


All surfing


t is provid


bags, twisting and turning tunnels and massive inflatable balls. When we finally made it to the top, we were presented with four equally terrifying slide options: a long twirly one, a much steeper one, one that looked like a sheer drop and one that required wearing a helmet. Needless to say, once was enough.

riginally named Surf Snowdonia, the site in Conwy was recently renamed Adventure Parc Snowdonia to Surf’s up! take into account the range of hair-raising opportunities No visit to the Adventure Parc is complete without making now on offer. And the new title is no understatement. the most of its most incredible feature – the giant surfing Visitors of all ages, all abilities and all bravery levels will find lagoon with its man-made waves. To fully appreciate this something thrilling to do at the development, which also feat of engineering, you need to get in the incorporates a café, restaurant and picnic areas for some water. Everything is provided – from extramuch-needed downtime between action and adventure. DID YOU warm thermal wetsuits and boots to boards There is a BMX track, a zip wire that soars across the water, KNOW? and expert tutors – and the activity is climbing walls both inside and out, and There’s also suitable for anyone over five who can opportunities to hike up the sheer cliff a spa on site, swim 50m whether they’ve that provides the famous lagoon with its “No visit to help you surfed before or not. waves and water. On a recent visit, we is complete recover As a group of complete opted for two of the park’s most popular novices we were duly activities and were not disappointed… without terrified but after the first making the few attempts everyone Towering triumph most of First we headed indoors to take part in the had been wiped out, ducked and rolled about Ninja Assault and Extreme Slides. After a the lagoon” safety briefing, and stowing loose items and enough to realise we were quite safe and valuables, we headed into the arena where a capable of getting back parkour route awaited. We tackled monkey bars, balance beams, tightropes, vaults and a gravity-defying wall, then headed up up and carrying on. By the end, we’d all managed to the nearest tower. We clambered and crawled through a vertical get at least on to our knees assault course packed with obstacles – huge swinging punch on the boards, with some, See Snowdonia from new heights younger members managing a proper standing surf.

Make a weekend of it

Get a taste for surfing

Stay the night in a glamping pod

If you want to pack in more than one activity at the Adventure Parc, you may prefer to split them over two days and have a night off in between. There is ample accommodation on site, from glamping-style pods to the luxury of the newly opened Hilton Hotel, which has hundreds of room and suites, many with lagoon views so you can watch and learn as others tackle the waves, as well as a bar, restaurant and breakfast buffet. All in all, a visit to Adventure Parc Snowdonia can keep adrenaline junkies busy for hours, and pack enough high-octane action into one weekend to leave you contented, if physically and mentally drained! For more information and bookings, visit November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 107

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MODELS, MOULDS AND MAKING Nick Eames is a sculptor who takes inspiration from all areas, from his early days in dance to the rural life around him in north Wales


ick Eames grew up in the south of England and developed an early interest in sculpture, securing his first commission for the London headquarters of Equitable Life at the age of just 16. His work has been shown in public exhibitions Nick Eames at work in his studio and arenas across the UK, and is held in notable private collections, including that of Prince Charles. His first love, however, was dance. He developed his interest in anatomy and movement by sketching and drawing dancers at the Royal Ballet in London. An early sculpture, The Dancer, is on permanent display at the Williamson Art Gallery & “Nick builds each of Museum in Birkenhead. his sculptures from After graduating from the ground up, often Maidstone College of Art in 1982, where Anthony using found and Gormley was one of his scrap materials” tutors, Nick ran his own mould-making, casting and restoration business in south London, before moving to Liverpool in 1991, where he worked from a city centre studio while also lecturing part-time in fine art and sculpture at the Bolton Institute. During this period, however, Nick became disillusioned with the established art world, and in 2002 he decided to relocate with his wife and family to the rural village of Cilcain in north Wales. Now an established part of the village community, he has gifted two of his sculptures to the village. Kokopelli, in the grounds of Capel Gad, is a depiction of a mythical Native American, while the other, Buddies, is located in the Community Garden and was inspired by the children of the local school, Ysgol y Foel,

who “buddy up” in pairs during class visits to various locations in the village. This sculpture bears the thumbprints of staff and pupils, along with other members of the community.

Reuse and recycle

Using a unique and environmentally friendly formula, which he designed and perfected himself, Nick builds each of his sculptures from the ground up, often using found and scrap materials, ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum. His most recent installation, The Sisters, at Ellesmere Lake in Shropshire, was commissioned as part of the Children Displaced by Conflict project. It is a permanent tribute to sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton of Ellesmere, who founded the Save the Children Fund in 1919. Although the installation was delayed by the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, the sculpture was eventually installed a couple of months later. Wanting to pass on his skills, Nick has been working with young people in the field of sculpture, and has lately offered his help and advice – as well as the use of his studio – to a fine art student for her project as part of an exhibition at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester. He is also training a studio assistant, Ewan, who is currently working with him to restore two 19th-century spelter pieces, using museum-quality repairs, involving the use of rust-proof studding, epoxy resin, putty and adhesives. Nick’s ambition is to develop a sculpture trail on selected publicaccess sites across north Wales, each sculpture created to work in harmony with its surroundings. He is especially keen to train local youngsters to work with him on this project, enabling and encouraging them to use their skills to create something of lasting meaning, and is keen to hear from anyone with suggestions for a North Wales Sculpture Trail. Contact him through his website. www. For more stories like this, visit www. Nick’s sculpture The Dancer can be seen at the Williamson in Birkenhead

108 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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50 years of art and anarchy

AFONWEN CRAFTS Events at Afonwen Craft and Antique Centre near Mold 5th November, 3rd December, Weaving with Trevor Blackburn Warm and cosy shawls, scarves and winter wear. 6th & 7th November, 1st & 2nd December, local artist Gill Benjamin Gill has some lovely paintings of land and seascapes, plus local places of interest.

A new exhibition at Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno celebrates a leading member of the European avant garde


ostyn Gallery is the first institution in the UK to present a solo show of celebrated European avant-garde artist Jacqueline de Jong. The exhibition will present works spanning more than 50 years of the Dutch artist’s career. Born in the Netherlands in 1939, De Jong is a key figure of the European post-war avant garde, with a career spanning half a century. Her role in the Situationist International marked her early years in Paris in the 1960s, where she was actively

Above: Qu’il A Mauvaise Mine, 1964 Below: The Pain Is Beautiful, 1971

Jacqueline de Jong’s Big Foot, Small Head, 1985

involved in the student protests of May 1968. Alongside her work as an editor and designer – most notably for The Situationist Times – De Jong developed a unique painterly practice. In its spontaneity, De Jong’s expressive, often grotesque and excessive style follows the anti-academic and non-conformist aesthetic of the avant garde. Playfully moving between styles and painterly idioms throughout her career, the artist displays a voracious interest in the painted image as a site for confusion and subversion. She belongs to a group of artists who reintroduced narration by

11th & 12th November, 7th & 8th December, Eco Silver Jewellery by Sandra Roberts Beautiful and unique handmade jewellery, made from reclaimed silver from the jewellery industry. 13th November, 16th December, re-purposed gifts by Pippa Handmade gifts to suit all ages and tastes. 16th & 17th November, 9th & 10th December, Jackie at Jewels Jewellery made with varied beads and stones. Jackie can also repair broken pieces of treasured jewellery.

“De Jong playfully moved between styles and painterly idioms throughout her career”

18th & 19th November, 14th & 15th December, Elaine at Cherry Bea and Handmade Bags and Stitchwork by Liz Elaine has made lovely pieces of jewellery, including some with Swarovski crystals. Elaine also offers a re-stringing service.

borrowing elements from popular culture, cinema and illustration – all the while mixing the absurd with the mysterious. De Jong plays with shape, style, and pictorial idioms in order to unfold an idiosyncratic and subversive body of work.

20th & 21st November, 11th & 12th December, local artist Thelma Evans Canvas paintings of mainly pretty floral scenes, plus some places of interest.

Jacqueline de Jong: The Ultimate Kiss runs until 6th February at Mostyn, Llandudno. For details call 01492 879201 or visit

23rd November, Crafty Sisters Handmade jewellery using resin in stunning colours and shapes, plus some handmade greetings cards and bags. 24th November, 5th December Memory Bears by Margaret, Textiles by Marie Margaret makes and dresses mohair memory bears using your precious materials. Marie makes bunting, cute feltwork and more. 25th & 26th November, 22nd & 23rd December, Weaving Masterclass with Jenni Frost Jenni uses wool from her own flock of sheep. 27th & 28th November, 18th & 19th December, Marie at Earth Deva Quirky handmade items, many with a mythical theme, and wonderful prints. 4th December, Sunnyside Crafts by Linda Wooden stools and hearts, crochet dolls, sewing bags and festive cross-stitch.

November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 109

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ARTS & CRAFTS A R T I N YO U R A R E A Three Counties Open Art Exhibition, Keele University This year’s Keele University art prize – open to all artists based in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire – has been won by Oswestry artist Clive Wilson. “It attracts a huge amount of entries, there is strong competition for places and the standard of work is extremely high,” says Clive, pictured with his winning entry, entitled 1955: Welcome To England. “I was not expecting to even get my entry accepted, let alone winning. It was a bit of a shock.” The painting is loosely based on a black-and-white image of a newly arrived West Indian immigrant to the UK, and Clive – a self-taught artist – tried to reflect the swirling emotions he must have felt: a mixture of sadness for the loved ones left behind, bewilderment at the strange surroundings, fear of the unknown but with hope for a new and brighter future. The exhibition can be viewed at

PHOTO COMPETITION Our photo competition has once again revealed a lot of hidden talent among Shire readers! Last time we asked you to send in images to celebrate being Together Again, and you certainly stepped up to the challenge. What a lovely collection – and how nice to see some smiling faces on our pages too. For our next subject, we think you’ll have some great opportunities to snap the visitors to your homes and gardens or even wilder wonders found out and about. We’ve often asked for wildlife pictures before, but this time we’re going a bit more specific and we want you to focus on Feathered Friends.

Carden Park Sculpture Garden, Carden Park Estate, Cheshire Cheshire’s Carden Park Hotel has now opened its new sculpture garden and exhibition, curated by Grant Ford, the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow expert and fine-art curator. Each unique piece will be available to buy through, with prices starting from £1,000 to £320,000. Entrance to the sculpture garden is free and visitors are welcome to view the works by leading sculptors and artists at both the sculpture garden and inside Carden Park Hotel. 5th November-6th December, Beyond by Stephen Snoddy, Holly Johnson Art & Antiques, Knutsford, Cheshire This exhibition features a series of works by Stephen Snoddy, many paying homage to Henri Matisse, who often used the window as a motif. This serves not only as a metaphor for the act of seeing, but also as a formal device allowing the artist to pare down the image to formal essentials. Snoddy develops these ideas through colour juxtapositions and other influences, with references including Mark Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn and Sean Scully. Snoddy moves between figurative elements and formal abstraction to create works of balance and poise that often have a dialogue between inside and outside and have a strong internal order.

by Tracey Lewis

by Sue Roszkowski

by Roxanne Mare

by David Gillespie by Sam Hulse

by Dan Bromage

by Jill Parry

110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Read about the life of someone who’s strange early lifemade him think a little differently.

By Adrian Lincoln Available now from all good bookshops.

Austin Macauley Publishers “Check out the Photo’s on my Facebook profile page – captioned on my timeline, taken on my travels & described in my book”.

Are you a local author?

Do you have a story to tell our readers? We’d like to know more…

Esther Wintringham I am a freelance artist who enjoys painting mainly in oils and watercolours. My favourite topics are some of the beautiful scenery in North Wales. I sell original pictures and prints and also accept commissions. My virtual shop is on Etsy.


If you liked the Da Vinci Code, then take a look at local author Martin Kaye. His first book On Badon Field is available as a digital novel on the Amazon Kindle Store.

Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire Get in touch or 01691 661 270

You can buy a hard copy from, order it from your local bookstore or buy it directly from my website

The second book ‘A Banner of Dark Shadows’ will be available in January 2022.

Ruthin Craft Centre offering unique, hand-crafted gifts Please view our website for current visitor information

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Enquiries: call 01824 704774 or email: 10am – 5.30pm Tuesday – Sunday

29/10/2021 15:33

Kickstart Scheme at Shire Magazine

Social Media Editor

To develop content and marketing strategies, track user engagement and activity, and ensure consistency in the magazine’s digital profile. Do you have a keen eye for detail and experience with a variety of social media networks? Can you effectively interpret analytics and implement social strategies that result in a growing audience? Skills needed Educated to A level. Experience of Facebook and Instagram is a must plus using standard office programs such as Word and Excel.

How to Apply Contact your work coach at the Job Centre to make the application. Alternatively go to 1 Scroll down and click Find A Job or enter ‘Find a Job’ into search bar. 2 Click Start Now 2 In the What? field enter ‘social media’ 3 In the Where? field enter ‘Shropshire’ You will then see the ‘Kickstart Social Media Editor‘ job with a button to apply. The Kickstart Scheme is open to people that are aged 16-24 that are currently claiming Universal Credit.

Exciting opportunity to join the Shire Team Four days per week

Salary £18K

+ commission + bonus + benefits

Due to expansion and economic recovery, there is now an opportunity to join the Shire sales team. You’re a good communicator and enjoy building relationships with clients. If you want to work with the most popular glossy magazine for Wales and the Borders, we want to talk to you. You will work from home, with flexible hours to suit your work/ life balance, liaising with business owners and marketing teams directly to help them choose their campaigns and their coverage in Shire Magazine. You are a proactive self-starter who enjoys working on your own

initiative, and you are outgoing and personable. You are highly organised, and have good computer skills. We’re looking for someone who is keen to succeed and to become a key, permanent member of the Shire team. This position is PAYE, not freelance. You have at least three years experience in a sales role, preferably in media, but other sales experience will be considered. Above all else, you are a trustworthy and hardworking individual, someone who gets a real buzz from achieving results for clients and hitting targets. Laptop, software and training all provided.

Please send your CV to, call the office on 01691 661270 or message Dan Bromage directly on 07833 489575.

All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. Telephone calls to discuss the role can be scheduled for out of work hours.

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Time to shine


Get set for party season with glamorous looks that are sure to turn heads

13 14





16 15

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Tie-neck blouse, £40, River Island; A Postcard From Brighton Lauren lace trim top, £40, Sleek Boutique in Nantwich, Cheshire; Bombshell court shoes, £120, Dune London; Swarovski grey slate bracelet, £30, Mococo in Mold, Flintshire; Vind knife-pleat midi skirt, £150, Ted Baker; Coast sequin short-sleeve top, £69, Debenhams; The Josephine three-quarter length coat, £510, Douglas Attire in Ludlow, Shropshire; Ruffled tulle top, £70, Anthropologie; Vero Moda Janni faux leather leggings, £32, View in Ludlow, Shropshire;

10. Sequin dress with knot, £29.99, Zara; 11. Brianna sequin-sleeve jersey midi dress, £99, Monsoon; 12. Katie Loxton Perfect Pouch, £14.99, Lornashouse in Whitchurch, Shropshire; 13. Scratch-effect earrings, £330, Snooty Fox Jewellery in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; 14. Diamanté cold shoulder maxi dress, £60, Roman; 15. B Young Kato Kiko jeans, £49.95, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; 16. Signature twist belt, £165, Abi Fisher in Willington, Cheshire;

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arm in our Wrap up w its f stylish kn selection o








11 5



Fab-yule-ous! Festive sw eaters to g et you in the Chri stmas spir it 3

2 Barbour Case Fair Isle, £99.95, Peppers Menswear & Ladieswear in Church Stretton, Shropshire; 2. Aran Crafts Donegal wool half-zip jumper, £59.99, Cherry Tree Country Clothing in Ruthin, Denbighshire; 3. Lyle & Scott cotton merino crew jumper, £65, Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy; 4. Pembroke bobble beanie, £19.95, Pachamama; 5. Barbour Essential Fair Isle crew sweater, £89.95, Bodenhams in Ludlow, Shropshire; 6. Barbour Carlton gloves, £27.95, Outdoor & Country in Chester; 7. Alpine Fair Isle hat, £25, White Stuff; 8. Crystal Knitwear Richmond Nordic pure wool sweater, £81, Wood’s of Shropshire; 9. House socks, £22.95, Seasalt; 10. Luxury soft-touch cable tank top, £23, Cotton Traders; 11. Fair Isle knit scarf, £45, The National Trust Shop;





Cashmere mix Fair Isle stripe jumper, £35, JoJo Maman Bébé; 2. Santa Ho Ho Ho motif novelty jumper, £14.99, Tokyo Laundry; 3. Fair Isle half-zip jumper, £25, Peacocks; 4. M&S Collection bear jumper, £19.50, Marks & Spencer; 5. Reindeer YK crew, £22, Burton; 6. Threadbare Isaac crew neck jumper, £24, Debenhams;


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Audi A6 S-line

If you’re looking beyond SUVs and hatchbacks to high-class saloon cars, the sporty, stylish and feature-packed Audi A6 should be at the top of your list, writes Bob Hickman



udi is known for super interiors that use plush circumstances and terrain – you really do materials, as well as wonderful infotainment need to try an Audi automatic gearbox to systems that allow you to control virtually all of the appreciate just how good they have become. car at the touch of a screen. If that’s what you’re Audi claims fuel consumption can reach looking for, you are going to be delighted by the around 51mpg. In fact, when I checked with the A6 and its interior facilities and capabilities. computer it indicated 55mpg, which for a vehicle The front seats have huge amounts of of this size and performance level is astounding. adjustment to let you find a comfortable position, Audi being Audi, there are a number of engine with a memory facility in case someone else derivatives you can choose: you can go down the drives it. Headroom is excellent even if, like me, diesel route if you wish, or go for more powerful you are 6ft tall. On a couple of occasions I had derivatives. But whichever engine you settle to transport five adults to a function and the on, it is the extras that Audi always tempt you three in the back (including another six-footer) with, and this adds to the bottom-line price. Bob is a devoted car and had ample head, knee and shoulder room. The abundance of safety features includes motorcycle fan. After If a vehicle can carry five passengers, you also a system that assists you to stay in the right a 30-year career as a need to be able to carry all their motorway lane, stay farther back from police motorcycle patrol luggage. There’s no problem on that the vehicle in front, and accelerate when officer and latterly as a “The quality sergeant, patrolling the front – the A6’s boot is cavernous. necessary. Another feature I found of equipment exceptionally useful was Audi connect, motorways of the Midlands, The quality of equipment is, retirement beckoned and is, as you as you would expect, on the high where you press a button on the steering he embarked on writing side: even the standard Sport wheel and a voice asks for your requests. would expect, about his love of transport. model comes with leather seats, You can choose from numerous on the Bob is a member of the and smart, brushed aluminium options – directions, local restaurants Guild of Motor Writers and high side” trims. The sporty S-line I tested and so on – and although this may the Midland Guild of Motor had part leather and suede trim – a seem a luxury, once you’ve experienced Writers. In his spare time he rides a Royal Enfield very refreshing and eye-catching combination. it you’ll wonder how you managed without it. Continental GT motorcycle The test car was the S-line 50 TFSi e quattro The A6 TFSi e S-line has an on-the-road price and drives a 1994 MG RV8. S Tronic, which had a 1984cc engine with power of £61,955. The extras fitted to the vehicle I tested quoted as being 195bhp; being a hybrid we need to increase that add an extra 105bhp for a total just under 300bhp price to £66,650. – an exceptional amount of power. The battery It includes a • MODEL TESTED: AUDI A6 S-LINE 50 is a small lithium one, not huge but sufficient to three-year or TFS TFSi e QUATTRO S TRONIC give an extra boost: it can run on battery only 60,000-mile • PRICE: £66,650 but the total mileage I achieved was around 30 warranty, and • ENGINE: 1984 CC miles. In reality, it is merely an assistance feature. suggested • MAX SPEED: 155 MPH The test S-line had a wonderful all-wheel servicing • 0-60MPH: 6.2 SECONDS drive system and was equipped with an intervals are two eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. years or 19,000 It always knew the correct ratio for the given miles. November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 115

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Independent Day & Boarding School for ages 9-19

ISA Awards 2020 Winners

Award winning education set in a 30 acre Tudor Estate, nestled between Snowdonia National Park and the North Wales coastline

Outstanding Sports Provision (Small School)




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Top of the Class

SCHOOL NEWS ABERYSTWYTH LECTURER GETS EDUCATION AWARD An Aberystwyth University lecturer has won an award for her outstanding contribution to Welsh medium education. Dr Lowri Cunnington-Wynn from the Department of Law and Criminology has been recognised by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for her Dr Cunnington-Wynn work in developing Welsh language provision in the department. She was also praised for her efforts to encourage students to study through the medium of Welsh and improving the Welsh language resources that are available. “It is a true honour to receive this award,” she said.

DISASTER DAY CHALLENGE AT ADCOTE SCHOOL Dr Ciara Losty at the Olympic Games earlier this year

“PERSON FIRST, ATHLETE SECOND” APPROACH FOR WREXHAM STUDENT Dr Ciara Losty, who’s studying psychology at Glyndwr University, worked with Ireland’s athletes following the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games


r Ciara Losty, a lecturer in sport and Ireland. She had a dual role: performance exercise at Waterford Institute of psychologist for the equestrians, and managing the decompression Technology in Ireland and who is currently studying an programme Team Ireland “Ciara MSc psychology conversion put in place for athletes who had a course at Wrexham Glyndwr had finished competing. Her University, travelled to Tokyo job was to check in with all dual role competitors within 48 hours to offer wellbeing and pastoral at the support in the aftermath of of their event, to see how Games” the 2020 Olympic Games to things were doing. “It’s all about wellbeing,” says Ciara. those who had competed for



TEM Gogledd is an innovative scheme working to attract young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning and industries. Targeting 11- to 19-year-olds in Conwy, Anglesey and Gwynedd, the project launched two years ago and was gaining momentum when Covid-19 took hold. At this point, all communications moved online, and the scheme managed to unite industry and academia to help bring through the next generation The scheme aims to increase awareness of STEM of apprentices and employees. Working with thousands of students The team is supported by funding from the Welsh European Funding Office and staff at 24 secondary schools across the three counties, the and the European Social STEM Gogledd team will Fund, and regional manager “The scheme begin holding face-to-face Dyfed Jones says their aim is for 11- to sessions as it is safe to do is to increase awareness 19-year-olds” and interest in STEM so, and is also planning subjects from an early age. to launch a new podcast.

Adcote School has an innovative and award-winning CLEAR Learning programme that aims to help all students develop the core skills of confidence, Students treated “casualties” leadership, engagement, achievement and resilience. Recently, students took part in a Disaster Day Challenge, with support from local first responders. The age-differentiated tasks ranged from treating “casualties” of a simulated road traffic accident to command tasks set by the Army and building an international disaster shelter.

STUDENTS’ FILMS BROADCAST ON TV Two short films produced by media and performing arts students at Coleg Menai were broadcast in October on BBC2 Wales and S4C. The students were involved in both filming and performing, in partnership with film-making company Students shared work It’s My Shout, which specialises in finding and developing new talent for the film industry. Many students who work with It’s My Shout go on to find employment within the industry.

NEW SHROPSHIRE SITE FOR DERWEN STUDENTS A Derwen College site has opened in Ludlow at the town’s Eco Park. It’s for day students and will teach work and independent living skills. The new site will replace the current facility in Craven Arms and it offers a more spacious and accessible environment for business students. Students aged 16 to 25 with learning difficulties, disabilities or autism will follow a business support and enterprise pathway, which includes teaching, qualifications and work placements.

Derwen students will learn independent living skills

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You can see Ellesmere in person once again

Ellesmere College is hosting open days again, allowing visitors to see the school’s academic, sporting and boarding facilities in person. During lockdown, the school held virtual open days, investing in online tours and virtual chats to staff, but is pleased to be able to do this all face-to-face again. There have been high levels of interest from parents of prospective students, and the college has also had a record intake, including students who transitioned during the academic year.

HARPER ADAMS REMAINS TOP OF THE RANKINGS Harper Adams University has continued its run as the UK’s toprated modern Harper Adams University university in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide for a sixth consecutive year. It remains a top 30 university, and is also rated highest in the country for the amount spent on its facilities, while it came 11th for student experience and 14th for teaching quality. Harper is also the highest-ranked specialist institution. The interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Lee, says: “The results are a fair reflection and reward for the phenomenal work and dedication of the whole Harper Adams University family.”

NURSING BURSARY AT WREXHAM GLYNDWR HEIW bursary funding is now available to eligible students on the BN (Hons) children’s nursing course at Wrexham Glyndwr University. The new programme was developed to meet 2018’s Nursing & Midwifery Work with children Council (NMC) Future Nurse standards, and the course consists of 50 per cent clinical practice and 50 per cent theory. The funding covers study costs and may be available to eligible students who commit to working in Wales after completion of their studies.

FLOWER SHOW GARDEN RELOCATES TO QUEEN’S A fabulous feature garden from the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show has been moved to the Queen’s Lower School in Chester. The school is the lucky recipient of Anca Panait’s wonderful “Flower Power” garden from the Tatton Park show, a legacy that not only matches the school’s love for the outdoors, but it also cements the commitment of Queen’s in providing spaces that effect and support the wellbeing of their whole community. Anca’s garden is a celebration of colour and the emotions it inspires. Designer Anca Panai, centre


he music department at Thomas Adams School in Wem, Shropshire, is embarking on a new and innovative project to allow more Year 7 students access to instruments they would not usually be able to play. The school now has an abundance of trumpets, trombones

Thomas Adams students with the new instruments

and clarinets to ensure everyone who attends can experience the joy of music. Studying music and playing an instrument offers many benefits to a child’s education, including building confidence, strengthening patience and perseverance, and reducing stress.

Developing rugby talent in north Wales


t David’s College in Llandudno “We’re and Rygbi Gogledd incredibly Cymru (RGC) have proud to announced a new be working rugby performance pathway partnership, with the designed to develop RGC” homegrown rugby talent in north Wales. The new arrangement will give aspiring young players an opportunity to gain access to top-level coaching and award-winning education, as well as access to the WRU’s Welsh Exiles programme. St David’s College is quickly establishing a reputation as one of the best holistic sports schools in the country. Its head of sport and PE, Dan Lycett, says: “This is

MEET THE HEAD Craig Jenkinson is the new head at Abbey Gate College, Saighton


hen any leader starts in an organisation, those early days unavoidably fulfil the figurative expectation of being a steep learning curve. When everything begins for Craig Jenkinson real, it’s like opening the front door in a storm. Leaves with hitherto unknown names and faces rush in. Twigs with practical priorities of all shapes and sizes tumble around and gather in the corners. Gusts of others’ emotions blow in and wait for attention.

A pathway into rugby at St David’s

the first partnership of its kind in north Wales for the independent school sector. We’re incredibly proud to be working with RGC and will be working closely with its coaches to create individual training plans for the pupils on the pathway, allowing each of them to reach their full potential.” My first weeks of this autumn term may have been exciting and exhausting in equal measure, but it has been such a joy to be with Abbey Gate’s wonderful staff, as well as our delightful pupils. After all the lockdowns and isolations, it has been so uplifting to see our young people outside in our incredible grounds: playing in larger teams, talking in smaller groups, walking in pairs or just choosing to sit in the shade. I have been here only a few weeks, but our historical buildings and rurality will clearly benefit everyone’s mental and physical health in a way that can’t be underestimated. At a time when safety – both physical and emotional – is so much in our minds, it is fitting to close with the words of one of our pupils: “Abbey Gate College is like a home from home, and the most welcoming school around.”

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Independent Day School for Boys and Girls Junior School ages 4-11 Senior School ages 11-16 Sixth Form ages 16-18


acre site

TES Independent School Award Winners

Judged ‘Excellent’ in all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate

Book a

School tour with us Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 1pm

Extra and co-curricular clubs

Small class sizes

Flexible and convenient school bus services across 3 counties

Dedicated, expert pastoral team

To book your school tour with our Admissions team, please complete our online form: Alternatively, for more information about joining our School, please contact Pindi Rai, Admissions Assistant telephone: 01902 422939 or email:

119_SHIRE_ND2021.indd 1 Shire Magazine 210mm x 297mm.indd 1

Wrap around care from 7.30am - 6.15pm

Register now for our Year 7 Entrance Test

29/10/2021 18/10/2021 15:37 09:52


SCHOOL NEWS STUDENTS PRODUCE RECYCLED PICNIC TABLES Pupils taking part in Rydal Penrhos School’s design technology extra-curricular sessions have been given the task of designing and constructing picnic benches The tables are now in use for everyone to enjoy around the campus. The project received support from Plastecowood in Bodelwyddan, a company that receives plastic waste, mainly from household collections, and reprocesses it to produce recycled plastic lumber such as planks, boards, posts and profiles. Plastecowood donated materials as a show of support and pupils and staff worked tirelessly on the project, and the benches are put to good use every day.

KATE CHAMPIONS KIDS’ MENTAL HEALTH Shrewsbury Girls High School hosted an evening with broadcaster Kate Silverton to discuss her bestselling book, There’s No Such Thing As Naughty. Kate was in conversation with Kate Silverton Philippa Hall from the Quick Book Reviews podcast and took questions from the audience. Kate has a BSc in psychology and is currently training as a child psychotherapist. The book shares simple and effective strategies that enable parents to manage tricky everyday parenting challenges.

ROCKING ALL THE WAY TO THE WEST END Oliver Pearce, a student at St David’s College in Llandudno, has landed a plum role in the touring production of School of Rock. Based on the Jack Black film of the same name, the story follows Dewey Finn, a teacher who poses as his best friend to get a job as a teacher. Oliver, 11, will play Lawrence, the keyboard player in the band in the production. Oliver plays cello and piano, and is part of the National Schools Symphony Orchestra of Great Britain. Oliver Pearce

FOOTBALL FOCUS AT SHREWSBURY SCHOOL Pupils from St Winefride’s, in partnership with Shrewsbury Town FC and the Premier League Primary Stars programme, were recently invited to try a new 4G training facility at Shrewsbury Town. The mixed team thoroughly enjoyed the day, which was topped by the fantastic and rare opportunity to view and have photographs taken with the Premier League trophy.

St Winefride’s pupils with the Premier League trophy

Lessons in leadership at The Firs


he Firs School, Chester’s leading independent school for boys and girls aged two to 11, has appointed

“Pupils ‘buddy up’ with others”

All Year 6 pupils are given a role

all its Year 6 pupils to leadership roles such as prefects, house captains and games captains. All Year 5 and Year 6 pupils also “buddy up” with younger children to help them settle into their classes and support them in the playground. “These roles allow the pupils to demonstrate their interpersonal skills,” says headteacher Rosemary Evans.

Moreton Hall student stakes claim to place in mountain biking elite


Deputy head Ian Lloyd and a pupil



yddelton College in Denbigh is the only private school in Wales to be recognised as a Showcase School by Microsoft. It’s an honour the school has been awarded six years running, and highlights its success in running a full programme of lessons remotely throughout the pandemic. Deputy headmaster Ian Lloyd is a fan of the Microsoft technology. “It came into its own during lockdown,” he says. “We didn’t miss a lesson, the high standards didn’t drop and that’s been recognised by Microsoft.”

oreton Hall sixth-form student Ellie Jones proved her status as one of the nation’s most formidable Enduro mountain bike racers Ellie Jones in action this summer, placing first at the Ard Rock Enduro and fourth in the national championships. Enduro combines the technical and endurance elements of downhill and crosscountry biking. The trails are steep and full of ruts, rocks and precarious drops. Ellie, who hopes to qualify for the Enduro World Championships, says her biggest challenges are “knowing what you can and can’t do; how to push yourself, but also knowing your boundaries”.



tudents at Wolverhampton Grammar School have been working alongside Midlands-based photographer Sarvjit Sra to practise the art of storytelling through photography. Hearing his motivation and inspirations engaged the students in developing their own imagery, some working towards their A-level personal investigation, others building their own portfolios. Sarvjit delivered workshops as part of his Arts Council funded-project Invisible: How You See Me, which seeks to highlight the south Asian community’s

The show focuses on mental health

views on mental health. “I was really impressed with not just the quality of the work but the thought that had gone into creating the images,” says Sarvjit. The exhibition is open for viewing at the school’s Viner Gallery on 8th November.

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Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB

Top 30 Top 10 UK University

The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

for student satisfaction NSS 2021


for Graduate Employment

Graduate Outcomes 2021

Forge your future

with a degree that matters Agricultural Sciences Animal Sciences

Business Management Environmental Management

Food Supply Chain Management Food Innovation & Technology

Mechanical Engineering Land, Property & Estate Management Zoology

Open Day - November 13th Virtual Insight Day - December 13th

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St Winefride’s RC Independent School Belmont, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1TE

Academic excellence in a caring environment Why choose us? • Wide choice of subjects – A Level and BTEC

Situated in Shrewsbury town centre, St. Winefride’s is referred to as, ‘the Little Gem in the Loop’. We are a small school with a big heart, founded in 1868 by the Sisters of Mercy, to provide precious opportunities, experiences and a sound education for all its children.

• Excellent pastoral care • Extensive bus routes and train links • Outstanding post-18 advice and guidance • Fantastic facilities in a rural setting • Set within a 30-acre campus • Supervised study hub sessions • Daily access to a tutor • Great range of enrichment activities • Full and weekly boarding available • Adams House - state boarding • A home away from home

Come and take a look for yourself individual tours can be arranged

If you would like to arrange a personal tour, please contact the office on 01743 369883 We look forward to welcoming you.

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Telephone: 01939 237000 or email:

The Thomas Adams School, Sixth Form and Boarding, Lowe Hill, Wem, Shropshire, SY4 5UB

29/10/2021 15:41





ew research by a lecturer at Harper Adams University in Newport, Shropshire, has found that the electrical charge created by visiting bumblebees stimulates some flowers to release more of their sweet-smelling scent. Dr Clara Montgomery, a lecturer in animal health, behaviour and welfare, says the trait possibly evolved in plants to maximise the effectiveness of the chemicals they release. The electrical charge on a bumblebee – somewhere in the region of 120 picoCoulombs (pC) – is incredibly small but the team found a charge of

Discovering the secrets of scent

600pC was enough to induce a species of petunia to markedly release more scent. Project leader Professor Daniel Robert from the University of Bristol says: “This discovery unveils a previously unknown type of interaction between insects and plants, a world of elusive electric cues that us humans cannot detect.”



Bryn Williams welcomes the budding chefs

New students welcomed to Deeside chef academy


he Bryn Williams Academy – a partnership between Coleg Cambria and top chef Bryn Williams, from Denbigh – has welcomed the next generation of chefs. Bryn shot to fame when he won the chance to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations on the BBC’s Great British Menu. He has since written books and appeared regularly on television. The Bryn Williams Academy blends work experience at his restaurants – Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay and Odette’s in London – with a level 3 in catering and hospitality. Bryn believes the “incredible industry” has many opportunities for progression and success. “To have the academy back up and running again after a difficult time for everyone is fantastic,” he says.

he William Farr Academy is a new initiative that aims to increase the number of gifted Shropshire children from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds applying and being offered places at UK medical schools. A number of institutions have come together to address the need for support for such students: Keele University School of Medicine, Concord College, and Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust. The academy exists to provide talented pupils from eligible state schools with expert advice and guidance on how to successfully apply to medical school and become outstanding doctors of the future. For more information, email



ormer Christ College Brecon pupil Jim Roberts won a gold medal at this summer’s Paralympic Games, leading the Great British wheelchair rugby team to victory in Japan. Old Breconian Jim scored 24 tries against top team USA in the exciting final, which finished 54-49. It is the first ever wheelchair rugby gold for Team GB at the Paralympic Games. Team captain Jim, from Welshpool, attended Christ College from 1999 to 2006 and went on to study architectural

Jim Roberts with his medal

design technology at Coventry University. It was shortly after his first year at university that he contracted bacterial meningitis, which led to the amputation of both of his legs. While in hospital, Jim was introduced to wheelchair rugby and has never looked back. In 2012, he was picked for the GB development squad and made his Team GB debut the following year. Jim now balances his wheelchair rugby career with his day job as a senior architectural technologist.

Police cadet students from the Royal School, Wolverhampton, were invited to represent the West Midlands The Prince meets the cadets Police Cadets at the formal launch of Youth Organisations in Uniform, West Midlands (YOUWM). Special guests included HRH Prince Edward, who is the Royal School’s patron. He spent time talking with the cadets about their plans, intentions and ambitions in life and about their cadet experiences and journey.

LAURA SCORES FOOTBALL INTERNSHIP A Wrexham Glyndwr University student has been given an exciting and rare opportunity to take up an internship with the Football Association of Wales (FAW). Laura Davies, a student on the university’s football coaching and performance specialist degree, now has the chance to work with the FAW girls’ participation and engagement manager. Laura is laying the foundation for a career in coaching, and hopes to remain within the football development sector and explore ways to increase female participation within Wales. Laura Davies

COLLEGE AND POLICE BUILD KNIFE DRAGON Coleg Cambria, North Wales Police, Wrexham Council and other stakeholders have joined forces to construct a three-metre “Knife Dragon” using weapons handed in at local police stations as part of amnesty campaigns. The sculpture is under construction at the college, where students and staff will weld and fabricate submitted items – including blades and knuckle dusters – on to a steel frame. The statue is inspired by the 20ft “Knife Angel” designed by artist Alfie Bradley, which was unveiled in 2017. Work begins at Coleg Cambria

NEW VENUE TO FOCUS ON NET-ZERO BUILDINGS The Pump House Knowledge Hub in Shrewsbury is dedicated to helping local organisations and businesses gain and share knowledge, obtain and offer skills training, and The Pump House hub collaborate on solutions to the challenges of making buildings both sustainable and healthy. It’s the brainchild of Evora Edge, a building services engineering consultancy based in Shrewsbury, which is working with the University of Chester on the project. Users of the Pump House’s facilities will pay subsidised rates or be able to use the facilities for free in exchange for contributing to the wider Knowledge Hub project.

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Cerys Alonso, senior lecturer in applied arts

is to come and talk to us at one of our open days so we can find the best route for you.

What does the course entail?

What do you specialise in?

I specialise in jewellery and metalwork. My first degree was in glass and jewellery silversmithing, so those are my main specialisms in the applied arts. As my career has progressed, I have focused on jewellery and silversmithing, producing work ranging from precious stone set jewellery to silver tableware pieces. I find the qualities of metal and the almost endless possibilities of what you can create with it fascinating.

How did you get into this career?

My dad used to design and build pre-war racing cars, and I’d play in his garage as a child so I was constantly around metal, tools and workshops. I knew I wanted to do something that involved being able to make things. My current PhD research is studying the effects of childhood exposure to certain materials and how it influences material choice in adult creators. At Glyndwr I’ve progressed from a technician in glass and jewellery through to senior lecturer and programme leader for the BA (Hons) applied art and MA professional art practitioner programmes. I’ve always been supported by the university to progress in my career, from completing my master’s while I was a technician to working towards my PhD now I’m a senior lecturer.

What are the requirements to get on your courses?

We always look for passion for making, an absolute desire to create. We don’t expect students to already have experience in the materials we specialise in before they join us because it can be difficult to access the specialist workshops required as a beginner. Our applicants have quite varied backgrounds: from traditional art pre-degree courses through to mature students who decorate cakes or embroider in their free time. You tend to find that people who succeed have a strong desire to create, even if they haven’t had the facilities to do so. We do have standard entry requirements which you can view on our website, but we are open to students who have gone down different routes. Passing exams doesn’t always prove you’re creative. The best thing to do

What career opportunities can it lead to?

A lot of our graduates become independent makers and sell their work though galleries and online. Some students go into curatorship, open their own gallery, or go into teaching. Many of our students also go on to further study with us to earn their master’s.

We teach our students traditional craft skills to produce contemporary artwork. Our students get the opportunity to explore many materials including ceramics, metal, “The lovely thing wood and plastics. about Glyndwr is The applied arts Why should people that everyone gets choose Wrexham covers everything from tangible products to know each other Glyndwr University? such as tableware, – it’s like a family” The lovely thing about Glyndwr is that everyone furniture and jewellery, through to sculptural gets to know each other and installation work. – it’s like a family. We get to know all our The first year is all about teaching students well, and it becomes a creative community where we all support each students skills and techniques across other. We still have students who graduated a variety of materials, before students specialise in a material of their choice many years ago getting in contact to tell us about their latest commissions or projects. to develop a high level of knowledge In the School of Creative Arts at Regent and work on individual projects. A lot of our graduates run their Street there are so many opportunities to collaborate across the programmes and own businesses, so our creative futures material specialisms, and we’ve got the modules show them how to cost their work, approach galleries and deal most amazing spaces to do that. with commissions and contracts. Students can also expect fantastic facilities, Follow Glyndwr’s applied art course covering a wide range of materials including on Instagram @SCAappliedart metal casting, a blacksmith’s forge, wood workshops and also the 3DFASTLAB – our new rapid-prototyping facility for computer-aided design and manufacture.

What practical work can students do?

Applied arts students get two days of workshop activity alongside other activities, including lecture sessions, each week. We set students guided projects so they can learn new techniques – by the third year they’re writing their own projects. We offer exhibition opportunities at galleries across the region, so students can gain experience and build their creative CVs. We run an event called Ceramics Wales, attended by makers from around the world, where our students and graduates can meet the makers, take part in masterclasses, learn new techniques, and showcase their work.

The students work with different materials to learn a variety of techniques and skills

124 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Health&Beauty KEEPING THE ARTERIES CLEAR Blocked arteries can cause various health problems. Urszula Rebisz, an MSc student in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation student at the University of Chester, explains what they are and some easy ways to avoid them


laque isn’t just a dental problem. Atherosclerosis is a process by which blood vessels become occluded by a Urszula Rebisz fatty plaque, which can cause your arteries to get “clogged” or blocked. The process begins in early childhood and can progress for many years without symptoms – but eventually, if it progresses far enough, this condition can lead to a heart attack or stroke. We all can slow it down by making some lifestyle changes. There is no one proven cause of atherosclerosis, but scientists propose that it begins with damage to blood vessels caused by unhealthy diet, smoking, diabetes, alcohol, obesity and high blood pressure. It gradually narrows the lumen of the blood vessel – the space inside it – which can limit blood flow to tissue, causing issues such as angina (chest pain), a heart attack or a stroke. When your heart’s arteries are affected, you might experience symptoms such as breathlessness, pain or pressure in

your chest, jaw or arm. When arteries supplying blood to your brain become obstructed you might experience severe headaches, numbness or muscle weakness, problems with speaking or seeing things, or difficulties with walking. Signs and symptoms differ from person to person, so if you develop any of these symptoms you should consult with a health professional immediately. If in doubt, check it out!

“Aerobic exercise and eating a balanced diet are both important”

Reduce the risk

Changing your lifestyle can help prevent the onset of such conditions. Changing your habits isn’t easy but it’s not impossible. Talk to your GP to come up with a realistic plan to help you make these changes. Moving more, stopping smoking, and eating a balanced diet are all important means to reduce the risk of a cardiac event. Exercise is medicine! Get active to improve your health. Current exercise guideline recommends moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. This can be built up over the day and needn’t be done all at once. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that makes your heart beat faster – brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing or even gardening. If you’ve had a cardiac event, physical activity can be important in recovery – ask for a referral to a cardiac rehabilitation group, who will help. In addition, your GP may prescribe medication to help you reduce or control risk factors for atherosclerosis.

There are some eyebrowraising stories about eyebrows! Here we uncover the truth


Myth buster

Your eyebrows will grow back faster and thicker after waxing This is commonly heard from beauticians but there is no evidence for it. Whether you wax, thread or tweeze, all techniques will cause the hair to grow back the same way. The benefit of waxing is that it allows you to remove a larger area of hair all at once.


Both eyebrows should be identical Many people try their hardest to achieve this but perfect symmetry is unlikely, so you

may be spending time and money attempting the impossible. To put it simply, no two brows are the same – whether it’s from genetics, natural hair patterns, scarring or even what side of your face you typically sleep on at night. You need to accept your asymmetry.


Your brows should match your hair colour Many people assume they should match, but most of us naturally have brows a shade darker than our hair. So if you change your hair and want your eyebrows to look right, don’t aim for the identical colour. A general rule is to keep your brows a shade darker than your natural hair colour; if you have lighter hair and feel like a dramatic look, you can definitely go darker.

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and strength – make 2022 inter is a time for your year of acceleration. hibernation, a time to withdraw, reassess, reflect and renew. It may feel like we have Take a moment Rejuvenate, refresh and refocus all spent the past 18 months by trying the following: hibernating, but this is different. • Sit down in silence and stillness Look at it as a time to reflect, • Practise five minutes of with one intention: to transform breathing exercises daily that reflection into focused • Close your eyes action and for five minutes acceleration. and visualise what Take all the “Make 2022 you truly want lessons you’ve the year you • Think about all the learned over the accelerate things that enhance past 18 months – your your wellbeing the good and the • Take a walk not-so-good – dreams” in nature and ask yourself: • What do The mind is extremely sensitive; I want to change? it becomes life-enhancing • How am I going to achieve it? when we fuel it with positive • How am I going to instruction, vision, and intention. accelerate that process and And if applied daily, everything make up for lost time? accelerates exponentially. Make 2022 the year you not only Take everything you want accelerate your dreams but to achieve and speed into it create a brand new reality. with enthusiasm, focus, power,

Anne Carr

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Lisa Whelan has dedicated the past 20 years to creating a first-class wellbeing resource that is simple and fun. The results are Mighty Minds, a six-week animated positive resource designed specifically for children, and the Calm Your Mind, Control Your Life Mind Flight course for adults. Go to for more.

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If you own a business, trivial benefits let you take advantage of tax rules while incentivising your staff, says Emma Williams of DRE & Co in Oswestry


mployers such as small business owners can take advantage of the trivial benefits in kind (BiK) exemption, which applies to small non-cash benefits like a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers given occasionally to employees – creating a tax-efficient way to give small gifts to employees. Although the benefit is defined as “trivial”, it’s actually a great opportunity to give incentives to employees. The main caveat is that the gifts must not be provided as a reward for services performed or as part of the employees’ duties. However, gifts on milestone events, such as the birth of a child or a marriage, would usually qualify.

“Gifts to employees on milestone events usually qualify”

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The trivial benefits don’t have to be included on PAYE settlement agreements or disclosed on P11D forms. There is also a matching exemption from class 1A national insurance contributions. The tax exemption applies to trivial BiKs where the BiK: • isn’t cash or a cash voucher (something that can be directly changed to cash) • costs £50 or less • isn’t provided as part of a salary sacrifice or other contractual arrangement • is not provided in recognition of services performed by the employee as part of their employment, or in anticipation of such services In the lead-up to Christmas, it is worth thinking about gifting staff £50 vouchers. Selecting a voucher that can be spent at a variety of shops makes this “trivial” benefit a significant benefit – stretching the value through the power of choice. The BiK rules also allow directors or other officeholders of companies and their families to benefit, but overall payments made in a tax year cannot exceed £300. The £50 limit remains for each gift but allows for up to £300 of non-cash benefits to be withdrawn per person per year. If the £50 limit is exceeded for any gift, the value of the benefit will be taxable. Emma Williams is client manager at DRE & Co chartered accountants in Oswestry. Call 01691 654353 or visit 128 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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Charities&Volunteering Young cyclist sets new record Sounds like a great idea!


13-year-old from north Wales is believed to be the youngest person to have ridden from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just nine days. Jack Parsons then made the “We’ve return journey as received part of the 2,000overwhelming mile charity ride with his father, support” Mark, completing one of the most challenging endurance rides in just 18 days and raising more Jack and Mark Parsons than £7,000 for the MS Society. “Cycling during a heatwave tested us both mentally and physically, but without question it is worth it to help support people who suffer every day with multiple sclerosis,” says Mark. “The staggering support we’ve received has been overwhelming, from sponsorship of a support vehicle to clothing, food and nutrition donations. “We started our training in July 2020 and gradually increased the length and incline of each ride. Lockdown made this incredibly difficult, not only in the distances we were able to travel but also from the point of view of raising funds. This makes reaching our target of £6,000 for the charity even more significant.” If anyone would like to support Mark and Jack’s epic challenge please email or you can donate at

On track for funds boost


onwy Valley & North West Wales Coast Community Rail Partnership and Transport For Wales have launched a £10,000 funding scheme, offering up to £250 to groups affected by Covid-19. “We have launched this fund to support organisations directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic,” says community rail officer Karen Williams. “Applicants will need to demonstrate how the grant will enable them to move forward and how it will benefit those around them. “The resilience shown by so many [during the pandemic] has been incredible, and we

wanted to reinforce that by making this funding available.” The scheme is facilitated by Community & Voluntary Support Conwy (CVSC) for groups within a five-mile radius of stations along the routes from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno Junction to Holyhead. Wendy Jones, chief officer at CVSC, says: “A small investment can go a long way in supporting local community groups, especially when so many events that have been cancelled over the last 18 months can be supported to be held safely. CVSC administers other grant schemes that have funded similar projects, such as fogging machines to clean equipment, safety signage, art projects, village shows and day trips to improve mental health and wellbeing, so the money can be put to very good use.” For more information, email

lessons to those unable to access them at school and offer support and guidance to young local talent. At the helm is general manager Olivia Gallagher. The 25-year-old has a background in marketing and fundraising and is confident Wrexham Sounds’ Olivia Gallagher that taking a fresh direction n award-winning music will prove popular with referral studio has reopened with organisations and families in the region and beyond. “We a new name and new premises, and a vision to have children and teenagers referred transform the lives “Sessions for to us from a range of disadvantaged children from of local agencies, young people from social services across north Wales. challenging Vic Studios has backgrounds” to charities and care rebranded as providers, many of whom have little or Wrexham Sounds and moved from the town’s no access to any music-related activities in school,” she says. Hill Street to Rhosrobin. A For more information or to not-for-profit social enterprise, join the team as a freelance the studio will provide musictutor or volunteer, visit based sessions for children or from challenging and socially follow @wrexhamsounds. deprived backgrounds, give


Walk your way to wellbeing “Participants enjoyed sensory activities


Walking for Wellbeing programme, led by Conwy Mind and funded by Conwy Valley & North West Wales Coast Community Rail Partnership and Carneddau Landscape Partnership Scheme, has enabled more than 80 people to take part in increased activity to help their mental health. All routes began at a bus stop or train station and included socially distanced leader-led hikes of varying difficulties and lengths around Conwy, Llanrwst and Abergwyngregyn. The final leg took place in Betws-y-Coed, where participants also enjoyed sensory activities and mindfulness sessions. Nick Meakins, a trainer at Conwy Mind, says being active and connecting with others are simple ways to improve mental health as part of the charity’s Five Ways to Wellbeing. “Everyone can improve their wellbeing and build up resilience through simple activities like a walk with other people,” Nick says. “As a local mental health charity, we have been excited to offer the Wellbeing Walks alongside our existing programme of services and support available for people in Conwy county. We hope to be putting on more walks soon, which will be open to everybody.” For more about Conwy Mind, visit call 01492 879907, visit or or follow @ConwyMind.

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People with heart disease are being offered the chance to try a technological solution that will help them manage their conditions from home and avoid frequent hospital visits


doing that, particularly in lowering waiting times. “We want to build on the advances made in digital technology since the beginning of the pandemic, but we need to understand how easy or difficult it is for people to use the application, which is what this pilot is all about,” says Viki Jenkins, heart failure advanced nurse practitioner at BCUHB. “Covid-19 has shown us we have to embrace innovation like this.” As part of the trial, patients will receive equipment to take readings, including a blood pressure cuff, weighing scales and a pulse oximeter. If needed, hospital visits can be arranged for further treatment and consultation. Helen Northmore, head of Doctors can review information digital and artificial intelligence at Life Sciences Hub Wales, believes the Huma app is an example of how technology will play an even bigger role in patient care in the future. “The traditional pathway is for “We have cardiac patients to regularly attend a hospital appointment to embrace and have these readings taken,” she says. “This application will free up clinicians’ time so they can be there for patients innovation who need them more urgently, and it also saves the patient like this” from having to travel and wait at the hospital to be seen.” For more information, visit

trial is under way among cardiac patients in north Wales to test innovative technology that allows clinicians to monitor patients’ health and recovery via mobile phone. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has teamed up with medical tech company Huma to assess whether people with heart problems can be supported in their homes using an app that reports on their condition. Huma’s application allows people to Monitor health at home record their symptoms and vital signs, such as weight and blood pressure. This can then be reviewed by a clinician and fed back to the patient to record progress and any concerns, which means changes in the patient’s health or response to medication could be identified sooner. The technology also allows patients to have consultations by video, helping to avoid unnecessary visits to clinics or hospitals. The pilot programme has been funded by the Welsh government.

Help yourself

The Welsh government’s Help Us, Help You campaign is encouraging people to use a range of services to alleviate pressure on the NHS, and it believes this cutting-edge solution is one way of

Bright future for care home

A popular care home near Shrewsbury has secured new financial backing to give its residents peace of mind


icarage Nursing Home is a 50-bed specialist dementia care facility located in Bayston Hill, near Shrewsbury, and has been owned and successfully operated by the Ephraims family since 2003. But times have been hard for the industry recently and the owners knew a new financial plan was needed to ensure the home thrived. Thanks to Cynergy Bank, they have now been able to consolidate existing loans into a £2.35m CBILS term loan, with a £165,000 overdraft facility allowing them to reorganise their finances, purchase the freehold of the nursing home and invest in the business. Recognising the significant The owners secured a CBILS loan disruption Covid-19 has caused

to the healthcare sector, the government guarantees CBILS loans Vicarage Nursing Home, Shrewsbury for six years, and Cynergy Bank was able to offer flexible terms and interest rates. It has provided both a significant cost saving to the company and funding to support further capital expenditure plans. Roger, Margaret and James Ephraims, the home’s owners, says: “Recognising the uncertainty in the current climate, particularly within our sector, it has been refreshing to work with Satyen Shingadia of Cynergy Bank to achieve the refinance and acquisition package to support our strategy. We look forward to working with the bank on our future projects.” Visit

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Quality care you can trust in Chester

When a family is thinking about care for a loved one, they want the best - they want to know that the care home they choose will put their loved one’s safety, happiness and wellbeing first

Comfort a accomm ble, modern odation

their loved ones, and that means their personal relationships can be affected. Once their relative has settled into Deewater Grange, they are able to focus on spending quality time with them again just enjoying each other’s company. With the extra support that the care home offers, new residents are often surprised at what they can do – whether that’s being able to continue with an activity they have enjoyed in the past or ored le tail discovering new hobbies with daily activities. d n a lifesty s r o g o De d in di in ll ca f d ted staff take o ailable A fulfi idual nee Whether your loved one enjoys a quiet cup A range care of the re vities av iv are acti sidents to ind outdoor of tea in bed before starting the day, loves going “The team at Deewater for strolls in the Grange enable residents landscaped grounds or enjoys to continue living life the a chat over a beer, the team at way they want to” Deewater Grange will spend are UK’s Deewater Grange time to enable them to continue care home in Chester provides living life the way they want to. residential, dementia and nursing care, giving families peace of mind that their loved ones can Deewater Grange is part of award-winning provider Care stay living at the home should their needs change. UK – one of the UK’s most successful care home operators (as rated by the Care Quality Commission in England and the Living at Deewater Grange is all about quality of life. Every Care Inspectorate in Scotland) with over 35 years’ experience staff member in the home is passionate about enabling residents of delivering high-quality care to older people. to enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle, tailored around their unique needs and preferences. The lifestyle team organises a huge variety of group and one-to-one activities, with plenty going on each day. Deewater Grange, Chester Road, Huntington, Chester CH3 6BS. Sometime families can get caught up in the day-to-day care of Call 01244 459559 or visit


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Books&Poetry TALL TALES FROM NORTH WALES Author and former teacher Martin Kaye, a local lad, has written a series of books celebrating the weird and wonderful myths and legends of the area


artin Kaye was born and raised in Ruthin in north Wales, and has spent his career in education with 23 years as a primary headteacher in south Wales. He usually had a pen in his hand – but Martin Kaye more commonly for illustration than writing purposes. Recently, though, Martin has been inspired to dabble in creative writing. “As part of my job, I write so many technical dry reports and I’ve loved the contrast in writing something for pleasure,” says Martin. “The role of a head teacher these days is about working in partnership with social services and the wider community. I build my characters on real people – bringing a colour and depth to the portrayal of some of the players in my writing, which adds to a sense realism and suspense in my work.” Martin’s current series of books is based in north Wales, with a focus on the

LOC A L B OOKS Armageddon’s Rod by Will Esling Ever since he can remember, young Jack Dore has had strange dreams of another world and another life. In his waking moments he is followed by shadows that no one else can see. Slowly and surely he discovers the secret hidden deep inside him: he has lived a life before – the life of a king. After an incident where he nearly drowns, he is transported to the Celtic otherworld, Annwn. Will Esling has long had a fascination with Welsh history and folklore, much of which has been forgotten or superseded in the writings of the conquerors of the land over 1,400 years. He explores this magically though the characters and story of Armageddon’s Rod, a captivating novel that is available from Amazon.

towns of Ruthin and Denbigh. On Badon Field is the first of three novels that take place both in the last days of Roman Britannia and the present, based loosely on the legends of King Arthur. Each novel follows the life of a character who is briefly the keeper of the Holy Grail.

Arth, Gwenllian and the Roman Girl and bringing them a second chance at life through reincarnation. Martin calls the series “a mysterious adventure, a love Three intertwining tales affair that stretches across millennia, On Badon Field follows Arth, the British written for an adult audience.” war leader, from his greatest victory at Martin has done extensive research to the Battle on Badon Field to his death at Camlann. A Banner back up the historical context of Of Dark Shadows, the his writing. “The only contemporary written record that relates to King second novel, tells the “A love story of Gwenllian, affair that Arthur was written by a monk called Gildas,” he says. “Welsh charting her great loss stretches mythology states that Gildas had after Arth’s death and her a brother, Huail, whom Arthur had capture and execution. across executed by beheading on the The final instalment, millennia” Maen Huail, a large limestone block The Fallen & The Fled, which now sits on a plinth beside follows the mysterious Exmewe Hall in Ruthin. Gildas is among “Roman Girl” who first brings the Holy the names of the many saints who were Grail to Britannia from the East. tutored by St Illtud in Llantwit Major.” Throughout the series, malevolent forces are at work, trespassing through the tapestry of time bringing death and On Badon Field is available from destruction from the ancient past. But Amazon or from Martin’s website, the Grail is a force for good, protecting Tom Pryce: Memories Of A Welsh F1 Star By Those Who Knew Him by Darren Banks and Kevin Guthrie This book shines a light on the brilliant talent of tragic F1 hero Tom Pryce, who went from being a tractor mechanic to a potential world champion in just four years. The book’s foreword is by Tom’s widow, Nella, and some of the best-known names in motorsport have contributed, including former FI racing driver and TV commentator John Watson, a contemporary of Tom’s, and Ruthin-born David Richards, the chair of Motorsport UK and a former chair of Aston Martin. Authors Darren Banks and Kevin Guthrie have pledged to donate the proceeds from sales of the book to create a

permanent memorial in Tom’s home town of Denbigh. They have already raised £2,500 towards the appeal. The Consequence by Gerald Jones Gerald Jones was born in Newtown but raised in the small village of Llandyssil, where this book is based. The idea for The Consequence came a long time ago when, in his early teens, Gerald spoke with men who had fought in Egypt during the First World War. It is a tale of war, love and courage of the men who leave home and the women they leave behind. Gerald was dedicated in his research and the book includes many historical details; the characters are fictitious but their stories are deeply rooted in reality. You can buy The Consequence from Amazon.

Calling local authors… If you’re living in the Shire area or have written about a local person or place, we’d love to feature you on these pages. Email

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Another trio of top tips for readers from our friends at Linghams Bookshop in Heswall Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory Midsummer Eve 1670. Two visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the Thames: a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted years before; and a beautiful widow who claims the son of the warehouse’s owner, Alinor, has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon. Alinor writes to her brother in New England, caught up in the conflict between settlers and native Americans, with the news – but assures him that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter. A gripping read from start to finish. Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud Meet the Ramdin-Chetan family: irrepressible Betty Ramdin, her shy son Solo and their marvellous lodger, Mr Chetan, who form an unconventional household. Happy in their differences, they build a home together, which keeps them safe from an increasingly dangerous world – until the night when a glass of rum, a heart-to-heart and a terrible truth explodes the family unit, driving them apart. Brave and brilliant, steeped in affection, Love After Love offers hope to anyone who has loved and lost and has yet to find their way back. Cecily by Annie Garthwaite Cecily Neville was high-born, but married a traitor’s son. She bore him children, carried his cause and buried his past. When the king proved unfit to rule, she had a choice to make. Loyalty or treason? Either could lead to death… After a 30-year business career, Annie Garthwaite fulfilled her lifelong ambition to write an account of Cecily Neville, matriarch of the House of York during the Wars of the Roses, and mother of Edward IV and Richard III. She completed this novel while studying for a creative writing MA at the University of Warwick. It’s an astonishing debut that plunges you into the bedchambers and battlefields of the first days of the Wars of the Roses – a war as women fought it.

A Nice Place To Come Home by Sheila Crozier Everything is neat and tidy Every knickknack bright and shiny The fire’s lit The place looks homely Tea is decided Needs cooking only And when the girls arrive home from school All cold and mithered and in a whirl I’ll be there, just as always To meet and greet my lovely girls

round and wisely spoke: “Enough of this cacophony before it becomes monotony, Each of us would rather be in different homes, it’s plain to see.” And so it was they settled down, in the country, in the town And gradually they ceased to frown; the ducks pulled up their eider down! Thus it was, came peace at last, Peace upon the tree and grass, Peace upon the moor and stream, as they all did peaceful dream. And this was just because, you see, they all agreed to disagree! And they had a common bond, worth repeating, it’s not so long: Above the tress, below the sky is the region you should fly; Below the trees, above the sky is much too low or far too high! The Business Muse The efforts to help Welsh businesses overcome the challenge of coronavirus have been captured in poetry by the National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn

The Birds by Nigel Collier “For my daughter Rebecca; an inspiration!”

Let us praise the zest for business, the small voice yet to spawn an echo, the loud song still boxed, in a small bird’s breast. And we’ll use the plague days spent apart to meditate on our re-start, mapping out areas unentered, attending webinars, being mentored, so the new venture avoids being botched, and steers well clear of going bust. For initiatives are soon orphaned without support at their backs... But “seek, and ye shall find”, and that indeed is what we do; a phone call away, an internet finger-click, the key to each local success. And as we hone our skills and their impacts as we build up our contacts we’ll garner new experience into ancient grain-lofts; our zest for business strikes up a new song: a melodious echo that chimes with our voice.

Above the trees, below the sky is the region you should fly; Below the trees, above the sky is much too low or far too high! Assuming you would ever try, you may hear the eagle’s cry: “Unless you really want to die, avoid the trees, below the sky!” Smaller birds though sing and twitter, “Through the trees is rather better; Predators are larger, fatter, through the trees their feathers tatter!” Kestrel, skylark, wren and owl and many other kinds of fowl, Hoot and holler, cry and howl, “You are being foolish now! “High upon a cliff ’s sheer ledge, on the moorland, fen and sedge, In the shelter of a hedge, this is where we nest and fledge.” Moorhen, coot and ducks protested, “On the land we are molested, In the reed bed is suggested, unless you wish to be digested!” “Why are you all in a dither? You have set us all a-quiver, We prefer the stream or river,” said the turnstone and the dipper. “What about the rest of us?” Cried the seagull in a fuss, “The gannet and We want your poems! the albatross, without the sea would Share your creativity – we print our favourite all be cross!” poems every issue. Send them to Poetry Page, With all this noise Shire, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR the owl awoke, or email The owl stared

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What’s in your stars? Aries

20th March-20th April Being a fire sign, your energy is unlimited and you live life as if it were contained in an instant. With the giants Jupiter and Saturn in what’s known as a constructive sextile angle to your sun sign, a productive time is ahead for you. Jupiter represents progress, while Saturn brings a sense of direction – the perfect duo for your next move!


21st June-23rd July Since neolithic times, the male has essentially been the hunter and the female the gatherer, creating two gender roles. Cancerians blend both, which is why switching parental responsibilities comes easier to them – as long as children are protected and nurtured, it doesn’t matter who oversees domestic arrangements. It’s a progressive trend to your credit – so congratulations, Cancer!


23rd September-22nd October An eclipse in November and December shows compromise is necessary as the year comes to an end. This you are good at, but in giving too much of yourself away you’ll lose out with your own needs. Don’t sacrifice these on the altar of another’s demands – fairness doesn’t mean everyone gets the same, it means everyone gets what they need.


21st December-20th January In astrology, planets are symbolic of life principles or forces driving the personality. Once such force in November and December is Mars in Scorpio, which focuses in your solar chart on groups of people. A social group will take up your time – you have a powerful need to belong, and for a while you’ll belong to a small but very eclectic gathering.


20th April-21st May You’re being bombarded by challenges in your inner world as you look back at choices you’ve made. Relationships are the greatest source of security or insecurity for you; the latter may be having effects, but you’ve got great endurance. The test of good manners is to be patient with bad manners – if your finely tuned senses can stand it.


23rd July-23rd August So many old Christmas customs have been lost, such as Stir-Up Sunday at the end of November and the Festival of Candles, which were once part of working up to the big event. But a new moon in Sagittarius on 4th December presents the potential for you to help develop a new tradition introduced by a recent addition to the family.


23rd October-22nd November High energy in November will help prepare you for forthcoming celebrations – you might have to deal with your own inflexibility as well as another’s at some point, but it’s that time of year when emotions run high as well as expectations. On the plus side, familiar surroundings give a sense of security and reliability from an unexpected source.


20th January-19th February This winter, rise above your own personal interests and truly give more of yourself where it’s needed most. You are a born humanitarian, which is admirable, but in being so you sometimes overlook the individual. Pay attention not to the many but to the needs of the few in your inner circle. The personal is more important at present than the impersonal!


21st May-21st June November will be busy, but in December a solar eclipse in your opposite sign Sagittarius and a full moon in Gemini ask you to be wise before an event. I don’t make predictions but use astrology’s time clock to help prepare for potentials. Yours is within a close relationship; it could be work or personal, but whichever it is, there will be consequences.


23rd August-23rd September Your birth gemstone is the diamond – highly valued but containing hard edges. Symbolically, one of yours is the capacity to criticise. It isn’t always welcome, so needs a little awareness about the difference between constructive criticism and being judgmental. We’ve probably been there before, but sometimes a need exists to go there again!


22nd November-21st December Christmas is coming! Did you know that a Santa Claus school in Beverly Hill trains 3,000 Santas every year, or that in the town of Santa Claus, Indiana, there’s a college offering a BSc in Santa Clausery?!? It’s fun, but tradition and culture play their part too – and Mars in Sagittarius this December activates all three in your life.


19th February-20th March The turning of the tide brings together the old and new, and November and December hold powerful eclipses bringing waves crashing to shore, before sinking back into tranquillity as the forces settle. This sums up your emotions as one crisis hits another, ending in calm and leaving a peaceful atmosphere at Christmas, when you’ll count your blessings!

Gloria Mans studied astrology and astronomy over an intensive two-year period at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London 27 years ago. She has since written for many publications, appeared numerous times on television and has an impressive client list. The legendary Fay Weldon calls her “magic” and BBC icon Valerie Singleton calls her “sensitive”. You can reach her at or via her website, 134 SHIRE MAGAZINE | November/December 2021

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hanks once again to the readers who have been in touch with us here at Shire. It means so much to hear from you all and we’ve printed a few of our favourites here. Please do keep them coming – we love hearing your thoughts and opinions as well as any news you want to share. Please include a picture when you can and email us at In case anyone has missed an edition or not been able to get out to the shops before

every issue has been snapped up, we have a supply of previous issues we’re happy to send out. Just let us know which issue of Shire you want and we can pop it in the post to you as long as you send us a SAE for £2.00 to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. An even safer bet is to subscribe to the magazine so you never miss a copy of Shire again! See page 51 for details. Keep enjoy your local area, keep writing and emailing, and keep reading Shire!

Out on a limb


I am writing to share some great news about an innovative local company that is transforming the lives of amputees. LIMB-Art, which designs and makes “the world’s coolest prosthetic leg covers”, won the Manufacturing Start-up of the Year at the 2021 Wales Start-up Awards. Mark Williams, the founder of LIMB-Art, is a former Paralympic swimmer who was inspired to design and manufacture prosthetic leg covers after he lost his own leg in a cycling accident. The company recently won a contract to supply the NHS Wales with its products, so every adult amputee in Wales now has access to a free LIMB-art cover. They are designed for all users of above knee and below knee prostheses and, unlike traditional foam prosthetic leg covers, can be easily sanitised! On behalf of Wales Start-up Awards

I always look forward to reading Shire. I particularly like the challenge you give us to come up with a photograph you like and publish. Thank you for running this competition in your lovely magazine. Tony Walker

Mark Williams, founder of LIMB-Art

Art in action

Your creative readers may like to know about the forthcoming lectures being organised by the Arts Society Mid Wales & Borders. Following a talk entitled “Charles Darwin’s ‘La Belle Fanny’ – the Life and Loves of Fanny Myddleton Biddulph of Chirk Castle” at the end of October, the next lecture – scheduled for 25th November – is “Bauhaus: Idea & Reality”. The speaker, Gavin Plumley, will discuss the Find out about this 1920s German art movement German art school that operated from 1919 to 1933, combining crafts and fine arts. It will take place at 2.30pm at the Powis Suite, Royal Oak Hotel, Welshpool. Visitors are welcome, with a requested donation of £6 per person towards costs. For more details, email or Dennis J Duggan, Welshpool

Hope for hogs

As your readers may know, this is the season when we can all do our bit for wildlife – especially hedgehogs – that we might find in the garden. If you want to find out more about these creatures and how we can support them, we would be delighted to welcome you to a talk from Hugh Warwick Learn how to help this wee fella of HedgeOx hosted by the Hardy Plant Society Clwyd at 7.30pm on Tuesday 16th [November] at the Stamford Gate Hotel, Holywell. Hugh will explain how to help and encourage hedgehogs in your garden during his informative presentation. Doors will open at 7pm and tickets are £3 for non-members. Anyone who wishes to find out more about this or other events the society hold can visit Christine Price-Morris, chair, Hardy Plant Society Clwyd Group

Thanks for your mention of my book in Shire, which I was able to get hold of at Tesco in Prestatyn. I was lucky to get one, because they’re usually grabbed off the stand by shoppers! Bernard Fredericks I just wanted to say how much I enjoy Shire. I’ve signed up for a subscription and as my memory is not what it once was, it always arrives through the door when I am least expecting it – and it is a lovely surprise every time! Thank you and keep it up! Gladys Wrightson, Rhyl

On the run

I wanted to let your readers know about the amazing team who took part in the recent Virtual London Marathon on behalf of the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. We had a team running 26.2 miles in their home towns and beyond to raise vital funds for the charity. Their donations and support will make a huge difference to those living with cancer throughout the North West. Two of our runners were Dr Rosie Lord and Dr Danielle Shaw, gynaeoncologists at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Birkenhead. Their work is supported by funds by the charity, and they took on the virtual marathon not only to raise funds, but Rosie and Danielle also to raise awareness of the charity. We are so proud of them and all the runners who will make such a difference to the lives of those living with cancer across the region. Rachel Kennedy, Challenge Events Fundraiser November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 135

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CROSSWORD AND Sudoku 2 Type of lake formed when a wide meander of a river is cut off (5) 3 Czech composer of Má vlast (7) 4 The usually purple edible fruit of trees of the genus Morus (8) 5 Isaac’s elder and hairier son in the Bible (4) 6 Asian dynasty and empire established by Babur in 1526 (6) 7 The ____ Giant, short story by Oscar Wilde (7) 8 Queen consort of Edward VII, after whom Crewe’s football club was named (9) 13 Greek letter used to represent standard deviation in statistics (5) 15 Coastal waterfowl with a courting call reminiscent of Frankie Howerd (5,4) 17 A rich onion-based pasta sauce, or one of the Five Families of the New York mafia (8) 19 Ancient Egyptian High Priest of Ra who inspired Boris Karloff ’s titular antagonist in The Mummy (7) 21 Designer of the Menai Suspension Bridge or a town in Shropshire (7) 22 Yellow pearshaped fruit from which marmalade was originally made (6) 25 Museo del ____, art gallery in Madrid (5) 26 Car manufacturer that produced the Córdoba and Málaga models (4)


13 Sigma 15 Eider duck 17 Genovese 19 Imhotep 21 Telford 22 Quince 25 Prado 26 SEAT

1. Every square has to contain a single number. 2. Only numbers 1 to 9 can be used. 3. Each 3×3 box can only contain each number from 1 to 9 once. 4. Each vertical column can only contain each number from 1 to 9 once.

The highlighted letters when rearranged spell HOLYWELL

Sudoku rules

Rearrange the highlighted letters to find the name of a historic Welsh town


27 Burton Mere 28 Oban 29 Skopje 30 The Idiot

1 A clear soup made from rich stock (8) 6 One of the oldest families of grape varieties or the capital of Oman (6) 9 Musical instrument that represents the duck in Peter & The Wolf (4) 10 Welsh town that gives its name to a canal and a heritage railway (10) 11 River linked to the Trent & Mersey Canal by the Anderton Boat Lift (6) 12 Half-monster Shakespeare character, son of Sycorax in The Tempest (7) 14 French Romantic who painted Liberty Leading The People (9) 16 Hand-woven Indian cloth that gave its name to a Gandhi-led movement to boycott foreign cloth (5) 18 To extemporise (2,3) 20 Semi-hard Swiss cheese used in fondue (9) 23 Mythical poet who attempted to rescue Eurydice from the underworld (7) 24 A variety of jasper found in New South Wales (6) 27 RSPB wetlands reserve on the Dee Estuary (6,4) 28 Scottish port and distillery (4) 29 Capital of North Macedonia, the site of a disastrous 1963 earthquake (6) 30 Novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky (3,5)

Down 2 Oxbow 3 Smetana 4 Mulberry 5 Esau 6 Mughal 7 Selfish 8 Alexandra


Difficulty: medium

Across 1 Consommé 6 Muscat 9 Oboe 10 Llangollen 11 Weaver 12 Caliban 14 Delacroix 16 Khadi 18 Ad lib 20 Emmenthal 23 Orpheus 24 Morlop


Alice Leetham is a writer and puzzle maker from Cheshire. She works in the FinTech industry but also enjoys creating quizzes and cryptic crosswords. Contact:

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Another edition of Shire, another chance to win fabulous prizes. Good luck!

You have to be in it to win it. Go on, enter today!

WIN! A family ticket to Christmas at Delamere Forest

WIN! A Christmas hamper worth £49.99

Christmas At Delamere Forest, the magical after-dark trail featuring spectacular illuminations and muchloved festive tunes, will light up Forestry England’s Delamere Forest in Cheshire from 26th November to 31st December. Wrap up warm and be transported into a winter wonderland where you’ll discover sparkling tunnels of light, and walk under giant baubles and beneath trees drenched in jewel-like colour. For further information and to book tickets, visit We’ve got one family ticket for four people to the 4.30pm slot on the opening night, Friday 26th November, to give away. To enter, fill in the form below. CLOSING DATE: 19th November

Shropshire Hamper Company hampers make ideal Christmas gifts. Whether you’re buying for friends, family or colleagues, they’re sure to delight. And bursting with locally produced food and drink, they also have the knock-on effect of supporting independent businesses. To see the full range, visit We have a Sweet Shropshire Christmas Hamper to give away to one lucky reader. The hamper, worth £49.99, is bursting with local produce, including Heartsease Ginger Beer, Heather’s Harvest Jam, Flower & White Meringue Bites, Wood’s Born & Bred Beer and Shropshire Distillery’s Spiced Gin. CLOSING DATE: 18th December

WIN! A family ticket to Peppa Pig live at Venue Cymru

WIN! A bottle of Citrus Twist Gin from Wrekin Spirit

Peppa Pig is excited to be going on a day out with George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig. With the car packed, they’re ready for their road trip full of adventures. From roadworks to royalty, castles to caves and ice creams to muddy puddles, there is something for all of the family and their friends to enjoy in Peppa Pig: Best Day Ever!, including Miss Rabbit, Danny Dog, Gerald The Giraffe and more! The live spectacular, which is ideal for children aged two to six, is at Venue Cymru in Llandudno from 21st to 23rd January – to book, visit We’ve got a family ticket for four people to the 4pm show on 21st January to give away. CLOSING DATE: 18th December

Wrekin Spirit, based near Telford, produces great-tasting quality gins in a sustainable manner, using solar power to power the distillery as well as sourcing fruit from trees, hedges and woodland surrounding the farm. There are plans to plant a botanical garden and orchard as well as beehives, in a bid to become a hotspot of biodiversity and environmental health in the area. For more information, visit Wrekin Spirit’s Citrus Twist Gin is bursting with fresh fruit flavours and a refreshingly citrus taste that is enjoyed best with a traditional tonic and slice. We have one bottle to give away; you must be 18 or over to enter. CLOSING DATE: 18th December

Winners Congratulations to our lucky winners from the Jul/Aug issue of Shire!

Brian from Neston, Shropshire Distillery Tour

Christina from Prestatyn, Penderyn Distillery

Denise from Colwyn Bay, Plas Weunydd

Eileen from Shrewsbury, Andrew Logan Museum

Q: When was The Nutcracker first performed? a) 1756 b) 1837 c) 1892

Tick the ones you want to enter!

HOW TO ENTER Fill in the form with your answer circled (you’ll need to read the magazine to find it!) and include your name, address, email and daytime contact number. Send it by the closing date to Competitions, Shire magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR Delamere Forest Shropshire Hamper Co

Name Address

Peppa Pig:Best Day Ever Wrekin Spirit (18+)

RULES OF THE COMPETITIONS The promoter of these competitions is Shire magazine, Superstar Publishing, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. The competitions are open to all readers of our magazine and viewers of our websites except employees of the prize providers. The winner(s) will be the first person or persons drawn after the closing date who has completed the correct answer. No cash alternative is available. The winners’ names can be obtained by writing to the competition address with a self-addressed envelope after the closing date. The winner agrees to participate in any follow-up publicity and must provide a photograph to be published in the following issue to claim their prize. Superstar Publishing may print the name only of entrants to this competition in subsequent issue(s) of Shire magazine. This is to enable competition entrants to fairly claim a promotional offer, for competition entrants only. By entering this competition you are giving permission for Shire magazine to print your name only. No personal information will be printed. No purchase necessary, answers on a postcard are accepted. For full details of our Privacy Policy, please go to DATA PROTECTION NOTICE Superstar Publishing Ltd will use your information for administration and analysis purposes and may contact you from time to time with relevant offers, information or for research purposes. Your details will not be passed on to third parties except the sponsors of these competitions. Please tick the relevant box if you wish to be contacted.

Postcode Daytime contact number Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire November/December 2021 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 137

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It’s hard to believe but as we start looking ahead to our next edition, we’ll also be ready to welcome in a whole new year! So as we kick off 2022, we’ll be thinking positive and looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring. Make sure you get hold of your copy and we’ll keep you up to date with everything that’s going on across the patch.


If you’re looking to make a big change in 2022, our homes and interiors section will be packed with the latest on local housing developments and property opportunities in the area. For those who are staying put, we’ll have all the latest styles and house trends you need to make sure you start the year in a home you’re more than happy with.

Resolution time

If your new year’s resolution is to help tackle global issues, maybe it’s time to thinking about going more green? The climate crisis is a hot (excuse the pun) topic at the moment and we’ll give you some ideas and inspiration for reducing your environmental impact as well as sharing news from the renewables industry.



The new year starts with a plea from local wildlife organisations to help out our furry and feathered friends at this chilly time of year. We have all the details on how you can do your bit, as well as updates from reserves and trusts across the region. We also have shopping suggestions for your pets – and cute pictures of your favourite furry family members to share as well. YO U R T O W N

As always, Shire will focus on a couple of prime locations within our area. This time, we take a closer look at Oswestry and Bangor.

Great plates

Feel the love

Valentine’s Day is on its way. So if you’re looking for a romantic local venue where you can celebrate, the perfect gift for the that special someone in your life or some ideas to help you wine and dine your date, Shire has lots of hints and tips to help your wooing go smoothly.


Don’t use the weather as an excuse to be inactive! We have some beautiful winter walks to help you make the most of the outdoors in the new year. We live in such a beautiful area, there’s really no reason not to get out and enjoying it – no matter what the weather! Add a sprinkling of frost or even snow, and you’ll be exploring a truly magical winter wonderland. SNAP TO IT!

Our January/February 2022 edition will feature local artists and exhibitions as always, as well as our photography competition that seems to get more popular with every edition! We now have a top prize up for grabs every issue, so make sure you pay extra attention to your photographic efforts and you could be in with a chance of winning.

Many people decide to change their eating habits at the start of a new year, but it doesn’t have mean denying yourself culinary delights. Our packed food and drink section will help you make a change without compromising on flavour and quality.


Dreaming about getting away in the summer? January is the perfect time to make plans. To help, we’ll our usual round-up of local holiday parks and homes, as well as some D O N ’ T F O R G E T… suggestions of places you’ll love to visit and slices of paradise you Don’t go might even decide to invest in. anywhere until you’ve checked our What’s On guide for January and February – including all the family events for half-term and suggestions for entertainment across the patch. We can help make 2022 your most sociable year yet!

GET IN TOUCH Shire wants to hear from you!

1. Tell us about your upcoming events We work in advance, so 1st December is the deadline to let us know about events for our January/February issue. 2. Share your reader stories Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We would love to share it with our readers. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two! 3. Contribute to one of our pages Send all your submissions and pictures by email to or call 01691 661270. You can also get in touch via social media – just search for “Shire Magazine” on Facebook or Instagram.

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Ymunwch â ni yn un o’n

digwyddiadau agored Yn bersonol neu ar-lein

Join us at one of our

open events In person or online

Cadwch le / Book now 139_SHIRE_ND2021.indd 1

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