Off the beaten track – Norton in Hales
Returning from a business trip into North Wales and having driven for several hours, we decided to try and find a pleasant country pub in which to have lunch. As we travelled along the A53, which passes from Wales into England and back into Wales for several miles as the border meanders between Shropshire and Powys and back again into Shropshire, we saw a sign for a village called Norton-in-Hales, one of those wonderful old English village names that date back centuries. “Let’s give that a try” my colleague said.
Our hope of success was pleasantly rewarded as we entered this very pretty little village with its Village Green and the fine old stone church, which we later discovered is called St. Chad’s and dates back to at least the Norman period. We were also told of a stone on the village green that is known as the “Bradling Stone” where anyone found working after noon on Shrove Tuesday was bumped. One of those lovely old local customs whose origins are lost in the mists of time but which still survive today even if they are no longer enacted.
Across the green from the church was the object of our search, the village pub which is called The Hinds Head and which we discovered served a very good pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord beer, some local brews which we didn’t have the chance to sample as we still had a long way to drive and also very good meals at very affordable prices. Certainly a village and a pub worth seeing
Shropshire is full of these little villages, just off the beaten track and hidden from view, set away from the main roads and they are full of charm and are quite places to be enjoyed and savoured. In many of these, there are properties that offer bed and breakfast and self catering properties for those looking for a family holiday in Shropshire. In some of the larger towns you can find hotels or pubs with accommodation. To explore the wonders of this part of Shropshire stay in a hotel in Loggerheads or a bed and breakfast in Woore or Market Drayton. These market towns make a great base from which to explore the surrounding area and offer everything that the visitor may want. Take a chance and wander off the main road through the countryside and see these hidden gems. So what if you get a bit lost? It is worth going off the beaten track now and again.