Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Blue Remembered Hills - Savita Kalhan

I have found another perfect place for writing - overlooking the River Teme in Ludlow - a balcony, a river, a beautiful, tranquil setting, but within walking distance to a buzzing town full of fine food and access to the most amazing walks amongst the Blue Remembered Hills of A E Houseman's A Shropshire Lad.

I have been very lucky to visit Shropshire many times over the years, but I can honestly say that there is still so much to see and walks to be walked. Over the years Shropshire has been the home to many authors, and many other writers have spent time there writing and writing about it.

Charles Dickens' character Miss Haversham in Great Expectations was based on Elizabeth Parker who lived in Chetwynd Hall in Shropshire.

Mary Webb's novels are all set in Shropshire - there are several walks that take in many of the places where her books are set.

PG Wodehouse once said that Shropshire "is the nearest earthly place to Paradise". His Blandings Castle is set in Weston Park in Shropshire.

Stokesay Court - where Atonement by Ian McEwan was set

The Pond at Stokesay Court

 A mile away from Stokesay Court lies Stokesay Castle, a fortified medieval manor, which was home to Lawrence of Ludlow, one of the richest men in England. The castle has changed very little since the 13 Century and remains one of the best examples of a complete medieval manor house. It still has character and atmosphere - and it's freezing cold!
The Gatehouse at Stokesay Castle
Stokesay Castle

Woodcarvings on the way up to Bury Ditches

On one of the Mounds of Bury Ditches

Panoramic Viewpoint guide from the top of Bury Ditches

 Walking along the Ridgeway - with one foot in England and the other in Wales!

The ruins of Clun Castle. The village of Clun was EM Forster's Oniton in Howards End.

In the hills

 John Osbourne retired to Clun.
The Hurst - John Osbourne's home - is now part of the Arvon Foundation, a writers' retreat
Clun Church where John Osbourne is buried

Below are the Stiperstones in Shropshire. They are described by D H Lawrence in St Maur as a wild and frightening place. One of the stones in particular - the Devil's Chair is full of evil and foreboding. It's not so easy to imagine in full sunlight with blue skies, but I have been there when the skies have been dark, the clouds grey and heavy before opening to pelt us with the rain and wind. Then, it became a very different place.

Children's writers Pauline Fisk, Catherine Cooper were Shropshire based, and Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine series is set in and around Clun (I read them all when I was a kid). Ellis Peters, also known as Edith Pargeter, set her Brother Cadfael Series of medieval mysteries in and around Shrewsbury.

So, I'm leaving Shropshire with batteries recharged, summer coming to an end and nights drawing in. It's time to start the next piece of work...

Savita Kalhan 


Susan Price said...

Glad you enjoyed Shropshire, Savita. I live not too far away and have spent a lot of time in the county. I love Stokesay Castle - I set part of my book, Christopher Uptake, in it. And the photograph on the cover of my 'Overheard In A Graveyard' was taken in the graveyard opposite the castle.

Savita Kalhan said...

It's a beautiful county and one I return to time and time again. I was impressed with Stokesay castle - well-preserved and lots of atmosphere. I can see why you would set a book there.

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks for the photos and all the authors inspired by Shropshire. It seems like a magical border-land county.

Chitra Soundar said...

If I could rent a place to write where would you recommend ?

Savita Kalhan said...

It depends how close to civilisation you want to be, Chitra - it has it all. We stayed with a friend in the hills outside Clun where there was no phone reception at all and no neighbours for a few miles! Outskirts of Ludlow on the river is nice as there are lots of great places to eat and things to do if you want them, or just to write!

Mystica said...

Thank you for the descriptiveness of your stay.