Not merely a Mere: Top five local attractions

15/06/22Not merely a Mere: Top five local attractions

When you’re on holiday, it’s nice to have a wide choice of options for spending your leisure time. One of the best things about our location at Woodland Park Lodges is that there is so much to do around Ellesmere. It’s nice to have plenty to do on your doorstep, particularly if you have already travelled a long distance to reach your holiday destination and are glad to put your feet up and the car keys away. Here are our top five things to do in our local area:

The Mere

The centrepiece of the town’s attractions is Ellesmere’s famous mere. It’s one of the largest natural meres in England outside the Lake District and one of nine glacial meres in the area. Glacial meres were formed in the last Ice Age – they don’t have a water supply feeding them to govern the water level, so the Mere is effectively a very large pond. You’ll spot the intriguing island in the middle, which is actually artificial. It was constructed in 1812 from soil excavated during the creation of the gardens at Ellesmere House. The Mere has a visitor’s centre and attracts all kinds of people, from tourists and walkers to birdwatchers. There’s ample parking along the mereside, plus carparks nearby in town and on beyond the Boathouse Café.

Site of Ellesmere Castle

The market town itself is steeped in history, from its period architecture, such as its town hall and beautiful St Mary’s Church, and has an array of cafes, restaurants and inns to visit. The area even used to have its own castle. Ellesmere Castle once dominated a hill to the east of the town. Only the earthworks of this castle remain today, where a motte and bailey castle used to stand overlooking the Mere. It’s presumed to have been built some time after the Norman conquest. During its timespan, it alternated between English and Welsh ownership, but the castle was destroyed during the English Civil War. These days, the motte is lined with trees and the summit is a bowling green, but you can incorporate it into one of the many countryside footpath walks in the area.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust

There are also many opportunities across a range of nature reserves and events in the area, thanks to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust. It is the only charitable organisation in the county focused solely on nature conservation in Shropshire. Its aim is to preserve this beautiful county, but also minimise and restore the decades of destruction, which the UK countryside as a whole has experienced over the years. Shropshire Wildlife Trust is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts working diligently across the UK on all kinds of environmental initiatives. For nearly 60 years it has protected Shropshire’s special places and wildlife, safeguarding it for generations to come. Find out more about news, sites and events here:

Ellesmere Sculpture Trail

There is also Ellesmere Sculpture Trail, a gentle walking tour which has been designed to be accessible to all – its easily navigable by wheelchair and pushchair. The walking tour takes in the Mere, the historic castle fields and part of the canal. For each phase of the trail, sculpture pieces are made using local materials to reflect the history and heritage of the landscape around Ellesmere. Its aim is to interpret the landscape through sculpture. The pieces were created by international contemporary artists, commissioned by the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative (ESi) and are made specifically with their location in mind. For each phase of the trail, pieces were made using local stone and wood, wherever possible, to reflect the history and heritage of the landscape around Ellesmere. It also aims to bring art to a new audience.

Outdoor activities

The Ellesmere area is well known for its countryside and animal and birdlife, and is also the perfect location for outdoor activities. Birdwatchers are attracted to the Mere itself, as among the many birds nesting on the site are a resident colony of grey herons.

In addition to Ellesmere, there are eight other meres nearby – Blakemere, Colemere, Crosemere, Kettlemere, Newtonmere, Whitemere, Sweatmere and Hanmer Mere – and many canal walks and cycle routes along the towpaths of the Llangollen Canal. Each offers an array of walking, riding and picnicking opportunities. Water sports such as boating are very popular on the Mere – whether you’re canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding or in a rowboat or dinghy. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon and a great way to explore the Mere. You’ll need a £20 boating licence for the year, if you want to use the Mere, however. The local Rotary Club stages an annual regatta at Ellesmere in July and there are clubs and societies in the area too.

For the perfect base to explore Ellesmere, book your stay in one of our beautiful lodges today.