Did You Know?

Shropshire is a county full of surprises, many are well documented but some are yet to be discovered.

Take Shrewsbury, our county town, some may know that it is the birthplace of that evolutionary thinker Charles Darwin but may be less aware that it has the world's tallest town crier standing a mere 7 feet 2 inches in his socks! We have yet to resolve that perpetual conundrum whether the town should be pronounced 'Shrewsbury' or 'Shrowsbury'.

Few would also know that the market town of Much Wenlock is also the actual birthplace of the modern Olympics. The inspiration for this global event came when Baron de Courbetain visited the town and witnessed the Wenlock Olympics. Still going strong today the Wenlock Games take place annually in July.

AE Housman immortalised the 'Blue Remembered Hills' of South Shropshire and the small village of Aston-on-Clun is following in his footsteps. Its annual Arbor Tree Day is the only one of its kind in the Country and the village itself is the only known village in Britain to celebrate the custom of tree dressing annually each May.

The County is also no stranger to nationally recognised awards, Ludlow has once again been confirmed as Shropshire's gastronomic capital with its inclusion in the Michelin Guide 2006. For the 12th year running Mr Underhill's has its Michelin star. Not forgetting the UK's Caravan Park of the Year which is also in Shropshire and can be found at Oxon Hall Touring Park in Shrewsbury.

The world's first theme park also belongs to Shropshire with Hawkstone Park & Follies taking the title. Opened in 1748, it's a magical landscape of caves, cliffs, grottoes and ravines. The original Chronicles of Narnia were filmed here. And if that's not enough the Holy Grail was found here too! But that's not surprising when you realise that Shropshire was the true kingdom of the real King Arthur.

You may be familiar with the market town of Oswestry and its connection with the greatest of the World War I Poets Wilfred Owen, but it is also the home of that tongue twisting Reverend Spooner. Surprising everyone still further, Oswestry was named in the top 20 of the most desirable places to live in Britain and officially described as 'a cool, rural idyll'.

Shropshire must be worth a visit just for that!