Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: Shrewsbury, Long Mynd & Stiperstones with Paul Harris

Port Hill Suspension bridge

Shrewsbury, Long Mynd & Stiperstones with Paul Harris

Highlights include…

  • English & Welsh Bridges
  • Half timbered Architecture
  • Rowing on River Severn
  • The Dingle & Quarry
  • Acton Burnell Castle
  • Stiperstones
  • Snailbeach Lead Mines
  • The Long Mynd
  • Wild Horses
  • Shrewsbury Castle
  • Old Market Hall

Introduction

Shrewsbury is one of England’s finest medieval market towns boasting a wealth of local history and photographic interest. Guided by professional photographer and visual storyteller Paul Harris will enable participants in this workshop to expand their expertise in a genre that is both fascinating and very rewarding. The compactness of the town cradled between a wide loop of the River Severn will allow us the freedom to wander at will through a wide variety of subject matter from the River Severn to green spaces and vernacular architecture. We will take the time we need to tell our own stories of Shrewsbury and elements of the middle Marches ranging from the historical to the geological. There will be plenty of opportunities to develop an eye for the ‘street’ through observation and conversation and for participants to explore some visual techniques they may not have tried before. The town centre is packed with timber framed black and white buildings, narrow streets and alleyways. There are six hundred listed buildings including the Castle, now a regimental museum and the architecturally striking Shrewsbury Abbey which is scenically located by a loop in the River Severn.

Historically, Shrewsbury was a vital town in the wool trade with Wales and due to its extremely good strategic geography, it was used as a garrison town and was part of the “Ring of Iron” of Edward Longshanks. It is believed that Shrewsbury was settled in the 5th century by refugees from the nearby Roman city of Wroxeter. Shrewsbury’s proximity to the Welsh border has given the town a turbulent history. The border with Wales is only nine miles away and there is considerable Welsh influence in the county, the town even has a Welsh name, Amwythig.

Intrinsically woven into the story of Shrewsbury are the surrounding Shropshire Hills including the high plateau of the Long Mynd and the unmistakable rocky outcrops of the Stiperstones. Visually, these two ‘hills’ are very different – the Long Mynd is a large and long plateau, while the rugged outline of the Stiperstones ridge is unmistakable and we will spend a whole day exploring this gorgeous area which boasts a wealth of wildlife including the famous wild ponies descended from the mining era of the area.

Your Photographic Guide

Paul Harris is a documentary, travel and adventure photographer steeped in the premise of engagement and curiosity in the world around him. Raised on a diet of coastal wanderings, hill walking and mountaineering, Paul began documenting news and current affairs before expanding his brief to cover longer term projects in environmental conservation, global education and exploration. Find out more about Paul…
Paul will be assisted on this workshop by Sian Allen

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Shrewsbury

This vibrant county town is within easy reach by road and train from Manchester, Birmingham, Chester and Cardiff. Our hotel is a stone’s throw from one of two historic bridges which span the River Severn. We will meet early evening in the comfortable and spacious hotel lobby for introductions and a brief outline of the next few days photography, followed by dinner.
Accommodation – Hotel

Day 2: Story Telling Stroll Through Town

It’s a short walk to most places of visual interest in Shrewsbury and we will likely begin at the water’s edge taking in the English Bridge at dawn. The present bridge is a 1926 rebuilding and widening (re-using the original masonry) of John Gwynn’s design, completed in 1774. After breakfast at the hotel, we will continue west along the River Severn towards Quarry Park keeping an eye out for rowers on the river, cyclists & runners making their way through the avenue of beeches which line the riverbank. The comings and goings of everyday life in the town and its green spaces will be a predominant feature of our photography using close ups, middle distance and wide shots to build individual stories. In the afternoon, light filters into the narrow streets around half timbered buildings and the market square. We aim to play with light and shadow to create graphic images and further build on the stories we have begun.
Accommodation – Hotel

Day 3: The Long Mynd and Stiperstones

Weather permitting, we plan an early start to visit Acton Burnell Castle, a beautiful sandstone ruin tucked away in the countryside 8 miles from Shrewsbury. It was built between 1284 and 1293 by Bishop Burnell, who was Edward first’s Lord Chancellor and is an impressive example of a medieval fortified manor house. This is a super location in the early morning sun along with the adjacent chapel. Continuing south into the more elevated part of South Shropshire we encounter steep hills of the Lawley, Caer Caradoc and the Long Mynd. We will drive the Burway, a mediaeval trade route and narrow road which cuts across the Long Mynd giving spectacular views across the tops. A brief stop at The Stiperstones pub for lunch before continuing on to the atmospheric abandoned lead mines of Snailbeach. Ruined engine houses, blacksmith shops and tall chimneys tell of a time when the lead mines of this area were the most productive in Europe. Above and West lies the Stiperstones, a sharp rugged ridge of quartzite dominating the landscape. Old tales tell of the ridge being haunted by Bronze Age burial cairns and the ghost of Saxon warlord Wild Edric who still roams the hills. His followers are reputed to be imprisoned deep in the lead mines beneath this National Nature Reserve and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The evening sun reflecting off the exposed rocky moorland landscape is a sight to be seen and captured before we head back to Shrewsbury and a hearty meal either at the hotel or nearby restaurants.
Accommodation – Hotel

Day 4: Shrewsbury Town – Digging Deeper

After breakfast we will have a short critique session viewing images and discussing any issues and subjects ideas you might want to pursue. We will head back into the town looking to build on story ideas and techniques garnered from the previous two days. Subject matter will include two more bridges – The Welsh Bridge which connects the modern architecture of Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn with the heart of the old town, and the Port Hill Suspension Bridge just west of the open ground of The Quarry and the iconic St Chad’s Church. The indoor market on Pride Hill provides opportunities to practice portraits of traders and we continue east to Shrewsbury’s characterful train station and Castle, both of which allow for great studies in architectural detail. If time allows we can return to the river in late afternoon, perhaps chat to and photograph the rowers getting on and off the river. Before our final dinner we will have a short presentation highlighting the best of your images.
Accommodation – Hotel

Day 5: Departures

Before Breakfast, if dawn allows, we will have a final flourish on the streets close to our hotel before making our way home.

What’s Included

  • 4 nights hotel accommodation
  • Breakfasts & dinners
  • Photographic tuition
  • Transport during the workshop

What’s not Included

  • Lunches
  • Extra beverages and alcohol
  • Travel & medical insurance
  • Transfers to and from the hotel

Accommodation

We will be staying at The Lion Hotel on Wyle Cop which is within walking distance of both the River Severn and the historic centre of town. All participants will have their own room with private facilities. There is no extra cost for this. There is free WiFi access and private parking

Travelling to Shrewsbury

There is a frequent scheduled train and bus services to Shrewsbury from Hereford, Chester, Manchester and Birmingham, Cardiff and London to name just a few. To book visit thetrainline.com

Flights to the UK

If you are flying to the UK the following information may be useful for your onward travel to Shrewsbury.
The nearest airports to Shrewsbury are Manchester and Birmingham with a short train journey onwards. The average train journey time between London and Shrewsbury is 2 hours 35 minutes. On an average weekday, there are 4 trains travelling from London to Shrewsbury. The distance from Shrewsbury Railway and bus Station is less than half a mile, a short taxi journey.

Car Parking

For those travelling by car, there are parking spaces at the hotel car park. Contact the hotel reception for permits.

Image Credits

All images in this gallery by Paul Harris.