A charming retreat tucked away in the South Shropshire Hills, a rural idyll made famous by the poems of A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad.
Henley Cottage is a 19th- century former farm labourer’s dwelling, sympathetically restored to reinstate its original condition and located in a picturesque estate landscape which has remained unchanged for two centuries.
This humble property, which sleeps up to five, has taken many a star turn on BBC TV, including hit series Victorian Farm and new for 2010, Escape in Time. Holiday visitors now have the opportunity to enjoy its simple and homely atmosphere and the unique opportunity to escape modern day living. Henley Cottage has been much written about and has been tipped by The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Cool Holiday Cottages (2010).
Accommodation: The cottage (one of a pair) has three floors and at its heart is the kitchen/parlour, boasting a cast-iron kitchen range. State-of-the-art in 1888, it is in perfect working order. The simple, airy interiors, lime-washed in pleasing natural colours, are floored with oak or original quarry tiles. The atmospheric lighting is provided by oil lamps and candles and there’s a walk in larder for cool food storage.
Narrow original stairs lead to the first floor and one double bedroom with wrought-iron bedstead heated by a small fireplace, steep open tread stairs lead to the top floor and a twin room with wood-burner and sloping ceiling. A fifth person can sleep on the third bedroom/landing. Beds are equipped with comfortable horsehair mattresses, linen sheets and blankets of pure wool.
There is a fireside tin bath for bathing, while the laundry room includes original copper, mangle and dolly tub with fresh water drawn from a pump. Smoothly-cobbled paths edge the lawns and outside seating area.
For the faint hearted, the single concession to the 21st century is a modern hot water shower and flush loo contained within an outhouse in the private garden.
Location: You will discover a piece of British history at Acton Scott, for it achieved national fame as the setting for BBC2’s hit TV series Victorian Farm, acknowledging the Acton family’s championing of sustainable practices. It has been followed by another Acton Scott-based BBCTV series Escape in Time, new for 2010 and presented by Ben Fogle.
Guests can enjoy a memorable setting and a multitude of activities on this lovingly preserved estate, including the Historic Working Farm - where the land is worked with heavy horses to preserve a way of life before the age of the tractor. This visitor attraction is a firm favourite with families. There is the handy School House café (open April to October) and lovely guided walks and cycle rides.
The prettiest market towns and traditional country pubs are all close at hand. Including Shrewsbury to the north, on the banks of the River Severn; and Ludlow, to the south, in its medieval castle setting. This is a food paradise with Michelin star restaurants and artisan shops galore. The spectacular Stretton Hills and Welsh Marches offer riding, cycling and walking. Among the many nearby sites are Attingham Park, the famous Ironbridge Gorge and its many museums, the castles of Powis and Stokesay and Wroxeter Roman city. But if you simply cannot tear yourself away from Acton Scott, the finest local produce and home prepared meals can be delivered to your holiday cottage.
Henley Cottage is one of three holiday houses at Acton Scott. The Shooting Lodge, sleeping 8 + 3, reference RNP, and Henley Farmhouse, sleeping 20, reference RJJ3, are likewise finely restored character properties, but offer every modern day convenience. All three properties may be rented together or individually, to accommodate the needs of larger parties.
Nearby and three miles to the east of Shrewsbury, Rupert Acton is also the custodian of Cronkhill Farmhouse on the National Trust’s Attingham Park estate. A spacious 17th century timber framed property with spectacular views towards the River Severn, it sleeps up to 14, see ref RN5.
For more information visit www.actonscott.com
The flexible accommodation at Acton Scott can be taken together by larger parties so that 36 people can stay for family gatherings and weddings etc. Thirty minutes’ drive to the north, near Shrewsbury, is Cronkhill Farmhouse, sleeping 14, which is also managed by the Acton Scott estate. See property ref RN5.