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A Quiet Place - Discovery Centre, Craven Arms

Less mammoth, more great white elephant, the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre started life as a tourist attraction. Many grants later it has become something of a hub for the local community, featuring meeting rooms for hire, art exhibitions, a gift shop, cafe and a Shropshire through Time themed exhibition (admission fee payable). In the latter, you can see a life size replica of the skeleton of the woolly mammoth which was discovered in a quarry at Condover near Shrewsbury. In its heyday, the Centre’s grass roof was a real talking point and cutting edge ecotech, but now, like its contents and Tusker the little furry meet and greet mammoth, is in dire need of a haircut and spruce up.

The A49 traffic snakes its way uphill, powering south towards Ludlow, or northbound plunging into Craven Arms where it effectively splits the town in half. Together with the trains, it's a tricky task finding a Quiet Place here, However, the Discovery Centre has one big ace up its sleeve - 30 acres of water meadow, managed wild grass and woodland, intersected by various easy walking pathways. It's a recognised dragonfly hotspot. And it's free!! The further away you get from civilisation and traffic, the better, so tread lightly and breathe in nature. Keep left and follow the path down to the river Onny.

The whole meadow broods under the shadow of neighbouring Iron Age hillfort, Norton Camp but Kingfisher Corner is our delightfully named destination. Here the Onny snakes around a bend, backed by some undercut cliffs, while handy wooden steps lead down literally to the water’s edge. Be very still and await that flash of blue as the kingfisher darts across the river surface. The steady drone of traffic here is minimal and the river flows silently by. A beautiful Quiet Place worthy of a visit or two.

Where are your Quiet Places? Drop us a line.

Dave Fletcher @ 2023

Photo : Dave Fletcher

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