Morrells Wood Farm
Morrells Wood Farm, Leighton, Shrewsbury, SY5 6RU
From the old Iron Age hill fort on the top of 1,335-foot Wrekin Hill you get the best views of Morrells Wood, a working beef farm that sits isolated among the green meadows below. It’s a pleasingly tough climb to reach the summit, following farm footpaths through the fields before delving into the native woodland that flanks the steep hillsides. Owner Derek has worked on the farm all his life and it’s only in the last ten years or so that he converted the old out-buildings into small farm cottages for guests, who generally make the Wrekin a conquering point during their stay. The hilltop is a thoughtful place to sit and watch the sunset over Shropshire before you head home, sullenly leaving your holiday behind.
It was in 2012 that the first shepherd’s hut was added to the farm, perched in its own quiet corner with excellent views of the hill. It was swiftly followed by two more, well-furnished huts, each in their own private space, though a short enough walk from one another that they could also be booked together. Inside, each has thoroughly modern fittings, with electricity throughout, plush double beds and even a television, while a wood-burning stove is supplemented by electric heating. All have their own private bathroom and kitchen facilities, either in an adjacent cabin or converted barn. One bathroom even includes its own original stained-glass window, a lasting feature from the barn’s olden days of use.
While the shepherd’s huts perfectly combine luxury and functionality, not to mention their setting in amongst the farm’s tumble-down, stream-side garden, there’s also an extra option for those really seeking seclusion. Derek and his friendly sheepdog, Molly, will lead you across two cattle-grazed meadows, to a private, three-acre field where you can park your car beside a wooden, two-person cabin in perfect isolation. The entirely off-grid unit does slightly limit you – there is no shower or running water and only a basic composting toilet – but, for the setting alone, it is worth it. A few metres away, a reed-fringed pond is enlivened by dragon-flies and birdlife and you have the whole meadow all to yourself.
Whether you pluck for the on-farm comforts of the shepherd’s huts or the off-grid tranquility of the cabin, the local attractions remain a constant highlight. It’s just over two miles, via the local footpaths, to historic Ironbridge Gorge – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. And, further afield, the charming town of Much Wenlock, famous as the home of the modern Olympic games, is well worth a visit for its stunningly beautiful medieval architecture. If you need directions you could even climb back up the Wrekin. From the top you can see for miles tracing your ways along the back-roads with your finger. It’s the closest to a bird’s eye view you’ll find.