Author Marie holds fast to joys of slow travel in Shropshire
A second edition of a guide book with a difference is showing how life slows down when you visit Shropshire.
Travel writer Marie Kreft wrote the first Slow Travel: Shropshire, three years ago and is now updating it for a new version, due to be published next year.
She says one of the joys of her research has been discovering the county's churches and churchyards.
Marie has been helped by the God's Own Acre project which cares for churchyards, and says exploring them is a joy.
"When I began researching my Shropshire guidebook, I didn’t realise how much I’d grow to love churches," she said.
"Trying new pubs and tea rooms was always going to be fun. I knew exploring hillforts, castles and forests would feel exhilarating. And I think most writers would find inspiration in old maps and local stories.
"But churches – their architecture and artefacts – captured me in a way I hadn’t expected.
"Churchyards hold fascination for me too. I love passing through a mossy lychgate to discover the tranquillity and tributes within. That’s how I became aware of Caring for God’s Acre, admiring its gentle influence in areas of churchyards left deliberately unmown to encourage wildflowers, grasses and mini easts."
Marie said she has been taken on a history tour in the churches and churchyards, from knights' tombs to the tragic, communal grave of nine miners at St Michael’s in Madeley; they plunged to their deaths in a mine shaft in 1864, the youngest only 12 and 13.
The writer completed the first edition with her young son, Vincent, by her side and now also has Alexei, the two boys 'helping' her complete the updated version.
" Vincent, who spent his second and third birthdays in central Shropshire, thought for a time that the months of the year ran January, February, Shrewsbury, March," she said.
"Shropshire will remain my family’s happy weekend escape, and its vast skies, dramatic hills and infinite possibilities for roaming will loom large in the story of my boys’ childhoods."
The publisher is Bradt Travel Guides which specialises in going off the beaten track, promoting high-quality writing, and championing sustainable travel. Founder, Hilary Bradt set it up in the 1970s with her then-husband George, while floating on a river barge down a tributary of the Amazon.