Shropshire's Great Days Out - The Mere at Ellesmere
Ben Bentley continues his month-long campaign to highlight the area's top visitor attractions. Today it's the turn of the Mere at Ellesmere.
Click here for an overview of the great days out campaign and check back each day for the latest idea.
Where is it? The Mere is on the outskirts of Ellesmere town, situated on the A528 Shrewsbury Road, 18 miles north-west of Shrewsbury.
What is it? The result of Mother Nature's handiwork at the end of the last Ice Age, The Mere is actually glacial lake. A huge chunk of ice, left behind by the retreating ice sheet, melted to form a lake up to 18 metres deep.
How much is it? Access to The Mere is free. There is metered car parking (£1 per day) for 50-plus vehicles on firm stone or grass surfaces.
What is there to do? Explore Shropshire's largest mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths and historic castle site. This is a very important place for wildlife, attracting many different water and wading birds. A heron roost on Heron Island adds to the ornithological interest.
There is easy access around The Mere almost as far as 'The Crimps'. A sculpture trail links the Castlefields car park to the castle and garden terraces.
For almost their entire length, the paths around The Mere are surfaced, broad and well maintained, making this a very easy place to explore. A broad-surfaced path leads from the Moors car park adjacent to the Shrewsbury to Ellesmere Road. From here you can follow the side of The Mere for almost a mile (1.1km) past the new visitor centre, along the promenade into the recently restored Victorian Cremorne Gardens. Great for walks and picnics. If you're feeling athletic after the Olympics, The Mere is a great place for a jog.
Pick up information about The Mere from the visitor centre. The centre and Boathouse Restaurant is open seven days a week, 10am to 5pm.
There is also a children's play area and bench seating at the main viewpoints of this beauty spot. Plus the town of Ellesmere is only minutes away by foot.
Interesting fact: Moscow Island on The Mere was made by fly-tipping! Waste earth, cut from the garden terraces, was tipped onto the frozen mere, but when the ice melted a large mound of earth was left sticking out of the water. The island appeared in the same year that Napoleon invaded Russia, hence its name.
Opening times: The Boathouse Visitor Centre and Restaurant opens seven days a week, 10am-5pm during the summer. Car parking 8am-5.30pm
Verdict: A super family day out that will not steal the pennies from your pocket.