Its pavilion was the favourite haunt of walkers for decades. But over time the Halfway House on Telford’s famous landmark fell into dereliction, unloved and in need of complete restoration.
That’s when Sean Saward heard that it was going to be sold at auction. Sean had lived in Shropshire as a child and his mum, who still lives in Shrewsbury, had taken him for walks on The Wrekin.
When she told him it was on the market he drove from his home in Cambridgeshire to have a look round and immediately fell in love with the property. That was six years ago - six long years in which Sean has sunk everything into the property.
He overcame seemingly insurmountable problems to transform both the cottage and pavilion, welcome visitors and set up outdoor pursuit projects.
Sean was about to embark on the next step, putting shepherd’s huts on the land to offer glamping in one of the most beautiful parts of the region, when Covid struck.
Now, after 15 months of struggling to stay afloat, he has taken the decision to put the property on the market and let someone else with the same passion as him, reap the benefits of his hard work.
The three-bedroom period house, pavilion and an acre of land is on the market for a guide price of £650,000.
“It was such a hard decision to take,” he said. “But it had got to the stage where to continue I would have had to sell my own house.”
The pandemic hit just as the venture was beginning to take off.
The shop/cafe was doing well and the pavilion was getting bookings and events. Like everywhere the shutters came down overnight. And, living in Cambridgeshire, Sean couldn’t even visit to carry on the restoration. He fell ill with Covid – and to add to his worries running his own design company meant he could not get financial help from the Government.
Despite the pressures, not just over the last 15 months but six years, he says he would not have missed the chance to restore the property.
“I did a lot of the work myself and eventually we found some wonderful tradespeople to work with. I think we have done a really sympathetic restoration. It has been a wonderful experience and I feel that I have been the custodian. I am now ready to hand it over to someone else, in a far better condition that it was six years ago,” he said.
“The work is all top quality and I have had some wonderful times and am proud of the renovation work that I have been involved in.”
The last six years saw many setbacks for Sean from weather problems to planning wrangles and even a fire.
“There was one time that myself and my son were sleeping here before the roof was on. We were in hammocks slung from the walls and it was so cold he got up and went and slept in the car. I woke up and my face was frozen to the hammock.
“One of the worst times was when a caravan that had somehow been brought up here by previous owners, that we used for storage, was set on fire.
“Telford fire service was incredible. The firefighters got up here in 4x4 vehicles and put the blaze out, just as it was starting to scorch the pavilion.”
Sean now hopes that whoever buys the Halfway House will put their heart into in and carry on where he is now, regretfully, signing off.