After hiking the 20-odd miles around the Malverns on Saturday, John and I decided to take a more leisurely approach to Sunday and explore the old market town of Ledbury.
It didn’t take us long to find somewhere serving an English Breakfast, and after stuffing ourselves shamelessly to gorging point, we headed over to Ledbury’s local museum.
Featuring a mixture of the informative and weird, the Ledbury museum is housed in an old Tudor building that was literally lifted off one street and transported to another part of the town. Their collections of photographs, memorabilia and a surprising display of exotic musical instruments given to the museum over the years by the town’s residents is well worth a look, as is the ‘boot bath’.
The story goes that this bath was created so that all the inhabitants of the poorhouses on one street in the town could have a wash. The bath was filled up, a person jumped in and gave themselves a quick scrub, and released some water at the bottom whilst also topping it up. The bath would be dragged from house to house, and by the looks of the inside, was a pain to clean. Whether people actually got much of a clean from the dirty bath water is questionable, but the tub makes an interesting story nonetheless!
In some ways Ledbury is one of those sweet towns that time forgot – where every nook and cranny holds a surprise, and independent shopkeepers can put their own unique stamp on their premises. It is one of those places where one can wander aimlessly and be content with just that.
While visiting the old schoolhouse museum, one of the guides described Herefordshire as “England’s best-kept secret. With our historic towns, cider farms, and areas of outstanding natural beauty, Herefordshire has kept the ‘olde English feel’ that people search for when they visit the English countryside.” Reaching the end of our stay, I felt she had a point.