holidays in Oswestry

Oswestry

Right on the edge of the Welsh hills, Oswestry saw many battles during the Middle Ages in the border wars between the English and the Welsh, and nearby Offa's Dyke marks out the historical border between these two great nations. The many remnants of these more turbulent times show that Oswestry was once a strategically vital frontier town.

The origins of the town are uncertain although the town's market dates back to 1190. The name Oswestry is thought to be a corruption of 'Oswald's Tree' and the legend that Oswald the Christian King of Northumbria fought a great battle against the pagan King of Mercia - Penda. Oswald was defeated and killed in the battle. Penda - as a warning to others who might challenge his rule - dismembered Oswald's body and hung his limbs on the branches of a tree - hence the name 'Oswald's Tree'. An ancient hill-fort, one of the biggest in Europe, said to be the birthplace of Queen Guinevere, stands above the town.

Today Oswestry has the air of a Victorian market town with an unmistakeable air of “Welshness” about it. Oswestry holds the biggest street market in Shropshire on a Wednesday and Saturday, and you are just as likely to hear Welsh spoken in the town as English.

The nearby Montgomery Canal is another part of the town's past, as is the excellent Railway Museum, both worth a visit during your stay. Ellesmere, Shropshire's Lake District, is close by and boat rides and fishing are available. There are six excellent golf courses close by including Oswestry Golf Club, Ian Woosnam's home course.

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