Not many villages can boast a wide range of shops, facilities and activities – and top it off with stunning views across the Shropshire Hills.
However, Pontesbury is one of those places that ticks all the boxes, and now homebuyers are being given a chance to live in this historic village, which is a gateway to the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Shropshire Homes is creating Cricketers’ Meadow, a development that will include 86 properties consisting of two, three and four-bedroom houses and bungalows. These properties will be complemented by a village green, a new Co-op store, purpose-built premises for The Ark Day Nursery and a community hub with space for a library.
The development will be suitable for all budgets as the nine different dwellings on offer range from the two-bedroom Belgrave to the large four-bedroom Cardington. However, each one features its own private garden, parking space, downstairs WC and fitted wardrobes. A number of them also include en-suite bathrooms and garages. Help to Buy is available on all homes, so with prices starting from £174,950, or £139,960 under Help To Buy, there’s something for everyone.
Behind the development is a beautiful countryside walk, which goes along the former railway track and past the large children’s playground and newly-built BMX track. A well-maintained footpath network surrounds the village and The Chris Bagley Walk is a waymarked 10-and-a-half-mile route encompassing the best countryside in the area.
The village, which is a 15-minute drive from Shrewsbury and 30 minutes from Welshpool, has a number of thriving shops and restaurants. There is a popular fish and chip shop, along with highly-rated Chinese and Indian restaurants and three pubs – The Plough Inn, The Nags Head and The Horseshoes Inn.
Owner of the butchers, bakers and general grocers is Nick Hignett along with his wife Pat and nephew Adrian. This year, Hignetts of Pontesbury celebrates its 100th birthday, and Nick says he enjoys being based in the thriving village.
“We started the business here on May 1st, 1919,” he says. “It was a butchers before we took it on, and then started doing baking in mum’s house next door. Customers loved the bread, pasties and cakes and so we put an oven in the shop and had an extension to add the bakery. Every day we have customers queuing for the fresh bread. We have 18 staff and our homemade butter buns are a speciality as we sell around 700 a week, while we usually sell around 400 scotch eggs a week.
“The Plough Garage is also 100 years old and we are having an event later in the year – both have been family businesses all the way through, which is unusual for a village. I’ve lived here all my life and though Pontesbury is changing all the time it seems to have kept its character and there is so much going on here.”
Nick says the public hall is run by an active committee and it plays host to a number of clubs and societies including the Pontesbury Players and Women’s Institute. Many other clubs and groups thrive in the village. The Sports Association manages the village sports field where there are football, cricket and bowling clubs.
“People in Pontesbury are friendly and get involved in a range of activities in the village with everything covered from wine tasting to computer classes,” says Nick. “We are looking forward to the new Shropshire Homes development being completed – the community hub will be a big asset to the village and so will parking for the Co-op supermarket. Also, it is great that the nursery will have new premises increasing the number of children that can attend from 15 to 80.”
At the centre of the village is St George’s Church, which has parts dating back to the 13th century. There are also three non-denominational chapels in the village that have thriving congregations. Close to the centre of the village is Anne Whysall with her shop, Anne Whysall Florists.
Anne says: “I’ve had a business in the village for three-and-a-half years and it has a strong sense of community - the people of Pontesbury are really friendly and supportive. It is a village that draws people in from a wide area because of all the facilities including the library and the health centre.
“We like to get out and do the circular walk, which goes along the old railway track. There is lots going on in the village and you are never bored. It has still got three pubs, a dentists and pharmacy. There’s a primary school and secondary school, so it’s no wonder we have families living here for many years. People choose Pontesbury because it really is a village for everyone.”