Welcome to Much Wenlock in Shropshire, the home of the modern Olympics - no! We're not kidding!
Two mascots have been created for the 2012 Olympics, Wenlock and Mandeville. Here they are, in action:
In 1850 local surgeon William Penny Brookes (1809 - 1895), who was one of the people credited with introducing physical education into British schools, inspired the fore-runner of the modern Olympic Games for the "promotion of moral, physical and intellectual improvement" and although the Game's venue is now decided by international committee rather than by the parish council, we still hold our own Olympian games here every July - the other Olympian games are also doing quite well too!
"The old womans" race for a pound of tea may yet be re-introduced!
William Penny Brookes vision for the Wenlock Olympic Games is hailed as one of modern sports greatest achievements. Of course, Baron de Coubertin was inspired to create the global event after a visit to the games in Much Wenlock.
Coubertin discussed how the Wenlock games might be translated on to a bigger, international stage.
The influential and wealthy Frenchman was suitably inspired and shared Brookes' dream of a modern, international games. The first games of the modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), visited Much Wenlock in 1994 and laid a wreath at Brookes' grave and commented:
"I came to pay homage and tribute to Dr Brookes, who really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games."
In 2012, the Olympic torch was designed by an ex Salopian' - Edward Barber, who was born and raised in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
In preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games the following Marathon Trails leaflets have been produced based on the themes of Activities, Food and Drink, Family Friendly and Rural and Heritage.
The following film is called Much Wenlock's Olympian Heritage and outlines the history of the town and the Olympic connection.
You'll find many attractions around the town of Much Wenlock. Perhaps best known is the Wenlock Priory. Today the Priory is in the care of English Heritage and it is probably the most impressive set of monastic ruins that you are ever likely to see. Dotted around the ruins are fine examples of exotic topiary, which all add to the magical atmosphere.
The Wenlock Olympian Games (which inspired the modern Olympics) started in 1850 and are still held every year. Visitors can follow the Olympian Trail which takes you around various locations in Much Wenlock that are connected with Dr William Penny Brookes who founded the Wenlock Olympic Games.
The town is fortunate to have its own museum which provides visitor information and acts as the starting point for the Olympian trail. Inside the museum you'll find a dramtic model which shows how the fossil beds of Wenlock Edge were formed as coral reefs somewhere south of the Equator.
There is history at every turn - the magnificent Guildhall with its whipping post and the lovely Holy Trinity church.
Much Wenlock is able to offer its visitors the highest standard of accommodation. Whether you are looking for a hotel, bed and breakfast, guesthouse, a self catering cottage or a caravan and camping site, this website provides you with an extensive searchable database of the best places to stay in Much Wenlock and the surrounding countryside.
Much Wenlock holds a vast range of events, festivals and fairs throughout the year. Of particular note is the Wenlock Olympian Games which is held every year.
You are sure to always find things going on, with events celebrating theatre, music, the arts and culture.
As a small market town, Much Wenlock has many small, independent shops that offer visitors a retail therapy experience like no other. Within a small distance, you'll find independent shops offering shoppers all manor of goods and gifts.
Galleries and craft centres are dotted around and the you'll find a bookshop, and a delicattessen as well as specialists in garden furniture and equipment.
You will also find plenty of places to indulge in the local fare. Restaurants, pubs and cafes will please anyone seeking good food as well as retail therapy. The variety of places to eat and drink will suit every taste and pocket.
You can find out more about the Much Wenlock Olympic Mascot at www.mylondon2012.com/mascots/
Shropshire is a diverse county of Historic market towns like, Bishops Castle, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Clun, Craven Arms, Ellesmere, Ironbridge, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Telford, Wem and Whitchurch.
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