A Channel 4 documentary on how to build a Roman villa due to be broadcast this month is expected to renew interest in little known Wroxeter – one of Shropshire’s hidden tourist gems.
The small village, population 160, is midway between Telford and Shrewsbury and lies at the very centre of historic Shropshire.
It has an Anglo Saxon church mentioned in the Domesday book, the remains of one of the largest Roman cities in ancient Britain, an international award winning vineyard and a luxury three star hotel and fine dining restaurant in beautiful countryside overlooking The Wrekin.
The hotelier, vine grower and church conservationist joined a Roman soldier at the site of the newly built replica of a Roman villa which is expected to put Wroxeter back on the tourist map when the programme is broadcast at 9pm on January 18.
That is the date for the first of six hour long episodes on the building of a Roman villa using tools only available in the 4th century to celebrate the 1600th anniversary of the Romans leaving Britain in 410AD.
Viewers will watch how Villa Urbana – a high status Roman town house – was built from the design of a building excavated at Wroxeter’s vastly important Roman site. Work started on the villa last April and was created by Professor Dai Morgan Evans, visiting professor in archaeology at the University of Chester.
The villa, along with the Roman city ruins and the historic but mainly forgotten St Andrew’s Church, which dates back to at least the 8th century, will bring history alive for both young and old, said Hannah Hall, owner of the nearby family run Wroxeter Hotel which is next door to one of the UK’s top English vineyards. Film crew stayed at the hotel during the making of the TV series.
Trips to historic Wroxeter have now been organised which include a tour of the Roman site, morning coffee at Wroxeter Hotel including a tour of the next door church and tower followed by lunch and an afternoon tour and wine tasting at the world’s most northerly red grape vineyard.
Walking and cycling tours of the area are also on offer in Destination Wroxeter – the latest new tourist venue given a boost by Channel 4’s Roman villa series.
“This beautiful area has so much to offer the visitor. The Roman villa on national TV will help to create interest from not only Shropshire but farther afield,” said Hannah, who is distributing 10,000 leaflets to community groups as part of the campaign.
“We get visits from archaeological societies, church groups, walkers, bell ringers, car groups, conservationists, family history researchers and people who just enjoy a bit of history in idyllic surroundings.
“I’m sure the word will get out about our beautiful secret destination of Wroxeter once the TV series is broadcast.”
For more information visit www.thewroxeterhotel.co.uk or call 01743 761256
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