Bright move: author Liz Hyder on the magic of Ludlow, time tax and bartering

Ludlow’s Liz Hyder, author of Bearmouth Photo credit: Ashleigh Cadet

Ludlow’s Liz Hyder, author of Bearmouth Photo credit: Ashleigh Cadet

Liz Hyder is a well known figure in the Ludlow arts community and author of Bearmouth, a debut novel launched to great reviews. Liz, who has had a long career in TV and radio production, moved to Ludlow 9 years ago captivated by “its magic”. Liz gives LGL a few moments to answer our Bright Move Q&A sharing why she choose this town in the Marches, why she’s still here and the joys of Ludlow time tax.


1. What brought you to the area?

I came here on holiday about 15 or 16 years ago and kept coming back again and again. The weather was terrible the first time we came but it didn’t put us off! I loved the walking, the friendliness, the beautiful countryside, the kindness shown to us by people who were then strangers but have since become friends. I think there’s something utterly magical about Ludlow, I’m so glad I found it. I feel very lucky to live here.

2. Still here because…

I love it! I love windy walks up Brown Clee, pottering through fields on a summer’s eve. I love the Ludlow ‘time tax’ — it takes twice as long to walk anywhere through town because everyone says hello and stops to chat. I think that’s a rare and beautiful thing. I love my friends, there are so many incredible, talented, inspiring people who live here. Everyone works very hard to make it work here, lots of us juggle more than one job but people genuinely help each other out. I’ve never lived anywhere where bartering and swapping is just such a regular — and extremely helpful! — part of life.

3. The secret to a happy rural life is?

Be yourself. Be open. Stop and listen and chat. Talk to your neighbours. And make the most of the countryside around you. Walk, run, cycle, whatever your thing is fresh air and open views are brilliant for your health — physical and mental. 

4. What is your favourite haunt?

Ah, I have too many to pick just one! I love the fact that Ludlow has so many parlour pubs for a start. The front room at The Dog Hangs Well is one of my favourite places but I’m very fond of The Blood Bay. I’ve not tried The Wicked Grin yet but my brother’s coming to visit this evening so I’m sure we’ll rectify that!

The Globe/Chang Thai and The Blue Boar are lovely too and I have to say, if you can nab a seat, sitting up on the first floor of The Angel with that amazing view up and down Broad Street takes some beating.

Ludlow has so many good eateries too, CSons at the Green Café and Bistro 7 are superb but I’m also very fond of a curry so Chang Thai, Shapla and Golden Moments too. I have to say, I do really miss the luminous Mari and her wonderful Japanese restaurant Koo, it was one of my favourite places in the world and I have a little hole in my heart every time I think of it.


5. Name one thing you can’t live without?

A walk. I love walking. It soothes my addled brain and I love how a regular route can look so different at different times of the year. 


6. Describe your country style?

I have none! I’m normally in trainers or walking shoes just in case I have time to go for a stroll and jeans and a shirt or something. Whatever’s comfortable and practical. And frocks for special occasions. The last time I wore heels was at my wedding three years ago! 


7. What are you most proud of?

That Ludlow is truly my home. I’ve never felt happier living somewhere. I’m just so glad that I found it. 

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For more information about Liz Hyder, click here .

“Ambitious and darkly brilliant... provocative, tender, claustrophobic and epic. It blew my mind”.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave