A couple of years ago when we visited Ironbridge for the first time we were really disappointed because the famous iron bridge was completely swathed in scaffolding and plastic while it underwent major refurbishment. We were luckier this time. The bridge was the first cast iron bridge to be made, way back in 1779 and it is beautifully elegant for something so solid and strong. It spans the River Severn, which didn’t look quite as slow and sludgy on this visit, it was a brighter day and there had probably been less rain – we’ve made up for it since then!
You get a good view of part of the town from the bridge, the buildings seem Georgian to me. Just a wee bit to the right of the photo there’s a good secondhand bookshop.
Ironbridge is popular with tourists, well it’s a scenic town and a good place to stop and stretch your legs a bit. It isn’t annoyingly busy though and there are several museums that you can visit if you’re so inclined.
This town is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution so I imagine it’s a lot cleaner than it was way back then when there must have been smoke belching out of the various factory chimneys. It seems so rural nowadays, with all the trees and greenery.
I had vaguely heard of Much Wenlock and there’s a bookshop there (it’s on a list) so we decided to visit it when we were staying in Oswestry for a few days. Sadly when we got there the bookshop was closed, but the town is so quaint we were happy just to have a look around it. Much Wenlock is the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games apparently.
The only shop that was open was a terrifying antiques shop. It’s the most jam packed shop I’ve ever been in with towers of ‘stuff’ everywhere, almost all of it very breakable too as the stock seems to consist of 99% china/pottery! We carefully negotiated the piles but were too terrified to pick anything up to look at it, we would probably have had to move six other pieces to get to anything interesting anyway. So breathing carefully, we squeezed out again – heaving a sigh of relief – no damage done.
Back out on the pavement we spotted a sign pointing to the priory and made our way there. There’s actually still quite a lot to see and some of the stonework is very ornate. What is left dates from the 13th century. Luckily English Heritage look after it, so as we’re in Historic Scotland at the moment we didn’t have to pay to get in.
The priory must have looked fabulous in its day but over the years most of the stones have been recycled for use in local buildings as usually happens with these places.
Walking back to the car I took a few photos of some not quite so ancient buildings. The one below is brick built.
I particularly like the building below as I can just imagine people hanging over the balcony to chat to people in the street 500 years ago.
The building below is the Guildhall and is still in use.
There’s quite a variety of styles around though.
The village has been used in a few film locations, including the John Cleese film Clockwise.
It would be nice to visit Much Wenlock when it’s actually open, so if we’re ever in that area again we’ll definitely go back.
It has quite an interesting history which you can read about here.