After a cold couple of days ‘Up North’, the sun finally managed to come out for two gloriously sunshiny days. We made the most of these by heading for Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge. When we lived in the UK and had our motorhome, we would often come to this part of the country.
At first glance, it’s hard to believe this is where it all began. The Ironbridge Gorge is one of the region’s top attractions but the uninitiated would think that is because of its beauty rather than the part it played in the birth of the industrial era. It was in the early 1700s that Abraham Darby nailed the process of smelting iron. His son, Abraham II devised the technique to manufacture huge beams on a large scale and these were used to build the bridge from where the village get its name, and as they say, the rest is history.
There is lots to see and do in this small area. One of the highlights for us is Blists Hill but that deserves a blog of its own. There are though ten museums spread over six miles, but even if you don’t set foot inside a museum or attraction, the town itself is ‘drop dead gorgeous’.
The main street houses a wide selection of gift shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and a speciality pie shop. Eley’s have been making their ‘world famous’ pork pies for over 50 years. As well as tasty pies, pasties and sausage rolls, the Pie Shop makes Wedding Pork Pies. The young couple who were making the pies were happy to chat and even helped a lady find a website on her mobile phone. I believe it’s that sort of service that makes them popular, apart from their pies that were delicious.
As you walk along the road from the hotel we stayed in, you get your first glimpse of the famous Iron Bridge. Look up at the different levels of houses clinging to the hillside and admire the lovely gardens. It’s a joy to walk these streets and alleyways, to get different perspectives of the town. It would seem in times gone by the poorer classes lived lower down and the grander houses were at the top of the hill with commanding views of the gorge. Nowadays I guess there are no ‘poor’ classes in town it all oozes money.
The church, towers over all and you can climb up to it via over a 100 steps, through a tunnel and eventually reach the churchyard, which after the climb has a welcoming bench ready for you to sit and rest.
As you come back into the main street stop for afternoon tea. Well, Jim had tea (yuk) I had coffee and delicious scones. A bit of indulgence never hurts.
I don´t normally recommend hotels but if you are looking for something totally different, we stayed on The Wharfage at the Malthouse. The décor is OTT you will love it or hate it – we loved it.
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