Sunday, 21 September 2014

Snapshots from Shropshire

A lovely September morning, a sense of peace and tranquillity filling the air, it is hard to believe that we are wandering through a landscape that was once at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.
Suddenly the peace and quiet is shattered by merry laughter from children and their teachers looking for all the world like Lowry's matchstick men.
Viewing the scene today it is difficult to imagine that some 300 years ago this valley echoed all day long to the sounds of clanking machinery and roaring furnaces. The River Severn was filled with boats stacked high with iron ready to supply the Empire and the world.
The world's first cast iron bridge, made here in the village of Coalbrookdale, is a proud symbol of the Industrial Revolution - a UNESCO World Heritage Site 
It appears from the last line that even the Royal Family were not exempt from paying the toll, but for us it was free!
I was intrigued to see that all the pavements were edged with iron

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Benthall Hall and Gardens
Benthall Hall was built in 1535, but there have been Benthalls living on this site since the medieval Saxon period. Situated on a plateau above the gorge of the River Severn, this fine stone house has mullioned and transomed windows, a stunning interior with a carved oak staircase.
The gardens are known for their crocus displays in both the Spring and Autumn - these are Colchiums or Naked Ladies - flowering on naked stems, they are one of the first signs that Autumn is approaching
Dovecot - the white fantail doves were not around on our visit
Swathes of Pacelia along with Fenugreek have been planted in the orchard area. This will be dug into the
ground at the end of the season which apparently  increases the grounds fertility - this may be a good tip for other gardeners
Pacelia
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Much Wenlock
The town's prosperity grew up around its Priory founded c.680 by Merewalh, a son of King Penda of Mercia. King Penda installed his daughter Milburga as abbess in 687 who was credited with many miraculous works.
Have you heard of Dr.William Penny-Brookes? 
He was born and lived in Much Wenlock
It was in 1850 that the first ever Olympian Games were held in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. It was the brainchild of William Penny Brookes, a local doctor. His aim was to promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants, at a time when British sport was organised by an elite who restricted it to amateurs and gentlemen. So successful was Brookes in opening sport to everyone that Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the driving force behind the revival of the Olympic Games of ancient Greece, visited Much Wenlock in October 1890, and was inspired by what he saw. In 1896 the first international Olympic Games were held in Athens.
If time permits you can follow the Wenlock Olympian Pavement Trail which takes you
to the Museum with its collection of Wenlock Olympian Society artefacts
Illustrates the town's role in the revival of the modern Olympic Games
The Raven Hotel where Baron Pierre de Coubertin stayed on his visit (President of the IOC from 1896 to 1925)
The house where William Penny Brookes was born etc.

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Bridgnorth
There are two distinct areas to Bridgnorth - high town and low town. Upper town is situated on a cliff, and lower town lies besides the River Severn.
There are lovely walks along the river towpath
places to sit and watch the world go by
Upper town is where most of the interesting little shops, markets, and cafes are to be found
The pathways between the two are very steep, long and narrow. Imagine a daily climb up or down here carrying heavy bags.
but fear not - help is close at hand
Since 1892 the oldest and steepest inland funicular in Britain has travelled up and down the sandstone cliff linking both areas of Bridgnorth for the princely sum of £1.20 return. There are two little trains which pass each other up and down all day long.

66 comments:

  1. Lovely post again of your beautiful country. Love those iron bridges and the funicular!

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    1. The iron bridge has a very pleasing appearance, and the little funicular was both cheap to use and great fun.

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  2. Wonderful photos Rosemary. Lovely scenery. Never seen Naked Crocus down here.

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    1. The Naked Ladies are much, much, bigger than ordinary crocuses and their nakedness shows them off to perfection - their leaves arrive once the flowers have died.

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  3. It's not a part of the country I'm familiar with at all but your pictures have really made me want to visit. Bridgnorth in particular, I had no idea it was so picturesque.

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    1. I have had it in mind to visit Bridgnorth ever since I learnt about the little Victorian funicular. When an Amazon Deal arrived in our inbox offering a bargain stay at a hotel in Wroxeter, how could I refuse? It is a lovely area, you would enjoy it.

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  4. Dear Rosemary,

    Your posts are slowly but surely becoming a thorough comendium of the British countryside, and I always enjoy the travelogue! The funicular reminded me of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I lived for a number of years. They have funiculars there, too, about the same age, that overlook the start of the Ohio River. Your photos brought back pleasant memories of my own past.

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    1. Dear Mark - I have just visited Pittsburgh via Google and now seen the funicular there. There are about 25 of them in this country but most are by the sea transporting people up and down sea cliffs to the beach. Bridgnorth is the only inland one to my knowledge.

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  5. My eyes mist with the memory of being there, and your photos do outstanding justice to the beauty of Shropshire. The funicular was a joy to ride, and the Ironbridge outstanding to walk across. How wonderful that you shared this today and I hope others are encouraged to visit this pastoral area of England full of incredible history. Lovely Rosemary. Thank you.

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    1. How delightful that this post has brought back memories to you of your own visit. I was happy to showcase this area and encourage people to visit as it has so much to offer both the casual visitor and the tourist.

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  6. Hello Rosemary, The name Coalbrookedale immediately puts one in mind of those dense, elaborate Victorian cast iron pieces, so I would not have expected this bridge to appear so light, airy and delicate. An interesting area to explore, full of charm and color.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - you have a very extensive knowledge, I would not expect many overseas bloggers to be aware of Coalbrookdale or the Victorian cast iron pieces that were made there. Yes, the bridge is really beautiful.

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  7. What a lovely day out with you Rosemary, such a great part of the country too. Loved all you beautiful photos and the hanging baskets looked amazing.

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos of Shropshire Suzie - I have noticed that everywhere this year the hanging baskets have been lovely - that is all except for mine, which became rather dry whilst I was away. Just hung up my autumn baskets today, filled with cyclamen, so the front of the house is now looking much improved.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,

    I come by return of post (ha, ha) from your comment on my blog this evening. Your words touched me enormously; thank you! It is reassuring to know that such a truly marvellous blogger as yourself has experienced similar feelings to my own. Each and every time I return here I am always struck by the inspiring beauty of our varied pictures not to mention the subject matter. Your posts are informative and always entertaining. Look at this most recent one! How fabulous of an individual to decide to launch the Olympian games for the general welfare of his patients! Can you imagine how enthusiastic and driven he must have felt? And how did the inhabitants of Much Wenlock feel? Grateful? Fired up?

    Your blog is amazing Rosemary. I'm off to put it in my blog list so that I may never miss an episode!

    Stephanie

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    1. Dear Stephanie - I am extremely touched by your kind and generous comment for which I thank you.
      Writing posts reflecting our sojourn in Shropshire was comparatively easy as we saw so many inspiring and beautiful places. It was the first time that we had actually stayed in the region for any length of time and we will definitely return again.

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  9. I loved this post of beautiful Shropshire. Two years ago we were there and the places you show us so recognizable. We walked over the Ironbridge, visited upper and lower Bridgnorth and also Much Wenlock. It was a joy to see the pictures.

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    1. What a pleasure it is to know that you have visited the same area and enjoyed it too. It is lovely to think of you walking over the wonderful bridge too, and I wonder if you rode in the delightful funicular in Bridgnorth.

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  10. Hello Rosemary

    I loved hearing about Much Wenlock and the iron-trimmed kerbs. William Penny Brookes made a marvelous contribution to the world and how fascinating all of this is. Looks like you had a beautiful day too
    Helen

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    1. All of the time we were away we enjoyed wonderful Indian summer weather, and now that we are home it is happily continuing - long may it last.
      The iron kerbs make an attractive edging to the pavements, they must have been in situ since Victorian days I should imagine.
      Lovely to hear from you Helen.

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  11. The bridge is beautiful as is the wonderful show of photographs . Such interesting information too !

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    1. Dear Jane - the trip was a delight from beginning to end - I am pleased that you enjoyed reading about it.

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  12. It is all so beautiful and so interesting Rosemary. I would love to go to Ironbridge as it sounds so interesting. I had no idea about the iron edged pavements, that is very unusual indeed isn't it. Glad that you had such a great trip and enjoyed finding out all of these interesting things. xx

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    1. It is an area that I am sure you would enjoy visiting Amy - it makes a lovely place to take a short break. I think that we shall have to return as there were things that we didn't get around to seeing and doing.
      I must thank you Amy as you are always such an encouraging and regular commenter.

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  13. Rosemary, I have missed your posts!! We've had a busy summer traveling back and forth from DC to Maine. Heading to Sweden this week, and then we'll be home for a while. That iron bridge is quite striking. I know of Coalbrookdale, but have never been there. I collect and sell the beautiful Victorian cast iron garden furniture made there. They are very sought after. Beautiful post!

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    1. The cast iron garden furniture is very collectible, next time you find a piece you will be able to picture the beautiful Severn Valley where it was made. Happy travels Loi.

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  14. I'm so excited to see and learn about the funicular :) I have heard about them before but had no idea what they were. What a cute and smart idea to traverse such steep inclines. I must say most of the places you post about have flowers here and there and sometimes everywhere, makes everything so pretty.

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    1. Delighted that you enjoyed seeing the funicular - I have wanted to travel in this particular one for a long time, and it didn't disappoint.
      I think that we have had an exceptional summer this year following such a mild wet winter, and the flowers have excelled themselves.

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  15. It is a beautiful part of the country.I was fascinated by a trip last year...mooching around what just feels like one big museum, as you go from fascinating village to the next. Great photos....and I love the cliff railway...fabulous.

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    1. It is not an area of the country that I am was very well acquainted with, but will definitely return again sometime in the future as there were lots of things we didn't have time to do.

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  16. You've certainly packed in the sights! The gorge is a gem - did you make it to Blist's Hill? It is indeed hard to picture all that grimy activity now. We missed Benthall Hall when we were last there and were a little put off the charm of Much Wenlock because the hotel we stayed in was so awful! But the whole area is lovely and you have a great eye.

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    1. No, we didn't get to Blist's Hill, but I have been there previously. It is a shame that you had a bad hotel experience as it does tend to colour the whole trip in an unsavoury way. We did an Amazon local deal, which was fantastic value, at the Wroxeter Hotel built besides Roman Viroconium

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  17. Thank you, Rosemary, all so interesting.

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  18. Such a lovely guide. Beautiful photos and useful information. Thank you, Rosemary, for the virtual tour ! :)

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos Dani

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  19. Another lovely countryside! It must be fun to travel around in the countryside from one place to another. Traditional architectures are quite different between England and Japan and I’m always attracted by stone houses which are not familiar here due to sub-tropical weather of summer. But flowering flowers at this time are the same – cosmos in the third photo. The cast iron bridge is the most majestic and beautiful I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing, Rosemary.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - the cast iron bridge is so lovely and it sits very happily in the River Severn Gorge. Shropshire is an interesting area as it has a great diversification of different types of architecture - stone, timber, and brick, all of them interesting in their own way.

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  20. Each photo tells it's own story Rosemary. I like the bridge and it's history. Don't think I could manage the steps, but of course if doing it all the time one would improve :)

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    1. If you couldn't manage the steps Margaret then the little funicular runs all day long and well into the evening too every day of the year.

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  21. What a wonderful place ... I want to visit now. But then, I always want to visit everywhere you go ... you photograph so beautifully and describe everywhere so well ...

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    1. Do go Marina - you would love it, and your son would enjoy the funicular.

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  22. Hi Rosemary, the beautiful homes and other buildings make me long to travel. The dove cote was splendid as well. By the way I informed Joe about what you said about leather and we just purchased a leather chair. He knows you are well informed. Thanks, Olive

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    1. Dear Olive - your amusing comment has had the effect of reviving me. I have spent a day in London and just returned home feeling half dead and ready for bed, but your comment has given me a chuckle. Well done Joe!

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  23. Beautiful photo's Rosemary! How I love the English countryside!

    Happy week,

    Madelief x

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    1. I am sure that it is an area that you would enjoy visiting Madelief - hope that you might travel there sometime in the future.

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  24. Wow another wonderful post showing places visited as a child! Your pictures make them look even more beautiful than I remember. Sarah x

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    1. I think that must be childhood for you Sarah - when I return to my childhood haunts in Derbyshire it is always much more beautiful than my child's eye remembers.

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  25. Two great places to visit. Thanks for flagging them up. beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and comment - do hope that you have the chance to visit the area and see it yourself.

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  26. Lovely post again Rosemary. Love that cast iron bridge, and the views from it. I hadn't heard of William Penny Brookes and the story behind the Olympic games and how it all started, so thank you for this, always love to learn new things like that. Love the village with the retro and vintage looking funicular as well. Never seen a beautiful funicular like this one!

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    1. The funicular is a great attraction and fun to ride on giving lovely views.
      Glad that you enjoyed learning about William Penny Brookes, most people here only learnt about him when the 2012 London Olympics were held.

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  27. What a lovely and interesting part of the world this is - a most enjoyable post with great photos - there is always something to learn from your posts.

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    1. We were really taken with the area Elaine, and will definitely return someday.

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  28. Another funicular railway to try! I really must get on with this bucket list experience - I haven't been on one since I was a child.

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    1. .......and at £1.20 return Nilly, it has got to be a bargain.

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  29. Oh that bridge is just MAGICAL!!!!! Lovely!!!! Happy Autumn to you Rosemary!!!

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    1. It is a beautiful bridge Marina - we still have summer hanging on by a thread, but wishing you happy autumn days too.

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  30. You have posted some beautiful photos of my part of the world :-)

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    1. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting - this post has created a lot of interest in your area, may be your tourist numbers will be up now!!!

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  31. Dear Rosemary, your lovely post makes me want to go travelling in England again, and here I am with the jet lag upon me, having just had my own great holiday. Travel can become addictive! Shropshire looks so interesting, and I had not heard of any of these places before. The Coalbrookdale bridge is beautiful, and like other commenters I know the name only for manufactured goods. Benthall Hall looks so pretty among the crocus and dovecots; Much Wenlock is a charming name for a village, and no, I had never heard of Dr William Penny-Brooks, despite the much-repeated story of the re-incarnation of the ancient Olympics. I am glad to know he is honoured in this way. Funiculars are fun, and this one is the cutest! Great post.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Patricia - take care and give yourself time to relax following all of your travelling. What a fabulous trip you and your husband have undertaken, it looks to have been really memorable from the posts you have done.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed Snapshots from Shropshire, we had a few days staying in a lovely hotel and enjoyed everything we saw in glorious Indian Summer weather♡

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  32. Dear Rosemary,
    thank you for those utterly lovely photos - and the information! I love bridges (in London they have an exhibition now - part of the River Festival). Always, when I am in London, I walk by feet over the Albert Bridge - love it so much. In Bridge-Engineers I admire the combination of precision & aesthetic.
    I didn't know about Dr. Brookes merits.
    But I know "A Shropshire Lad" by E.A. Housman. :-)

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    1. Dear Britta - the Ironbridge is really lovely - I also admire bridges and seem to have been posting rather a lot of them lately. I have been in London this week and also crossed many bridges which my weary feet can testify.

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  33. Gorgeous, Rosemary! You really did make the most of your time in Shropshire. It's one of my favourite counties, for both its beauty and its history.

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    1. It is a lovely county, and there is so much more that we missed, a return journey is on the cards.

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