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
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
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.
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.