Today was a walk into our industrial heritage at the Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival.
The walks are organised by the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and run over a number of weeks each year. All walks are free and range from a ghost tour to a family treasure hunt, and range over the wide area of the Ironbridge in Shropshire.
Today we did a the treasure hunt.
You don’t need to be in an organised event to enjoy walking in the area. With lots of canal paths, converted old railway lines, and the mixture of industrial past, countryside and the river Severn, this is a good area to explore.
There’s also plenty of museums in the area, including the Blists Hill Victorian Town (as featured many times on TV), as well as the World Heritage site of Ironbridge of course (and there’s some great cafes to pop into as well!)
We started off in Coalport, by the Youth Hostel and Coalport pottery museum.
To illustrate the ingenuity from the industrial past you can find when walking in the area is the canal above that runs past the pottery kilns.
Factories in the gorge were placed near the major source of water, the River Severn. However, the main transport route of the day, the Shropshire Union Canal, runs on top of the gorge. I think it was worked out that it would need 21 locks to get up and down the hill. That’s just not practical.
The solution: a series of carts were winched goods up and down the steep gorge sides, between the short canal shown above and the Shropshire Union Canal.
You can still see where these carts met the water in the photo below.
Over the River
Not for from the Tar Tunnel (the picture above) is a footbridge over the river Severn.
There are former factories on both sides of the river with walks running parallel to the river banks.
One factory is the former Maws Factory, now known as the Maws Craft Centre, with a series of shops and cafes.
Walking and Cycling
On both sides of the river are some good paths for push chairs or walking with little kids as there are some former railway lines that make some good level routes.
This is also popular with cyclists, and the national cycle route 55 was on part of the walk (and good to see, that part at least, was away from traffic).
Here’s a few more pictures from the walk.
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