Following breakfast, for those who had room after last nights meal, we set off from the hostel in fine weather. We reached the fringe of Dale Coppice, which has apparently seen woodland cover since at least the 13C when it was part of the estates of Wenlock Priory. Dale Coppice also became noted for its early public walks, the Sabbath Walks, laid out by the Quaker ironmaster and philanthropist Richard Reynolds in the 1780s. The Trust reinstated many of the paths in 2003, working with local groups to add wooden seats at convenient resting points.
It was now becoming clear that this walk was going to be difficult to navigate around, and caused several scrum sessions for map and gizmo discussions. There were several tracks and paths making it difficult to follow and at times the going was tough, but being tough, we got going! We negotiated steep flights of steps, muddy, uneven tracks, rail tracks and tricky descents to reach a pond where our morning break was taken.
The route following, still took us off piste several times, but Ironbridge was eventually reached.
Ironbridge alongside the River Severn lies at the heart of the World Heritage Site which is the Ironbridge Gorge, where the famous bridge was constructed in 1779 by Abraham Darby III. Following some picture taking opportunities, we carried on back towards Coalport, only to “lose” Judith, Jane and Alexandra to one of the pubs, others in a different pub and the remaining ones to nearly a 3rd pub. We did eventually reconnect and pondered “did anyone one of us take the same route at any one point?”
On the short walk back from The Boat Inn to the hostel, we passed the site of Coalport's inclined plane, still considered one of Britain' s foremost industrial monuments and a key development of the local China industry.
Our meal tonight at the hostel was of a more acceptable size and there was even room for puds.
Report – Sue
Walk rating – Very Good
Pictures by Alan, Alexandra and Roger
Ironbridge Coalport Youth Hostel.
Some of the adjacent buildings have been preserved as a museum.
Paths, so many paths, which one shall we try?
For some reason, people seemed quite keen on taking pictures of the power station.
A very ornate warehouse built in 1840, now a museum.
Ironbridge itself, in its new red paint.
The table of tolls.
They like their ornate buildings. This one is a tile factory, now a museum.
A nearby church.
The Hay Inclined Plane – used with tub boats to transport goods from the high level Shropshire Canal to the River Severn.
The quaint little Boat Inn. Note the flood marks on the door.
Andy and Judith recreate a cosy fireside scene.