We hardly ever seem to venture north on our days off, but we were glad we did over the Christmas holidays when we finally got round to visiting the pretty village of Ironbridge in Shropshire. Ironbridge gets its name from, you guessed it, the famous iron bridge that spans the River Severn in this beautiful gorge. The village is built into the side of the gorge, and it looked most attractive in the winter sun when we arrived.
As a former resident of a toll house, the one presiding over the bridge caught my eye. Its table of tolls is a replica…
…but you can see the original one in the nice little museum inside. The museum is free, and it’s the ideal place to start your visit, giving you an overview of the history of the bridge before you head off to explore.
The bridge itself was sparkling with a sharp frost as we crossed over it into the village. It’s only open to pedestrians now, and this has been the case since it became a scheduled monument in 1934. Tolls for pedestrians stopped in 1950, so you don’t have to pay anything to cross it.
I enjoyed the prospect from the bridge, which gives a good view of the assortment of different rooftops in the village.
The bridge was opened in 1781, to much celebration. It’s the first major bridge built from iron, which is why it’s seen as a symbol of the Industrial Revolution. Attempts to tout the area as ‘the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution’ are stretching it a bit far, but it’s nevertheless an important early industrial site that’s highlighted with several attractions that together form the Ironbridge Gorge Museums.
The view from beneath the bridge.
The bridge itself is by no means the only appealing thing about Ironbridge. There are some delightful shops, like this one with a gorgeous set of bow windows (my favourite type of shopfront!).
Next to that we found a little alleyway that led us up the hillside. I like making little discoveries like this, and seeing where they lead.
I would gladly take up residence here in this imposing mansion!
This was the cosy scene as we made our way back over the bridge to the car. After that, we drove down the road to the Blists Hill Victorian Town, a recreated Victorian town, but it was about to close, so we’re saving it for another day.
We were quite taken with the place as a whole, and could almost imagine living there! With the exception of the toll house, we didn’t go into any of the museums in Ironbridge Gorge, so we have plenty to look forward to next time we visit.