A Walk to Ironbridge


So, back to Shropshire in July – we walked from Much Wenlock to Ironbridge and back again.


Little S was hugely impressed by just about everything about Shropshire, including the fact that the houses were built from brick. Having grown up in the midlands, that seems perfectly normal to me, but up here in the north-wet I suppose red brick buildings are a rarity.


As you can see, the weather was glorious.

As we approached the edge of the Severn Gorge, we entered woodland. The woods were full of hollows like this one…


…some of one much deeper than this one. This is one of the many places in the UK which claims to have been the seat of the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, and there were certainly many coal and mineral deposits here. Perhaps these hollows, which seemed like they could be railway cuttings, were once part of the local mining industry.

Looking down to Ironbridge.
I think these huge fungi might be Artist’s Bracket. Apparently, it’s possible to rub and scratch the white surface of the underside of the brackets, revealing a brown layer below and producing a drawing.
Ironbridge and it’s eponymous iron bridge. I think Little S took this photo, he showed a sudden interest in my camera and I had to share it with him that day. He took some odd photos, including some of the back of Andy’s head!
River Severn.

I thought I vaguely remembered a school trip to Ironbridge when I was ‘knee-high to a grasshopper’, (as my grandad used to say), but I remembered the bridge being black. Apparently, it was grey until quite recently, but I can’t find any record of it’s having been black. Having said that, four of the adults in our party had grown up in the midlands and we all thought we could remember it as black, so maybe I’m not making it up?

The bridge was built between 1779 and 1780, opening on New Year’s Day 1781. It seems to have lasted pretty well!

We took a similar, but slightly shorter route back to the campsite. It had been a very pleasant walk, in great company and superb weather.

A Walk to Ironbridge

Sytche Campsite, Much Wenlock

A never-ending game of Kubb in full swing. “It’s all luck”.

The summer holidays arrived and, unfortunately, Wales was still closed to visitors so we couldn’t make our usual pilgrimage to the Llyn Peninsula. Happily, TBF came to our rescue and booked us all places on Sytche Campsite on the outskirts of Much Wenlock in Shropshire.

The terrace and the view.

We arrived late on the Saturday night, having missed the bad weather which the others had endured. After that the sun shone and we took the opportunity to laze around the campsite and play Mölky and a never-ending game of Kubb, which had to be abandoned from time to time to make time for inconvenient things like eating and sleeping. TJS, a physicist, seems to have adopted a probabilistic, Quantum Mechanics philosophy of playing in which there is no skill involved and Schrödinger’s block only gets knocked over if the thrower of the stick is ‘lucky’. I shall just say that some players seem to be a lot luckier than others.

Musk Mallow

Before we set off, I’d looked at an OS map of the area and noticed, with some alarm, the many contour lines sweeping across the campsite. In the event, the field had been very cleverly terraced so that the pitches were level despite the slope. We were at the top, with a pleasant view.

In between the terraces the steep banks had been sown with wildflowers and were busy with butterflies, bees and other insects, so I was in my element.

Hoverfly: Sphaerophoria Scripta on Field Bindweed.
Small White on Ragwort.
Viper’s Bugloss.
(One of the) white-tailed bumblees on Common Knapweed.
Field Scabious.
Meadow Brown.
Another hoverfly on Common Knapweed.
Drone Fly on Oxeye Daisy

After so long confined to barracks, it was great to see our old friends again, catch-up and chill-out. We managed a couple of excursions too, of which more to follow.

After the sad demise of Toots Hibbert I wanted to post a Maytals song. But which one? ‘Funky Kingston’ is one of my favourite songs, in any genre, so that would be the obvious choice. But then ‘Pressure Drop’, ’54-46′, ‘Monkey Man’, ‘Time Tough’, so many to choose. And then there’s their great covers, of which ‘Country Roads’ is my favourite. In the end, I’ve plumped for this…

…because I’ve recently been listening to Chaka Demus and Pliers brilliant 1993 album ‘Tease Me’ which has some brilliant covers including this…

Sytche Campsite, Much Wenlock