There was a time when the place in Shropshire now known as Ironbridge Gorge was the centre of the world. At least in industrial terms. This is where in 1709 Abraham Darby I discovered a process for smelting iron with coke instead of charcoal and, with his revelation, brought about the principles of mass production.
In recognition of the region’s contribution to life as we know it, Ironbridge Gorge is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has a thriving tourist trade and, incorporating Coalport, Coalbrookdale, Jackfield, Broseley and Madeley, ten wonderful museums. Not to mention the world-famous iron bridge itself, majestic over the River Severn.
Outside of Ironbridge we have Telford, the bright hopeful ‘New Town’ named after the famous engineer Thomas Telford. Here’s a perfect stop for shopping and leisure activities that include bowling, cinema, indoor snowboarding and skiing, and soft play. Telford is an ideal Shropshire destination for a rainy day, especially if you have children.
Officially part of Telford but with a character all its own is the friendly town of Wellington. It’s next to The Wrekin, Shropshire’s ‘beloved little mountain’. The Wrekin, for many Salopians, represents home. Visit Wellington for great pubs and popular indoor market. North of Telford is Newport, another elegant Shropshire market town with lovely tea rooms.
Other lovely places to explore in this region of Shropshire are Albrighton (near Wolverhampton – there’s another Albrighton near Shrewsbury!) and Shifnal – both close to a fascinating RAF museum, Weston Park and the famous Royal Oak that shielded Charles II from Parliamentarians.
Are you ready to explore Ironbridge, Telford and Shropshire’s stunning Severn Valley?