Last week we got the opportunity to visit the incredible Ironbridge. Before last week I had never heard of Ironbridge, I must have been living in a bubble as not only is it such a beautiful part of the country, Ironbridge is a World Heritage Site which has a collection of 10 amazing museums. We could only fit in 4 on our trip but cant wait to go back and see the rest.
We started at the Museum of The Gorge which is a great place to start as it has a miniature model of the area and lots of information about the industrial revolution and how this impacted the area, the short film ensured everything we saw after that point make sense, especially for the boys who haven’t got the patience to stand and read all the literature in the museums.
It told us about Abraham Darby and how he built the absolutely stunning bridge made of Iron which stands proud over the River Severn and acts as the most beautiful back drop to the town of Ironbridge. I just say it is one of the loveliest towns I have ever been to, we really want to go back and spend a few days in the area it is so pretty.
From the Museum of the Gorge we took a leisurely stroll through the town down to the Iron Bridge itself and the Tollhouse Museum. It was lovely to meander through the town, stop in a cafe and enjoy a snack and drink and take in the atmosphere of such a beautiful English town, the shops were so pretty and all very inviting with flowers and bunting displayed in the pretty little window’s.
The bridge was so impressive, and very beautiful as were the views from the top of the bridge. We spent some time reading how the world’s first cast iron bridge was constructed in 1779. You just can’t help but be impressed by this huge structure; it really is a piece of art. It is said that Abraham Darby actually cast the profile of his face into the design of the bridge; we think we found it but won’t spoil it. It was fun searching for it and kept the boys amused for some time.
Then we hopped into the car and drove 5 minutes to the Tar Tunnel. The Tar Tunnel is located on the bank of the Shropshire Canal.
When Miners were digging an underground canal tunnel to connect the mines of Blists Hill to the River Severn they struck a natural spring of bitumen. Bitumen was used to weather proof ropes amongst other thing so was of use.
For this reason the canal plans were shelved and the tunnels were kept as a natural source of bitumen. The tunnels are every boys dream a deep dark tunnel to wander along. We donned our hard hats and headed down into the tunnel, it were quite eerie, although it is lit right the way along. The bitumen still seeps through the tunnel walls which you can smell as you walk through, cavities have been built into the walls to collect the bitumen as it runs through the bricks.
The odd thing is, standing above the tunnel on the picturesque bridge overlooking the canal you would never know of it existence. The boys loved visiting the tar tunnel it really is very interesting, followed by a lovely walk along the canal back to the car park and the Coalport China Museum, which we unfortunately never had time to visit this time, but I cant wait to go back again so will save it for then.