Bedlam to Coalbrookdale

The remains of the ancient iron furnaces at Bedlam were open to the elements until very recently – now they have a cover – a canopy with substantial steel supports. We’d better take a look. Afterwards, we’ll wander over the hill, and down Church Road, viewing the closed power station through the trees (there’s a common theme to this little walk…). At the top end of Coalbrookdale the viaduct no longer serves its purpose. The woodland path to the old railway station, now in the care of the Green Wood Centre, overlooks the iron works, soon to cease production. It’s been a quiet walk so far, but now we’re dodging the many visitors to Ironbridge as we walk beside the river back to the car. At least one thing is still thriving here.

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Old ways

We’ve parked at Bedlam, beside the old furnaces (I wonder how they got that name…). Our route takes us up the hill towards Madeley, where we’ll walk around three sides of the old (closed in 1920) Meadow pit mound. On and off, we’re following the trackbeds of the pre-railway age tramways of the Madeley Wood Company – as far as the All Nations (a last remnant of times long before “craft beer”, when pubs brewed their own beer). Now we’re walking down the route of the Coalport branch railway, which closed to passengers more than 60 years ago. Descending to the canal, at the foot of the Hay Incline, we cross the river to Jackfield, and for the first time walk the new path through the stabilisation works. Beyond, we’ll walk where Severn valley railway trains once ran – before crossing the Severn again on the modernistic new “Free Bridge” to return to the car.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=368575&Y=303426&A=Y&Z=120