Steps and cavemen

There are many steps in Bridgnorth – it’s a pretty three-dimensional place. I suspect there are a few cavemen too, if the truth be known. There are certainly remains of cave dwellings, and one or two houses have incorporated caves which are still in use. It’s a good place for a wander on a bright January afternoon, and away from the main roads and shopping streets, it’s pleasantly quiet.


A short wander on a pleasant afternoon. The day had been dull and gloomy around lunchtime, but things improved. A southbound train was leaving as we crossed the bypass – none other than 75069. in action again after a lengthy and expensive overhaul. There are other “locomotives” dotted around Bridgnorth, colourful but of unusual design…

Down by the river

There’s a spring in our step today: meteorological spring began on Wednesday, apparently, and there’s spring in the mild air of this mostly-pleasant afternoon (there are a few raindrops too, but who’s counting?). We’ve parked beside the very quiet Colemore Green road, and we’ll walk back along the road towards the houses, where a footpath descends to the old railway line, just across the Severn from Apley Hall. Now we’re walking along the railway trackbed (the riverside path will be very muddy) – sadly, it’s more than 50 years since trains ran here, and they (almost certainly) will never again run here. We can only walk so far along the track – nearer Bridgnorth, it’s disappeared altogether beneath the carefully-mown grass of the golf course – so we’ll return to the lane and walk back to the car.


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The Closed Severn Valley Railway

North of Bridgnorth, the track has gone; for much of the way to Coalport, it’s a private road with permissive access, a rough but very walkable surface, and plenty of shade. We’ll need that – not a cloud in the sky. The last train passed through Linley station more than 50 years ago, and given that there are no public roads, this stretch of the valley feels closed off from the outside world. It’s very quiet – just birdsong, contributing to the peace rather than disturbing it (and the odd cyclist, one or two walkers, a gaggle of canoeists and couple of farm vehicles – but who’s counting on a day like this?).

It’s downhill all the way from Broseley to the river; the railway track is more-or-less level. To get to the bus stop in Bridgnorth, we face a long flight of steps, which comes as a shock to the system after about 8 miles of walking. With 45 minutes to kill before the next bus, a pint will be a perfect remedy…

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Taking flight…

Sunday 24 April 2016: let’s step back just over 12 months: “He’s sent us vouchers for a helicopter trip!”. The facial expression said it all – I think she nearly took flight there and then… With a busy summer ahead and lots of unknowns, we didn’t get round to redeeming them until the autumn. The first booking was cancelled due to the weather – as was the second, and the third, and… (it’s reassuring really). Eventually, we made it, and with plenty of time to get used to the idea, “we” were quite looking forward to the flight. “Is that it? It’s tiny!”. Yes, a very modern-looking (I’m no expert) little four-seater job – driver and three passengers.

We’re flying from Halfpenny Green – “Wolverhampton Airport”, though its WW2 origins are still pretty obvious. We’re strapped in (car-type seat belts) in minutes and away – and despite the clattering of rotor blades while we waited to board, it’s quiet and peaceful (thanks partly to the headphones, I guess) – a very relaxing way to travel over the Shropshire countryside, bobbing and swaying gently in the breeze, with little sense of forward motion. First we’re heading for Bridgnorth, then turning to fly above the Severn, passing Stanley Hall, the fishing lakes at The Boldings and Apley Hall. Soon Broseley is over to our left, and in moments we’re above Ironbridge. As we pass the power station, we begin to turn back, viewing the huge bends upstream in the Severn before buzzing Benthall Hall and skirting Broseley again. Staying west of the river, we’re soon looking down on Bridgnorth, then Chelmarsh reservoir and, crossing the river, Dudmaston Hall. Not far to go now – losing height again to make a gentle landing back at Halfpenny Green. What a great trip! Many, many thanks, T. “When can we go again?” ‘Nuff said!

Bridgnorth in May

A short wander around Bridgnorth – down to the Severn, where the geese and their goslings are basking in the sun, then up to High Town. A short sharp shower found us under the bridge near the top of Stoneway Steps – perfect timing! Bridgnorth is busy on a sunny Sunday – after a quick walk around the castle grounds and up the High Street, we’re back to the car and home, away from the bustle.