We found a wonderful campground near Shrewsbury, Shropshire- Oxen Hall with nice big pitches that could easily take our baby, nice wide roads and three way hook-up. Tan important he weather was still bitterly cold.
For our first exploration of the area we decided to visit the famous Ironbridge Gorge. During the Industrial Revolution the villages in the gorge were host to a wide range of industries from tiles through to iron. Today the industries have gone and the gorge is quiet except tourists visiting the surviving monuments now museums of the now UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our first stop was the Iron Bridge itself. The very first cast iron bridge was engineered by Abraham Darby across the gorge and was opened on 1 January 1781. Abraham Darby perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, allowing much cheaper production of iron. The bridge although much needed to cross the River Severn became a symbol of the Industrial Revolution in the area.
After visiting the bridge and the small village of Ironbridge (which was renamed after the bridge was completed) we headed to the Blists Hill Victorian Town. Taking old buildings from around the area a Victorian Village has been created to recreate how one of the villages would have been at the peak of the Industrial Revolution. This is a working museum with a wide selection of properties from a squatter’s house to a working iron foundry. . Between sunshine and snow showers we explored the village. With the exception of a few school parties there was very few other visitors braving the cold. It was so cold that as Tony had forgotten a hat he bought a good old fashioned cloth cap to keep his head warm. The old fashion fruit buns from the baker’s shop also helped!
After the village and on our way back to the campground we visited the Museum of the Gorge. The museum provided a potted history of the gorge’s industrial history with an interesting model which showed the various types of industry along the gorge. The exhibit also gave a brief insight of the living and environmental conditions in the gorge. A sharp contrast to gorge seen today.