Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 6: Shropshire

Before heading to Shrewsbury the next day, we headed back into the town of Bridgnorth to make a stop at the supermarket. We saved money on our travels by buying bread rolls and fillings to make our own lunches. I had never heard of Bridgnorth before our trip. It's one of the many small towns that don't figure heavily on the popular tourist routes - but many of them turn out to be quite quirky and interesting, once you explore them.

We had noticed the night before that Bridgnorth is a town of two parts. At the bottom of the hill is a river, with a bridge.

(All photos clickable for a larger image - I think)

Most of the lower part of Bridgnorth is on one side of the river, and when you cross the river you can turn left or right along a single street at the base of a high cliff. The upper part of the town (where the supermarkets are) is at the top of the cliff. It can be approached by road in a big curve, which we did. For pedestrians, however, there is a route up and down the cliff either by steep steps

or a cliff railway (which is actually a cable car). While P strolled around the castle walk

I took a ride up and down the cliff railway, just for fun.

When we returned to the car after taking lots of photos, and shopping, P was approached by a man who wanted to know why he was taking photos of his house. P managed to persuade him we were just camera-happy tourists intrigued by the architecture. Afterwards P commented that he thought he had better not mention that he was interested in the huge sag in the roof!

Some of the old buildings were very crooked indeed, but this one seems to have survived quite well

I'm intrigued by the buildings which straddle the main streets - obviously built way before today's volume of traffic was ever imagined.

A detail of the building above:

Oh, and in the Bridgnorth library I noticed a poster for a poetry competition. The theme? "Good customer service in Shropshire". Well ...OK !!

You can find the winners here

We then headed off to Shrewsbury, where for once we were early enough to visit the information centre and have them locate us a room for the night. This saves time and trouble, but on the other hand they charge a little extra for the privilege (and deduct 10% from the landlady's takings, too). We went to settle in to our b & b., and then went back to look around the centre of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury has a very compact centre as it is almost encircled by a river. If you are driving, there is only one way round in a big circle just within the river, and very little parking. So we parked just outside the centre, near the bridge, and walked the rest of the way.

Shrewsbury is famous for its old black and white half timbered buildings - like the one that I photographed above in Bridgnorth - but the actual contents of the shops are quite funky and modern:

A detail of the market hall in the main square.

The inscription reads "The XV day of June was this buylding begonn William Jones and Thomas Charlton gent then bayliffes and was erected and covered in their tyme" - the date below appears to be 1596.

By the time we were heading back to our b &b, the sun was quite low, lighting up the cross on the top of St Chad's church

and making warm reflections of buildings in the river

where rowers were training.

We had a meal at the pub across the road from where we were staying, and retired for the night.

Next - further explorations of Shrewsbury, and we brave the motorways to head across country to Sheffield


chiefbiscuit said...

Welcome back Catherine! It's been a real treat reading about your trip. Unlike your daughter, I think it a most sensible way to write about your trip. It's capturing memories for both yourself as well as informing your readers.
Great photos too.

colleen said...

I got a phone call while I was here visiting, so I'm just now getting to say: I love those swirly designs on the buildings! And the first water shot is spectacular. Looks like an overall wonderful trip. Michele sent me.