Ironbridge is the site of the world's first iron bridge. Designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, and built by Abraham Darby III, it was cast and built here in 1779, to span a narrow gorge over the River Severn. Surrounding the bridge is a multitude of museums, which are home to workshops, events and activities, designed to entertain but also educate visitors about the history and industry of the area. Blists Hill Victorian Town allows you to visit Victorian homes, shops and workplaces; Coalport China Museum displays the area's magnificent china and also contains current craftspeople t work; local tiles are displayed in a number of ways at Jackfield Tile Museum; and there are huge interactive engineering exhibits at Enginuity. In all there are ten museums, enough for a day out and plenty to spare.
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About the area
Perhaps nowhere else in England will you find a county so deeply rural and with so much variety as Shropshire. Choose a clear day, climb to the top of The Wrekin, and look down on that ‘land of lost content’ so wistfully evoked by A E Housman. Peer through your binoculars and trace the course of Britain’s longest river as the Severn sweeps through the county, from the Breidden Hills to Wyre Forest, slicing Shropshire in two. To the north is a patchwork of dairy fields, hedgerows, copses and crops, broken at intervals by rugged sandstone ridges such as Grinshill or Nesscliffe, and dissected by a complex network of canals.
Spilling over the border into neighbouring Cheshire and North Wales is the unique meres and mosses country, with serenely smooth lakes glinting silver, interspersed with russet-tinged expanses of alder-fringed peat bog, where only the cry of the curlew disturbs the silence. South of the Severn lies the Shropshire Hills AONB. It’s only when you walk Wenlock Edge that you fully discover what a magical place it is – glorious woods and unexpectedly steep slopes plunge to innumerable secret valleys, meadows, streams and farmhouses, all tucked away, invisible from the outside world.
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