A Bridge….. over onetime Busy Waters


Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire

Once upon a time this part of the River Severn was know as the Severn Gorge.  It was a busy industrial area and relied upon the Severn as the key means of transport.  Coal, Iron Ore, Limestone and Clay could all be found in the immediate area.  The area became known as Coalbrookdale home of iron foundries and pottery… an important industrial region.

So to link both sides of this busy valley a bridge  was needed.  It had to be a bridge high enough not to interfere  with the passage of  the high mast boats  on the busy river.

The Bridge that was constructed and opened in 1779 was the first in the World to be made from Iron.  100ft span and made from Iron founded in the Gorge.  The design was by  Architect Thomas Pritchard.  Not at first taken that seriously, after much lobbying and fund raising  Master Ironmaker Abraham DarbyIII was contracted to construct the Iron Bridge.  Records suggest that the cost was between £3000 & £4000.

The Bridge was such a success that the Gorge changed its name to Ironbridge Gorge.

The Bridge, the Gorge and its Industrial Heritage is now part of a World Heritage Site.

When life becomes more normal it is well worth a visit….  Till then…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

19th May

(C) David Oakes 2020


Wild Garlic Time….


Wenlock Edge, Shropshire

A lush carpet of white stars under tall Beech trees. A unique aromatic perfume fills the air…… its Wild Garlic.
Wild Garlic is becoming quite a fashionable plant to forage for. Wild Garlic Pesto is becoming a Chefs favourite…. but please forage with care and responsibly….don’t destroy this wild wonder of nature.
I think we are all seeing that the wildlife all about us, is benefiting from the restrictions currently placed upon us…. times have changed.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

7th May
(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday……another very Old Abbey


Buildwas Abbey, Shropshire

Not a great deal of Buildwas Abbey remains…but enough to give us a good impression of just how big and important it once was.

Located adjacent to the River Severn, it was a Cistercian Monastery founded in 1135.  Never a wealthy Abbey, it does appear to have had mixed fortunes….none the less its location reasonably close to the Welsh border ensured its importance in border disputes.

Perhaps Buildwas should be considered more a centre of literacy and education as we are told that the Abbey established an extensive Library. The knowledge and skills of the Abbots was much respected.

Buildwas suffered the fate of so many of the Monasteries and Abbeys.  Henry VIII and his Dissolution of Monasteries  Policy of 1536 led to its destruction.


2nd February

(C) David Oakes 2020