Things to do in the local area
Use The Water Rat Pub as a base to explore Shropshire. The footpath along the River Severn lies at the bottom of our large beer garden. Use it to walk in one direction to the magic of Wenlock Priory, or in the other direction to the centre of Ironbridge with it’s ten award winning museums.
Ten minutes drive will take you to medieval Much Wenlock, the impressive remains of Wroxeter Roman City or the market town of Bridgnorth – home to The Severn Valley Railway.
Just a little further afield, discover Long Mynd, Ludlow, Shrewsbury and a host of National Trust and English Heritage properties.
Beyond Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire has a wealth of historic attractions: From the amazing Roman City of Wroxeter to the incredible Hawkstone Park and Follies. There are half a dozen National Trust properties including Benthall Hall, Powis Castle and Attingham Park and more than a dozen English Heritage sites such as the Castles at Clun and Stokesay. Then there are beautiful towns and villages like Bridgnorth (Charles I said “Bridgenorth offers the finest view in all my Kingdom”), Ludlow, Much Wenlock and Shrewsbury.
Walking in Shropshire
Walk just a few yards from the Water Rat Pub and you will find public footpaths that lead you to unspoilt villages, glorious countryside and a sense of timeless history. Just a little further afield and there are the magnificent Welsh Marches, Offas Dyke, Oswestry Hill Fort and the beautiful Long Mynd and Carding Mill Valley – or choose to walk along the Llangollen Canal with its famous and dramatic viaducts.
Whether you like the tranquil pleasures of gardening – visiting historic gardens or the famous nurseries of David Austin Roses or Percy Thrower’s Gardening and Leisure Centre, the frisson of the age of steam at The Severn Valley Railway, the sights of The Royal Air Force Museum at RAF Cosford, hot air ballooning with Virgin Balloon Flights, a game of golf on one of the many local golf courses or more traditional country pursuits such as game shooting or clay pigeon shooting, fishing or horse riding, The Meadow is a perfect base.
Stretch your legs
Take in the full effect of Shropshire’s dramatic landscape by heading to the limestone promontory at the southern end of Lincoln Hill. Stumble upon fossils in and around the ancient woodland which covers large areas of the slopes, and explore the countryside via a winding network of trails created by the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust
Call 01952 433880 or visit their website at www.severngorge.org.uk.
Ironbridge Gorge Museum
In 1779, curious artists, iron founders and industrial spies travelled from far and wide to view Abraham Darby’s innovative new bridge built over the Severn. It was the first to use cast iron structurally and was hailed as a turning point in the Industrial Revolution.
Whats the buzz?
Dotted along the Iron Bridge Gorge World Heritage site are ten family-friendly museums. Costumed folk appear in and around the town of Blists Hill, where life in the late 1880s is re-enacted. Swap your cash for Victorian legal tender at the bank so you can buy ye olde remedies in the chemist and sherbet lemons in the sweetshop.
Witness the huge change the Iron Bridge made to the Coalbrookdale Valley by viewing a collection of paintings exhibited in honour of the 300th anniversary of the first time iron and coke were smelted successfully. William Morris’s view of the bridge is on show: he was commissioned by an eager Darby who wanted to capture the structure before its completion. This free exhibition begins on 4 April and is open Monday to Friday.
Look out for
Local hero Captain Matthew Webb’s scarlet silk underpants, worn under woollen long johns, are on show at the Museum of the Gorge. Record breaking Webb wore the garments on his courageous swim across the Channel in 1875 – the first person to complete the feat. He once rescued his brother from strong currents near the Iron Bridge.
What to take
A head for heights.
When to go
The museum opens daily from 10am to 5pm all year round.