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The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport

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The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport
Author: Pub Walker, Published: 17 Oct 2013 Walk Rating:star1 The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide star1 The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide star1 The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide star1 The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide star1 The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide
Shropshire, Coalport
Walk Type: History trail
The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide boot The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport Walking Guide
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A 2 mile circular pub walk from the Woodbridge Inn in Coalport, Shropshire. (A 5 mile version of this walk, The Woodbridge Inn and Ironbridge, is also available on iFootpath). The Woodbridge Inn is situated on the banks of the River Severn with a raised outside terrace and a sunny garden room both giving great views across the river. The walking route follows an old railway line along the southern banks of the River Severn before crossing into Coalport to join a section of the Silkin Way path for the final stretch. There is an opportunity to visit the Coalport China Museum should you wish.

The walking route is relatively flat, with just a couple of short (but fairly steep) slopes. There are no stiles, just a couple of gates and a short flight of steps. The paths are a mixture of tarmac pavements, quiet lanes and a stone/gravel old railway line. The area is surrounded by woodland so leaf drop can make the paths a little muddy in winter but the mud is never deep. Approximate time 1 hour, plus extra time to visit any attractions.

Coalport is located within the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. The walk starts and finishes from the Woodbridge Inn, just off Coalport Road on the southern side of Coalport Bridge. Approximate post code TF8 7JF. The pub has its own large car park, however during peak times this can be very busy, in which case please use the public pay and display car park at the China Museum on Coalport High Street. (From this car park, turn right along the High Street, then cross over Coalport Bridge to reach the pub on the left – about a 10 minute walk).

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Walk Sections

Start to Jackfield Memorial Bridge
Start to Jackfield Memorial Bridge

Start point: 52.6149 lat, -2.4417 long
End point: 52.6195 lat, -2.4541 long

Leave the pub car park via the vehicle entrance and cross over the road with care to join the footpath opposite, the Severn Valley Way signed to Ironbridge. On the right you’ll also see a waymarker in the shape of a Saxon Warrior which marks this as part of the Mercian Way, a 230 mile long cycle path which runs from Salisbury to Chester. This path is so-named as it passes through what was once the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. Pass through the kissing gate (or cross the horse hurdles) to join this wide surfaced track.

The path soon swings left heading up a flight of shallow steps and, at the top of these, follow the track as it swings right and levels off. The path follows the corridor of a former railway. After a little distance you will see a sign pointing to the right for Silkin Way via Jackfield Bridge. Turn right here and follow the slope down to the road. Keep right along the road and, as you draw level with the old railway bridge to your right, swing left still signed for the Silkin Way. Follow the lane as it swings left and you will reach a metal footbridge to your right, Jackfield Memorial Bridge.

Jackfield Memorial Bridge to End
Jackfield Memorial Bridge to End

Start point: 52.6195 lat, -2.4541 long
End point: 52.6152 lat, -2.4422 long

For this shorter version of the walk, cross Jackfield Memorial Bridge passing over the River Severn, to reach the far side in Coalport.

To your right is a stretch of the Shropshire Canal, known as the Coalport Canal. Walk a few paces right and look to your left where you’ll see an inclined railway emerging from the canal’s water! The explanation for this requires a little knowledge of the history of the town.

Coalfield was planned as a canal–river interchange and new town by ironmaster William Reynolds. Between 1788 and 1796 he built warehouses, workshops, factories and workers’ accommodation in Coalport, making the town much larger than it is today. He also directed the construction of the Shropshire Canal, linking the East Shropshire coalfield with the River Severn — the terminus being Coalport Wharf. The Hay Inclined Plane (the inclined railway you can see before you) was completed in 1793 and acted as a link between the top and bottom of the Severn gorge. The Shropshire Canal, 63 metres above where you are standing now, used box-shaped tub boats to transport goods. The twin railway tracks were laid down the incline so that the tub boats could ascend and descend the inclined plane on wheeled cradles. At the bottom of the incline the rails went underwater allowing the cradle to become submerged and the tub boat to float, moving along the Coalport Canal and out to the River Severn. The alternative to this amazing engineering feat would have required 27 locks to move the tubs the same height.

Coalport is perhaps most famous for Coalport Pottery, founded in 1795. Production continued here until the factory was moved to Staffordshire in 1926. If you wish to visit the Coalport China Museum, (which houses the Northumberland Vase, the largest piece of Coalport China ever produced) go straight ahead along the canal to reach the entrance and then come back to this point to continue your walk.

When you are ready to continue, return to the point with Jackfield Memorial Bridge behind you and go ahead up the steps (signed to Tar Tunnel and Victorian Town). At the top of the steps, turn right over the bridge (up to the left you’ll have another great view of the Hay Inclined Plane). Keep straight ahead along the High Street taking care of any traffic.

As a section of grass opens up on the right, turn left onto a stone slope heading uphill and signed for the Victorian Town. Follow this zig-zagging up through the park area. At the very top of the slope you’ll see an old train wheel which acts as a waymarker for the Silkin Way footpath. Turn right, signed to Coalport Bridge. At the next crossroads keep straight ahead, still signed for Coalport Bridge.

Stay on the Silkin Way heading steadily downhill, ignoring any footpaths off left or right. The path eventually leads you under a road bridge. Continue on the path between tall walls and you will emerge out to a junction with a wide tarmac drive. Keep left along the drive and, a few yards in, keep right at the fork (passing another black train wheel marker post). Continue up a short slope and through a gate to reach a T-junction with the road. Turn right across Coalport Bridge.

Coalport Bridge was built from cast iron in 1818, and unlike its more famous neighbour in Ironbridge, it remains open to traffic, albeit limited to a single lane.

At the far side of the bridge you’ll reach the Woodbridge Inn on the left, for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author pubwalker and may not be reproduced without permission.

2 comments for "The Woodbridge Inn and Coalport"

Easy for young children. Fabulous pub.

By gmcevoy on 30 Jul 2016

Nice stroll through the valley. Well maintained paths and well sign posted. Great dog friendly pub at the end!!

By jersey2 on 09 Jun 2015

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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