United Kingdom
Much Wenlock

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    • Day100

      Day 100: Ironbridge & Amberley

      May 26, 2017 in England ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Hard to believe it's been 100 days since we left Australia! But we thought we should celebrate in the most appropriate way possible: a long drive and UNESCO World Heritage site! We left fairly early, around 9am, and made our way north-east along several freeways to Stratford-upon-Avon, our first port of call.

      We stopped first at Anne Hathaway's cottage, which looked nice although quite touristy and expensive. Anne Hathaway was of course Shakespeare's wife, and likely no relation to the currently-famous Anne Hathaway. We took a few pictures from the road outside, and sated ourselves with a cream tea in the sunny garden cafe nearby. Drove through the rest of Stratford, but pressed onwards since we had a lot more miles to cover today.

      From here we headed northwest again, still lots of motorway driving and an annoying amount of traffic since it was the Friday before a long weekend. After a brief stop at services for lunch (Burger King and a Marks & Spencer sushi box), we finally arrived at Ironbridge Gorge around 2:30pm.

      It's hard to believe these days, but these tiny little villages in Shropshire were once at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Ironbridge is home to the world's first cast-iron bridge, which opened up new possibilities for constructing things like taller buildings and higher railway bridges. It was in this area as well, where a local man first had the idea to use coke, a coal mining byproduct, to heat the blast furnaces smelting iron. This resulted in much stronger and purer iron, less rust and of course removing the need to chop down trees en mass for wood to burn.

      We did some filming at the bridge, then wandered over to the museum which wanted 10 pounds for entry. We declined, but thankfully the most interesting part - the original blast furnace - was in a separate building away from the carpark, so we wandered briefly around there, filmed what we needed to, and snuck away. Sorry!

      Back in the car where we commenced the long 2.5 hour drive south to the Cotswolds and our house-sit. It's time to take a break from travelling for a few days, and we've arranged to look after a trio of dogs for a family while they holiday in London.

      We met the family and the dogs and had a good chat, went over all the routines and everything, then headed to the pub for dinner. It's in a tiny little town called Amberley just outside Stroud in the Cotswolds. The house is quite nice and the dogs are lovely, so I think we'll be quite comfortable here for the next few days! And we'll hopefully get a lot of work done as well - I'm chronically behind in both my writing and my videos!
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      Anne Hathaway's cottage. I haven't researched its authenticity so take that with a grain of salt!


      The world's first cast-iron bridge


      Iron Museum

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    • Day99

      Much Wenlock, Historic Market Town

      August 8, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

      Not far from where we are house-and-dog-sitting, is a market town by the curious name of Much Wenlock. It was fun to see, and we were surprised to find out that Dr. William Penny Brooks started the Much Wenlock Olympics back in the 1800s as an effort to improve physical fitness. He worked to include physical education in the schools. And the founder of the International Olympic Games patterned them after this town's local activities.

      The town is full of charming buildings. In this first one, the half-timbered building is the Guildhall (like a city hall) and had a butter market on the ground floor.

      The last picture is of a farm in the town, which has been converted into condos. The farmers lived in town and worked their fields that were scattered outside of the village.
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    • Day95

      Colebrookdale Museum: Enginuity

      August 4, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

      This is another one of the Ironbridge museums we visited. It is an interactive museum of design and technology for children of all ages, even those in their second childhood! It was a fun morning; reminded us of children's museums we used to take the kids to.

      The Aga "cooker" (stove) in the last picture is like the one we are using at our current housesit, except the owners' is white. It was invented in 1922, is cast iron, and stores heat. It is used not just for cooking, but as a heat source, a clothes drier (racks are put on top of the cooker to lay clothes on), a toaster, and probably more. The top right oven cooks very quickly, so I have to check often to make sure the food isn't burning. The lower right oven works like a slow cooker, and makes good soups!
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    • Day95

      Coalbrookdale: Museum of Iron

      August 4, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

      We learned all about the iron industry, and the uses of cast iron which made this area so famous. It all started with the making of three legged cooking kettles (more stable than four legs), and expanded from utilitarian items to decorative ones. It became the style in Victorian times to have cast iron park furniture and home decorations.

      In 1851, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, or the first World's Fair, was held in Hyde Park, London, in a cast iron and glass Crystal Palace.
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    • Day553


      November 28, 2019 in England ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

      We stayed for two nights in Ironbridge on our route north on a CL site on the south side of the gorge at the top of the hill.. The weather was drizzle wet for most of the time.
      We soon realised that this location merits a much longer stay, it is the cradle of the Industrial revolution and is a Unesco World Heritage site laden with places of interest to visit.
      We walked down to the bridge which has been recently renovated and returned to its original colour. It was built by Abraham Darby III to the design of an architect from Shrewsbury - Thomas Prichard. Despite the rain the views as we walked and the town at the other side of the bridge were very pretty. The shops were festooned for Christmas and were stocked with unusual crafty items, so we did some of our Christmas shopping here. We then walked along the river to Coalport and up to Blist Hill returning via the woods to Ironbridge. The River Severn was quite full after all the rain. The walk back up the hill to our site was extremely steep, but we managed it and felt that we had certainly had the exercise we needed today!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Much Wenlock, ماچ ونلاک, マッチ・ウェンロック, 머치웬록, 溫洛克

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