Ironbridge  Guide
Ironbridge Tourist Information & Visitor Guide
 

Paradise, Coalbrookdale
 

Ironbridge Youth Hostel [11]

Ironbridge YHA

Across the street from Aga-Rayburn is an area called Paradise which includes the buildings and woods on the right side of the road. You will first be struck by the impressive Youth Hostel, established 1853 by the Coalbrookdale Company as a literary and scientific institute, later a school of art, on the hill with its grand iron gates at the bottom of the drive bearing a plaque that states ”that regardless of race, colour, creed, young people can spend a night. It also states that the common purpose is to help all, especially the young of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside.”

This statement so demonstrates how Coalbrookdale today has not changed in its outlook since the 1800's. The gothic design in blue and buff bricks makes it a lovely building and a fitting place for the war memorial of Coalbrookdale, which sits just outside the fencing.

Ironbridge War Memorial

The War memorial is for The Great War 1914-1919, and the war of 1939-1945. There is a list of 170 names on the memorial which included not just residents of the area, but also workers from the foundries.

There is a war memorial plaque in the Holy Trinity Church, above the hostel, which bears only 60 names, what’s the difference? These 60 fallen were residents of Coalbrookdale and the church archivists are trying to do a history of each of the fallen men complete with a photo of them, if anyone has any information on these friends or relatives it will help the church archivists and families doing their own research.

Further down Paradise to the right is Coalbrookdale Villa B&B which is also another one of those grand houses commissioned at the time

A diversion into the woods...!

In the woods above the hostel are a series of footpaths developed by Richard Reynolds who was a Quaker iron master for the Darby family, he took over supervision of the foundries after the death of Abraham Darby I because, Abraham Darby II was too young to be in charge. Mr. Reynolds was an interesting man because one would think that some one in such a high position would think only of their status and money, but Quaker folks were very community orientated and looked after their workers. He developed these walks so that the workers and families could go out on Sundays and enjoy the outdoors, as a second agenda, he also preferred to try to keep them out of the public houses.

Mr. Reynolds gave much thought to these paths which he started in 1782. He planned them with purposes in mind like special view points, places to sit and reflect and planted them with special species of trees and shrubs that would make the most of the woodlands through out the seasons. The walk above Paradise can be started in a number of places and you will be able to link paths to extend or shorten you walk. The best place to start this walk is to park at the top of Church Road and Lincoln Hill at the White Horse Pub and cross the street to the footpath sign. Following the markers you will be able to find the Alcove Seat which gives one a view of the ironworks area and Coalbrookdale, to the right of the seat is an ancient rare Atlas Cedar (200 plus years old with interesting pine cones, should you be lucky to find one the squirrels haven’t).

Continue west on the path and eventually you will see signposted what was called The Rotunda, which used to be a revolving seat which gave you panoramic views of Coalbrookdale, the Gorge and the river. The Rotunda has been demolished, but the views from where it once stood give one a view of the Welsh Hills from the Severn’s original source, the power station, the Ironbridge, the expanse of the river and the distant skyline of the Midlands. If you are fit this is a pleasant stroll. If you are not and take you time because it can be muddy underfoot, it is short enough that you could still manage it and get the views. It is worth the effort to at least try this walk, if not the others. It has also been deemed a site of special scientific interest because of the geology and age of the limestone area.

These walks are also special because people have been walking them for hundreds of years and were most likely some of the earliest public footpaths made for public enjoyment.

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Ironbridge Tour

1. Buildwas
2. Buildwas - The Bridge
3. The Power Station
4. The Valley Hotel
5. The Greenwood Trust
6. Coalbrookdale
7. Aga-Rayburn
8. Coalbrookdale - Paradise
9. Coalbrookdale - Museums
10. Holy Trinity Church
11. Ironbridge - West
12. Ironbridge - The Wharfage
13. The Iron Bridge
14. Town Centre and East
15. Jackfield - West
16. Jackfield - East
17. Coalport & Blists Hill
18. Broseley
19. Benthall
 
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Copyright © Paul & Sabine Hutchinson