A district of Telford is named after the c1792 sandstone bridge built to carry the western branch of the Shropshire Canal over the turnpike road. Both are long redundant, but their courses remain. Though we’d driven through the area very many times, we’d never sought out the structure – perhaps we ought to go and have a look? Sadly, it’s in need of renovation, and much of it is hidden behind corrugated steel sheets. We walked there from the “coke hearth” at the top of Coalbrookdale, along the trackbed of a pre-railway age tramway, with beside us the railway which still carries fuel to the power station. We left this route where it was once crossed by the Coalport branch line, following the latter a short way to the aqueduct. Now our route would follow, on and off, the canal – to a point where it was crossed by a wagonway – another ancient bridge with a plaque to confirm the fact, though its construction date seems to be unknown. Whatever its age, it made an excellent spot to shelter from a sudden sharp flurry of snow… We returned to the car along rough lanes before descending once again to the wagonway beside the railway. Most of our walk had been on, or beside, ancient transport routes, mostly unseen and unknown by today’s road users.
View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=367995&Y=305276&A=Y&Z=120