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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Shrewsbury, final leg

After leaving the Castle, I followed my guided walk to an area of the town known as Wyle Cop, a long street of mostly very old buildings. I would have liked to have spent longer here investigating some of the shops and galleries, and photographing the buildings, but time was becoming a concern.

My itinerary directed me in the direction of the English Bridge, which spanned the Severn. I paused here briefly to take a few shots of the river, through the stonework of the bridge. Being five foot and a fart, the bridge was a little too high for me to aim my camera over.

I would have liked to try to get some pics of the bridge, but there was no safe or clear vantage point, given the sheer volume of road and pedestrian traffic. I'm afraid this is the best I could do.

I continued on for a while after the bridge, in the direction of the Abbey, which is near the local Asda. I don't know what I expected, but I envisaged an abbey to be something a lot grander-looking. Shrewsbury Abbey has been immortalised in more recent times, in the Cadfael mysteries written by Ellis Peters, so maybe that's why I was expecting an altogether more elaborate-looking building. It's quite large and imposing, and sits at the junction of two very busy roads. I had planned a closer look at the Abbey, but given my time constraints, and the fact that it didn't look as interesting as some other places on my itinerary, I pressed on.

My route took me back towards Wyle Cop again, from where I was directed to take a diversion into an area called Town Walls. Just before I did, I snapped this interesting old building, which houses a wine merchants' business.

I trudged along a narrow and secluded residential area, bounded by a long wall, for what seemed like an absolute age, until I spotted the next landmark on my route, the unusual-looking church of St. Chad's. The picture doesn't show it too well, but that turret is so high up. Another curious feature of the church is that the main section of it is circular.

Coincidentally, St. Chad's church first opened its doors on this day (August 19th) in 1792, the original medieval church having suddenly collapsed into a heap of rubble some four years previously. There's an interesting story to how it got its unusual shape. The church was designed by the Scottish architect, George Steuart. He initially submitted a circular design, but it was rejected in favour of a rectangular one, by the Parochial Church Council. However, there was a misunderstanding somewhere along the way, and a circular church plan was approved as the final design. Because time was short, and some work had commenced, it was decided not to revert to the rectangular plan.

Directly opposite St. Chad's is the entrance to a large park called the Quarry, where the annual Shrewsbury Flower Show is held. It took place last weekend, so the marquees and tents were still in place near the park's main entrance. I continued down the slope, intending to visit a landscaped garden called the Dingle, which was forged from an old quarry pit. But when I checked the time, there was less than an hour and a half before my train home. Not altogether sure how far away from the train station I was, I decided to head for the river bank, to take a quick stroll.

I'm not sure if this building across the water is a private dwelling or not, but whatever it is, they have a superb location.

This next house has an even better location. What a fabulous place to live. If you click the pics to enlarge them, you'll see that whoever lives here, has a flight of steps leading down to their own personal jetty on the river.

As idyllic as the scene is, I bet it's an almighty worry if the river level rises. Shrewsbury sits in the middle of a loop of the Severn, in such a way that it's almost an inland island. Much of its lower reaches are vulnerable to flooding. I wish I'd had time to cross the nearby footbridge. It would have been nice to have sat outside this pub for a while, watching the river go by.

I tried to take a few shots of someone caneoing along the river, as well as some of the overhanging trees, but they were all ruined by a weird, dusty and greasy film that settled on my camera lens. By the time I'd cleaned it all off, the only thing to be seen on the river was this lone swan.

He had such a sense of purpose as he swan along. I switched my camera to video mode, but as you'll see by the sudden wobble at the end of this short clip, I had to bid a hasty retreat from the water's edge, as this was no friendly swan.

I had to abandon the final part of my itinerary, as there was now less than an hour before my train left. I was due to continue along the river, out of the park and on towards the museum. But I had no idea how far that would take me from the station, so I decided not to risk it. Taking one last pic of St. Chad's church from the Quarry, I headed out of the park, and started following the signs to the railway station.

I stopped briefly en route to use a cash machine. Within less than ten minutes, I found myself back in the town centre and very close to the castle. I now had time to kill, so I could have probably stayed in the park a little longer. I headed back to the castle for a while, where I sat in the small, outer garden. I didn't see the ginger cat this time, but met this character instead, presumably from the same house.

After a brief rest, I left the castle grounds and made my way down the hill towards the station. I spotted this rather interesting facade on the way. I think it's part of the adjacent library and county archives buildings. Why it's called Blower's Repository, who Blower was or why they needed a repository, I really don't know.

Shortly afterwards, I spotted a health food shop, and crossed the road to it. I bought a small pack of crystallised ginger, which is meant to help travel sickness. Whether it was the ginger or the Stugeron, I have no idea, but I had a mercilfully nausea-free journey home. I'd like to visit Shrewsbury again, as the short time I had there just flashed by, especially as it was curtailed even further by train delays. I don't know if I can face that train journey again, though. If I go again, I might book a B&B for the night, so I don't have to travel there and back in one day. But all in all, it's a place I'd thoroughly recommend for a day trip.


jams o donnell said...

I've never been to Shrewsbury. It looks like a good place to visit,

The Pig's Lip said...

Happy Birthday for ealier in the week

Siani said...

Thanks, Chris.