A walk to Ironbridge from Benthall Hall and back
This walk might be strenuous but it takes in not only lovely views of Benthall Hall but also Ironbridge. This walk is ideal for a day out, starting in the morning from the car park at Benthall, walk down to Ironbridge for lunch and wander around this fantastic World Heritage Site, then head back to Benthall and finish there with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Benthall Hall car park
Leave the car park, turn left and then take the left-hand path at the fork. Follow this path straight down to the woodland edge. Where the track forks to the right, continue straight ahead through the metal gate. For this part of the walk you are following blue waymarking arrows.
Continuing to follow the blue waymarking arrows, go through the wooden kissing gate on your right and follow the path. After around 150m the path forks. Take the left hand fork and follow the Shropshire Way signs, stop following the blue arrows, and head downhill for 1km. Look out for rare birds nest orchids about halfway down.
When you reach a junction with some other paths turn left.
At the bottom go over the stile and turn right. You are now following the old railway track. Follow this path until you reach the Iron Bridge. At this point you can go off and explore Ironbridge, returning back to this point to start the return leg of the journey back to Benthall Hall. The return described below is fairly strenuous. If you prefer a more gentle return simply return back the way you came.
Severn Valley Railway Line
The path that you are now walking on used to be the Severn Valley Railway line. It operated from 1872 to 1960 and ran between Kidderminster and Shrewsbury . A siding was built alongside the Bower Yard Limekilns where quarried lime was burnt to make quicklime for agriculture and building use.
Retrace your steps back onto the former Severn Valley Railway track, after about 250m along this path, take the path to the left through a squeeze stile, following the fingerpost to Broseley.
This is the start of a steep climb out of Ironbridge Gorge up a series of wooden steps. Keep heading up the steps and at the next junction after 70m, still signposted to Broseley, continue climbing for a further 200m or so.
Turn right as you reach the top of the climb, following the red Severn Gorge Countryside Trust route arrows (they are mounted on the steps at this point).
Follow a pleasant gravel footpath and boardwalk meandering through the woods for around 500m, before branching right at the end of the boardwalk. The fingerpost here points to ‘Patton’s Rock Quarry View’. Cross the Bower Brook, following it for a short distance before bearing left up a steep incline, at the top of which is another fingerpost to Patton’s Rock Quarry View, still on the SGCT Red Route.
After 50 metres or so you reach the viewpoint and can take a well-earned rest here on the bench provided, as your climbing is complete, and enjoy views over the limestone grassland in the old quarry bed (which supports a variety of wild orchids) to Ironbridge.
Pattens Rock Quarry
This is the largest quarry on Benthall Edge; it is now a really good example of a limestone grassland. The quarry is named after John Patten, a lime master who operated out of Bower Yard.
At this point you leave the SGCT Red Route, which heads down a tortuous set of steps back into the Gorge, and follow the fingerpost at the viewpoint that points to “Benthall Hall” which takes you along the top of Benthall Edge. After negotiating a steep dip, there is a fork in the path with another fingerpost. (ignore the path to the left just as you come out of the dip and continue along the edge for another few metres). Look out for birds nest orchids again on this section of the route.
Take the left fork, signed “Spout Lane” and follow the path for 200 metres or so, until you reach another fingerpost at a timber gate and stile leading to a path to the left. At this point you start following the blue waymarking arrows again. You may enjoy looking for some of the many fossils on this section of the route in the stones that have fallen from the old quarry face.
Take the path over the stile to your left, signpost to Spout Lane, (do not follow the sign to Benthall Hall as this joins back onto your route down to Ironbridge) passing through a spur to the woodland and out onto a farm track into open arable land. Note the old brick arch bridge on your right that was part of the old tramway system used to carry limestone extracted from the quarries along the Edge to the local smelting furnaces.
After around 500m the track (a public bridleway) turns left. Turn right at this point through a wooden bridleway gate and follow the path gently uphill through the fields for about 700m to the Hall.
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