Ludlow, SVR and Ironbridge

Bridge over the River Teme
Bridge over the River Teme
I'd been invited to Jane's surprise 60th in Ludlow, so I thought I'd tag on a visit to the Severn Valley Railway in Kidderminster, a bus pass trip to see the Iron Bridge and a visit to my Uncle and Aunty in Shifnal. So, on Saturday 13 May, Ellen drove Jackie, Deborah and me up to our creaky Air B&B right in the centre of town. The surprise party, organised by Jane's kids, worked out remarkably well, but it was a long walk back to the B&B.

Ludlow market
Sunday we spent wandering round town and around the castle - there was a food festival on - and had lunch at the Green Cafe down by the river. Jane nearly fell in whilst texting along an eroded muddy river bank! We bought food from the market to eat back at Jane's again.

On Monday I walked with Jackie down to the railway station, had a coffee in Tesco's then I flagged down the 2L bus to Kidderminster for a very scenic journey up and over the green Shropshire hills. I'd booked two nights at the Premier Inn, which was a converted mill with lovely brickwork. The hotel was right by the bus station, so after a quick pint at the Penny Black, I did a recce of the railway station, and I got lost choosing the wrong exit from an underpass! Phone and Google Maps got me to the stations, where I had a chat with a bearded volunteer,  grabbed some leaflets, then caught a bus back to the Wetherspoons for four bean chilli and another cheap pint.

Tuesday I took a bus to the station and bought a day rover ticket for £18.80. First train of the day was steam at 10.15am - an 0-6-0 pannier tank No. 1501. A coach party had bagged most of the carriages but I got a nice enough seat. We passed a safari park at Bewdley and I saw some elephants and a rhino, then No. 7802 Bradley Manor in the station!

No. 1501
No. 1501
I alighted at Highley to visit the Engine House locos in the new Visitor Centre, including 2-10-0 No. 600 'Gordon', Ex-Longmoor Military Railway, and Standard tank No. 80079, built in Brighton 1954. The next one built, 80080, is currently working at the East Lancs railway!

Severn Valley Railway
No. 48773 and No. 600 Gordon
Severn Valley Railway
Standard tank No. 80079
After a quick cup of tea, I jumped on the next train, pulled by a diesel No. 271, to Bridgnorth, where there were lots of locos to admire outside the sheds, including No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, also built in Brighton. Now I've been to Bridgnorth before, in 2008 on a coach trip, and all I remember was that scary bridge linking the station to the town.

Bridgnorth foot bridge
Bridgnorth foot bridge

I wanted to visit the Cliff Railway, so marched across it and turned right downhill to Low Town, where I found a pie and mash cafe called BamBoo with a bewildering number of options! After lunch (broccoli and mushroom pie (small - a bit dry) with cheesy mash, mushy peas, carrots and veggie gravy, since you ask) and a pint of Hobson's, I crossed over the road and bought a return ticket for £1.60 (no singles) for a ride on England's steepest inland funicular, in its 50s style coaches up to High Town.
Bridgnorth cliff railway
Cliff Railway
Then it was a walk round the other side of the castle, over that bridge again, and onto a train hauled by GWR 2-8-0 No. 2857 back to Kidderminster where I had a pint of mild in the King and Castle followed by a bus ride back to the hotel.

0-8-0 GWR No. 2857
GWR 2-8-0 No. 2857
On Wednesday 17 May, I took a 297 bus to Bridgnorth, and for the first time saw the town centre and High Street. Bought a sandwich at Tesco's and boarded the 114 to Telford, where I had a hour to kill. It was raining so  investigated the shopping mall, bought some stamps and a bottle of wine at Asda then set off on the 96 to Ironbridge, where I had half an hour to take some snaps, cross the bridge, and have a half of Hobson's in the Tontine Hotel before being collected by my cousin and taken back to Shifnal.

Iron Bridge
Thomas Telford's Iron Bridge
They very kindly took me to eat at a pub The Fox, opposite where Jeremy Corbyn once lived (Yew Tree Manor), and on Thursday my Uncle gave me a lift to Shifnal station, to travel home via Wolverhampton and the London rush hour. I arrived back just in time for a Beyond the Level party at Moe's Cafe!