Bridgnorth is an ancient market town that sits astride a red-sandstone ridge beside the River Severn. The town is on two levels: High Town, which stands 200ft (60m) above the river and Low Town, which lies on the banks of the Severn. A funicular cliff-side railway links the upper and lower parts of the town.
Bridgnorth Bridge © Travel About Britain
The current six-arched road-bridge over the Severn dates from 1823, built to a design by Thomas Telford. The 'Cartway' leading down to the bridge is the oldest link between the town's two levels. Along this lane sits the attractive timber-framed Bishop Percy's House of 1580, the birthplace of Thomas Percy (1729), Bishop of Dromore.
The charming character of High Town is represented in its many medieval black-and white houses. The 17th-c. half-timbered Town Hall stands in the middle of the long High Street, where weekly markets are still held. Many fine old inns can also be found along the High Street, which leads up to the ancient Northgate, housing the town museum. Much of the rest of the town is 18th-c, reflected in the many elegant Georgian houses around East Castle Street. Low Town also has a number of interesting ancient buildings, including Diamond Hall and a post office of 1700.
Bridgnorth, High Street © Travel About Britain
An outstanding feature of High Town is the Church of St Mary Magdalene, an 18th-c. classical construction built by Thomas Telford.
Bridgnorth Castle and Gardens © TAB
The ruins of a 12th-c castle stand on the natural defensive position above cliffs. All that remains today is a part of the Norman keep, which leans at a precarious angle; the result of destruction by Parliamentarians during the Civil War. The rest of the castle grounds have been repurposed as a public park, affording splendid views over the valley.
Bridgnorth is the northern terminus and main locomotive depot of the Severn Valley Railway. Reopened in 1965 by a group of enthusiasts, the popular heritage steam line runs through a very picturesque stretch of the Severn Valley to Kidderminster.
St Leonard's Church shows traces of its Norman origin. It was rebuilt in the 1860's in the Gothic Revival style, with a fine hammerbeam roof.
South-east of Bridgnorth is a steep ridge named Kinver Edge, where cave dwellings have been cut into the sandstone cliff, occupied as recently as the 19th-c.
The Bridgnorth funicular railway traverses the 100ft (30m) climb from Low Town to High Town. A welcome aid to the weary traveller. The alternative to which is a steep climb of 200 steps. The railway opened on 7th July 1892 and has been running almost continuously since.
Opening times: daily from 9am to 6pm - Admission Charge
Location: 6A Castle Terrace, Bridgnorth WV16 4AH
Tel: 01746 762124
The Northgate is a good place to start a tour of the town. The museum is located in rooms above the arches of the ancient northern defensive entrance to the town. The current structure was rebuilt in the 18th-c.
Opening times: Sat, Sun, Wed from 12pm to 3pm - Free Entry (Donations welcome)
Location: Northgate, Bridgnorth WV16 4ER
Tel: 01746 763525
The SVR steam heritage line runs for 16 picturesque miles along the Severn Valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. Bridgnorth station is the northern terminus for the line and hosts the main engine shed, gift shop, station buffet and restaurant.
Opening times: times vary, see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: 2 Hollybush Rd, Bridgnorth WV16 4AX