Doing your bit to look after our planet is as simple as picking up your litter. Or should I say not chucking it on the floor in the first place. But more of that in a moment…
I love a good explore around a town that I’ve never been to before. Or rather in the case of Bridgnorth, an explore around somewhere I have been briefly but arrived so late that I was unable to have a look around (apart from the B&B dining room where I took delivery of a Chinese takeaway and ate it on my own in what felt like the middle of the night). Taking time to wander around somewhere new is definitely one of life’s pleasures, combining walking, fresh air, some education – it feels good to seek out some enchanting streets and new-to-me views for the memory banks (and Instagram).
View from the Castle Walk. All very brown.
Bridgnorth Is a lovely old town that straddles the River Severn in Shropshire. Split into upper and lower town thanks to the steep cliff like hill, there are lots of cobbled streets, Tudor buildings, old walls, dominating churches, gardens and other things too. Because of the steep hill there are some great views across the valley and to the hills opposite, and up and down the river. When you are down in the valley you can’t see how dominating the hills are, but from the top you can see right across and appreciate the geography and the town built overlooking the valley.
One of the towns main attractions is it funicular railway – The Cliff Railway Company – a very steep bus like tram that takes you up and down the 100+ foot sandstone cliffs. It works using a counterbalance system – each carriage works to pull the other up the hill, originally thanks to a water tank system under the carriages but now via an electric motor. Simple yet effective engineering, it’s great to see something like this still doing it’s thing to help people move around the town. And at only £1.20 return it’s a no-brainer – it just has to be ridden.
Cliff Railway, Bridgnorth.
You might not get the wide views at the bottom of the cliff but there are plenty of quirky sights to keep things interesting. The sandstone cliffs themselves have a huge amount of history; there are caves and tunnels making up “Lavington’s Hole”, man-made hideouts and paths to allow people to live and move up and down the town unseen. I only know what I read on Wikipedia once I’d stumbled across the caves, but it reminded me of Cappadocia – except the rain and temperature – although you can’t actually go in to the caves or tunnels to have a look which is a shame.
Lavington’s Hole. Shame about the sign getting in the way. Although I’m sure there’s a life-lesson in that somewhere.
The Severn Way runs along the river through the town and heads out into the countryside. I love river walks, they offer so much in terms of different views while being incredibly easy to navigate – bonus. The short part I walked was a bit of tow path, some muddy track, and a few steps – all fine with walking shoes. It sneaked behind houses and flats and provided some lovely river views, even if the river was typically British – very very brown! I admit I stopped at the kissing gate that took the route over a meadow and into the fields, the path got particularly squelchy at that point and I was not properly prepared for that kind of terrain (and didn’t have very long anyway).
The Severn Way.
View of the River Severn from Bridgnorth town bridge.
Back at the top of the cliff (via the funicular, of course), I walked along the Castle Walk towards a huge church and surrounding park. Except the park (or gardens, or grounds, or church yard – not sure of its correct title) was locked up at 5.30pm. It would have been nice to walk around but the grounds keeper obviously didn’t want me in there at that time. I’m sure there is a good reason. I had a look at the Severn Railway from the top of the hill, there was a train in the station but that also seemed to be shut up so I couldn’t get in to look.
What I could do, though, was explore all the little staircases dotted along the cliff. There were loads!
Exploring new places and wandering around town is to have a look and see what’s there is one of my favourite things to do especially when I’m away with work because I usually end up with an hour or so when I arrive before sunset just to make the most of being in a new place, and I am very pleased I was able to explore Bridgnorth a bit as it’s a lovely little and very slightly quirky town. Well worth the effort.
But sadly the biggest thing I noticed when wandering around Bridgnorth wasn’t it’s beautiful vistas or cute surroundings. The thing that stuck in my mind was the litter. So much litter.
It didn’t just seem to be the odd crisp packet or coke can, either, it was whole bin liners of stuff strewn across the pavement and down steps, the perfect magnet for animals. Litter is a real bug bear of mine (I’m the person who will call you out if I see you drop something on the floor!) and it makes you wonder if the people who live and work in Bridgnorth care about their surroundings. Harsh? Maybe. And I know it’s not confined to this particular town – I mean here in Lincoln it’s just as bad – it’s horrible.
There was one particular set of steps I took a picture of (above) because I thought it was so cute – really old with stone arches, old-fashioned lamps, stamped steps, metal railings, and like it would be perfect for a period drama (or episode of Dr Who). But I simply couldn’t get a photograph without rubbish in it. I know they say that instagram shows a perfect life but it was simply impossible for me to find a scene along this particular route that didn’t have litter in it and it was very disappointing. It made me so sad. And a little bit angry. I’m sure the people of Bridgnorth do care for their environment really, but you can see how my first impression might be slightly off. I saw someone did care – there was a laminated paper sign attached to some railings saying “please don’t throw your rubbish over here”.
People of Bridgnorth, people of England, people of the world… Have some respect. Show some care. Litter isn’t just horrible to look at but it’s also unhygienic, attracts animals, and is really bad for our planet. Caring for our environment is as simple as not chucking your litter on the floor (or over the railings, or down the cliff). Don’t be a litterbug.
Life is all about the journey. Go out and explore wherever you are. And take your litter home.
Oh, and if you missed my tour of Bridgnorth in my weekly vlog, now would be a good time to watch it… and don’t forget to subscribe (and thumbs up, and comment, etc) – ta!