Logo: Buildwas Abbey

Buildwas to Ironbridge walk

Image: View in Buildwas

Buildwas to Ironbridge Walk

Along the River Severn

Distance: 2.49 miles / 4 km

Duration: One day including museum visits

Difficulty: Easy

Starts at: Buildwas Abbey

Ends at: Coalport

Buildwas to Ironbridge

Discover the cradle of the Industrial Revolution with this unique walk through history.Suitable for all the family, this short walk is the best way to discover the museums and attractions of the Ironbridge Gorge.

The Industrial Revolution began by the banks of the River Severn. This short walk through the Ironbridge Gorge is just four miles each way, but is full of historic interest - the Iron Bridge itself, the many museums in the gorge, and beautiful Buildwas Abbey, where the walk starts.We recommend that you make a day of it and take time to explore the museums and other attractions. Buying a passport for the Ironbridge Gorge Museums is the most cost-effective way to visit several sites, and enables you to return at a later date should you not finish the full set! Find out more about the Ironbridge museums at www.ironbridge.org.uk.There are numerous riverside pubs in Ironbridge, as well as all the gift shops you would expect for such a popular destination.

Getting there

Parking: Parking is available at Buildwas Abbey and at several pay-and-display car parks in Ironbridge.

Public transport: Ironbridge is just south of Telford and is well-signposted from the M54 motorway. Public transport is limited but there are some buses from Telford, which has a main-line railway station.


1. Buildwas Abbey

The well-preserved remains of Buildwas Abbey, on the south bank of the Severn, make for a dramatic start to the walk. Built in 1135, the abbey's main income for many years came from tolls charged on the adjacent bridge over the river. The site is now cared for by English Heritage and has a modest admission charge. Cross over to the north bank of the river and turn right onto the Severn Way.

2. Railway bridge

Continue along the river into the deep Ironbridge Gorge. Pass under the rarely-used railway line which delivers fuel to Ironbridge Power Station. The power station is specially coloured to blend in with the local stone and, though it might be considered unsightly by some, maintains a proud tradition of industry in the gorge.

3. Coalbrookdale Road junction

Join the main road and walk into Ironbridge, passing the T-junction where the road to Coalbrookdale heads off to the left. (You can take a diversion here to visit the new Enginuity visitor centre and the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron.) Continue straight on into Ironbridge. The road soon rejoins the river, just after the excellent Museum of the Gorge - a must-visit for anyone interested in the industrial and natural history of the area. Continue along the road to the Iron Bridge.

4. Iron Bridge

The famous iron bridge deserves all the superlatives that have been heaped on it through the years. Take time to stop and wonder at this marvel of engineering, cast over 225 years ago. Then cross the bridge, passing the delightful toll-house on the south side of the bridge, and turn left along the Severn Way. The path on the south bank makes extensive use of the disused Severn Valley railway line, which once exported the products of the gorge across Britain and beyond. Continue past the busy Jackfield road bridge to the next footbridge.

5. Jackfield Footbridge

Cross the river here to reach the Coalport Canal, the Coalport China Museum and the end of our walk. There is much to explore in this area, including the ever-popular Blists Hill Victorian Town. You can then retrace your steps to Buildwas or walk back along the road on the north bank, stopping at the gift shops of Ironbridge.

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