After having a walk around part of the main shopping area we found ourselves walking along the River Severn. Here we are looking back at English Bridge where we came down some steps to access The Riverside Walk. The bridge we see today dates back to 1926 when the original bridge of 1774 was rebuilt and widened. Although it is documented that there has been a bridge on this site since Norman Times. At then end of the bridge you can see The United Reformed Church, which in 2012 celebrated its 150th Anniversary.
The River Severn is quite wide here and makes a perfect location for Shrewsbury's Sixth Form College, which you can see nestled behind the trees to the right of the picture.
The next bridge we can see coming up is Shrewsbury's Railway Station Bridge.
This is quite an impressive structure, it was designed by Robert Stephenson and Joseph Locke and was built in 1838. It is a double arch iron railway bridge.
There was blue sky and sunshine when we were under the railway bridge. After only a few minutes we were having to shelter under a tree as a very heavy rain storm blew in leaving us stranded for several minutes, before the clouds cleared and the sunshine returned.
After walking along the river we headed up St Mary's Water Lane back to the main shopping center. It is documented that this was the main route for traffic up from the river at this point in medieval times, with gates at both ends of the lane. It is quite a steep lane I wouldn't want to be pushing anything heavy up this lane or for that matter trying to roll something down it!
During Norman times the settlement of Shrewsbury added additional defence in the form of town walls, here we can still see a section with a small plaque stating that it is part of the 'Shropshire North Walls'.
This impressive looking building at the entrance to Shrewsbury Castle is Castle Gates House. This house originally stood in Dogpole, a street that runs off Castle Street further down the road, named this because part of the inner town wall ran across this street with a small gate in it that people had to duck down to get through, hence it was called "Duck-hole" or "Dogpole". The house was moved from here to its current position in the 18th Century by the Earl Of Bradbury.
Across the road is the large and impressive building of Shrewsbury Library, with a statue of Charles Darwin guarding the doorway. There is a timber-framed building at the rear which was the original building of the Shrewsbury School which was founded by Royal charter by King Edward VI in 1552. Additional stone buildings were added from 1594 to 1630. The school was relocated in 1882 and the building was converted to a free public library in 1885.
Even on a wet day in mid September there is still plenty of colour to be found in the gardens that line the entrance to Shrewsbury Castle.
Shrewsbury Castle is also home to the Regimental Museum and the entrance gate is guarded by two World War II field guns.
As you can see it looks like we are in for another heavy down pour.
The original building on this site was an Anglo-Saxon timber fortification, it was then replaced by a red sandstone Norman Castle around 1070. This was demolished and rebuilt by Edward I around 1300. This building fell into disrepair over the centuries, until the Civil War when alterations were made to it. The Castle that is seen today was restored to its Edwardian condition and opened to the public in 1926. Unfortunately we don't have time to visit it today, but hopefully we may get to come back.
Here is a glimpse of the gardens at the front.
Walking back down Castle Street away from the Castle we noticed some old buildings down one of the side streets, this lead us to a labyrinth of streets lined with some lovely old buildings. We had walked down Butchers Row and have now entered into Fish Street.
I do like the way that they have incorporated new buildings and features with the old. Butchers Row so named because of Butchers shops located there, maybe. Fish Street, because of fish sellers, maybe. Now we have found Grope Lane!!!
As we walk down Fish Street you can see the tall spire of St Alkmund's Church, which stands almost next door St Julian's Church.
These two buildings look like they are almost leaning on each other for support.
Apparently these steps are called Bear Steps, a medieval passage way or 'shut' a Shropshire term. It is thought they may have been named after The Bear Inn which was located in this area.
We found a lovely Coffee House at the top of the steps. The space was quite small and the floor was very uneven which gave the Coffee House extra character.
Unfortunately as we sat having coffee it started to pour with rain and did not stop so we did not get the chance to explore anymore of this area. We will have to come back again at some point.