Bridgnorth  Guide
Bridgnorth Tourist Information & Visitor Guide
 

Cartway - the Descent to Low Town
You should now be back at Waterloo Terrace. You have no less that a dozen routes to Low Town!

Stoneway Steps, Bridgnorth

There are 8 sets of steps, the Cliff Railway, the Cartway, the footbridge to the Severn Valley Station and the main road.

Our walk uses the The Cartway to descend and you can chose your own route to return.. The easiest option being the Cliff Railway for a comfortable scenic ascent, however Stoneway Steps is probably the most historic set of steps -137 in all. They are edged with iron and of uneven size because it was once used by horses, thus they are quite comfortable to walk.

Facing the Waterloo terrace sign by the opticians, The Cartway is the lane on your left. Directly on your left is a display board giving its history with an old fashioned globe street lamp above. Until 1786 this was the only route to High Town for carts, there is a mileage marker a few steps down on the left. In 1786 the New Road was built, making accessibility between High Town and Low Town much easier for man and beast.

As you walk down, imagine this an area of drinkers, disreputable ladies and what we probably in this day call dives. It is said that there is a ghost of a lady that appears in The Cartway. They call her The Black Lady and some long time residents are still nervous about walking in this area alone at night.

Cartway, Bridgnorth

During Bridgnorth's heyday as a thriving port there were upwards of 50 pubs and eateries around Cartway and the quay area. The labourers mainly lived in Low Town because traditionally those with little income were forced tended to have to stay on the “ lower grounds” and be subjected to the turmoils of river’s flooding.

Partway down The Cartway on the right you will see a Methodist church which is reputed to have very fine needlework, however it is only open to the public for coffee mornings or services.

Cartway, Bridgnorth

Further down on the left you will see a plaque on the wall telling of how the sandstone caves were used as dwellings until 1856. Bridgnorth had many areas with cave dwellings because people were poor and the sandstone was easy to shape.

As you continue there is a lovely collection of interesting houses clinging onto the hillside which have managed not to fall down yet! Of the 50 or so pubs that once existed, only one now remains - The Black Boy Inn (17th century). It is said that because King Charles II had a rather dark complexion, the owners wanted to name the pub in his honour, thus The Black Boy. Don’t you wonder if Charles knew about this honour, how did he feel about being called a “boy”?

Cartway, Bridgnorth

Further downhill almost at another junction on the left is quite a very beautiful large timber frame house with a cobblestone front. Known as Bishop Percy's House, it was fortunate to have survived the devastating fire of 1646 during the Civil War. It was later owned by Bishop Percy, reverend and author 1729-1811.

Directly to the right is Ashwood Loade (formerly owned by Lord Compton), a brick residence with a front garden on the street. The garden was created by the owner Mr Ashwood in 1940. He died in 1988, but the plaque on the wall states he’s still looking down on it. It’s a lovely perennial garden and a hidden find on your walk.

Were you to bear left at the garden, you would be on Riverside and could stroll along the river to the dead end.

Follow The Cartway down to the T-junction, on the way on the left you will pass Bassa Villa - a building dated 1591. A board outside tells of the origin of the name and its connection with Low Town, look inside and see the nice old beams and you can imagine it full of rough sailors drinking their wages after a journey.

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Bridgnorth Walk

1. Northgate
2. St Leonards
3. The Old Town Hall
4. The High Street
5. Waterloo Terrace
6. Bridgnorth Castle
7. Cartway
8. The Bridge
9. Cliff Railway
 
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For escorted tours of Bridgnorth please visit:
Shropshire Tour Guides
Copyright © Paul & Sabine Hutchinson