UK Country Sights And More Good Friends.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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The Poplars

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, July 25, 2011

We are back on the road, in a hire car again. Well, actually two! We hired a car in London, did a day of sightseeing then left the first car at Manchester airport while we did a 48 hour trip to Ireland, hired a second car there, then came back to our London car for 5 more days of sightseeing! Phew! - very confusing when each car and GPS is different, but at least the Brits and the Irish drive on the left hand side!

But back to our first day out of London. We travelled first to Oxford for a look, but found it so busy we couldn't even secure a park, so after a "drive around look" we headed to the UNESCO World Heritage sight of Ironbridge Gorge. This proved very hard to find. We knew it was near Wolverhampton, but couldn't even find a tourist office there at all. We asked quite a few people to no avail, but eventually were sent in the right general direction where we were able to pick up some signs heading us to Ironbridge. It was not in the GPS as a tourist attraction and unfortunately the GPS we had did not do co-ordinates either. The "bridge" of the Ironbridge, is an amazing sight. Built in 1779, it is the World's first cast iron bridge. This whole area is noted as being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The village was truly picturesque in a quaint English sort of way. What is astounding is that so many people that we asked, just 20 kms away, had never heard of it!

One more sight to fit in before we arrived in Lincoln to stay with our good friends Martin and Heike and this too, proved extremely elusive. Eventually we bought a book of maps from a petrol station and found our way to the Derwent Valley Mills. The site had closed for tourists for the day, but there was a meeting happening at the mill, so we snuck in for a look. We found a local to chat too and some signage that explained that here in 1771, Richard Arkwright, known later as the "Father of the Factory System" invented the first water powered cotton spinning wheel. His invention meant a much easier and cheaper means of producing cloth.  He set up a series of mills all through the valley during the late 1700's and these are preserved here today. The Derwent mills at some stage were under the same ownership as the mill in New Lanark in Scotland.

At last we arrived at Lincoln and caught up with Martin and Heike whom we met on out travels in 2005 and have kept in touch with. They now own and run a gorgeous bed and breakfast, called The Poplars in Lincoln. We went out to dinner at a lovely Indian restaurant and enjoyed catching up on each others travels and lives. Up and off early the next morning after a sumptuous breakfast, we headed to Manchester airport and our quick trip to Ireland.  


Footnote: Ironbridge Gorge and Derwent Valley Mills are UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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