view of the bridge from the Rotunda
Ironbridge – Paradise and the Rotunda
Good circular walk around Ironbridge via the Rotunda.
3 miles (4.8 kilometres)
Some steep sections. Muddy in places.
At a moderate pace this should take approximately one hour 20 mins.
Park in the Ironbridge Long Stay car park, on the south side of the river, next to the bridge. Alternatively, there is free parking at the top of Church Hill, or at the Golden Ball - if you intended to stop there for lunch. Both of these car parking spots are on the walk, and would simply mean starting from a different place.
Public toilets – Ironbridge centre or at one of the pubs en route.
Start on the Ironbridge facing the Church.
Walk off the bridge and turn left following the riverside footpath – the river is on your left.
Make your way down the Wharfage, where the Severn trows used to unload, until you reach the visitor centre on your left. Across the road is a shop called Crystal Labyrinth, next to a road sign indicating no entry except for access.
After approx, 100 metres the road splits; you take the right hand route, up another short rise. Pass a couple of houses on your right, then pass through a V gate into the wood. Follow the leafy footpath up the hill. A couple of paths join from the right, including one with a finger post marker, but stay on the straight path until you reach a large tree trunk by the side of the path. At this second finger post marker turn sharp right uphill following a path that the finger post indicates will lead to the Rotunda.
Climb again through the woods until you reach a junction of paths with another finger post. Stay on the straight path and follow the finger post direction along the ridge.
TAKE CARE – please ensure that children are tightly supervised from this point because there are some steep drops ahead.
The ridge narrows, and after approx. 100m you see an information board which marks the site of the rotunda – a viewing point built by the Darbys in the 1790s. The steps at the end of the ridge are a very steep route back down to the river.
Enjoy the views of the Gorge and of the Ironbridge before retracing your steps back to the fingerpost. A few yards beyond the finger post take a right fork up a slight slope. Pass a viewpoint over Coalbrookdale, with the Museum of Iron next to its modern counterpart – the factory where AGA cookers are produced.
Stay on the path for approx 100m until you come to a tree sculpture, then go through the gate onto Church Hill and turn right. Pass Rose Cottage on your left, then the White Horse pub. Just beyond the pub, where Lincoln Hill meets Beech Road, there is an alternative parking spot and starting point.
Cross Lincoln Hill by the street sign and take the marked footpath up Lodge Lane to the Lodge Lane nature reserve. Feel free to explore this small volunteer run reserve, which might be a good place for a picnic lunch. If you are walking straight through, you stay on the straight path that follows the upper, left hand edge of the reserve. This exits onto a narrow lane and you turn right and walk downhill to the T junction with Hodge Bower.
Turn left onto Hodge Bower then, after approx. 50m turn right down Belle Vue Road. Follow the long brick wall around to your left, walking towards a cottage with wooden gates.
Follow the path past 'Finders Keepers' and down to the right where the view opens up again and you have the aptly named Sunnicliffe House on your left. Walk past Sunnicliffe, then turn left up a short incline with a stone wall on your left. This is Hillside, which levels out and passes a high Holly hedge. Pass number 6 and 6a then follow a stone wall until the road joins Belmont by a postbox. Turn right onto Belmont and walk downhill.
TAKE CARE – there is a main road ahead.
Cross Madeley Road with care, making full use of the mirror on the opposite side of the road. Leaving the converted chapel, with its interesting tower, to your left, walk towards the Golden Ball pub. This is a good place for lunch, it is also an alternative parking place and starting point.
Follow the brick steps leading down to the left of the picnic area. Take a look at the furnaces from ground level. There is free parking here and this is another alternative parking place and starting point.
Cross the road to the riverside footpath, and turn left towards the new bridge. Cross the river and turn left towards a telephone box, before crossing the road opposite the box and up a short track, which again looks as if it might be a private drive; it isn't.
Head towards a house with a gable covered in ivy, then turn right up a short track towards number 34. There is a small bridge ahead; do not cross this, but instead, take a narrow path down to the old Ironbridge / Bridgnorth railway line, now a well used track.
Turn right and follow the track back to the Long Stay car park and the Ironbridge.