Saturday, November 20

Attention to Arleston

The autumnal annals of West Midlands Exploration history tell of various Telford trips that have taken place when the leaves start to fall - eminent examples that spring to mind include Leegomery (Oct 2007), Trench (Nov 2012), Dawley Bank (Nov 2013) and Wombridge (Nov 2019). That distinguished list can now lay claim to a new entry thanks to yesterday's Arleston airing...

- Pause for Thought in Bowring Park -
Friday 19th November 2021 is the date in question as the Holyhead-bound 09:44 Transport for Wales departure whisks me off to Wellington, a place I've become very fond of over the course of several Telford tours. Even though I know the town reasonably well now, there are unseen pockets awaiting discovery so Orleton Lane sets the ball rolling by jinking over a tight railway bridge to meet Hollies Road near the Golden House Chinese takeaway. The full length of Hollies Road is next, leading in turn to Bowring Park where the bowling green is still out of commission and a collection of painted pebbles celebrate NHS efforts during the pandemic.

- Holyhead Road Mileage Marker -
From the park I emerge onto Holyhead Road which in its day was an important artery forming part of the historic Roman route towards Wroxeter and Atcham. Watering holes in the vicinity are the Red Lion (next to a BP filling station) and the Wickets Inn (which the Chip Foundation sampled once upon a time) while brightening skies illuminate the reassuring tower of Christ Church, completed in 1839 as a daughter place of worship to All Saints and thus known as 'New Church' as a result. It's certainly a mighty fine landmark, as indeed is the Cock Hotel on Mill Bank junction - Joules are still in the process of refurbishing that particular coaching inn. 

- Short Wood Primary School -
So far so good and here comes Arleston ready to take centre stage. I don't think I've ever properly explored this area before so I'm hoping for some interesting finds, in which case Limekiln Lane is quick to supply Short Wood Primary School with associated nursery (The Nest) and sports facilities. Further along, the lane turns into an unmade track until Mount Gilbert nibbles into the adjacent estate. Bayley Road is screened from the M54 motorway though you can't avoid hearing the traffic noise, and I have a momentary brush with Lawley when investigating a short stretch of Dawley Road.

- Arleston Village -
Recalibrating my bearings, I realise Kingsland is the turning I need in order to access Arleston Village. This is a characterful pocket of older properties that existed prior to any New Town developments, and a little stream trickles alongside the road for added wow factor. Toll Road returns me into more typical suburban surroundings as the number 11 bus grunts by en route to Telford town centre via Lawley Post Office. A little ride might be handy but I'm continuing on foot with Arleston Lane having me homing in on my first pint of the day...

- The Bridge Builder -
Arleston effectively is that portion south of Wellington sandwiched between the motorway and Holyhead Road/Bennetts Bank. One of the area's relatively new arrivals is the Wrekin Retail Park, situated off M54 Junction 6 in comprising major stores such as Matalan, Tesco, Boots and Homebase. Also part of the complex is the Bridge Builder pub, a Hungry Horse outlet advertising big breakfast deals and clearly trying to entice in their share of the shopping hordes. Greene King IPA is hardly my favourite beer in the world but as the only cask ale available it shall have to suffice, and I rather like some of the quirky decorations with an emphasis on oversized Lego bricks plus psychedelic castle prints.  

- AFC Telford United -
I never like to hang around shopping centres any longer than I really have to so I'm soon underway again, navigating the cul-de-sacs of Lidgates Green back out onto Arleston Lane. Woollam Road corner has a gold postbox in honour of Mickey Bushell's 100m T53 wheelchair sprint success at the 2012 Paralympics, and there is more sporting endeavour to consider at the New Bucks Head. The stadium is of course home to AFC Telford United and is currently doubling up as a Covid vaccination centre, hence the car park is quite busy as I attempt pictures of the West Stand. 

- Pleasant Pint in the Pheasant -
Coming full circle into Wellington again, there is plenty of time for a pub pit stop or two on my afternoon agenda. The Railway on Mill Bank is always a good bet for quality cask and on this occasion the Butty Bach is spot on, backed with Bargain Hunt and some eclectically random jukebox selections ('Cinderella Rockefeller', 'The Witch' by The Rattles and a lesser-heard Gerry and the Pacemakers hit). Banks's Sunbeam in the Raven isn't bad either, and I make doubly sure to sample some of the Rowton Brewery's creations at their Pheasant taphouse. Both the Ironbridge Gold and the Apollo are on fine form as I sit outside in the secluded and surprisingly spacious beer garden - cheers! 

2 comments:

  1. There was me thinking this might be light on pubs and you sandwich FOUR in!!
    Not heard of the Rowton Brewery so that looks worth further exploration...

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    1. Sometimes you have to keep the readers waiting for the bits they're most interested in! Yes four pubs in the end, and that's without the Cock Hotel which I definitely would have tried had the refurb been complete. Rowton Brewery is based in the village of Rowton, a place otherwise known for a meteorite that landed there in the 1870s, and I think they operate the Pheasant in conjunction with Everards as part of Project William. Cheers, Paul

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