The River Severn
"Before the Roman came to Rye,
Or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard
Made the rolling English road."
G.K. Chesterton: The Rolling English Road.
Following the course of the river Severn around the countryside of Shrewsbury, you can't help but think about how the river must have been the countys lifeblood in days gone by.
It must have been busy, noisy and bustling with merchants bringing goods from all the country to this, the largest of Englands inland counties.
Today as you walk alongside the river by Atcham, Wroxeter or Cressage, you'll most likely hear the sounds of wildlife. Birds singing in the trees, cattle mooing, and leaves rustling in the wind or as small animals forridge in the undergrowth for food.
If you are lucky you might even see the odd swan or two. Approaching the village of Wroxeter, you'll be surprised to learn that this was once the sign of the countrys forth largest Roman city, Viriconium.
Most of it remains beneath the ground, patiently waiting to be rediscovered, but some if it has now been excavated and can be viewed by the public. Its a sad fact to uncover all of the city would a exercise so costly that it is likely that it will never be undertaken in our lifetimes, but at least we know that it is there - preserved through the passage of time.
The sections that have already been uncovered, show some real Roman gems. a magnificent public baths and latrine system. Purchasing a guidebook will give full details about the site and the Roman way of life here.
Nearby there is also the site of a Roman Vineyard, again well worth a visit, you can even buy some wine to take on your journey.
A mile or so further down the road will bring you to the village of Cressage. A typical Shropshire village, charming timber-framed buildings set back a little from the road. One such building named Peacock cottage even has a bright blue mural the said bird itself. The small village church and local pub all sitting higgledy, piggledy around the village centre create the impression of a quaint characterful Shropshire village.
To enjoy the Severn at its best though you need to take to the water. From within the Victoria Quayside of Shrewsbury, you can catch the riverboat Sabrina, and journey downstream. Idyllic.