In the heart of Oswestry sits 90 acres of land that houses sculptures of all kinds of subjects. From dragons to birds, cars to boats, there is something for everybody to look at.
We had seen a mention of The British Ironworks Centre on social media. So, with a natural curiosity for things a little bit different, we traveled to have a look.
The car ride took about an hour from where we live, and I was excited to see what unfolded. As we approach the vicinity, the kids start shouting and reeling off sculptures that seem to pop up out of nowhere. A pack of cheetahs running through a shrub, tall giraffes standing proud at the side of the road. We pull onto the first car park we saw (which we now realise was possibly an overflow), disembark and walk up a long drive towards the main part of the centre. The drive was flanked by animals made out of iron, with the kids running and inspecting each one.
On the approach to the main sculpture area, the magnificence of the artwork really shows. There is a huge spider, gorillas of many colours, dragons and birds of prey. The kids ran round excitedly and posed for pictures. They even stood on an empty box and made a sculpture of their own.
There are giant works, one of King Midas made out of gold coins. Also, a spoon gorilla, the idea birthed by Uri Gellar, which used 40,000 spoons to make. In the parking lot,a dragon sits on top of a car, with the registration plate Daenerys. If you know, you know!
We head towards the main building and enter past Bumblebee and the Queen. And step into a world of curiosity. We just stood and gawped. There were things everywhere. From the back of the room there was a live music performer, smells of cake and coffee, and enough visual aids to keep you occupied for hours. Airplanes hung off the ceiling, monkeys swung around the cafe and Michael Jackson was pulling some moves in the middle of the floor!
Motorcar seats welcome us as we order coffee and cake, which Finley devoured. It is a lovely place to sit and peruse for an hour, while we recharge. There is a shop on site, but pretty much everything in the place is for sale anyway. If you sign up to become a member, for One Whole Pound (!), you can get 10% off everything in the cafe and the shop. That’s a good deal, if you ask me.
The knife angel was something I was interested in seeing, but he is on tour at the moment. Artist Alfie Bradley made the 24ft high piece out of 100,000 knives that had been confiscated or handed in to a police amnesty. The Ironworks have a few cabinets detailing the process of the making of the sculpture and even show a few of the knives that had been surrendered. Some with blood of the victims still on the knives. It made for a very chilling read, but if it raises awareness and makes society a safer place to live, then all the better for it.
Considering the entry is Free, I think this makes for a really good day out. If you would like to practice your photography skills, there are plenty of stationary objects at your disposal, and the grounds make for a lovely walk. To sum up, I would definitely recommend the visit for something a little bit different, but equally interesting.
Postcode SY11 4JH. Open every day until 5.00.
If you like this, maybe you’d like to read about our visit to Stafford Castle.