The Green Wood Café (COVID-19)

The front of The Green Wood Café, with a large sign saying "Please Wait Here".The Green Wood Café is in Coalbrookedale, a narrow, steep-sided valley which leads south into the famous Ironbridge Gorge a few hundred metres west of the famous bridge. Located in the Green Wood Centre, it’s nestled between the road and the disused railway line. The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on The Green Wood Café, which has only recently reopened, having been shut over the winter. Like many places, it has had to reinvent itself, but the good news is that it’s done a fantastic job, with excellent, well thought out systems and lots of lovely outdoor seating, including tables in the adjacent orchard.

For now, everything is served in compostable, single use containers, with a full, all-day brunch menu, including street food and toasted sandwiches, backed up by the range of cakes. Everything is vegetarian, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. When it comes to the coffee, which uses the café’s own bespoke blend, oat milk is offered as standard, with dairy and soya milk as options. There’s also a wide range of tea and alternative drinks such as chai, beetroot, matcha and turmeric lattes (all of which have iced versions), backed up with smoothies and soft drinks.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The approach to The Green Wood Café is through the car park...
  • ... with the café straddling either side of the access road at the back.
  • Not that you can get down the access road even if you wanted to. The signs point you...
  • ... to the café on the left (the building on the far left is the home of the Oracle Trust).
  • Head up the shallow slope and up the two steps...
  • ... where you are greeted by a sign asking you to wait to be seated.
  • There are plenty of handy instructions around if you don't know what to do.
  • Your member of staff will lead you through the café, where you'll find this area at the back.
  • It used to hold some indoor seating, and still has the retail shelves.
  • Alternatively, take the outside route via the veranda (which also used to have seating).
  • Either way, you'll end up at the patio at the back, where there's limited seating...
  • ... either this two-person table in the open...
  • ... or this four-person one under the gazebo. You can go no further by the way...
  • ... since the Green Wood Centre, which is at the back of the site, is currently closed.
  • Instead, double back on yourself...
  • ... and you'll find a row of seven gazebos opposite the café, plus a two-person table.
  • Each gazebo is open front and back and has either a four-person table...
  • ... or a four-person picnic table.
  • The view from one of the gazebos. We'll come to those other tables in a minute.
  • When you're done, by the way, drop all the packaging in the red compost bin at the end...
  • ... next  to which you'll find steps to the final bit of seating...
  • ... in amongst the apple trees. There are two four-person picnic tables...
  • ... another four-person table and one more two-person table.
  • One of the picnic tables nestling under an apple tree.
  • You'll be taken to your seat where you'll be left with a menu. It has clear instructions...
  • ... on the front, and lots of choice inside.
  • I ordered a (dairy milk) flat white...
  • ... which I transfered to my HuskeeCup for drinking. Sadly the latte art did not survive!
  • I also had the Lodge Brunch for breakfast. This was a veritable feast of...
  • ... scrambled egg, mushrooms, beans, hash browns, sourdough toast and vegan bacon.
  • My brunch, unobscured by the toast.
  • When you are done, leave the menu face down on the table so the staff know to clean it.
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The Green Wood Café is at the southern end of Coalbrookedale, a 10-minute walk from the river, while if you’re driving, there’s a small car park, which is the first thing you come to. The site is long and thin, the road running above it to the left (west) and the train tracks alongside to the right (east). The café shares the site with the Green Wood Centre and the Ironbridge Coracle Trust, which has a small building off to the left. The café is beyond the car park, on a raised platform on the left, beyond which, at the back of the site, is the Green Wood Centre, part of which occupies the old station buildings. For now, only The Green Wood Café is open, although the Oracle Trust plans to re-open in mid-May.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the café was limited to the single building it currently occupies, but it’s now added a large amount of outdoor seating, much of which is sited on three old parking bays opposite the café on the right-hand side of the access road which leads to the Green Wood Centre. If you look carefully, you can still see the white lines painted on the road.

For now, access to the café building is limited. You approach from the car park up a short slope, at the top of which a pair of broad steps leads to the entrance, where you wait until one of the staff comes to greet you (you’ll find the usual hand sanitiser and NHS App QR Code here). You’re walked through the building while the ordering process is explained to you. You can either go through the building itself, past the kitchen and toilets on your left, or along the veranda on the right-hand side. In pre-COVID times there were tables here, plus more inside at the back, beyond the kitchen, but the spaces are too small/narrow for them to be effective while social distancing rules are in place.

Your tour finishes at the large, open patio at the back of the building. For now, this has a couple of tables, a two-person one to the right and a four-person one under a gazebo at the back. If you don’t want to sit on the patio, try the row of seven four-person tables on the road opposite the café, each covered by an individual gazebo which is open front and back, but protected from sun/rain by a peaked roof and from its neighbours by canvas walls (all the gazebos were purchased thanks to a successful Crowdfunder campaign). There’s also a two-person table at the back which is open to the elements. Finally, to the right of the gazebos is a small apple orchard next to the train tracks, with a four-person table, a pair of four-person picnic tables and a two-person table, all scattered amongst the trees.

You’ll be shown to a table and given a menu. You can either order and pay online (there’s a QR Code on the menu) or the staff will return in a few minutes. I took the online option which was straightforward. When you’re done, leave your menu face down on your table (so that a red cross on the back is showing), which tells the staff that the table needs cleaning. Finally, take your packaging with you and drop it in the red bin beyond the gazebos and just before the car park.

I sat in one of the gazebos, where I had trees and birdsong for company, ordering the Lodge Brunch for breakfast. This was a veritable feast of scrambled egg, mushrooms, beans, hash browns and sourdough toast, to which I added a side of vegan bacon. It was excellent and very filling. I paired that with a dairy milk flat white, which I transferred to my HuskeeCup for drinking. This had classic chocolate notes, the milk and coffee in perfect harmony.

GREEN WOOD CENTRE • STATION ROAD • COALBROOKDALE • IRONBRIDGE • TF8 7DR
www.thegreenwoodcoffeelodge.com
Monday 09:00 – 15:00 Roaster Own Blend (espresso only)
Tuesday 09:00 – 15:00 Seating Tables (outside)
Wednesday 09:00 – 15:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 09:00 – 15:00 Service Table
Friday 09:00 – 15:00 Payment Card Only
Saturday 09:00 – 15:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 15:00 Power N/A
Chain No Visits 30th April 2021

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