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Shropshire Coat of Arms

Nov 2014

hugga (personal-name) + lēah Old English pasture.

Population - 3,270.

Shropshire Coat of Arms

Perched above the River Severn, here's an old mining town that now makes posh pens. What was  D. Leonardt & Co. have their headquarters here and are rare survivors of the thriving Birmingham pen trade of the 1850s, you remember?

Woodhill, Highley

This sort of thing normally causes great excitement and an hour could happily be spent in a Staples™ or a big Rymans™ but don't get too excited, there are no organised tours here to meet 'his nibs'.

They've had to diversify and mainly make those metal, silver, corner bits that you get on diaries. Now that's niche.

The Severn Valley Railway chuff-chuff also choo-choos through here and you'll need to head downhill past the Severn Valley Country Park car park for the trains. If you're looking instead for the Ship Inn, get to the point where you think you can't go any further and then go a little bit further.

34027 arrives at Highley Station Highley - Severn Valley Railway

It's hoped the 14:28 to, or was it from?, Kidderminster isn't running too late. You really don't want to be hanging about on a wet platform in that drizzle.

 
The Ship Inn (Severnside)

It's actually under the railway and occupies a prime spot on the river if steam's not your thing. It's very popular with dogs and handy if you're just here to stroll the Severn instead.

It was assumed this line was all about the coal, the small railway museum sitting on the old colliery sidings a clue. Only partially apparently, this was a passenger branch that also linked you to Shrewsbury but so-called 'Dr'  Beeching didn't consider the fortnightly trips to  Gay Meadow viable and closed it down in 1963.

An enthusiastic bunch of choo-choo nuts in Kidderminster had soon clubbed together and the now heritage railway was up and chuffing by 1970 with this about halfway along the 16-mile stretch.

The station is the starting point for some circular walks into the Severn Valley Country Park. With the river on your right, head north to cross the footbridge that replaced the old Pit Bridge, itself showing signs of subsiding into the Severn in the early 2000s.

Severn Valley Country Park new river footbridge looking north

This subsidence was a consequence of all of the previous excavation either side of this quite steep-sided gorge and the decision to replace or not wasn't straightforward.

In fact, they were very much in two mines.

 
Severn Valley Country Park

Occupies the site of the old Alveley colliery so either park up here and cross the bridge over the river or simply arrive via Alveley. The small Visitor Centre can fill you in on the land that's been filled in.