Brian Draper a well-known commentator on the Severn River gave us, as always, a most informative funny and fascinating account of the history of the river – this time, the section of its course from Bridgnorth to the Severn Estuary. On the way he told us many stories, both historical and topographical, some of which are outlined below.

He described the red sand stone rocks which line the banks of the river, which was quarried and taken down river until the coming of the railways which destroyed the trade.

He referred to the two villages of Arley and Highley, situated on opposite sides of the river bank; the former a very pretty village, while the village of Highley is much more industrial in character where the houses are much more uniform in character, built to house the miners who used to work at the local colliery.

Hampton and Hampton Lode used to be crossed by a ferry until relatively recently. The word Lode is an ancient word for ferry and Hampton itself is a stop on the Severn valley Railway.

There are several bridges designed by Thomas Telford which cross the river at Bridgnorth and Bewdley. From Bridgnorth the course of the river loses its distinctive valley hillsides and descends into the flood plains, as so many towns and villages testify. Bewdley for one, which has now good defensive barricades, but one can also see the marks of the floods in places like Ashelworth on the buildings. During low water in the summer it is occasionally possible to ford the river, notably at Bewdley or Bridgnorth; but one cannot talk about the river without mentioning the Severn Bore which can be viewed when the tide comes in at Minsterworth.

The river has many beautiful houses on its bank including Dudmaston Hall and Deerhurst which is the site of the earliest Christian worship on the Severn, while Tewksbury a beautiful city, has more listed buildings than many others.

The talk finished up at Sharpness, on the estuary of the river with a view of the magnificent bridges which cross the river into Wales.

Our next meeting is on February 14th, 7.30p.m. Feckenham Village Hall. Entitled ‘The Real Dad’s Army.’ Copies of Issue no. 4 of The Feckenham Forester are now on sale at the usual outlets. The Society are holding a dinner at Redditch Golf Club Friday