Severn Valley (England)

Severn Valley (England)

Location map
United Kingdom
caption="Severn Valley shown within the United Kingdom"

The Severn Valley is a rural area of mid-western England, through which the River Severn runs and the Severn Valley Railway steam heritage line operates, starting at its northernmost point in Bridgnorth, Shropshire and running south for 16 miles (26 km) to Bewdley, Worcestershire in the Wyre Forest.

The area is about 40 km (25 miles) due west of Birmingham in the West Midlands region.

There is also use of this term to apply to areas around the River Severn as far south as as Gloucester, and as far north as Ironbridge. To the north of Bridgnorth, the area around the river becomes much steeper and is known as Ironbridge Gorge. From Bewdley south to Gloucester, the riverside has a much larger flood plain and loses its distinctive "valley" hillsides. To the south of Gloucester, it becomes the Severn Estuary.

Geology and roads

The area is typified by a substantial river bed with deep fast-flowing channels, surrounded by a small flood plain and rolling wooded hills. Due to the soft sandstone banks, it is difficult to build bridges. [] The only public road bridges are at Bridgnorth and Bewdley, meaning that there is no way for road traffic to cross the river for 26 km (16 miles). The two main roads along the valley are the A442 on the east side from Bridgnorth via Alveley to Kidderminster and the B4555 on the west from Bridgnorth via Highley to Bewdley. Both of these run north-south roughly parallel with the river.

Towns and villages

Starting north at Bridgnorth and running south downstream, the area encompasses the following locations:

* Through Shropshire::* Bridgnorth (both sides — two public road bridges):* Quatford (east bank):* Chelmarsh (west bank — also private waterworks bridge to Hampton Loade):* Quatt (east bank):* Hampton (west bank) and Hampton Loade (east bank) (connected by the Hampton Loade Ferry — also private waterworks utility bridge to Chelmarsh capable of carrying light trucks and small emergency vehicles; gated and usually locked):* Alveley (east bank — public bridalway/footbridge to Highley):* Highley (west bank — public bridalway/footbridge to Alveley)
* Through Worcestershire::* Arley (both sides — public footbridge — also railway bridge for SVR):* Trimpley (west bank — river enters Wyre Forest — also private waterworks, electricity and gas pipeline bridge):* Bewdley (both sides — two public road bridges — severe flooding common in spring)

Some definitions continue through Worcestershire and into Gloucestershire as far south as Gloucester.


There are riverside footpaths throughout almost the entire length of the Severn Valley on both sides, including the Severn Way long distance footpath, making it a popular haunt for anglers and ramblers, often combining a leisurely walk with a return trip on the Severn Valley Railway. A number of traditional pubs cater for the tourist trade.

At the centre of the area, between Highley and Alveley, is the Severn Valley Country Park, with level-access and wide flat footpaths for wheelchair users, plus conveniences and a small visitors' centre.

During summer, it is sometimes possible to ford the river at almost any point along the Severn Valley, but due to the deep, fast-flowing and often non-visible river channels, it can be dangerous to do so without specific local knowledge.

Lovecraftian fictionalisation

The term Severn Valley is also used to refer to a fictional location in the HP Lovecraft universe. However, this fictional location is based on the Gloucestershire, Severn Estuary and Cotswolds regions, some 100 km (60 miles) further south of the real-life Severn Valley. See Severn Valley (Cthulhu Mythos) for more details on this fantasy/horror location.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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