- Severn Valley (England)
caption="Severn Valley shown within the
The Severn Valley is a rural area of mid-western
England, through which the River Severnruns and the Severn Valley Railwaysteam heritage line operates, starting at its northernmost point in Bridgnorth, Shropshireand running south for 16 miles (26 km) to Bewdley, Worcestershirein the Wyre Forest.
The area is about 40 km (25 miles) due west of
Birminghamin 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 Bewdleysouth 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 plainand rolling wooded hills. Due to the soft sandstonebanks, it is difficult to build bridges. [http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/shropshireccnews.nsf/0/F27E94EBA70328448025709F0047374C] The only public road bridges are at Bridgnorthand 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 Bridgnorthvia Alveleyto Kidderminsterand the B4555 on the west from Bridgnorthvia Highleyto Bewdley. Both of these run north-south roughly parallel with the river.
Towns and villages
Starting north at
Bridgnorthand running south downstream, the area encompasses the following locations:
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 Chelmarshcapable 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)
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
Worcestershireand into Gloucestershireas far south as Gloucester.
There are riverside footpaths throughout almost the entire length of the Severn Valley on both sides, including the
Severn Waylong 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
Highleyand Alveley, is the Severn Valley Country Park, with level-access and wide flat footpaths for wheelchairusers, 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.
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 Estuaryand Cotswoldsregions, 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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