SEVERN VALLEY COUNTRY PARK
In the peaceful, scenic valley of the River Severn there awaits a delightful countryside experience. Green Flag award-winning Severn Valley Country Park offers 51 hectares of beautiful countryside and wonderful views, spanning both sides of the longest river in the country.
The woodlands, ponds and meadows on the park are full of many species of plant and animal, some of them quite rare. A fantastic day out for all the family.
Visitor Centre and shop selling maps, guidebooks, park souvenirs and locally made products
Toilets, including disabled facilities and a baby change unit
Teashop and picnic areas
Natural play area with a climbing frame and ‘miniature Severn Valley’!
Waymarked trails to help you discover the hidden corners of the park
Easy Access Trail and fully accessible bird hide
Permanent orienteering trail with 3 levels of difficulty
Route 45 (part of the Sustrans national cycle network) passes through the park
Request stop for the Severn Valley Railway
Car Parking at Alveley and Highley
The park acts as a gateway to the excellent footpath network through the woodlands and meadows of the Severn Valley, between Bridgnorth and Bewdley. Bring a map, don your boots and discover an ancient sandstone cross, babbling brooks, historic ferries and a flash of azure blue as a kingfisher flies past.
A full events programme is available throughout the year. These include guided walks, school holiday activities for children and family events. For more information pick up a leaflet from the visitor centre or take a look on the Shropshire Council website. www.shropshire.gov.uk
VISITOR CENTRE AND TEA SHOP
The park boasts a fantastic visitor centre with plenty of information about the history and wildlife of the area. There is also a kids corner with activities for younger people to enjoy while Mum and Dad relax with a well earned cup of tea and a slice of delicious home-made cake!
The visitor centre and teashop is open every Wednesday to Sunday and bank holidays (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day). It is open 7 days a week during the school holidays.
Opening times: April to October: 11am-5pm
November to March: 11am-4pm
There is also a room that is used by visiting school parties who come along and enjoy pond-dipping, minibeast hunts and a range of other activities to enrich their education. The room can also be booked for meetings (with or without catering) and ranger-led birthday parties.
EXPLORING THE PARK
The Alveley spoil heap
This is the area where most reclamation work took place. The area was levelled, some areas were covered in topsoil and thousands of trees were planted. Why not find a bench and look out across the panoramic view down the valley. Bring the children to spend some time on our exciting natural play area, have a picnic, kick a ball or fly a kite on the grassy slopes.
This is a quieter area of the park. It was not affected by the mining. The hay meadow here is a fantastic place to see rare orchids, adders tongue fern and yellow rattle. Walk through the buttercups and see butterflies and bumblebees lazily flying around in the sunshine. Elfin Pool is a fantastic place to bring a net and go pond-dipping. Look out for green woodpeckers flying around these meadows feeding on yellow meadow ants. Some of the anthills here are very old.
HALL CLOSE COPPICE
This is our area of semi-natural ancient woodland. It is managed by coppicing small areas of hazel and alder and allowing them to re-grow. This encourages wildlife like the rare dormouse, a secretive little creature with a fluffy tail that lives in the trees. Take a walk through the shady woodland in May and experience the sight and smell of a bluebell carpet. The craft area is used to demonstrate charcoal burning and pole-lathe turning.
THE RIVER SEVERN
The riverside meadows are great places to see invertebrates including the rare club-tailed dragonfly. Wander through the orchard in autumn, and sample some of the local provenance apples that grow here. The bridge over the river was rebuilt in 2006. It is an excellent place to see bats hunting as the sun sets over the valley. The original was built to take coal and miners across the river, and was the first concrete cantilever bridge of its kind in the world.
The paths here were part of the original tramway route taking coal to be washed, graded and loaded onto trains. The ground has been made up into embankments. The woodland is dominated by trees such as silver birch and willow that have seeded. It is a good place to see woodland birds such as nuthatch, tree creeper, blue tit and great tit.
EASY ACCESS TRAIL AND WETLAND
This is a relatively flat trail that is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. It leads round a beautiful pond with mallards, coots and moorhen playing amongst the lilly pads. At the end of the trail is a bird hide that overlooks the wetland. The reeds are cut annually to create perfect conditions for wading birds such as water rail. We even had a rare bittern (a small brown heron) visit the area!
STATION ROAD SITE
This site marks the location of the first mine shaft that was sunk in Highley. There is a pit wheel that was erected by the people of Highley in 1994 as a memorial to the brave, hard-working men who were at the core of this community. An excellent footpath through the site leads down past the picnic area, pond and through the woodland to Highley Station. A great place to walk the dog and relax after work.
HISTORY OF THE PARK
Now an oasis of peace and tranquillity, this part of the Severn Valley used to be a centre of industry. Sandstone quarried from the area was used to build part of Worcester Cathedral and would have been loaded onto trows (flat-bottom barges) on the river.
Coal mining started in Highley in 1870. Production was switched to Alveley in 1936. At its peak the mine employed 1000 men, and produced 300,000 tonnes of coal a year. It shut down in 1969.
Following the closure of the mine, the spoil heaps and land lay derelict until 1986. Shropshire County Council and Bridgnorth District Council embarked on an ambitious project to reclaim the land, installing drainage ditches, re-grading the spoil heap and planting trees. Severn Valley Country Park opened in 1992 and is now managed by Shropshire Council.
A devoted and enthusiastic group of volunteers meet every Tuesday at the park and do a fantastic job in keeping the park attractive for people and wildlife. They are always keen to welcome new faces, and ranger staff provide all tools and training. It is a great way of meeting new people, keeping fit and doing your bit for the environment. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to help out.
PARKS AND COUNTRYSIDE TEAM
Shropshire Council Parks and Countryside Sites Team manages over 130 parks, play areas, woodlands and open spaces across the county. Through consultation and working with local communities, we look after these sites for your enjoyment and to protect wildlife.
Three of our sites (including Severn Valley Country Park) have been awarded the Green Flag Award. This highlights the high quality that we strive for in managing public open spaces.
If you would like to get involved in your local park, through volunteering or attending events or if you have any complaints, comments or compliments, please get in touch:
01746 781192 (Severn Valley Country Park)
01743 255957 (Shirehall office)
Brilliant place to go with the children. Throughout the summer we attended a number of organised events, where James and the team were brilliant. All the events were well thoughtout and all the staff and volunteers were excellent. The walks around the park are lovely, and more often than not there is a self led trail that you can take part in. Every thing is sign posted around the park and well kept. The toilets are lovely and clean. The cafe offers scruptious food and drinks, with very polite staff. Within the visitors centre they also have a childrens section where they can colour and explore some fossils. The car parking is very reasonable, and it's good to know that the money collated from this goes back to helping Severn Valley Country Park keep their area so well maintained.