27/02/2017 - Permalink

Crossing the river: fords and ferries on the Shropshire Severn

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage

Shropshire Council rangers are very happy to be welcoming local historian and author, Neil Clarke to Severn Valley Country Park on Thursday 9 March 2017 at 7.30pm.

Mr Clarke will be giving a fascinating illustrated talk looking at the early crossing points across the River Severn. There were crossings across the river in the Bridgnorth area as early as prehistoric and possibly Roman times.

Upstream from Bridgnorth, two ferries served the Apley estate and the settlements of Newton and Astley Abbots. Below Bridgnorth, and with no vehicular road bridges before Bewdley, fords and ferries were important for the communities on both sides of the river. The ferries at Danesford, Quatford, Hampton Loade (including its ford), Potters Loade and Stanley (Highley) all survived into the 20th century.

Mr Clarke has been a railway enthusiast from boyhood and, after graduating in history from King’s College, London, this developed into a keen interest in transport history with the focus on his local area of east Shropshire. With the Ironbridge Gorge at its heart, the importance of this area of the largely rural county of Shropshire to the development of the Industrial Revolution cannot be overstated. Mr Clarke has been researching its industrial and transport history for many years, and has lectured and published widely on this topic.

Mr Clarke is the author of 4 books – Crossing the River: Fords and Ferries on the Shropshire Severn; Railways of East Shropshire Through Time; Waterways of East Shropshire Through Time; and Roads of East Shropshire Through Time.

Susie Comaish, visitor centre manager, said:-

“Ferry crossings have a deep link to the country park, as the remains of the ferryman’s cottage can be seen on site in Hall Close Coppice. It will be very interesting to hear Neil speak about this fascinating form of transport which kept communities links across the river.”

The talk will be held in the visitor centre 7.30pm-9pm on Thursday 9 March 2017. Prices are adults £3, children £2. Ticket includes a hot drink and biscuits. Please call 01746 781192 to book your place.