At Astley Burf there is a small area of "common land" which is overseen by the Parish Council and gives access to the River Severn. It is possibly the only publicly designated access to the river along its entire length!
Nearby is the Hampstall Inn, from where the Hampstall ferry was a crossing point. In 1919, this was the scene of a dreadful disaster where 9 people were killed when the ferry capsized.
The people of the Parish were active during the Civil War - Prince Rupert led his army through in 1642 and later King Charles himself in 1644. This was a time of radical new thinking in scientific, political and religious matters and strongly opposing views were held among the community.
Perhaps the most renowned "son of the Parish" was Andrew Yarranton - who was born at Larford. He was involved during the Civil War as an active soldier in the defeat of many a Royalist uprising. He was also an outstanding seventeenth century pioneer in such diverse fields as agriculture (bringing clover to the Parish!), national economy, the construction of canals and iron working. Just above Glazen Bridge at Sharpley Pool, is the site of a blast furnace which was built by Yarranton and was probably in use until 1668. It was an important arms centre during the Civil War. He tapped water from Dick Brook to power the wheels of the furnace. He dredged the brook and built locks so that boats could carry iron ore from the River Severn to the furnace. It is possible that this was the first canalised brook in England - and 100 years before the first transportation canals were built! The site is designated by English Heritage as a site of National importance - a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Domestic Architecture - the Parish has a significant number of fine "black and white" half-timbered houses from the 16th and 17th centuries, including Yarhampton and Astley Towne. Other examples are to be found at Longmore Hill Farm and Bull Hill Farm.
Pool House is a 17th century building with an impressive 18th century sandstone Gothic façade.
The Severn is Britain's longest river - some 220 miles - and forms the eastern boundary of the Parish. The "King's high stream of Severn" was a principle trade route in the Middle Ages and after the great expansion of the coal trade, became one of busiest rivers in Europe by the 17th century.
The river is steeped in archaeological, industrial and natural history; remaining to this day a recreational treasure.
If you have any locally related information that would be of interest then please email, telephone.
Copyright © Astley and Dunley Parish Council 2007