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Village History

Routes for seasoned travellers

Posted on August 20 2012 at 9:06:25 0 comments

Footpath under canal

As plans to revamp Alvechurch Station gather pace, Ian Hayes follows the history of transit across the same spot.

Salt has been produced from saline springs at Droitwich since ancient times, and a network of tracks – salt ways – radiated to the surrounding towns and villages.

According to the Domesday Book of 1086, Alvechurch held eight salt houses in Droitwich, and a well-used track became established between Droitwich and Alvechurch.

It branched off the main road at Aston Fields and climbed over the hills to Cobley Hill. There there was a division of ways, with one going down the hill to Alvechurch, the other crossing the valley and proceeding, possibly, to Henley in Arden.

The track to Alvechurch, at one time called Cobley Lane, was of sufficient importance to have a canal aqueduct built over it – you can still walk under the canal on the footpath (above).

A plan of the Redditch Railway for 1858 also shows the lane as being the responsibility of the Highway Commissioners.

At some stage, possibly due to the conditions in the valley bottom, the route to Alvechurch appears to have been diverted along the top of Cobley Hill, and then down along a ridge called Coopers Hill, and Cobley Lane lapsed into being merely a footpath.

However, there are plentiful remains of the lane (top right), particularly the deep trench up the valley, subsequently replaced by a ledge in the hillside.

The latest stage in the history of Cobley Lane is that the old level crossing across the railway is to be replaced by a footbridge, with lifts!


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