A photograph of Lawley Community Centre, an old Victorian school building with a tall, arched front window and a bell on the top.

Lawley and Overdale
History Trail

History trail contents
[This section is under construction]

The Lawley and Overdale Trail links 35 points of historical interest in our parish. Follow paths passing through Lawley Village, Newdale, Overdale, The Rock, Old Park, Dawley Bank, Lawley Bank and Lawley Common.

History

Forever in the gaze of the Wrekin, Lawley and Overdale Parish has been shaped by geological forces. Ironstone, coal, fireclay, and other minerals were extensively mined from the Middle Ages, through the pioneering days of the Industrial Revolution up to the present day. Coalbrookdale is recognised as a World Heritage site, even so our parish has its own significant footnote – when Abraham Darby II established the first purpose built working settlement at Newdale.

Meandering tracks and byways made way for tramways carrying coal and minerals to Coalbrookdale from Lawley Furnace, Old Park and New Works. Between the spoil mounds communities such as The Rock, Old Park, and Dawley Bank thrived, the latter welcoming visitors riding coaches along the turnpike road to Worcester and beyond.

With the arrival of the Severn Junction railway line in 1857, the line divided the Parish in two. The age of steam resonated with many, especially the young who often after school hours waved as trains passed through Lawley Bank station to Iron bridge or Ketley.

Industry continued shaping the land with open-cast mining on Lawley Common even as individually owned mines began to close. The most significant change came in the late 20th century with the arrival of Dawley New Town with new communities and people moving in; a trend still happening today. Over time, significant landmarks from our Parish landscape have disappeared altogether existing only in photographs, street names or in archived material. Yet some do still survive against the odds such as the tram bridge crossing Ketley Brook in Newdale, the Bethesda Chapel in Old Park or St John’s Church.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which way can you walk the Trail?

The route can be walked clockwise or counter clockwise. For the purpose of the self-guide booklet the route is described as clockwise.

Q. Is the Trail signposted?

The Trail is marked by signposts and way marker posts with the Trail Logo located at junction points making it easy to navigate. Each bears a number, starting at 1, which goes up by one as you progress around the Trail (clockwise).

Q. What comprises the Trail?

The Trail uses Public Rights of Way, cycle paths, bridlepaths and footpaths in the parish. Part of the route uses both the lronbridge Way and Reynolds Way through Lawley Common and Newdale.

Q. How difficult is the Trail to walk?

The majority of the Trail is flat. The only notable incline is up Rock Road (from Overdale to The Rock (clockwise). Some parts of the Trail cross busy main roads so available pedestrian crossings have been utilised. There are also a number of kissing gates to pass through on the Public Right of Ways.

Q. Which parts of the Trail are suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and cyclists?

For wheelchair users sections in Lawley, Newdale, Old Park and Dawley Bank are suitable for short stretches only. It is advised not to utilise sections in Lawley Bank or Lawley Common. Consideration for improvements to all sections will be undertaken in the future.

The majority of the Trail route is suitable for pushchairs. Be advised that several Public Rights of Way have kissing gates or steps (reclaimed railway sleepers). Most pedestrian footpaths in urban areas have drop kerbs at junctions.

The majority of the route is suitable for cyclists as several sections utilise established cycle paths and routes across the Parish. For details on each Trail section – read the information box.

Q. Where can I park a car?

Parking around Lawley Square is restricted to the supermarket for Lawley and Newdale. There are small car parks at Dawley Bank by the community centre. For Old Park, you can pick up the Trail route by the Forge Retail Park. There are no car parks for Lawley Common or Lawley Bank.

Q. Are there any amenities along the Trail?

There are local shops along the route where food and drink con be obtained. They can be found in Lawley Village (Glendale), Overdale (off Rock Road) and Dawley Bank. There are also several shops in Lawley Square including toilet facilities in Morrison’s Cafe, and at Sainsburys and Costa on Forge Retail Park.

Map

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Legend

  1. Lawley School
  2. Lawley Furnace
  3. Lawley House
  4. St John’s Church Grounds
  5. Lawley Village
  6. Lawley Farm
  7. Birchfield Foundry
  8. Newdale Village
  9. Waggonway Bridge
  10. Railway Line
  11. Overdale
  12. Rock Farm
  13. Mannerley Lane Pit
  14. Rock Cottages
  15. Rock Chapel & Sunday School
  16. Rock Colliery
  17. Bethesda Chapel
  18. Wesleyan Chapel
  19. Old Park Cottages
  20. Brickworks & Ironworks
  21. Old Park & Princes End Collieries
  22. Baptist Cemetery
  23. Baptist Church
  24. Dawley Bank
  25. Methodist Chapel
  26. Sunday School
  27. Public Houses
  28. Plane Crash Memorial
  29. Lawley Bank School
  30. Lawley Bank Farm & Avondale
  31. Barrack House
  32. Lawley Bank Station
  33. Lawley Common
  34. Railway Tunnel
  35. Turnpike Roads

Start the trail: Lawley