Lawley and Overdale
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.
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, but 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 Ironbridge 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 this guide, the route is described 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 section at the top of the page.
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 Telford 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 Morrisons café, and at Sainsburys and Costa on Telford Forge Retail Park.
Lawley and Overdale Parish Council would like to acknowledge and thank the following groups, organisations, and individuals, whose contributions helped make the History Trail Project and this guide possible:
- Lawley and Overdale Local History Group
- Shropshire Archives
- Historic Environment Team, Shropshire Council
- Telford and Wrekin Council
- Homes England (formerly Homes and Communities Agency)
- Lichfield Records Office (now held at the Staffordshire Record Office)
- Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
- Wartime Aircraft Recovery Group
- Toby Neil/Shropshire Star
- St John’s Church, Lawley
- CLH Printers
- Signs Express
- Dr Ivor J Brown
- Mrs Ann Rhodes
- Tony Proctor
- Cecil Walker
- Peter King
- Jayne Greenaway
- Richard Hewer
- Ivor Jones
- Rob Doran
Map[Note: This map will be replaced with an interactive Google Maps widget in the future]
- Lawley School
- Lawley Furnace
- Lawley House
- St John’s Church Grounds
- Lawley Village
- Lawley Farm
- Birchfield Foundry
- Newdale Village
- Waggonway Bridge
- Railway Line
- Rock Farm
- Mannerley Lane Pit
- Rock Cottages
- Rock Chapel & Sunday School
- Rock Colliery
- Bethesda Chapel
- Wesleyan Chapel
- Old Park Cottages
- Brickworks & Ironworks
- Old Park & Princes End Collieries
- Baptist Cemetery
- Baptist Church
- Dawley Bank
- Methodist Chapel
- Sunday School
- Public Houses
- Plane Crash Memorial
- Lawley Bank School
- Lawley Bank Farm & Avondale
- Barrack House
- Lawley Bank Station
- Lawley Common
- Railway Tunnel
- Turnpike Roads
Start the trail: Lawley