Section 6 – Lawley Common
Duration: Under 1 hour at a steady pace.
Terrain: Partial incline up embankment. Remainder flat.
Path types: Footpaths (tarmac). Public Right of Way (gravel/which can be occasionally muddy). Cycle paths for return to Lawley Square.
Disability access: Not recommended for wheelchairs
Food/drink stop: None.
32. Lawley Bank Station
Lawley Common (circa 1907)
- Railway line
Lawley Bank Station consisted of a booking office, waiting room, parcel store, and signal box with a level crossing on Station Road. The station was run by a Station Master who lived in a provided cottage nearby, occasionally assisted by a porter from Horsehay. Former Station Masters included Henry Rickard (1888) and John Evans (1927). A former Keeper who looked after the level crossing was Mrs Cotham (1950s).
Billy Lloyd, who stood 3ft tall, often collected parcels for people in Lawley and Lawley Bank, and greeted passengers disembarking off the trains.
Go right along Martingale Way and follow the road curving right towards the medical centre. At marker sign (49) you’ll see a cycle path, part of the lronbridge Way. Take the short cycle path which becomes a gravel track up the embankment to a viewpoint by marker sign (50).
33. Lawley Common
Higgs Hole was a small community of cottages linked by tracks to Ladygrove and Station Road, that resided on the common.
Several small mines operated on the common, extracting coal and ironstone which lay close to the surface. One such mine was Farm Mine (1954), owned by Mr Bevan.
Open-cast mining by the National Coal Board began in the 1950s, with the site occupied by Lawley Bank Station becoming the offices for the surveyors in the 60s and 70s. During excavations, a stone over 15,000 years old from the last ice age was found. It became a memorial to Cllr Isaiah Jones, Deputy Chairman of the Telford Development Corporation. It can still be seen in Telford Town Park on Spout Mound, overlooking Southwater.
34. Railway Tunnel
When you reach the end of the path, at marker sign (51) go through the gate and crossover Dawley Road. To the left of the public right of way which leads to Spring Village is an embankment obscured by trees below which is the railway line from Horsehay.
13,000 cubic feet (368 cubic metres) of shale and sandstone were excavated to create the tunnel some 59 yards (35 metres) in length. The arches are made from blue engineering bricks with stone dressings. For several years, the tunnel was blocked by spoil from the open-cast mining which took place on Lawley Common. Volunteers from the Horsehay Steam Trust cleared and restored the tunnel, which has a Grade II listing.
Proceed right along Dawley Road towards Lawley. The footpath veers away from the main road as you walk through Lawley Gate by marker sign (52).
35. Turnpike roads
Prior to the Highways Act 1555, manors appointed tax collectors under pavage to tax individuals using roads and tracks, in order to pay for repairs. By the 17th century, over 1,000 turnpike trusts collected tolls across the country at over 8,000 toll houses. “Turnpike” referred to the military act of using a pikestaff to control passage.
The Wellington to Coalbrookdale turnpike road (1817) crossed the parish via Lawley to Horsehay. The Wellington to Worcester turnpike road (1764) branched off Watling Street by Uffington. It passed through Lawley on a south-west route to Dawley Bank. However, by 1808, the route was redirected across Lawley Common towards Balls Hill and Dawley.
There was a toll house at Lawley Gate, with a second at Newdale. Individual trusts imposed tolls, which were often unpopular with travellers. With the advancement of railways, and county councils given power to maintain roads, turnpikes and toll houses were phased out, though many of the buildings survived by becoming private dwellings.
Use the foot bridge over Lawley Drive. At marker sign (53) go right and follow the cycle path down until you reach a crossing point (marker sign 54) adjacent to the Latter-Day Saints Church. Cross over and continue on the cycle path up Lawley Drive back to Lawley Square to complete the Trail.