WEST MIDLANDS SAFARI PARK
Situated between Kidderminster and Bewdley. on the A456 road. The Safari park which opened in 1970 has proved to be a popular attraction to visitors from all regions, it has many rare breeds of animals and has a drive-through system.
There is a Children’s Zoo and pleasure park and picnic area. A Sea Lion display takes place daily during the season. The family of Hippo‘s is the largest family group in the country. The whole of the area was once part of the estate of Spring Grove House, with lakes and a wooded landscape. Refreshments are available. See website - www.wmsp.co.uk.
SPRING GROVE HOUSE - Within the Safari Park.
This elegant house that was once the home of Major Harcourt Webb is now used for functions and corporate events.
On Sunday’s Luncheons are available , diners are able to have access to the Safari Park with no additional charge.
BEWDLEY - 3 Miles South West of Kidderminster
A town that once belonged to the Marches of Wales, it was made part of the County of Worcestershire in the time of Henry VIII.
Situated by the river Severn it attracts many visitors to the riverside walks.
A museum in the Shambles provides an added interest. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, Bewdley was noted for the manufacture of caps and in fact it was a punishable offence not to wear one. There are many Pubs and Restaurants.
RIBBESFORD BEWDLEY - Signposted in Bewdley - A Riverside drive
Whilst in the Bewdley area a journey to the Church of St.Leonard’s is worthwhile , there are a number of unusual features , wooden pillars which resemble stonework, carvings on the pulpit are based on Folk tales and feature a dancing pig playing bagpipes and a fox preaching to geese from Aesop’s Fables. Rudyard Kipling was married in the church.
St Leonard’s still use the 1662 book of common prayer
The House is 18/19th Cent., stands next to the church and was a Head Quarters for the Free French Army Headed by General Charles De Gaulle during World War II.
The birthplace in 1795 of Rowland Hill (later to be Sir) founder of the penny postage system in which came into being in 1840.
Carpets have been made in the town since 1735 and cloth manufacture took place as early as 1356, the town has a modern shopping centre, with many eating places.
ST. MARY’S AND ALL SAINTS CHURCH - KIDDERMINSTER
Signposted off the Ring road.
The largest parish church in Worcestershire , a church in which Richard Baxter was preacher for some 20 years (Richard Baxter was chaplain to the Royalist Army during the civil war).
St.Mary’s is well worth a visit , built in stone and in the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles it dates from 15th /16th centuries and consists of a Chancel with Aisles and Vestry a Clerestoried Nave and Aisles , there are many memorials and effigies, the stained glass windows are superb , the tower is embattled with pinnacles and houses 12 bells.
Each Mid-Summers day an ancient custom is enacted in the Chantry , this is known as the Church Street Supper. ( or peace and good neighbours supper) Tradition is that male neighbours living in Church Street would meet each year for the purpose of settling any differences, they would drink a pint of ale together and smoke a pipe of tobacco this custom had been maintained since beyond living memory.
In 1776, the will of John Brecknell who died in 1778 which was dated 4th December 1776 bequeathed £150-00 for the continuance of these meetings and also provided for the distribution of 1 two-penny plum cake to each child or unmarried person that is born in or is an inhabitant of church street.
HARVINGTON HALL - Situated 3 Miles south-east of Kidderminster signposted off the A448 road.
This ancient structure was once the seat of the Corbett family, it was mainly constructed in the 16th century and was a refuge for Roman Catholic Priests, there are many priest hides to be seen .
In 1696 the Hall passed into the ownership of the Throckmorton family of Coughton Court Warwickshire who owned it until 1923.
Father Wall the Catholic martyr who was executed at Worcester in 1679 officiated here during the 17th century. In the nearby churchyard there is a memorial crucifix to Father Wall
A moat surrounds the hall.
Refreshments are available in a Restaurant.
STOURPORT ON SEVERN - Approx 3 Miles from Kidderminster take the A451 Road.
Stourport was once a Market town and as such dated back to 1768, many examples of Georgian architecture are to be seen, the town attracts many visitors , Riverside walks, Boat trips and Funfair arcades do much to draw people to the area.
It is the junction of the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal with the River Severn , once its main function was that of commerce but now leisure craft can be seen negotiating the Locks and the river, the Severn has been used since Roman times for the carriage of goods.
The canal was built by James Brindley in 1771 for the purpose of serving industry (Iron Foundries, Tanning, Carpets) In the future there are plans to develop the Canal Basin , with further facilities for visitors. There are many eating places about the town.
Ancient Stone Carving in the Church of St.Leonard’s
depicting Judgement Day by the sorting the sheep from the goats.