Upper Arley Conservation Area
Upper Arley Conservation Area was designated in 1991 and is
based upon a rural hamlet set on the sides of the valley of the
River Severn, together with outlying buildings and landscape
Upper Arley has probably been a settlement for over a thousand
years, its first mention being made in 996 AD when it was given to
a College of Canons. Roman traces however have also been found in
the area. Upper Arley was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086
and King James granted a charter in 1606 to the inhabitants. The
present Parish Church is of the early fourteenth century and
incorporates twelfth century fragments. Most of the other
historically important buildings date from the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries. Much of the Conservation Area falls within
the present Upper Arley Estate.
In the past Upper Arley has had a reputation for cider making
and has been noted for lampreys, fish, oats, wine and agriculture.
The latter is still important to the life of the hamlet.
The Victorian era was very important to Upper Arley. 1861 saw the
opening of the existing school and in 1862 Arley Station was opened
on the western bank of the River bringing new life to the
Buildings in Upper Arley are of a variety of polite, picturesque
and vernacular styles but the materials are overwhelmingly red
brick or red or buff coloured sandstone with clay tiled roofs. The
form of development varies from that of Arley House standing in
extensive grounds, to the tightly packed arrangement of the
dwellings along the narrow Arley Lane. A footbridge links the north
and south banks of the River. There is a substantial buff sandstone
revetment to the north-east bank of the River adjoining the
footbridge. A small slip-way is set into the east bank of the
The sweep of Arley Lane down to the river and up towards the Church
is an important characteristic of the settlement. The walls, hedges
and railings along it enhance the sense of enclosure. Important
spaces include the open fields between the River and railway
station, between the River and Arley House, on either sides of the
lanes leading into the settlement from the north and north-east,
and between the River and Severnfield Cottages; together with the
park and garden associated with Arley House.
Natural features of particular importance to the Conservation Area
are the River Severn and its banks, and Arley Brook and its valley
running through the centre of the hamlet. The hamlet is surrounded
by attractive landscape of woodland and pasture and is set off by
the landscaped gardens and arboretum of Arley House on the hill
above. The Arboretum, planted around 1820, is included on the
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
Numerous deciduous trees throughout the Conservation Area add
significantly to its character, opening and closing seasonal views
and providing seasonal variations in colour.
The railway station is currently operated by the Severn Valley
Railway and forms a popular stopping-off point for day-trippers,
increasing the profile of the Conservation Area. This profile is
further increased by virtue of two important public footpaths
running through the area along both the north and south banks of
the River; the footpath on the south bank forming part of the
Severn Valley Way regional recreation route. The north bank is
particularly popular for recreational course fishing.
Congestion can be a problem during the summer months but having no
through traffic for much of the year, Upper Arley remains in
relative tranquillity. Seasonal overflow car parking is provided in
one riverside meadow on the south bank, to the south of the
footbridge. The informal nature of this car parking, without fixed
signage, hard surfacing or lighting, helps to reduce its impact on
the Conservation Area.
Arley Conservation Area Character Appraisal (3,781K)
View Conservation Area boundary