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Areley Kings Conservation Area

Areley Kings Conservation Area was designated in 1993 and is based upon two groups of buildings and several open spaces, in a semi-rural location on the south-west edge of Stourport-on-Severn.

The western part of the Conservation Area is set on high ground overlooking the valley of the River Severn and dominated by the sandstone and limestone Church of St. Bartholomew. This building dates mainly from 1885 but also includes medieval stages. To the front of the Church is Church House, an early seventeenth century vernacular timber-framed building; whilst to the north-east is the Rectory, an early eighteenth century red brick property, with an attractive garden. Features of the setting, include open fields, hedgerows, woodland and trees, which add significantly to the character of the area.

The eastern lower-lying part of the Conservation Area includes a group of large attractive houses, dating from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. The vernacular timber-framed and brick Areley Hall (including Mucklowe House) dates from the late sixteenth century, and sits picturesquely aside the River Severn. It is approached along a tree lined avenue, with open land to either side. Areley House, nearby, dates from around 1820 and displays a more formal style. It is dressed with sandstone ashlar and has a slate roof. Its grounds include several attractive mature trees and converted outbuildings. The western extent of its former grounds are marked with a substantial brick wall. Between Areley Hall and Areley House, is Lower House. This property dates from the early eighteenth century and has a plain-tiled roof and red brick walls. It is set in a large garden. A red brick barn range at Lower House dates from around 1759, and has been converted into a dwelling.

The southern edge of the eastern end of Areley Kings Conservation Area includes a steep grassy bank dotted with several deciduous trees. This bank forms an important visual backdrop to the Conservation Area when viewed from the east, and acts as a buffer from the modern housing estate to the south.

Areley Lane and Rectory Lane, which run through the Conservation Area, retain their narrow width, soft edges (i.e. they generally lack kerbstones) and hedgerows with overhanging trees, which adds to the character of the area. There is a small informal car parking area to the fore of the church, its lack of hard surfacing and lighting helping to minimise its impact. There is an absence of street lighting in the area, which helps it retain a rural and uncluttered feel.

At present, thirteen of the buildings and structures in the Conservation Area are Listed Grade II, confirming their special interest. Notably, Layamon, author of the Anglo-Saxon epic "Brut", was rector of a church which may have stood on the site of the current Church of St. Bartholomew. This adds historical interest to the area.

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