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Ribbesford Conservation Area

Ribbesford Conservation Area was designated in 1991. It comprises a small rural hamlet with buildings dating primarily from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, set in the valley of the River Severn against a steep wooded hill-side.

The Church of St. Leonard (Grade I) forms the focal point of the hamlet. It is constructed of sandstone, with parts dating from the twelfth, fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Church is set in a Churchyard containing trees, including old yew, and edged with a sandstone wall and hedge.

Close to the Church is Home Farm. This includes a red brick farmhouse and group of large sandstone barns, including a tythe barn, which have been converted to dwellings.

To the south of the above group is Ribbesford House (Grade II*); a large country house of red brick (rendered) erected during the 16th. Century, with alterations during the 17th. and 19th. Centuries. A particularly striking feature of the house is two octagonal towers to the south front capped with domes, adding to its landmark character. The house is set in a large landscaped garden and originally had a narrow circular moat, and fish pond, the remains of which can still be seen. Ribbesford House was used during the World War II as a base for the Free French Army and a plaque adjoining its front porch lays testament to this fact, adding to its historical significance.

The principal building materials in the Conservation Area are red brick and sandstone, and red-brown clay plain roof tiles.

There are open fields between Ribbesford House and the Ribbesford Road to the east. This affords glimpses of the House from the Ribbesford Road, and is an important component of its setting and that of the Conservation Area. The principal means of access to the hamlet is via an unmetalled track, which leads off the Ribbesford Road. This track is lined on both sides with an attractive avenue of mature horse chestnut trees, and also affords glimpses across the open fields towards the House. To the north of the unmetalled track, the Ribbesford Road curves sharply west and affords views across open fields towards the group of barns adjoining Home Farm, forming an important component of the setting. A second unmetalled track provides access into the northern side of the hamlet. To the west of the Conservation Area, the ground rises up moderately steeply, and is mainly wooded but with a few small fields immediately behind the Church. This hillside forms an important green backdrop to the western side of the Conservation Area.

The Worcestershire Way regional recreational footpath runs through the Conservation Area, adding to its public profile. This route passes along the unmetalled track to the north, past the Church and up the hillside to the rear of the Church. At the latter point, on the edge of the Churchyard, a bench affords a view-point for looking eastwards over the Church and Conservation Area, to the Severn Valley beyond. An alternative spur to the above route takes the walker from the Riverside and along the chestnut-lined track before linking to the Churchyard.

Numerous deciduous trees throughout the Conservation Area add significantly to its character, opening and closing seasonal views and providing seasonal variations in colour.

A small car parking area is provided in the middle of the hamlet for visitors to the church. This facility is informal in its layout, appearance and use of materials, which minimises its impact. There is an absence of street lighting in the Area, which helps it retain a rural and uncluttered feel.

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