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Things to do in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire


Stourport-on-Severn, with a population of over 19,000, is uniquely the only town in Britain built solely as a consequence of the coming of the canals. Before the growth of the town there existed a small hamlet called Lower Mitton. Two black and white houses from circa 1600 can still be found in Mitton Street.

Popular legend has it that James Brindley chose Stourport rather than Bewdley for his canal because the citizens of Bewdley did not want his 'stinking ditch' passing through their town. The reality is that Stourport made far more sense from a topographical point of view. A canal joining the River Severn at Bewdley would have needed to cross several hills. Joining the Severn at Stourport it could follow the Stour valley and this obviously made construction much cheaper.

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal linked the River Severn with the Trent and Mersey and as a result, after Birmingham, Stourport became the busiest inland port in the Midlands. The canal opened to Stourport in 1771 and by 1812 five canal basins had been built. In 1775 the first Stourport Bridge across the Severn was built by the Canal Company.

The town rapidly expanded and by the 1780's there were brass and iron foundries, a vinegar works, tan yards, worsted spinning mills, carpet mills, barge and boat building yards, warehouses, shops, houses and inns. By 1795 it had 200 houses and 1300 inhabitants.

The railway arrived in 1862 and was to pose a major challenge to the canal. Following the arrival of the railway the town extended out to Newtown with Brindley Street being the main arterial road through the new residential area.

During the twentieth century new industries came to the town and residential expansion continued. Some of the first local authority housing in the country was built in Park Crescent and Olive Grove. Large private housing developments grew up along Windermere Way and Stagborough Way in the 1960's and 1970's.

Today, Stourport-on-Severn has developed into a popular tourist town with many attractions and events for all of the family to enjoy.

From Stourports unique history as a Georgian canal town to its beautiful location on the River Severn, there is a wide range of attractions for the whole family to enjoy.

The Basins - the very heart of Stourport-on-Severn and its origins as a canal town, the Basins still remain largely intact from the golden age of the canals in the late 1700's - early 1800's, and are currently undergoing a major regeneration programme that will be completed in March 2008. The basins are still open and it is fascinating to see the restoration work in progress as the area gradually returns to its Georgian splendour. Not only is this area a great place to wander around and explore, there are also many events being held in the Basins over the next two years to coincide with the regeneration of the whole area. Stourport Canal Basins

River Severn and Meadows - a beautiful spot by the river, with plenty of open green space for the whole family to enjoy. But that is not all - there are many activities available by the river, including boats to hire, a modern and exciting children's play area, river cruises, crazy golf, a putting green, go-kart's, a paddling pool, plus many amusements. The meadows also stage several big events throughout the year. Just the other side of the bridge you will find the Riverside Amusement Centre - with ten pin bowling, fairground rides, the dragon roller coaster, dodgems and a large arcade.

Description by Tim Ellis

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Images of Stourport-on-Severn


Autumn, Stourport Riverside © Colette Bettis

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