Little Dawley

It was Dawley Parva on the old 1″ maps, but today it’s more prosaic. The area between Coalbrookdale and Dawley is a tangle of old ways, many of which were originally the routes of pre-railway age wagonways. The last of these in the vicinity closed as recently (if that’s not the wrong word) as 1932, and their trackbeds, where they remain, make good footpaths, well-engineered with gentle gradients. The pools at Little Dawley were associated with the canal which once ran to the head of Coalbrookdale – today they are attractive and unsuspected features of the local landscape, which must have looked very different during the industrial revolution. The uppermost pools – “The Dandy” and Castle Pool were canal feeders – and yes, there was a Dawley Castle. It was a casualty of the civil war, and any ruins that might have remained were buried in the slag of the ironworks (long gone) which later occupied the site.

Our route back to Coalbrookdale takes us along dark hidden lanes in the Lightmoor area – Holywell Lane leads to Stoney Hill, where the landscape is changing rapidly under new housing development. Crossing the by-pass, we then descend through the damp woodland of Vane Coppice – the sun dropping behind the hills as we approach the coke hearth and the car.

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