History and Geography

Ice Age glaciers forced their meltwaters to cut their way through the Gorge thus diverting the River Severn south into its present course.

Geologically, the area is rich in Carboniferous rocks and the availability of coal was one of the factors which led to the first smelting of iron with coke by Abraham Darby in Coalbrookdale over three hundred years ago. Due to its part in the Industrial Revolution, the Gorge is now recognised as a World Heritage Site, the only one in the West Midlands.

However, whilst the geography of the area is an attraction, it is also a limitation. The valley sides are steep and the river leaves little space for a road corridor at the bottom of the Gorge. Consequently, there is little space for expansion, which becomes a threat to the environment visitors come to see. The area is also prone to flooding, particularly during autumn and winter.

At the head of the Gorge lies the redundant site of the Buildwas Power Station; which is now about to be redevelopment by the Harworth Group PLC. However, we believe this should be undertaken imaginatively and in a way which relates to the economy of the local community. Future planning requirements for the site need to reflect the essence of our transport proposals against the unique opportunity provided by the closure of the power station.