- River Stour, Worcestershire
name = River Stour
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The Stour is a
riverflowing through the counties of Worcestershireand Staffordshirein the West Midlands region of England. The Stour is a major tributary of the River Severn, and it is about 25 miles in length. The river-name "Stour", very common in England, does not occur at all in Wales; [O.G.S. Crawford, "Celtic place-names in England", "The Archaeological Journal" (British Archaeological Association) 2nd ser. 27 1920:144; Crawford noted two tributaries of the Po Rivernear Turin, spelled "Sture".] it is of ambiguous origin: recently [Richard Coates, "Stour and Blyth as English river-names" "English Language and Linguistics" 10 Cambridge University Press (2006:23-29).] it has been suggested that an Old Europeanriver-name was taken for an Old Englishadjective.
For a short section north of Stourbridge, the Stour marks the boundary, between the historic counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
In the 1660s and 1670s,
Andrew Yarrantonattempted to make the river Stour itself navigable along much of its course. But these efforts were finally abandoned around 1680, when funds were exhausted. It is doubtful whether it would have been a profitable enterprise, had it succeeded.
At Wilden a short section of the Stour, of about a mile, was successfully made navigable but because of all the bends it is recorded that it was not easy to navigate. There was a lock at Pratt's Wharf (mis-named Platt's Wharf by the
Ordnance Survey) connecting the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canalwith the river. This enabled canal barges to use the River Stour to deliver timber to a steam saw-mill in Wilden. Later it was used to transport coal and iron to the Wilden Works. The wharf was built by Isaac Pratt from Henwick, Worcesterin 1835. He is described as a businessman and a merchant. There were two houses at Pratt's Wharf, one occupied by a lock keeper and the other by a clerk. The link was closed c1950. [Stourport-on-Severn Civic Society. Newsletter No 41. June 2005. ]
Mills on the river Stour were important in the early industrial development of the area. They included fulling mills for cloth industries of Kinver,
Worcesterand Kidderminster, and from the 17th century iron forges and slitting mills, which cut bars of iron into rods for the production of nails.
From Stourton Junction (near Prestwood), the
Stourbridge Canalled to Stourbridge, while branches led towards collieries near Brierley Hilland linked to the Dudley Canal. These were all built in the late 18th century.
Stambermill Viaductcarries the what was the former Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railwayline over the Stour between Stourbridge and Lye. It now is only used by goods trains.
The river rises in the north of Worcestershire in the
Clent Hills, near St Kenelm's Church in Romsley. It flows north into the adjacent West Midlands at Halesowen, before it flows westwards through Cradley Heathand Stourbridge.
After leaving Stourbridge and entering Staffordshire at Stourton, the Stour is joined by the Smestow Brook at Prestwood before it winds around southwards to
Kinver, and then flows back into Worcestershire. It then passes through Wolverley, Kidderminsterand Wildento join the River Severnat Stourport.
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canalruns beside the Stour from Prestwood southwards.
The Stour was once a
troutstream, but became severely polluted with chemicals that were released into it by industries along its banks, particularly acid from the holloware industry of Lye. In the final decades of the 20th century, this pollution ceased, and the river was cleaned up. Nowadays, wildlife is making a comeback in the Stour with Kingfishers and Grey Heronpresent, as well as recent reports of salmon and trout beginning to recolonise as far as Stourbridge.
* [http://www.stourbridge.com/htm/stour.htm "In Search of the Stour"]
Rivers of the United Kingdom
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