The River Teme in Worcestershire

My thanks to Brian Draper MBE for permission to use his book, and slides appertaining to, 
'The River Teme from it's source to the River Severn', 
which is quoted more or less verbatim for the Worcestershire section.
His book, exploring the whole river, is available to purchase directly if you ring Brian himself -
Tel: 01886 888422

Places mentioned along the river Teme are coupled with their national grid reference. The following OS Land Ranger maps are required for the whole length of the river. 136 (Newtown and Llanidloes), 137 (Ludlow and Wenlock Edge), 138 (Kidderminster and the Wyre Forest), 149 (Hereford and Leominster), and 150 (Worcester and the Malverns).


The river Teme is a tributary of the river Severn rising in the Kerry Hills in Powys in Mid-Wales. Its source is in an old disused quarry called Bryn Coch, on the slopes of Cilfaesty Hill. Rising at 1500ft above sea level, the river runs for 75.6 miles, part of it along the Welsh Border, to empty into the river Severn below Worcester City. A swift flowing river, the Teme has a drainage area of 633 sq.miles, extending from the Kerry Hills in the west to the Brown Clee in the east, and from the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones in the north to the West Malverns in the south. The main tributaries of the Teme are the rivers Clun, Onny, Corve and Rea.

The Kingfisher

Probably the most exotically coloured bird in England. 

It is possible to see lots of these beautiful birds along the Teme, IF you are very quiet and watchful.

They are shy creatures and will zoom away at the slightest abnormal movement, but it is well worth sitting or standing quietly for a while in the hope of seeing one. They truly are spectacular!


On the north east bleak slopes of Cilfaesty Hill, it can be found by following the Kerry Ridgeway footpath a short walk across the moor leading to the source. From the source the river flows  variously along the Welsh border, through Shropshire and then Hereford before coming to the county border of Worcestershire at Tenbury Wells.


Crossing over Teme bridge into Tenbury, one passes from the county of Shropshire into Worcestershire. Tenbury is a very old market town but very little is known of its early history. The Anglo-Saxons were here in 800 A. D. and the name Tenbury is of this origin, probably coming from the old castle Tump, "temebury", "the fort on the Teme'. By 1250 it was "Temettebury" with the addition of Wells being added in 1841. It was the Normans who built the first church on the banks of the Teme. Today's church is the third built on this site For centuries the parish church of St. Mary's has had a running battle with the Teme, all previous building being destroyed or damaged by the river. A great flood in 1770 left only the tower, and in 1886 much of the church suffered from flood damage. Most of today's church is Victorian but the tower is mainly Norman although the parapet is 17th century.
    Tenbury Wells is an enigma as far as towns go, with the major part of the town, including its retail and commercial centre occupying the greater part of the Teme's flood plain. The last major flood in the town occurred in May 1886. In 1979 a flood alleviation scheme was prepared for Tenbury, but was rejected by the residents. During floods over 200 properties in the town are at risk from flooding and a depth of 4ft of water has been recorded in Church Street and Teme Street. Near the altar of the church  is a brass plaque showing the depth of the 1886 flood inside the church. Since 1770 the town has suffered from 22 floods that have raced through the town centre.
    Tenbury bridge, the three northern arches, are each strengthened by four strong ribs which dive into the piers at their springing points, probably dating from the 14th century. The other three were possibly destroyed by the 1795 flood and rebuilt in early 19th century by Thomas Telford. It's one of the few bridges in Britain with a curve in the design of it. In 1871 the bridge was once again widened as result of damage by the the floods of 1852, 1856 and 1858.


The Kyre brook enters Tenbury from the south east. The brook is a combination of a number of smaller watercourses rising towards Bromyard in the Collington area. Two brooks, the Collington Brook and the Netherwood Brook meet to form the Kyre Brook at Pie Corner on the Herefordshire Worcestershire border, the length of the Kyre is about 8 miles, with a drainage area of 18 square miles.


In 1986, during work being carried out by the Rivers Authority, at Whites Island, the timbers of the old Doddingtree bridge were found. These were moved to the Museum of Building at Avoncroft near Bromsgrove and have recently undergone carbon ring dating by Nottingham University. The first dateable ring is 1371 the last 1565, which suggested the oak tree, from which the main beam had been cut from was felled around 1590-95. This main support when found, was in excellent condition and measured fifty two feet long and two and a half feet square, where it had snapped off. Further research has shown that these dates correlate to the probable date that the bridge was destroyed. In March 1615, " a great and sudden flood of waters destroyed ye Teme bridge'. This was a timber bridge on brick piers.


Is on the west bank of the river, formerly part of Herefordshire, but annexed to Worcestershire by the Acts of 1841 & 1844. Rochford comes from the Old English word, Raecces ford = the ford of the roche or hunting dog. St. Michael's church, on the banks of the Teme, has its access through a nearby farm yard. It is a tiny church of Norman origin, where inside much zigzag in the stone work seems to suggest a date of around 1150. In the east window is an early example of a stained glass window by William Morris which commemorates a death in 1863. It is said to be far superior to anything done at this time in England or abroad. Outside the tympanum above the Norman door on the north wall has the only example in Worcestershire of a flatly carved Tree of Life, sadly it is now weather worn. North of the church stands the site of a worn down old motte and bailey.


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