The railway having crossed the Severn by the Victoria Bridge, an iron structure, 200 feet in span, now continues its course along the right bank of the stream, disclosing glimpses now and then of gentle sweeps and undulating lines of wood and field, where quiet tones of light and shade, with sweet harmonious tints, refresh and please. Wandering at its own sweet will, the river here goes freely on its way, bubbling and brawling at the fords, gathering itself up into deep, dark lakes carved out of the softer rocks over which it flows, or dividing to embrace some willow-covered island in its course. Between Arley and Bewdley it is well stocked with grayling, dace, and that king of Severn fish, the salmon which is often taken hero; also with that “queen of fresh-water fish” the carp, speaking of which an old distich says:—
“Hops and turkeys, carps and
Came into England all in one year.”
Like pike, they are long-lived; referring to which, Ben Jonson says:—
“Fat, aged carps, that
run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat.”
During the winter months carp are caught in broad, quiet parts of the river; in summer, in holes and reaches, under hollow banks, and near beds of weeds or flags. All kinds of bait are recommended, but a well-scoured worm is often best.
Or Higley, as it is commonly called, is two and a half miles from Arley. The village is situated high upon the hill, and consists of scattered cottages, with a sprinkling of goodly houses, some half timbered, after the quaint fashion of former times. The church has an ancient chancel window, and in the graveyard is an old cross, elaborately carved in freestone, a material found very extensively in the neighbourhood. Highley was an old Saxon manor, which, with Chetton, belonged to the widow of Leofric—Godiva, of Coventry celebrity. Kinlet, four miles distant, occupies a picturesque eminence of a horse-shoe form; the church is an ancient structure, containing noble altar tombs, one of which has a rich canopy, with the figure of a knight and lady kneeling.
Lode was a Saxon term for ford, and the name here, as elsewhere, denotes an ancient passage of the Severn. In this case, it was one by which the inhabitants of Highley, Billingsley, and Chelmarsh formerly passed to Quatt and Alveley. A ferry has long been substituted, but the old load still winds along the hillside, past an old stone cross, in the direction of Alveley, an old Saxon manor. The tall grey tower of the old church is seen from the line, occupying a high position on the right. The building is an ancient and interesting structure, with many Norman features, and is greatly admired by antiquarians. Judging from the materials used in older portions