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Upton upon Severn (Part 2)

The first thing that struck us as we left the Avon and turned into the stream was how much wider the Severn is by comparison to the river that we had been travelling on for the previous three weeks. As beautiful as nature is at this time of year, there really isn’t a lot to see when travelling on this section of the river but it was another lovely day so we just appreciated the blue sky and the greenery that lined our route.

After two hours travelling, we reached Upton-upon-Severn and saw that there were spaces along the concrete moorings. When we had visited by bus we had spotted the CRT floating pontoon so we carried on under Upton bridge to check it out, safe in the knowledge that we could always turn around and moor outside the pubs. We were in luck again as there was a space on the end and it only took a couple of minutes to get tied up.

It was still early so we climbed the very steep ramp up to the main road. The ramp is probably at its steepest because we have had so little rain and the river must be somewhere near its lowest levels. I’m sure it will get easier when the rains come in July and August!

The first thing that we saw was Panes Regal Garage, a 1930’s art deco building on the edge of town.

Panes Garage

Sue got chatting to the owner, Mike Panes and he told her that there had been warehouses on the site originally and the garage business had operated a few yards away towards the town. When the warehouse closed down, the business moved to its current location and the original building was knocked down. He also told her that he had turned down a number of offers for the site, usually supermarkets looking to redevelop it. He claimed that the last offer was for £1m but that he wasn’t interested in moving, he and his staff enjoy what they do and it is more than just a job for them. We think that it’s good to find businesses like this, they are so rare in this day and age.

On the other side of the road is what is left of the old church of St Peter and Paul, the recently restored bell tower known locally as the Pepperpot.

The Pepperpot

Our next port of call was The Bell House, not a pub as it name might suggest but a traditional tea room. We resisted the temptations of the home baked goods and settled for some mid-morning coffee. Sue also had a pastéis de nata on the basis that the genuine article is only made in Portugal and that she had to try this one purely in the interest of culinary research.

The town was certainly quieter than it had been a few days earlier and some of the shops don’t open on Mondays so after a walk around we had lunch at the Swan, overlooking the river. With the sun high in the late June sky, the temperature was rising quickly and heading for the high twenties. It seemed sensible to avoid the hottest time of the day so we returned to Caxton and sat in the shade of the front deck and watched the boats go by.

There are proper working boats on this stretch of the river, transporting sand from a quarry to the north of Upton, downstream to a screening plant a couple of miles to the south. Three boats work continuously through the day loading sand by conveyor and being unloaded by a grab on a crane. Each boat carries around 350 tonnes and I reckon that’s about twenty lorry loads of sand for each trip. That’s a lot of truck movements that the local area doesn’t have to suffer every day!

“Pike” unladen and sitting high in the water.


350 tonnes of sand later!

We rounded the day off with a walk over the bridge to visit the marina in the early evening.