On the afternoon of the 6th September 2020, we booked to go to the National Trust property and grounds of Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses. Located in Staffordshire near the village of Kinver (and not too far from Stourbridge). The Holy Austin Rock Houses were still lived in until the 1960s. Due to the pandemic, you couldn't go into the houses, just peek into them.

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A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020





On the afternoon of the 6th September 2020, we booked to go to the National Trust property and grounds of Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses. Located in Staffordshire near the village of Kinver (and not too far from Stourbridge). The Holy Austin Rock Houses were still lived in until the 1960s. Due to the pandemic, you couldn't go into the houses, just peek into them.


Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses

 

A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020. This was on the afternoon of the 6th September 2020. As before, we booked the tickets via the National Trust website (which goes onto the EventBrite app). Outside of the forest was a car park, and we passed an ice cream van. We booked in for 2:30pm. You head up to the gate, and get your ticket scanned, then proceed to walk up to the Rock Houses.

 

This National Trust site is near the village of Kinver in Staffordshire, and isn't too far from Stourbridge (around 4 miles away). There is caves in the hills, some that had houses built into them. Kinver Edge includes a heath and woodland. The National Trust was first given the estate in 1917 (around 198 acres) by the children of Thomas Grosvenor Lee (who was a Birmingham solicitor born in Kinver). The Trust acquired a further 85 acres between 1964 and 1980. In 2014 Worcestershire County Council approved the transfer of Kingsford Forest Park to the National Trust. By 2018 the parks signs were now reading National Trust Kinver Edge.

Kinver Edge was home to the last troglodyte homes in England. One of the rock houses was called Holy Austin (which you can visit). It was a hermitage until the Reformation. The Holy Austin Rock Houses were lived in until the 1960s. In normal times you can visit them, but during the summer and autumn of 2020, you could only peek into the rock houses.

Further up was a tearoom and caves. You could put your mask on, and order a coffee and cake and sit at the tables outside (this was when restrictions were eased, and before they were strengthened again).

Also located here was Nanny's Rock, which was a large cave, but it was never converted into a house. There was also Vale's Rock, which had also been known as Crow's Rock. It had been converted into houses and was last occupied in the 1960s. But due to it's dangerous condition it is out of bounds to visitors. Although you can see it from the tables and chairs of the Tearoom area.

From 1901 to 1930, it used to be possible for visitors to get the Kinver Light Railway, which connected to Birmingham's original tram network (operated from 1904 to 1953 by Birmingham Corporation Tramways). But it closed due to the popularity of the motorbus and motorcars. These days, only cars and coaches can get to Kinver Edge on Compton Road. Although I only remember parking spaces available for cars.

 

After you explore the rock houses and caves, you can head up into the Woodland and climb up to the Toposcope (if you want to).

 

After showing our tickets in the EventBrite app, we walked around to the Rock Houses. This was the first glimpse of one of them.

These are the Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver Edge.

Teas written on the wall of one of the Rock Houses. Probably Vale's Rock.

There is at least three levels to the Rock Houses here at Kinver Edge, along with some caves.

It wouldn't be long before I got to see this Rock House up and close, but first had to walk up some steps.

A Keep Out sign near the rocks. Not all areas are safe for the public to go.

I would get a better view of these Rock Houses once we went up the steps.

Close up to the first Rock House at the corner. The Holy Austin Rock Houses on the Lower Level.

You could peek into the Rock Houses, but a rope prevented you from entering.

A look at the objects on the table in this Rock House.

Pots and pans in this small cave.

Some Rock Houses had open windows, and you could peek into them. Looks like a bedroom.

The window of this Rock House was only slightly open.

A path goes around the Rock Houses to view some more of them. These are the Holy Austin Rock Houses. Ghost sign above barely readable.

Doors on the Rock Houses to the left were closed, so you couldn't see inside of these ones.

A look at Nanny's Rock (I think). Caves that were never converted into Rock Houses. For many years it was known as Meg-o-Fox-Hole. Someone may have died here in 1617 known as Margaret of the fox earth. Visible from the Middle Level, near tables and chairs from the Tearoom (over a fence).

When you get to the Upper Level, there is a cave you can enter. The ground is covered in sand, plus I think graffiti had been scratched into the rocks over the years. This is near the Tearoom. These are the Martindale Caves and have a 1930s appearance.

The Tearoom is on the Upper Level, to the left of the caves. Tables and chairs were outside to the right (in front of the caves). But if occupied, you had to stand up having your coffee or tea. Toilets were around to the left. This house has been restored to a Victorian appearance.

After going through the gate, exiting the Rock Houses, saw a view of the Victorian style Tearoom house. Toilets on the left. From here you can follow the paths and steps up the hill to the summit of Kinver Edge.

The Toposcope at the top of the hill on Kinver Edge. It has a map of the Midlands, which was restored by the Rotary Club of Kinver in 2014 (it was originally presented by them in 1990). Showing all the counties of the West Midlands region. Plus the major towns and cities (including Birmingham). Plus major hills such as the Lickey Hills and Clent Hills.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown