Towns in


There's the modern village of Highnam, an example of  20th century speculative development. It was born out of an idea for a garden  village which was to have lots of green space and the local facilities to cement  the community together.

A short walk away is the small, relatively  compact, hamlet of Lassington. It was an ancient manor, though never a  grand one. From Highnam village, you can look down towards Lassington and see  fields where people have toiled for well over a thousand years.

The  district of Highnam is different again. It too has been farmed for many  centuries, but it also has its grand house - Highnam Court, once the country  seat of some of the county's wealthiest families. Here, there have been farmers  and farm labourers and their families, but there have also been maids, and  footmen, grooms and butlers, and gardeners and masons and gamekeepers, all  working on the estate to serve the lord of the manor and his family. Here too,  is Highnam church, an architectural gem today, but an edifice which must have  amazed the local people when it was built in 1851.

Nearby Linton seems to be  something of an enigma. It's flat and almost featureless and seems to contain  little of any real interest. It has its single farm, with acres of obviously  rich agricultural land, lying as it does on the flood plain of the river Severn.  But it has obviously been more in the past. A whole hamlet of small farms and  cottages has disappeared. Its meadow land - Mickle Mead, was once crucial for  the sustenance of the whole community. Kings and Queens have passed this way, as  well as the New Model Army, who helped get rid of one of their number. You can  also add the Romans, their Silurian enemies, and countless other travellers.  Linton also has its railway line. Taken for granted today, it is still something  of a mini wonder of the world, certainly an amazing engineering achievement,  built as it was with the sweat and toil of literally thousands of  navvies.

To the modern day traveller through Over, the place might  appear to be just a large ribbon of cement, with a pub/restaurant, a shop and a  few houses. Even the bridges, which have given Over its importance since Roman  times, may be ignored as you drive by. But in the mid nineteenth century, Over  was described as a perfect English village. Then it had its elegant new road  bridge, the main gateway between Wales and England, and it was a thriving  community.
The development of the railway to Wales, started a rot, which was  finished by the development of the 'speculative' railway to Ledbury and Newent.  The village was cut into small pieces, and all but destroyed by that. Only now  with the recent housing development and the redevelopment of the Canal Basin may  we see the beginnings of the restoration of some of its original character.