Allesley Parish, history and other useful information

Allesley Parish

The parish of Allesley is situated in Coventry and lies on the north-west fringe of Coventry. It is a rural parish within Coventry's Green Belt and is an extensive area of Ancient Arden countryside of historic landscape importance.

Historic Landscape

The landscape of the present day parish of Allesley, which was brought into Coventry in 1974, has its origins dating back to at least the Anglo-Saxon period. This area, together with the adjoining Keresley parish, forms the largest extent of open countryside within the City boundary, and considering its close proximity to the built-up area, has a very strong rural character. The landscape is especially significant, as it forms part of the only remaining unspoilt area of ancient countryside left in the historic County of Warwickshire*.

Pockets of permanent pasture are closely associated with the small scale field patterns around the country lanes and farmsteads. These form part of the treasured, undisturbed Arden landscape, where a combination of ancient hedgerows, unimproved pasture and grazing animals, help to create a strong sense of "local distinctiveness" and a peaceful reminder of times past. Reminders of this peaceful legacy are further provided by the presence of ridge-and-furrow meadows, sunken trackways with high hedge-banks, small streams and old field ponds. Warwickshire County Council and the Countryside Commission, supported by Coventry City Council, have published a detailed assessment of the Arden landscape, together with guidelines for its future management and conservation.

Derivation of the name Allesley

The name Allesley is thought to mean "Aelle's clearing". Aelle is a personal name, probably that of a local Anglo-Saxon landowner. Endings in "ly" or "ley" usually derive from the early English word "leah", which means "clearing", usually for a settlement in a wooded region or conversely, in a wood where land is predominantly open. The former meaning applies to Allesley as a clearing within the former Forest of Arden.

A Working Countryside

Traditional mixed farming is the predominant land use in Allesley parish and is the key to sustaining the quality of this attractive working countryside, which provides benefits for landscape, wildlife and informal recreation.However, an accessible countryside brings with it rights and responsibilities for landowners and visitors alike, and the need to respect the farming community who must make their living from the land.

Woodlands, Streams and Meadows

In the parish, there are a number of sites of importance for nature conservation, and ancient woodlands dating back to before 1600AD which can be seen from public footpaths. These include Belcher's Wood, Elkin Wood, Hawkes End Wood, Long Lady Wood and Pinkett's Wood.

To the north of Elkin Wood off Watery Lane, adjoining the public footpath, lies the source of the River Sherbourne. The stream trickles from a small spring and flows south-east through traditional meadows, towards Bridle Brook Lane.

Field ponds, fringed by scrub and native trees are also to be found throughout the parish, which form part of the natural drainage pattern of the area. They are valuable wildlife habitats and provide a source ofclean drinking water for farm animals grazing in the meadows.

Local Buildings

Except for some ribbon development on the urban fringe, the settlement in the area has been closely related to agricultural development with scattered farmsteads and attractive wayside cottages, many of which are now "Listed Buildings" of special architectural and historic interest.

Rural Footpaths

The extensive network of rural public footpaths in the parish of Allesley, together with Keresley parish and the Coundon Wedge, is a legacy of the past which can be enjoyed today. It provides a major recreational resource and an opportunity to enjoy these historic landscape areas in the north-west part of the City.

Published with the kind permission of Coventry City Council