We’ve visited Kinver before on a couple of occasions but each time the Holy Austin Rock Houses were shut. This time we made sure we timed our stay for when the houses were open.
It’s a bit of a trek uphill from the village, but there’s a cafe when you arrive and the view is wonderful.
The houses are on three levels. Nobody quite knows when they were first inhabited but their hey day was in the 18th and 19th centuries when industry flourished in Kinver and housing was at a premium. Even when the industry died out there was a brief flourish of prosperity for the inhabitants, who took advantage of the influx of tourists brought to the area by the Kinver Light Railway. On Whitsun Monday 1905, 16,699 visitors were transported to Kinver and business for the cafe run from the house below must have been booming.
Houses on the middle level are unrestored and cannot be visited by the public as the sandstone is crumbling.
On the upper you’ll find the cafe. These three houses were the most recently occupied on the site, having been forcibly abandoned in the 1960s after the gable wall of the end cottage collapsed when the front door was slammed! Despite the appalling dereliction of the houses, the owners were extremely reluctant to leave.
The insides of all the restored houses have been returned, as closely as possible, to their original state using paintings from the time and accounts from people who actually lived there.
When we left the rock houses, we headed up to Kinver Edge…
…to experience the incredible 360 degree views before heading back down to the boat…
…for a well earned drink.
All in all a lovely day out.