Kenilworth Road Conservation Area
Transcript from Coventry City Council 1985 brochure GVA 1442 MA 8-85 , with updates where needed.
Kenilworth Road has been described as the finest approach to any City in the British Isles. It was designated a Conservation Area in December 1968 and extends from the City boundary south of Gibbet Hill Road in a north-easterly direction for approximately 4.8 Km (3 miles).
The Conservation Area lies astride the Kenilworth Road and is defined
by the adjoining tree belts and residential properties. The wooded
area consists of a strip of land approximately 30 metres wide on both
sides of the road, with wide grass verges and mature deciduous trees which
merge into Wainbody Wood and Stivichall Common. Behind this tree
belt are large detached houses with extensive gardens. To the north
of the Fletchampstead/Kenpas Highway (A45) the axial form becomes less
marked. Nevertheless, Stivichall Common, the War Memorial Park, The
Grove and Top Green all combine to create continuity of a predominantly
mature landscape environment
(i) Cryfield Grange Road and Stoneleigh Road/Gibbet Hill Road. These two areas comprise expensive houses in large mature gardens.
(ii) Canley Ford. This is a narrow ancient route through Stivichall Common and across Canley Brook which includes mature hedges, trees, spinneys and earth banks on either side of the lane.
(iii) Coat of Arms Bridge Road and Stivichall Hamlet. This lies to the east of Kenilworth Road and contains several old cottages, an animal pound and an early railway bridge. Stivichall Common extends as far as the hamlet.
Extensions to the Conservation Area boundaries were made in 1978 to
include the War Memorial Park, west side of Davenport Road and King Henry
All the lands which now comprise the Conservation Area originally formed part of the Stoneleigh foundation of 1154. It is thought that when the Abbey was first founded the monks settled at Cryfield immediately to the west of the present-day Kenilworth Road. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, Stoneleigh Abbey was one of the first to go.
A road to Kenilworth from Coventry was first mentioned in 1313; it followed the narrow belt of common land along the north and west of Stivichall Parish. It is thought that Kenilworth Road was once part of the old cloth trade route linking the Cotswolds when Coventry was the cloth capital of the Midlands. The road was turnpiked in 1775 and an avenue of oak trees, three rows deep, was planted in the eighteenth century.
The present line of Kenilworth Road turns sharply near Earlsdon Avenue
South. It is considered that the track once went straight on across
Stivichall Common and followed the present route of the footpath to the
rear of Morningside into Dalton Road, across the end of Spencer Park and
Grosvenor Road to the end of Queen Victoria Road. Within the
woodland off Kenilworth Road is a 7 metre width of grass-grown roadway
with ditches still discernible in parts. This is flanked on one side
by broken stretches of sandstone blocks over which the footpath to
Earlsdon Avenue South now runs.
The building was demolished in 1964.
Before Albany Road was constructed in 1898 Kenilworth Road was the only
vehicular entrance to Earlsdon. A five barred gate prevented cattle
wandering from the common into Earlsdon. No toll was levied at this
gate but an old man used to open the gate for travellers and thus added to
his income. Near where this gate stood, along the common, is the
site of a large quarry from where the stone for building St. Thomas's
Church (now demolished), Albany Road, was hewn and given by Lord
Stivichall Hamlet comprises a disused smithy and three cottages, the
oldest of which, west of the bridge, is an early seventeenth century
timber framed whitewashed building having a tiled roof and hipped
gables. It is listed as Grade II on the Statutory List of Buildings
of Special or Architectural Interest. Coat of Arms Bridge was built
in 1842 to take the Coventry-Leamington railway line. The coat of
arms belong to the Gregory family, owners of the Manor of Stivichall for
more than 400 years. The bridge is built in red sandstone and is
listed as Grade II. To the east of the bridge is Smithy Cottage
which is brick built and probably of late seventeenth century
The school is listed as Grade II. It was built on its present site in 1885 by Edward Burgess and enlarged in 1889 and 1936. It was restored in 1950 after wartime bomb damage. It is built in the Tudor style in red brick, stone dressings and tiled roof.
Recent Developments and The Future
The trees along Kenilworth Road are the most visually important feature of the Conservation Area. Unfortunately, these trees were under threat as a result of the combination of various tree diseases and the drought of 1976. In addition, many of the trees in the Kenilworth Road spinneys were reaching maturity together so that there was a tendency for trees to be lost in substantial numbers at the same time. In response to this situation the City Council planted large numbers of young trees using finance from the City tree replacement fund. In 1977 some 600 trees were planted; common oak, ash, and hornbeam being the main species.
Possibly add information about the award winning new lighting scheme in Kenilworth Road?
The Kenilworth Road Control Plan was approved by the City Council in
February 1976. This document is a set of guidelines which are
applied in the determination of all applications for planning permission
for development or redevelopment on Kenilworth Road.