Perton shown within Staffordshire
|Population||10,824 (2004 Estimate)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
Although it may be tempting to regard Perton as a suburb of Wolverhampton, it lies outside the city's local authority boundaries as a Civil Parish in the administrative district of South Staffordshire, Staffordshire, England. Also although they are adjacent, the only direct road connection between the two is for the use of buses and emergency vehicles only; private vehicles must travel north or south from Perton and use the A41 or A454, a considerable detour which makes Wolverhampton appear much further away than it really is. However, Perton is part of the Wolverhampton Urban Area, and the West Midlands conurbation, as defined by the Office for National Statistics.
The main road in Perton is The Parkway; this name is given to a 2.25 mile long circular road as well as the two spurs which link it to the main road network. At the centre of the village lies a shopping centre containing a Sainsbury's supermarket and a number of other shops, as well as an interdenominational church and Lakeside Community Church meeting in the Civic Centre. Perton has three schools: Perton First School, Perton Sandown First School and Perton Middle School. Despite the short history of the modern village, the sense of community became evident by the death of the long term headmaster of Perton First School in the 1990s which drew hundreds of mourners from the village to fill the community centre for his funeral.
Old Perton, also known as Perton Ridge, consists of large houses and a farm; it is located to the south of the modern village on the road to Pattingham.
The original Perton lay upon the slopes of Perton ridge down to the Bridgnorth road. 'Perton' derived its name from 'Pear Town' in reference to a particular type of pear which grows in the area. The original manor was owned by Edward the Confessor and then by the Abbot of Westminster. The abbey held Perton manor until 1162 when it was transferred to the monarch who in turn gave it to Lord William Perton.
In 1260 a warren was set up for the rashing of rabbits and the manor was held by John de Perton, heir to William, in return for eight days knightly service to the King of England in his wars against the Welsh.
In 1523 it was sold to James Leveson, a merchant from Wolverhampton, and it eventually passed down to Richard Leveson, a sailor, who served aboard the Ark Royal in the English Navy and who fought against the Spanish Armada. He became a Commander and in 1596 was knighted after playing a leading role in the Navy's attack on Cadiz. After many subsequent attacks against Spain he was appointed Vice Admiral of England in 1604.
Perton once again changed hands when Sir Walter Wrottesley purchased Perton manor from Richard Sackville, 5th Earl of Dorset in 1662. It then remained in the Wrottesley family estate along with many farms until it was sold in the 1960s.
During World War I, Fern Fields was used as a relief landing ground for No 38 (Home Defence) Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps.
In the period between the first and second world wars the site was used for Barnstorming. On 22 June 1929 a famous aviation barnstormer named Alan Cobham went to Perton trying persuade local dignitaries that they should all have their own local airfields by making speeches and taking the mayors and officials of Walsall, Wednesubry, Wolverhampton, and Stourbridge for flights in his DH-61 Flying Moth (a ten seater enclosed cabin aeroplane).
Shortly after the start of the second world war construction of RAF Perton began in the usual RAF triangular pattern, two of 1,100 yards and one of 1,400 yards, using ash from Lower Gornal and stone from Oldbury as a fighter station. However RAF Perton did not become a fighter station and instead served as a relief aerodrome for training pilots of other RAF stations - the Princess Irene Brigade of the Dutch Army trained RAF Perton and later took part in the liberation of their country.
In 1947 RAF Perton was abandoned and given to the Agricultural Land Commission with the Dutch camp becoming a refuge camp for Poles, Latvians and Lithuanians until 1950 when it was converted to housing and occupied until 1962.
In 1972, the Mander family sold the site of the former RAF station to a private developer for £5.5million, with the first houses being occupied within a couple of years and Perton being firmly established as a major residential area by the mid 1980s, by which time some 11,500 people were living there.
The name Perton now refers to this newer settlement with the old Perton being known as Old Perton or Perton Ridge. The only reminders of Perton's history is a Memorial in honour of all who trained at RAF Perton — many of whom gave their lives during the war — and remnants of air raid shelters which can still be found in the surrounding woodland.
In 1987, there were plans for Wolverhampton council to absorb Perton and a number of nearby villages. However, these plans were highly controversial and ultimately never took place. One Perton councillor claimed that the people of Perton were against such a move as they were "keen to get away from Wolverhampton's bad image".
Perton has two active Christian churches:
- The Church at Perton , which meets at the church in Anders Square in the centre of Perton, and
- Lakeside Community Church Perton , which meets at 10.30am in Perton Civic Centre. Lakeside Community Church provides 3 children's groups and 2 youth groups on a Sunday morning where many of the young people are involved in the church worship band. The church also provides a toddler group (Acorn Club) on Thursday mornings in the Civic Centre and regular Alpha Courses with a meal) for those interested in investigating Christianity. The church is also involved in a guitar club currently running in both First Schools.
The churches have facilities for all age groups, and encourage members to support community activity. This support includes tidying up the locality, walking groups, lunches for the elderly, play groups, and membership of the South Staffordshire environmental action group. Ministers from both churches regularly provide school assemblies in the schools in the village.
Perton has a total of 3 schools in the village. They are:
- Perton First School (Manston Drive)
- Sandown First School (Sandown Drive)
- Perton Middle School (Gainsborough Drive)
When students leave the first schools at the age of nine, the majority of them go on to study at Perton Middle School. However, some parents choose to send their children to schools in surrounding areas, such as Compton and Tettenhall. When the students finish at the middle school at the age of 13, the majority leave to study at Codsall Community High School, in the nearby village of Codsall. Some also venture up the courage in traveling down to Bridgnorth, to attend such schools as Oldbury Wells School and Endowed School, leaving Perton Middle in Year 6, due to the difference in tier systems.
The area around Perton and Codsall is one of the few areas of the country which still uses the three-tier system for schools (i.e. 5-9 first schools, 9-13 middle schools and 13-16/18 secondary schools).
Shops and Facilities
Perton centre has a food shop, pet shop, newsagent (including a post office), toy shop, DIY store, 2 charity shops, unisex hairdressers and two other stores in addition to a Sainsbury's supermarket.
Perton centre also has a fish and chip shop, a pub (the Wrottesley Arms) and an Indian restaurant.
In addition to the village centre there are also two farm shops, Brownies (on the Perton Bypass) and Bradshaw's; both are just outside the village boundary yet within walking distance. There is also another pub named The Pear and Partridge which is just inside the village boundary.
Perton has two doctors' surgeries, two dentists, a chemist, an optician and a veterinary surgery.
The annual Perton Carnival takes place on the May Day public holiday. It draws great crowds to watch the parade of floats around the Parkway from the Library in Severn Drive to the alternate venues of the 3 village schools. Attractions include a funfair and giant bouncy castle as well as entertainers. The main purpose of the Carnival is to raise funds for local voluntary groups.
The internationally popular Tough Guy Competition is also held here twice yearly in January and July. It is organised by Billy Wilson of Tettenhall Horse Sanctuary.
An annual Springwatch Festival takes place in Perton Library just after Easter. The Festival is organised by Wild about Perton and brings together local organisations to celebrate local wild places and wildlife. Attractions include: making a bird, bat or bee box, badge making, wildlife artist, competitions and lots of things to do and see for families. Entrance is free.
Countryside and Wildlife
Perton features many walks and areas of countryside.
There is a path with a fairly level gradient from Perton centre and the big lake (upper lake) to the little lake (lower lake), which then continues over a hill to Bluebell Wood. The whole route is about 1059 yards (3177'), or 2118 yards (6354') there and back (excluding the two woods).
Bluebell Wood was developed from a previous wood around an ex-RAF station. It is an internationally important site for Bluebells and has a number of paths running through it. It is rumoured that Bluebell Wood is the site of underground WWII bunkers.
There is another large wood across the Parkway [road] from Bluebell Wood, next to The Pear and Partridge.
The remains of an RAF Station can be found in both woods due to the fact Perton was once an airfield.
There are small woods and grassy areas around the big lake (upper lake) next to Perton Centre.
Perton also has a pavilion located off Gainsborough Drive which has a car park, sports fields and a wood. Dippons Lane and a network of paths connects it to Bluebell Wood and its surrounding area. The Staffordshire Way runs within half a mile of Perton.
A wide variety of wildlife can be found in the area including Noctule, Daubentons and Pipestrelle bats, foxes & badgers. In addition there are many garden bird varieties plus Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, five tit species, Sparrow hawk, Buzzard and many finches including Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and the occasional Bullfinch. In Winter large flocks of Goldfinches and Siskins can be found around the village and in the surrounding countryside Redwing and Fieldfare. The woodlands contain many fine trees including Oaks and Ash. In the spring Lesser Celedine can in found in great profusion along the Penk and other damp places. In autumn a wide variety of fungi can be found including Puffballs, King Alfred's Cakes & Collared Earthstars.
Mallard & Tufted and occasional Pochard duck, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Coots, Moorhens, Grey Wagtails, Heron and Kingfisher can be seen on the two lakes and along the River Penk. In addition occasional visits from Great Crested Grebe, Reed Bunting and Water Rail excite local birdwatchers. In summer months look out for damselflies and dragonflies and in the spring and summer look out for the Speckled Wood butterfly plus Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Orange Tip and occasional Brimstone.
Both Perton lakes are great places to spot 3 species of bats. Noctules are often seen flying high above the upper lake at dusk, Common Pipestrelle just after dark, and Daubentons bats later in the evening catching insects from the water surface. A bat detector aids identification or join a Wild About Perton bat evening.
Baggeridge Country Park, Bratch Locks, Highgate Common, Himley Hall and Wombourne with its railway walks and Wom Brook Walk are all within South Staffordshire and only up to a 20 minute driving distance from Perton.
More places such as Kinver Edge, Staffordshire, Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve, Newport, Staffordshire, Dudmaston Hall, Shropshire and the Severn Valley Country Park, Alveley, Shropshire are within half an hour's driving distance.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Perton.|
- Map on Streetmap.co.uk
- Perton Community Website
- Perton Parish Council
- Perton First School
- Perton Sandown First School
- Perton Middle School
- Codsall Community High School
- The Church At Perton
- Lakeside Community Church
- Perton and Codsall United FC website
- Tough Guy Competition website
- Wild about Perton website