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Henley-in-Arden Railway Station 1970s
Henley-in-Arden Railway Station sign

Henley-in-Arden Railway Station

Serves Henley and Beaudesert residential commuter villages in a rural setting. Minimal station facilities. Buses run along the High Street at the bottom of the hill: they do not pass the station.


Henley-in-Arden is the birthplace of William James (13 June 1771 – 10 March 1837), an English lawyer, surveyor, land agent and pioneer promoter of rail transport. According to his obituary, he was the original projector of the Liverpool & Manchester and other railways, and may be considered as the father of the railway system, as he surveyed numerous lines at his own expense at a time when such innovation was generally ridiculed.


James worked closely with George Stephenson, whose brother Robert Stephenson designed and built the famous 'Rocket' locomotive. Sadly, William James received little recognition for his work and died in poverty despite many pleas to Parliament by him and his children for financial assistance and recognition of his contribution to the system we still use to this day.


The town lies at a crossroads between the A3400 and the A4189 roads and is the starting point for the circular Arden Way footpath. It also lies on the Heart of England Way.


Originally a hamlet of neighbouring Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden was on Feldon Street, the original route out of the Forest of Arden. In the 11th century, Thurstan de Montford built Beaudesert Castle on the hill above Beaudesert.


Henley-in-Arden was known far and wide for its famous Mile of Pubs. It was common for young men to be taken down the High Street to drink in every one of the then 18 hostelries along the High Street.  Sadly, not all have survived, but there are still many who will give you a warm welcome.


Although Beaudesert Castle no longer remains, several other historical buildings and structures still exist in the town, including the churches of  St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist as well as the 15th-century Guildhall.

Henley-in-Arden has a 'Court Leet'; this Ancient order is a rare leftover from the days when local residents were the keepers of law and order for the residents of towns and villages around Britain. Very few Court Leets still exist, but Henley-in-Arden has retained the posts.  The officials no longer have the power, but the traditional roles are filled each year for a High Bailiff, Low Bailiff, Mace Bearer, Constable, Ale Taster, Butter Weigher, Hayward, Brook Lookers, Tax Collectors, Chamberlain, Searcher and Sealer of Leather, Town Crier. Chaplain to the Court, and Honorary Burgesses. All with ancient regalia to wear on formal occasions.


In the 20th century, Henley-in-Arden became well known for ice cream. In 1934 two brothers, Harry and Arthur Fathers began experimenting with ice cream with the 'know-how' given to them by their mother, who used to make ice cream for her shop in Rubery. Originally produced by hand, the ice cream was sold under the Henley Ice Cream brand.


Henley Ice Cream won a premier award, voted the best ice cream in the United Kingdom in 1937. Henley-in-Arden Ice Cream remains available today at the same parlour on the High Street.

In 2018 the Shakespeare Line Rail User Group approached Henley in Arden & Beaudesert Joint Parish Council with the intention of getting the station adopted and interest in the original Great Western Railway station building which had been boarded up in 1994 and had become derelict. 

The Council was initially ambivalent, but in 2019 a change of councillors brought a renewed interest, and the Parish Council, represented by Angela Okey, contacted FoSL. It was soon decided to pursue the opportunity, which led to the formation of the Friends of Henley Railway Station (FHRS).

Within a few months, the station was brightened up, with garden planters, painting and artwork replacing bare boards. This generated considerable interest around the town, with regular updates on its Facebook page getting an enthusiastic response. However, under the dynamic leadership of Angela Okey as its Chair, the Henley team pursued a bigger prize of bringing life back to the station building.

FHRS applied and became a Community Interest Company (CIC), and in 2022, engagement with Network Rail, West Midlands Railway and the Railway Heritage Trust commenced.

Watch the transformation of Henley-in- Arden’s Station Building.


Click above to download PDF file (1.9MB)

More information, including public opening hours can be found at:

FHRS applied for £250,000 in funding to the West Midlands Railway Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF). At the same time, The Railway Heritage Trust pledged £110,000 in funding, with the Heart of England Community Rail Partnership providing £15,000 and FHRS patron Lord Digby Jones of Birmingham, who generously gave £10,000. 

In January 2023, an Agreement to Lease for Henley station building was signed between Network Rail and FHRS for 25 years.

The transformation of Henley’s previously boarded-up original Great Western Railway station building now sees it house a microbrewery and bar, an elegant lounge area suitable for a wide range of community uses, and a kitchen area and toilet facilities    
A great deal of hard work followed – working, once again, with businesses from the area, wherever possible. Angela Okey, the Chair of FHRS, said: ‘After joining the Parish Council in 2019, I learnt the opportunity to acquire the station building had been offered and rejected on several occasions due to the dilapidated state of the building and the fear of financial liabilities. All these fears excited me and gave me the drive to prove all the doubters wrong and take up the challenge to create something unique for our community.

"The Station - Henley in Arden" was officially opened on 22 February 2024 by Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, Chair of Network Rail.

"The opening weekend was a phenomenal success and the response and support from our local community have been nothing short of amazing. Volunteers are coming together; paid jobs are offered, and local trades and suppliers have been utilised and have been promoted” Angela added.


Timber-framed buildings. Home of the famous Henley Ice CreamHeritage and Visitor Centre. The Shakespeare Express.

Henley-in-Arden Railway Station, Station Lane, Henley-in-Arden, Solihull B95 5JH

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