We are heading towards winter but a good mix of Autumn colours are still to be seen here in the Forest of Dean. Leaves are falling from the trees and there is a distinct rustling of leaves underfoot. However it is still possible to get a glimpse of grazing deer and squirrels collecting food for the winter.
After closing it’s doors as the Wyndham Arms Inn three years ago and abandoning it’s historic name, the Inn and the Wyndham name are set to return to Clearwell. After a spell as a guest house called The Clearwell and another spell as Crosswell House the new name is the Wyndham Country Inn.
Many of the buildings we see in Clearwell today are the legacy of a Clearwell girl born Caroline Wyndham. She returned to the village in her later years as Caroline, Dowager Countess of Dunraven. In the late 1800’s she engaged architect John Middleton and had St Peter’s church and a small cottage hospital built. She helped with building the village school, repairing the village Cross and Well and re-building the Mortuary Chapel. She also restored her childhood home, Clearwell Castle. Many people will therefore welcome the return of her family name to the village.
The viewpoint at New Fancy has received a well needed trim-up as some of the re-generative vegetation has been cut back. It is currently once again possible to get a glimpse of the Cotswolds if you know which way to look.
After a walk in the Forest, visitors to the Speech House were given a pre-lunch talk on the Verderers Court. The photo shows the spades used by H M The Queen and Prince Philip to plant new oak trees during a visit to the area in 1957. Some 57 years later, the same spades were used by the Earl and Countess of Wessex to plant more oaks nearby. The spades were supplied by local ironmonger Mr Fred Fowler.
Yasasin on the Sculpture Trail
Later the visitors walked on the Sculpture Trail to view some of the exhibits, including Yasasin erected on the trail in 2016 by Pomona Zipser. The consensus was that the white colouration was a little stark in comparison to the Forest environment. The new sculpture Threshold (2019) designed and constructed by Natasha Rosline was very well received once the guide explained what it represented and how it was made. The view towards the the pond is especially appropriate when the amount of water encountered in the Forest of Dean cave systems is considered.
In addition to the usual sightings of free roaming sheep, during the day the visitors were pleased to see a Sounder of wild boar (parents and piglets) and a heron arriving at the pond.