Visitors to the Forest walk in the Speech House and nearby woods

A photo of the Royal Spades in the Speech House
The Royal Spades in the Speech House

Royal Spades in the Verderers Court

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.

A photo showing the pond at Threshold
The pond at Threshold

Wildlife

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.

Charles II Oak lives on

Recent felling in the Forest near Parkend has left the Charles II Oak looking out over an open hillside. Forestry England have an ongoing program of planting, thinning and ultimately harvesting of our Forests – but notable trees such as this one are spared. With the ongoing threat from diseases and climate change, the new neighbours to this old oak tree will likely be more diverse then their predecessors.

Brighton U3A walk in the Forest of Dean

Dean Valley Manor

18 members of Brighton U3A visited the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean on a walking holiday. They chose to stay at Dean Valley Manor (formerly Lindors). Our guide was asked to find a flat walk in the Forest so a walk around the Speech House woods was devised for them.

Woorgreens Lake

A visit to the Sculpture Trail “window” and Woorgreens Lake was accompanied by a cacophony of calls from resident geese. The brand-new Woorgreens gravel path will proove invaluable to visitors in wetter weather. Finally a visit to Speech House Lake rounded off the trip. The guests were well used to seeing bluebells – which they said appear earlier in the year back home in Brighton.

Spring Bluebells near the Pludds
Bluebells

Whitemead Guests on a 9 mile circular walk.

More than 20 guests from Whitemead tackled a 9 mile circular walk from Parkend on a beautiful Spring day. An unusual sight was encountered at the Parkend Beech (tree) where a small Ash sapling is growing from a bole in the Beech tree.

With a perfect temperature for walking, the walkers tackled the ascent from Pillowell to Yorkley. A Sounder of wild boar was observed from a respectful distance at the trig point at Yorkley Wood.

A lunch stop was taken at Mallards Pike where the Forestry Commission have thoughtfully provided tables and benches for visitors.

Finally the walkers inspected the wonderful Geomap and the rapidly disappearing view from New Fancy viewpoint.

A photo of Walkers viewing a Sounder of Wild Boar at Yorkley Slade
Walkers view a Sounder of Wild Boar at Yorkley Slade

New Hampshire to old territory in the Forest of Dean

A family from New Hampshire, U.S.A. were shown locations that their ancestors once knew by 2 of our guides.

A family member had left Lydney in 1900 for a new life in Ohio. He took with him skills acquired at the Tinplate Works at Lydney. The rest of the family in the U.S. worked in the steel industry from 1898 to 1975

After visiting the graves of their ancestors in Lydney churchyard and a visit to St Mary’s church, the group toured the Forest in a Minibus supplied by Fastcabs.

A visit to the Speech House was a welcome return after a previous family visit in 1964.

A photo of a four poster bed at the Speech House Hotel
A four poster bed at the Speech House Hotel