Visitors to the Speech House Hotel enjoyed a glamorous Xmas long weekend, with treats ranging from cocktails and canapes to guided Christmas and Boxing Day morning walks through the Forest, led by a Forest of Dean & Wye Valley guide. They visited Speech House Lake in the swirling mist, imaging that this is how it looked when the lake was portrayed as Lake Avalon in the television series Merlin. Normally the lake is enjoyed by anglers in the fishing season, but it looked magical on Boxing Day morning.
From the Lake they followed a windy footpath that snaked its way through fallen trees and over brooks, till they reached an old railway line which is now a well-used cycle trail. They managed to negotiate passage with the avid cyclists, and made their way back to the main access path known as Spruce Ride.
The walkers had been to Spruce Ride on Christmas Day as well, on the way to Nelson Grove on Trafalgar Avenue, to see the progress of young oaks planted to commemorate a Forest hero, the Admiral himself who lobbied vigorously to protect the Forest of Dean oaks.
Their guide then led them through criss-crossed paths that reached one of the Forest’s gems, that is, the Cyril Hart Arboretum. They had enough time before lunch to marvel at the redwoods, the cedars and the splendid monkey puzzle trees, before hurrying back to the hotel to prepare for a sumptuous lunch.
The walk certainly helped them build up an appetite!