Tetbury Ladies learn about the first British “staycation”

Members of the Tetbury Ladies Luncheon Club enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at the Calcot Manor, topped by a talk — “Down the Wye Without a Paddle” — delivered by a Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tour Guide.

The talk focuses on the development of British tourism in the 18th century, which started with River Wye tours, from Ross on Wye to Chepstow. The tours became very popular after the publication of the first printed tour book, “Observations on the River Wye, etc.” by the Reverend William Gilpin. Gilpin was an amateur artist who defined the “picturesque movement” with precision. He wrote extensively about Ross on the Wye, Wilton Castle, Ruardean Church, Lydbrook, Coldwell, New Weir (which we know as Symonds Yat),  Monmouth and Tintern. Some of his experiences and observations were considered eccentric then, as they are today.

However, even after dining on salmon en croute and creme brulee, the members were alert enough to enjoy the talk!

River Wye from Symonds Yat
Symonds Yat

Beavers finally arrive in Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean residents have been impatiently waiting for the arrival of two beavers that were being reintroduced into the Forest of Dean.

Beavers have been extinct for centuries. They have been reintroduced so that their engineering skills would be put to good use to build dams to protect the village of Lydbrook from flooding. Beavers certainly rival the Brunels when it comes to engineering.

Secretary of State Michael Gove and local MP Mark Harper were present to greet the beavers who were herded into a gated enclosure around Greathough Brook. A beaver lodge had been built for the new arrivals.

There will be a walk around the enclosure during the Heritage Weekend on September 15 at 2pm. By then, the pair will probably have built their own, new lodge!

Eurasian beaver in Forest
Beavers reintroduced in Forest of Dean (photo: Alamy)

Visitors from Devon enjoy the Forest of Dean courtesy of Blakes

Blakes tours
Visitors from Devon, July 2018

On a hot day in July, visitors from beautiful Devon enjoyed a coach tour to the equally beautiful Forest of Dean. The Blake’s driver Kelvin assured everyone that, with his experience driving through Dartmoor and Exmoor, he could manoeuver a six-wheeler coach through the windy, twisty roads in the Forest.

Most of the group had not visited the area before. They were impressed with the stunning views at Symonds Yat, and the facilities at Beechenhurst. The visit was capped with a tour to the heritage railway, Dean Forest Railway, that runs from Parkend to Lydney and offers an excellent shop, museum and cafe at Norchard.

There were comments about the friendly welcome that the visitors received in the Forest. Come back soon!!

Dinedor WI members brave spooky tales from the Forest of Dean

On a hot July evening members of the Dinedor / Holme Lacy WI shivered when they heard tales of ghosts, spooks and poltergeists in the Forest of Dean. Things that go bump in the night is one of the most popular talks delivered by Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tour Guides. The talk is often requested for the autumn, to mark Halloween. However, it works well any time of year.

There are so many spooky tales that the guide could pick and choose the most haunted pubs, the most haunted streets, the most romantic ghosts, the most helpful ghosts, the funniest ghosts, the goriest tales, etc. This was not difficult, given the wide choice. For example, Dean Hall in Littledean is known as one of the most haunted houses in the entire country. St. Briavel’s Castle is regularly visited by organisations who monitor the para-normal. Pubs like the Fountain Inn in Parkend and the Angel in Coleford vie for the title of the most haunted pub.

The participants were so enthralled by the talk that they did not even check their smartphones to find out whether France or Belgium won the World Cup semi-final football game!

Naas Lane
Naas Lane in Lydney, haunted by a ghostly murderer


Dog Roses and Foxgloves on display in the woods.

A photo of a wild rose near New Fancy
A wild rose near New Fancy

Mid June: The Bluebells have gone until next Spring. The Ferns are growing higher and will soon envelope large areas in the woods and roadsides. Near New Fancy there are currently good displays of wild roses, especially on the viewpoint ifself.

In a nearby area flattened by high winds just a couple of years ago swathes of foxgloves add a splash of mauve to the predominant green of the vegetation – or as the Forest Verderers would call it the “Vert”.

A photo of Foxgloves in the Forest
Foxgloves in the Forest