Spring in your step

Daily Telegraph article, 5/3/2011.

Spring in your step

Article in the Daily Telegraph of 5/3/2011 by journalist Nigel Richardson. Nigel’s walk was devised and led by a Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tour Guide. Read the article

The group in the photo are visiting “Echo” an exhibit on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. Echo was created by Annie Cantrell. The sculpture echoes the quarry face behind it and also echoes itself – one side being in reverse relief of the other,

Forest of Dean Freewalkers

Six intrepid walkers – five human and one canine – have successfully completed a challenging series of walks known as the 100 St. Briavels walks.

Six intrepid walkers – five human and one canine – have successfully completed a challenging series of walks known as the 100 St. Briavels walks.

During 2010 the walkers met at 10 different locations to complete 10 walks, ranging in length from 8 – 16 miles. The walks covered areas displaying some of the best views and little known attractions in and around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, from daffodils in Dymock to lime kilns in Lydbrook.

The 100 of St Briavels walks are the brainchild of David Ballard, one of the tour guides. Dave has designed an innovative series of walks that provide participants with a goal and a chance to explore the wonders and hidden treasures of the area. Those who complete the walks are given an exclusive badge and the title “Freewalker”.

The successful walkers, including Paddy the jolly collie, attended an event at Speech house where they were presented with certificates and badges by Donald Johns, a Forest of Dean Freeminer.

The walks are starting up again on Sunday, 13 March at Dymock, home of the famous World War I poets. Come join us and try it out. Click the ‘100 of St Briavels Walks’  link on the left.

Hands off our Forest

There was a symbolic burning of Big Ben to mark Forest of Dean residents’ anger at the possible sale of forests.

Big Ben burns
Big Ben bruns at the HOOF demo on the Speech House field.

On a cold January Bank Holiday Monday, thousands of concerned people gathered at Speech House field in the Forest of Dean to oppose the possible sale of forests. The event, organised by Hands off our Forest (HOOF) featured a variety of community speakers, music, and a march led by Forest of Dean Brass,  a local brass band. There was a symbolic burning of Big Ben — the most recognisable feature of Westminster.

Next time you see a yellow ribbon tied around an old oak tree, remember that this was put in place by someone committed enough to place it there as a mark of protest.

Staunton stones guided walk

“A great morning out – 6km in glorious weather followed by a brief visit to the pub!”

Suckstone
Walkers inspecting the Suckstone.

The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty organise many different events throughout the year. Between April and December 2010, there have been 13 very popular guided walks.

The walk on December 5 took place at Staunton, on the edge of the Forest of Dean in the hills above Monmouth. It was one of the walks led by the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides.

Compared with other parts of the country, the Forest has been lucky with the weather. Nevertheless, it was still touch and go all week as to whether the walk would take place. As it turned out conditions were absolutely perfect; although it was still freezing there was bright sun throughout the walk.

Ten of us enjoyed the walk around Staunton to see three of the stones for which it is so well known.

The Buckstone is at 279 metres and gives great views west over Monmouth to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons beyond. We had impressive views, with snow-covered hills in the distance and Monmouth and the river valley shrouded in thick mist. The Buckstone was a rocking stone until 1885 when it was dislodged by “drunken revellers”. It was recovered bottom of the hill and is now firmly cemented in place.

Nearby Near Harkening Rock has a similarly impressive west-facing view from its top. The rock has a concave face and is named because gamekeepers standing in the lee of the rock would listen for poachers seeking deer. There are still a lot of deer in the area and we saw a group of about 20 near the Buckstone. From Near Harkening Rock it is a short walk to the Suckstone, the largest fallen rock in England estimated to weight about 14,000 tons.

A great morning out – 6km in glorious weather followed by a brief visit to the pub!

Freewalker of the Forest of Dean

Once registered walkers have completed the ‘100 of St Briavels’ program, they will be awarded the ‘Freewalker of the Forest of Dean Badge’.

Freewalker of the Forest of Dean
Freewalker of the Forest of Dean Badge

Once registered walkers have completed the ‘100 of St Briavels’ program, they will be awarded the ‘Freewalker of the Forest of Dean Badge’.

Click here for More details on our web pages.