Rotarians enjoy walk from Speech House

A group of Rotarians spent an activity-packed break at Speech House. Part of their package included a short pre-dinner walk from Speech House, taking in a few notable pieces from the Sculpture Trail — Echo and Cathedral — as well as a tour around the Gloucestershire Wildlife trust enclosed area where the beloved Exmoor ponies still roam.

Exmoor ponies
Rob ‘Savage’ Sargent captures the ponies on film

The ponies have been doing an excellent job grazing, keeping the wild grasses short and manageable. However, a corral has been built to enclose them when they will be rounded up and moved some time by the end of spring. They were never intended to be permanent residents at this nature reserve. They will be moved to another area, possibly Tidenham Chase, where they will munch happily there.

Fortunately the Rotarians were able to see them in this distinct habitat before they are moved off.

100 Years of the Forestry Commission

A large stone has been installed on Spruce Ride near the Speech House to mark 100 years of the Forestry Commission. The plaque reads:

Commemorating the Centenary of the Forestry Commission and all those people who took part in its achievements

A separate smaller stone nearby tells us that Spruce Ride was planted c. 1850, Replanted c. 1920 and replanted c. 2010 and continues:

In commemoration of retired Forestry Commission Staff who have dedicated a part of their working lives to the ongoing management of the Forest of Dean“.

A photo of Cherry Trees on Spruce Ride
Cherry Trees on Spruce Ride

Mallards Pike Cafe

Visitors to Mallards Pike Lakes are now able to use the new Café during their visit. Nearby in the tree canopy is the popular GoApe aerial activity and at ground level Segways can be hired.

Of course, visitors can also walk around the lakes or along miles of footpaths and tracks in the adjoining forest. New Fancy viewpoint is within easy walking distance- a lovely 3 mile round trip.

Introduction to Threshold

A new Sculpture has been added to the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail in Beechenhurst.

Guests to the unveiling discuss the sculpture

The unveiling of the sculpture — Threshold by Natasha Rosling — took place on a sunny afternoon, where guests were able to view the new work and discuss it with the artist while enjoying a can of local cider.

The Sculpture Trail has existed for more than 30 years, but the sculptures are constantly changing. Old ones are taken down because, in their weather-beaten state they are no longer safe, or have decayed. New ones are then commissioned and revealed to the public.

The sculptures represent different features of the Forest of Dean, whether it be coal mining, stone quarrying, railways or local wildlife. Threshold, with its vivid red colouring, harks back to the mining or iron ore. The artist spent time underground in Clearwell Caves, which was once a important area for iron extraction.

Threshold is described in the artist’s handout as “a meeting of two environments, at the threshold between the inside and the outside, moisture condenses into droplets that cling to the ceiling of the cave”.


Spring begins in the Forest of Dean

The warm weather in late March has seen Spring arrive in the Forest. Goshawk and Peregrine Falcon watchers joined the visitors and enjoyed the sunny weather at Symonds Yat Rock. The scene in the photo will soon look much different when the trees on the left burst into leaf.

Visitors may be interested to know that phone and 4G data coverage on the Rock is very good.