SE Fitness, a walking and running group based around Sutton Park near Sutton Coldfield, chose the Forest of Dean for their mid-summer walking trip.
Close to 40 enthusiastic walkers met three Forest of Dean tour guides in Parkend. They quickly divided into three groups and were led in three different directions to their ultimate destination — the Speech House.
One group had a quick tour of Parkend, learning all about the importance of iron and coal mining. They took a gentle walk on the old railway line toward Cannop Ponds, where they watched swans and ducks enjoying the sun. The second group set off through Nagshead RSPB nature reserve and eventually crossed paths with the first group at Cannop. The third group sped through the woods, passing one of the Forest of Dean’s remaining ancient oaks, past New Fancy — site of a large colliery — before making their way to Speech House.
At Speech House the three groups came together for lunch in the Verderers Court Room. The Room is still the meeting place of the Verderers, an ancient body of judicial officers who once dealt with Forest offences such as poaching the monarch’s venison. The Verderers’ authority is more limited now.
SE fitness members went home satisfied after a successful day, grateful that the weather co-operated, holding off the menacing clouds.