Visitors to the Forest walk in the Speech House and nearby woods

A photo of the Royal Spades in the Speech House
The Royal Spades in the Speech House

Royal Spades in the Verderers Court

After a walk in the Forest, visitors to the Speech House were given a pre-lunch talk on the Verderers Court. The photo shows the spades used by H M The Queen and Prince Philip to plant new oak trees during a visit to the area in 1957.
Some 57 years later, the same spades were used by the Earl and Countess of Wessex to plant more oaks nearby.
The spades were supplied by local ironmonger Mr Fred Fowler.

Yasasin on the Sculpture Trail

Later the visitors walked on the Sculpture Trail to view some of the exhibits, including Yasasin erected on the trail in 2016 by Pomona Zipser. The consensus was that the white colouration was a little stark in comparison to the Forest environment.
The new sculpture Threshold (2019) designed and constructed by Natasha Rosline was very well received once the guide explained what it represented and how it was made. The view towards the the pond is especially appropriate when the amount of water encountered in the Forest of Dean cave systems is considered.

A photo showing the pond at Threshold
The pond at Threshold

Wildlife

In addition to the usual sightings of free roaming sheep, during the day the visitors were pleased to see a Sounder of wild boar (parents and piglets) and a heron arriving at the pond.

Not-so-wild boar

Photo by David Slater

Any fan of BBC Springwatch will remember their programme about the reclusive Forest of Dean wild boar. It was rare to spot them, but they left tell-tale signs of activity — grass verges on the roadside all dug up, not to mention gardens! They are now becoming somewhat more tame. It is not unusual to see a large sow picnicking near the road with her little piglets. If you experience gridlock on a road now, don’t assume there has been an accident. Drivers are known to stop, whip out their mobile phones and start taking photos! Sometimes the boar families are bold enough to stride across the road and hold up the traffic. And why not? Two words of caution if you run into them while out walking: 1) DO NOT feed them; 2) keep your dog under strict control. They are rarely bothered by humans, but dogs spook them!