Sites in the forest

Resources » Sites in the forest


The sites, buildings, and other objects recorded in the Dean Forest Database and presented in these pages is an eclectic mix. The collection of records has grown in an organic way, as the individual records reflect the personal interests of the contributors. The only criterion for the choice of subject for inclusion in the database is historical relevance, although we would ultimately like to try to cover as broad a range of subjects and localities as possible, relevant to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

The entries in the Database are categorised under the following subject headings:

Mines & Quarries; Transport; Industry; Agriculture and Forestry; Religion; Other Buildings

You can either use the "search" facility at the top of this page to find an entry, or browse through the whole collection, or 'filter by category' to narrow your browsing choice.

If you would like to add an entry to our Database, please complete the feedback form to send us a photograph of, and/or information, about any site, building or other object which is associated with the history of the Forest of Dean or Wye Valley.

United Reformed Church Coleford

Originally a Congregational Chapel with seating for 500. It was a two storey building withthree bays, the central bay breaking forward. It had a Doric porch and Early Victorian round-head windows including two round headed lights and a circle. It was Stucco faced with a hipped roof and parapet. A small burial ground was provided at the rear. Side galleries were aded in the mid 1850's. Changed to URC in 1972. Closed in 1986 and redeveloped as flats.


Help Me Through The World Inn

The former public house 'Help Me Through The World' is located at the junction of Staunton Road and Boxbush Road. The building is now delicensed. There are twin bay windows and above a large semi circular sign of at least five feet in diameter, which reads ' Help Me Through the World'. There is also an original West Country Ales ceramic plaque attached to the building. The building was being used as a public house, known as the Mason Arms Inn, as early as 1849. By 1867 the pub was renamed 'Help Me Through The World, but was again known as the Masons Arms by 1877. c 1900 the Masons Arms had a rateable value of £12 6s 0d and closed at 11pm.


The Angel Hotel Coleford

The Angel Hotel located on the North side of the Market Place was originally built c1650. There was a building on the site on a map of 1608. It has an early c19 stucco faced front, parapet, three storys, three light windows with contemporary bay windows on the ground floor. The bay windows were reputedly recovered from the demolished Highmeadow House. The Court Baron & Court of Survey for Staunton Manor, and latterly the Divisional Court were held at the Hotel. It was also the venue for meetings of inquiry, rent audits. public dinners etc. Between c1660 and c1740 and from 1792 it housed the local Excise Office and from the later date it also housed the Post Office. In 1831 It was the centre of military operations during the riots in the Forest and served as a temporary prison for captured rioters, including Warren James, the leader of the riots. It was primarily, however, a coaching inn on the routes between Monmouth, Gloucester and Bristol. The carriage arch and yard can still be seen, but it is now glassed over and used as a bar.


Milestone Coleford Centre

The milestone has carved on the left hand panel the legend ' Coleford to Gloucester 19 miles, To London 124'. Carved on the right hand panel is the legend 'Coleford to Severn Bridge 9 miles, To Parkend. Most of the turnpike roads in the Forest of Dean were centred on Coleford. The Dean Forest Turnpike Trust had control of most of the turnpike roads in the area of the Forest of Dean. The turnpike road mentioned in the right hand panel ran from Coleford to Purton. The Severn Bridge mentioned is the now demolished Severn Railway Bridge, which was not opened until 1879, therefore the milestone must date to around 1879.


Lower Forge Lydney

Lower forge may have been in existence by 1606, but it is reasonably certain that by 1632 Sir John Winter controlled a double forge at Lydney Pill. By 1633 Winter wa producing 600 tons of iron bars from his forges at Lydney. In 1718 Lady Winter sold the estate to mortgages who sold on to Benjamin Bathurst in 1723. Bathurst himself was not an iron master, so he and his family leased the Lower Forge in turn to the people described in the associated people field. c 1800 the Pidcocks had completed a navigable canal from the Upper Forge via Lower Forge to the New Storehouse near Lydney Pill. By 1810 Lydney Furnace had ceased production but Lower Forge, with puddling and balling furnaces and iron helve was being used as a plating forge, thus starting the long association between Lydney and tin plate production. An 1844 inventory described 'Lower Forge & Rolling Mills' as having a large water wheel driving a rolling machine, another for the blowing machine, another for the cold rollers, a hammer wheel and hammer, together with wash house and scouring rooms for turning the plates, annealing rooms, workshops, carpenter shop, and five labourers houses. The Lower Forge site ultimately passed into the hands of Richard Thomas & Sons who ran a successful tin plate production works for many years.


New Inn Bream

A low ramshackle two storey block aligned North - South abuts a well built main wing of handsome proportions. This wing contains a number of fine architectural details including stone mullion windows, carved stone fireplaces, an old oak sprial staircase, and a two storey porch which has lost its gable. Also a chimney piece with a carved date stone showing 1637. Probably originally built for George Gough c1637, by 1814 the building was being used as the 'New Inn'. The Inn was still operating in the 1930's. Owned c1960's by Melville Watts, the building was partially restored in 1968. Later purchased by Dean Heritage Centre to prevent loss of the building during adjacent development of housing estate. Subsequently sold to Mr Bill Parker of Stowe who is currently conserving the building.


Bank House

Bank House, was built in Back Lane, now Bank Street, probably by James Coster in 1786. It was a rich man's house, with an adjacent coachhouse, malthouse and dovehouse. It was occupied in 1849 by Thomas James, a solicitor. In 1861 the Office of Woods purchased it as an office for the deputy gaveller and let the part at the rear to the Gloucestershire Banking Co. Later many of the offices concerned with the administration of Dean Forest operated from there. By 1879 the crown receiver, the registrar of Dean Forest, the stewart of local crown manors and the assistant deputy surveyor had their offices there. In 1904 a room was set aside to house the nation's first Forester Training School. The following year the school moved to Parkend.


Bixslade Tramroad

The Bicslade (sic) Tramroad was a branch off the Severn and Wye Railway’s 3 ft 6 in. gauge tramroad from Lydney to Lydbrook, which opened in 1810. The 3/4-mile branch was built to serve collieries and stone quarries along Bixslade and had opened by June 1812. Horse-drawn 4-wheeled waggons were used for transporting coal and twin-bogie waggons for stone. After 1874, when the main tramroad was abandoned in favour of a standard-gauge line, traffic was transhipped to the latter at Bicslade Wharf, near Cannop Ponds. Traffic declined in the 20th century, the last load of stone being taken out on 25 July 1944 and coal traffic had ceased by November 1946. However, the short section between Cannop Stone Works and Bicslade Wharf remained in use into the 1950s. This was the last working tramroad in the Forest.


St Margarets Church, Welsh Bicknor

A small church close to the Wye, of which the whole of the church, including the tower, was expensively rebuilt in 1858, the architect being TH. Rushforth of London. The tower is small and plain. There is a 3-bay nave and 2-bay south aisle, two-bay chancel, north vestry, south-west tower, west porch. The walls are built of local sandstone ashlar, with the exception of the rubble base of the tower, which like the churchyard cross may be medieval material. The dressings are of Bathstone, with polished Welsh slate shafts. Timber roof covered in machine-made clay tiles. The church was closed and then sold in 2011 to the Vaughans, who own neighbouring Courtfiled Estate, Sympathetic restoration started in 2016. Read more about this church by downloading Nick Oldnalls extensive article[].


The Dean Road

The Dean Road is a paved and kerbed road running from Highfield Hill, Lydney to Mitcheldean, a distance of just over 10 miles. The most exposed part is at Blackpool Bridge, just off the Parkend to Blakeney Road.


Flaxley Abbey

Flaxley Abbey was originally a Cistercian monastery built in the vale of Castiard to commemorate the spot where, in 1143 in the reign of King Stephen, Milo Fitzwalter, Earl of Hereford and Constable of St Briavels Castle, had fallen while hunting. He had been shot by an arrow, it was said, at the instance of a political enemy. In the following years various gifts of land to the religious order built up a large estate. The monks ran an ironworks and a forge.


Forest House

Forest House is on Cinder Hill, Coleford. It was built in about 1795, with walls two feet thick. Shortly after it was built, a sideways extension was made that doubled its size. In the 19th century it was known as Tump House. It was always regarded as a 'more substantial house', ie occupied by well-to-do people.


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