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.


Addis Hill Colliery

The gale was being worked by James Cowmeadow by 1841, although there seems to have been no production between 1841 and 1845; 2074 tons of coal were produced in 1846. The colliery worked the Coleford High Delf Seam (1 ft 6 in. to 6 ft 6 in. thick) of the Pennant Group, and possibly the Brazilly Seam of the Supra-Pennant Group. It was served by a tramroad connection to the Whimsey Branch tramroad of the Forest of Dean Railway. After 1873 it formed part of Haywood Colliery, coal being raised through the Haywood Pit. Work appears to have stopped by 1893, and the colliery was bought by Albert Schofield in 1900. Sidings at Churchway on the Forest of Dean Branch were in use by Schofield by 1908. Addis Hill still appears to have been worked through the Haywood Level at this time, but a shaft on the Fairplay Iron Mine drainage adit was also in use. Work ceased in about 1910, but was resumed after the gale was purchased by John Walby in 1915. The final phase of activity, by Ivo Baldwin, was in 1931-1935, after which the gale was surrendered to the Crown.

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All Saints' Church Blakeney

Dating from 1820 the chapel was a rebuild of an existing smaller early 18th century chapel. It was rebuilt to the designs of Samuel Hewlett as a plain single-cell building with a small west tower, a low south porch, and large ‘barn-like’ interior, with very large windows. The new building was designed to seat 700, and was partly funded by the Crown because it was intended to serve inhabitants of the adjoining parts of the Forest. Some internal refitting was carried out in 1880, and in 1906-7 the chapel was restored and a small eastern apse added to the designs of Prothero and Phillott of Cheltenham. The bowl of the font is a 15th-century water stoup, discovered near Gatcombe during building of the South Wales railway. The single bell was cast by Abraham Rudhall in 1719.

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All Saints' Church Viney Hill

This Victorian church was begun in 1865 and consecrated in 1867, and was built as a memorial to Charles Bathurst. The church is built of local red sandstone , with grey sandstone dressings, to a design by Ewan Christian. The style is that of the late 13th century, with an apsidal chancel flanked by quadrant chapels, and a nave with north transept and south aisle and porch. The north chapel was used as a vestry, and the south chapel was latterly converted to be a choir vestry. The roof is continuous over both nave and south aisle, but with a break of slope over the south aisle.

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Angus Buchanan Recreation Ground, Coleford

Angus Buchanan was born in Coleford in 1894. He went to St John’s Boys School Coleford and Monmouth Grammar School. He won a scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford. Angus was commissioned Temporary 2nd Lieutenant, South Wales Borderers on 27th November 1914, and was later promoted to Temporary Captain. He fought at Cape Helles, Gallipoli and was awarded the Military Cross on 7th January 1916. He was posted to Mesopotania, where he was awarded his Victoria Cross for action at Falauyah Lines on 5th April 1916. He was wounded in this incident and then on 13th February 1917 he was severely wounded to the head, and as a result lost his sight. Angus Buchanan was decorated with the Victoria Cross by King George V in Bristol on 8th November 1917. He returned to Jesus College after the war and read law. After graduating in 1921, he worked in a solicitor's office in Oxford before returning to Coleford to work until his death in 1944. Funds were raised in Coleford to mark his bravery, which he asked to be used to give children somewhere to play. He is buried in Coleford Cemetery, next to the recreation field named in his honour.

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Arthur and Edward (Waterloo) Colliery

The Arthur & Edward gale was worked by Benjamin Gwilliam and Thomas Butler from the mid-1830s, two shafts being sunk to work the Coleford High Delf Seam in the Pennant Group (middle Upper Coal Measures). 12857 tons of coal were produced in 1856. In 1853 the Arthur & Edward and Miery Stock Colliery Co. was formed, but this was wound up in 1859. There appears to have been little subsequent production until the new North-Western United deep gale was acquired by the Lydney and Crump Meadow Collieries Co. Ltd in 1908. The Coleford High Delf was reached at a depth of 273 ft in No. 1 Shaft, and was followed by dipples down to about 1050 ft. There were two winding engines (18 in. and 16 in.) and a pumping engine. Tubloads of coal were transported by means of an endless rope-hauled tramway or "creeper" to screens at Mierystock across the Monmouth-Mitcheldean Road, the screens being connected to a siding adjacent to the Lydbrook branch of the former Severn and Wye Railway. In 1928 the colliery was completely electrified and mechanical coal cutters and conveyer belts were installed. At its peak the colliery was producing over 4000 tons of steam coal per week (192172 tons in 1938, but down to 147254 tons in 1946). On 30 June 1949 the pit was flooded when a breach was made into the water-filled workings of East Slad Colliery. 177 men escaped by means of the cage up the shaft, and 5 missing men were eventually contacted and rescued via the old Pluds' Colliery shaft, which had recently been re-opened for ventilation purposes. Closure of the pit came on 23 December 1959. Very bad. Little remains, although a stone wall by the Lydbrook-Mierystock road is probably the site of the "creeper" bridge, across which tubs of coal were transported to the screens. The associated tip (SO 617145), now forested, survives. (Dec. 2002)

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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.

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Bathurst Park, Lydney

Before 1850, Lydney and Newerne were two separate villages, the area in between, now Hill Street, was farm land and buildings; as late as 1963 there was an orchard on the site that is now the Library and car park. The way to the church, which served both villages, was a path across open ground called the moorland. In 1892, Charles Bathurst of Lydney Park, whose estate included most of the farm land in the district, gave the moorland to the people of Lydney to commemorate the 25th birthday and coming of age of his eldest son, Charles Bathurst, jun. who later became the 1st Viscount Bledisloe. It was to be preserved as open green space, and was professionally landscaped and planted with trees and shrubs to become the attractive Bathurst Park that we know today. Over the years a band stand, football pitches, tennis courts, a bowling green and children's play area have been added and the park has been used and appreciated by the people of Lydney and a much wider area for the past 121 years. In the early 1950s, a rose garden was laid out as a war memorial and later a pond was added where an impressive fountain was installed to mark the millennium. To celebrate the Coronation of the Queen, ornamental gates at the entrance from Bathurst Park Road were given and installed by Mr John Watts. The gates were handed over to the Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr C H Steel at a ceremony at the gates in June 1953 and were officially opened by Lord Bledisloe, who thanked Mr Watts for the gates, just one of his many generous gifts to Lydney.

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Bixlade Tramway Blocks

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. Traffic had ceased by November 1946, after which much of the track was damaged by vehicular traffic. However, a section of stone blocks in the lower part of Bixslade was renovated by Forest Enterprise in the 1990s, motor traffic having been diverted. The original track consisted of L-section cast iron plates, 3 ft long and weighing 42 lbs, spiked to stone blocks (or setts) with single iron nails. Later track utilised longer plates, set on chairs which were attached to the blocks with two tapered bosses. Both types of block, which weighed at least 160 lbs and were at least 14 in. square by 7 in. thick, can be seen in Bixslade. Fair to poor. Along some sections of the tramroad the stone blocks are still in situ, but along much of the route blocks are either displaced, missing, or buried. (April 2002)

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Bixlade Tramway Rails

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. Traffic had ceased by November 1946, although the short section between Bixslade Stone Works and Bicslade Wharf remained in use into the 1950s. The only section of track known to have survived is near the stone works. The original track consisted of L-section cast iron plates, 3 ft long and weighing 42 lbs, spiked to 14 inch-square stone blocks (or setts) with single iron nails. Later track utilised longer plates, set on chairs which were attached to the blocks with two tapered bosses. By 1951 the Bicslade track consisted mostly of angle irons 4 1/2 in. by 2 1/4 in., 1/2 in. thick, and 12 ft long, although channel section was used where it crossed the road. The gauge was nominally 3 ft 6 in., but this tended to widen with time. Fair. A very short (about 8 ft) section of track survives in reasonable condition. (April 2002)

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Bixslade Colliery

There was a colliery in Bixslade at least by the 1790s, when James Teague was a partner in Bixslade Water Engine Pit. Bixslade Deep (or Low) Level (SO 60171005) was begun in 1809 by Thomas Halford and David Mushet to exploit the Coleford High Delf Seam in the Pennant Group (middle Upper Coal Measures). Bixslade Upper (or High) Level (SO 59991030) was driven in 1826 and also worked the Coleford High Delf, as well as draining a large area west of Cannop Valley. By 1841 the colliery was producing about 30000 tons of coal per year, which was transported on the Severn and Wye Railway's Bicslade Tramroad, but production seems to have ceased by about 1871. In 1908 the Bixslade Colliery Co. employed 20 people, and the tramroad was conveying coal until 1946. Since then, free miners have worked parts of the Bixslade gale via several new levels.

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Bixslade Stoneworks

The stone works was opened in 1901 by Messrs. E. Turner & Sons of Cardiff to enable the working of stone brought down the Bicslade Tramroad from Spion Kop Quarry. The works consist of two parallel buildings with an open space, spanned by an overhead crane, between them. The building on the southern side houses the horizontal stone saws and other machinery, some dating from the opening of the works. The smaller building on the north side is a working space for stone masons. As well as the two main buildings there are several ancillary structures such as the small timber and corrugated iron office at the entry to the works. Stone was brought into the works over a siding off the Bicslade Tramroad and was also sent out the same way but to a transshipment wharf with the Severn & Wye Joint Railway. Messrs Turner were taken over in 1910 by United Stone Firms who in turn were taken over by United Stone Firms (1926) Ltd. In 1939 the works and quarries were bought out by Forest of Dean Stone Firms who still operate the site today.

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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.

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