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.

Mitcheldean Brewery

Thomas Wintle built a brewery in Brook Street, Micheldean, in 1868 (using sandstone blocks from the Wilderness Quarry). It prospered and he extended it and built a malthouse in 1870 or 1872. From 1890 the business was run by his son, Francis. It soon became one of the largest businesses in the town, and in 1923 it owned 72 pubs - all the pubs in Mitcheldean and others in the surrounding areas. More than170 licenced premises were supplied, as far afield as Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Gloucester, Hereford, Monmouth, Pontypool, Ross, Tintern and Usk. In 1930 it had 50 employees. The malthouse was damaged by fire in 1925.


Monmouth (CMPUR) Bridge

The bridge which later carried Wye Valley Railway trains over the River Wye from Monmouth Troy station to Chepstow was built by the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk and Pontypool Railway, as part of a short extension from Monmouth across the river to connect with the Monmouth Railway (a horse-drawn tramroad from Coleford) at Wyesham Junction. The CMU&PR was leased to the West Midland Railway in 1861, the year in which the bridge was built. It consisted of a single lattice-girder deck bridge, 46 m long, with a fine 183 metre-long, 20-arch masonry approach viaduct on the Monmouth side, and a 20 metre-long, twin-arched bridge at the Wyesham end. The contractor was Joseph Firbank. Initially used only for goods traffic, it was not until the WVR was opened on 1 November 1876 that the bridge saw a reasonable amount of use. The WV line was closed to passenger services on 5 January 1959, and to goods in January 1964, after which the iron span was removed.Evidence: structure.


Monmouth Tramroad

The Monmouth Railway Act, authorising construction of a horse-drawn tramroad from Howlers Slade, near Broadwell, to May Hill, near Monmouth, via Coleford, Newland, and Redbrook, was passed on 24 May 1810. Its purpose was to provide an outlet for coal and other Forest products to the Monmouth area. It was opened on 17 August 1812, and branches to New Found Out Colliery, Darkhill (junction with the Severn and Wye Railway’s Milkwall Branch), Lower Redbrook, and down Howlers Slade were built at various times, to give a total length of 8 3/4 miles. The 3 ft 6 in. gauge line consisted of L-section plates nailed to stone blocks, and there were rope-worked inclines at Poolway and on the Redbrook Branch. On 4 February 1853 the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk, and Pontypool Railway agreed to purchase the Coleford to Monmouth section, but by 1872 there was little traffic. The line was lifted and most of the trackbed became the Great Western Railway’s Coleford Branch, which opened on 1 September 1883. Very bad. Much of the tramroad route was utilised for the standard-gauge Coleford Branch, although some sections, particularly around Redbrook, were not and the trackbed can still be traced. More substantial remains include the Redbrook incline bridge (SO 537103), a short tunnel near Newland (557095), and bridge abutments near Coleford (563101). Part of the tramroad route through the centre of Coleford is marked by The Tram Road (575108) (March 2002)


Monument Free Mine

Formerly known as Hayners Bailey or Bixslade Free Mine, Monument Mine (named after the nearby Union Pit Disaster Memorial) is currently (2002) the only free mine producing coal in the Forest. It works the Yorkley Seam of the Pennant Group via an inclined drift. Good. A typical working Forest free mine. It includes an inclined drift entrance, tramway with tubs, and a coal loading wharf with screens. (April 2002). Worked 2009 by Freeminers Richard Daniels, Ray Ashley and Neil Jones.


Morse's Level

Morses Level was driven by George Morse, a free miner of Yorkley, in about 1832 to work the Yorkley Seam of the Pennant Group. It was worked by the Blakeney and Forest of Dean Coal Co. Ltd from 1864-1869, and Howbeach Collieries Co. Ltd in the 1920s. The level trends southwards for 900 yards in the Yorkley Seam, and then southeast to cut the Coleford High Delf Seam. It has recently (1990s) been worked as a free mine, but is currently (2002) inactive. Good. The stone drift entrance (gated), complete with tramway tracks, is in good condition. (May 2002)


Nelson Colliery

Although a licence to erect a steam engine was granted in 1825, little work appears to have been done until about 1841, when shaft sinking reached 168 ft. Coal production was 6388 tons in 1845 and 24539 tons (the fifth highest in the Forest) in 1856. Tramroad connections were made to both the Forest of Dean (later South Wales) and Severn and Wye Railways, and by 1856 the colliery had a broad-gauge connection. The colliery may have closed around 1865, although some work may have continued into the 1870s. Certainly by 1881 the gale was in the hands of the Bilson and Crump Meadow Collieries Co. Ltd, who, with their successors, held it only to protect their Crump Meadow Colliery until that closed in 1929.


Netherhope Halt

Netherhope Halt was the last halt to be opened on the Wye Valley Railway, between Chepstow and Monmouth, in July 1932. It consisted of a platform with a small galvanised iron shelter, supplied by Joseph Ash & Son Ltd of Birmingham. The halt was on the eastern (down) side of the line just south of the southern portal of Tidenham tunnel, and the approach was down a steep path from the overbridge carrying Netherhope Lane. It closed to passengers on 5 January 1959 and was demolished soon afterwards.


New Bowson Colliery

Although the Bowson deep gale was granted to Cornelius Walding in 1843, serious development was not begun until 1864, when the Great Western Deep Coal Co. began sinking two shafts. The work, the first attempt at deep mining in the Forest, was hampered by a dispute with the owners of the nearby Winning Pits, accidents, constructional problems, and finally water ingress. A second-hand 85-inch Cornish beam pumping engine was installed in 1869, but did not prove successful. One shaft reached a depth of 865 ft, through the Supra-Pennant Group (with the Churchway High Delf Seam) to below the Yorkley Seam in the Pennant Group (Upper Coal Measures), but little or no coal appears to have been won; nevertheless, sidings connected to the Churchway Branch of the Great Western Railway's Forest of Dean Branch were constructed. In 1904, under the terms of the Dean Forest (Mines) Act, the New Bowson and East Dean Deep gales were to be amalgamated with the Holly Hill United and Richard Whites gales to form the Northern United deep gale. This was acquired by the Lydney and Crump Meadow Collieries Co. Ltd in 1907, but little work was done at New Bowson, and the site was ultimately abandoned in 1925. The Northern United gale was sold to Henry Crawshay & Co. Ltd in 1932, and this company went on to develop Northern United Colliery, a short distance to the northwest. Very Bad. Some concrete and brick foundations survive and a circular stone and steel structure (probably a shaft collar) and the lower part of a stone building (possibly an engine house) have been restored. There is an information board which is part of the Cinderford Linear Park. (June 2002)


New Fancy Colliery

John and then Edward Protheroe appear to have had interests in the New Fancy gale since the early 1800s, and it was certainly being worked by the latter in 1840 through the Parkend gale. Shaft sinking at New Fancy began in about 1852 and 250 tons/day of coal were being produced by 1860. From about 1888 coal from the Parkend gale was raised through New Fancy. The colliery worked the top part of the Upper Coal Measures (Supra-Pennant Group), but the seams are generally thin, only the Parkend High Delf (at a depth of 861 ft) reaching 3 ft. Because of this, compressed-air coal cutters were introduced as early as 1884, one of the first such installations in the west of England. Electric pumping, haulage, and coal cutting equipment was installed in 1914. Production of coal was about 500 tons/day in 1906 and there were 694 employees in 1922. New Fancy was connected to the Severn and Wye Railway's Kidnall's Mill branch in 1859, and a competing branch of the Forest of Dean Central Railway was completed in 1869; however, traffic was soon diverted onto the Severn and Wye's mineral loop, which opened in 1872. The output of New Fancy steadily declined until closure in August 1944. Very bad. The stone retaining wall of the screens, part of the associated sidings, a chimney base, and a capped shaft survive, while the landscaped tip is a scenic viewpoint. (Sept. 2001)


New Found Out Mine

New Found Out Pit was in existence by 1841, when it was producing 12 tons of coal per day, presumably from the Coleford High Delf Seam of the Pennant Group. The coal was dispatched over a branch of the Monmouth Tramroad. The output was 2285 tons of coal in 1880. New Found Out Free Mine was nearby at SO 591129. Very bad. There are several small overgrown tips in the woods, concrete foundations, the remains of a possible loading wharf, and three stone-lined shafts (SO 590128, 588125, and 589125, although the last two could be part of Thatch Colliery). Nothing, other than a hollow (possibly a filled-in shaft), survives of the free mine at SO 591129. (Oct. 2002)


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.


Newbridge Engine Colliery

Newbridge Engine Colliery was working by 1833 when the owners proposed that the Forest of Dean Railway should extend its tramroad from Whimsey to the colliery. It was presumably exploiting the Coleford High Delf Seam at the base of the Pennant Group, which is very close to the surface here. As this was declined, a private tramroad was built. The colliery was soon in debt, with the workings flooded and the tramroad equipment sold off. An attempt to re-open the colliery in 1859 was abortive, but the Mitcheldean Colliery Co. Ltd had some success in winning coal from the pit before it closed in 1879 and the company was dissolved in 1885. The gale was acquired by Jacob Chivers in 1885, who intended to work it through his Hawkwell Colliery, and it seems to have been worked by the New Bowson Coal Co. Ltd between 1898 and 1906. It was ultimately bought by Albert Jones in 1918 to form part of Harrow Hill Colliery.


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