To the Forest of Dean, England

A short weekend break in Gloucestershire, UK.

“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.”

Jamie Lyn Beatty

A place in Lydney, Gloucestershire

Just me and him. It’s cool now after the sun beat down hard all day. Summer. August. One of the hottest Summers on record in England. We walk shrouded in the coolness and quietness of the night. Nine o’clock and it’s still light.

No one about. We pass a house that has recently been renovated. It’s huge. It’s very modern next to the ancient stone built houses. Pass the Green where earlier today it was buzzing with people, cars and things – the village car boot sale. Pass the Memorial Hall. Pass the Baptist Church. Pass the Woodman Inn – apparently renowned for it’s good food and drink. We see only one car in the parking bays. One man sitting outside, on his own, with his beer. Maybe there are other people inside.

We walk back to our abode where we are staying for two nights. Edale House, Lydney. We’re in what seems to us a sleepy village.

This weekend, the first weekend in August, hot, hot, hot! We travel to the Forest of Dean. In the two and a half days here, we packed in quite a bit. My hubby and I enjoyed our walks in the forest, watching people on the Cricket Green, eating ice cream and other delights, attending a glorious wedding, meeting people, visiting a friend, visiting the caves, also known as mines, it’s still a working mine … iron, coal and orchre. I’ve lots to write so I’d best get on …

The Forest of Dean is a geographical, historical and cultural region in the western part of the county of Gloucestershire, England. Wikipedia

Map of Gloucestershire

This is where we stayed, right across the road from the Cricket Green.

 

 

Clearwell Castle

The reason we are here is to share a wonderful life event. Last night we were at the wedding of Chris and Kerry. We’ve known Chris for years – friend of our son Pri – they schooled together, played football together, remained friends. Chris was often at ours and Pri at his. A beautiful wedding at a gorgeous location. A happy occasion shared with the couple’s family and friends. Clearwell Castle was the venue. An historic place, we are told that it is only hired out for weddings. Stunning grounds. A place full of character. We danced. We talked. We lost our way there … GoogleMaps didn’t do too well when we lost the signal … we went around and around down very narrow roads (well could they be called roads?) only room for one car at a time. Eventually we arrived.

Image may contain: night, sky and outdoor

Image from Clearwell Castle Wedding Venue

Tudor Farm House Hotel

I’d booked us into The Tudor Farm House Hotel for Saturday and Sunday nights. Great reviews and only 2 miles from Clearwell Castle. That would do us fine, I thought. Their restaurant is well renowed for amazing food. How disappointing when, on Friday night, day before we were due to leave for the Forest of Dean, around 9 pm I recieved a call from the manager at the Hotel. There was a leak. Our room, and only our room, was wet to the core. The bed was soaked through. There was “no room at the inn” for us! But … as any good business person would know … a solution had to be found. So Colin presented me with his solution … “I’ve reserved a room for you at a really nice B&B”, he said. “It’s not far at all. Peter is expecting your call. But, if you prefer, you can make other arrangements.” At 9 pm the night before we are due to travel ‘other arrangements’ seemed alien to me.

More about our evening at Tudor Farm House will be told another time. We were treated to a complimentary taxi service, from Edale House to Tudor, as well as drinks, The meal was quite delicious, the atmosphere warm, friendly and well worth the trip.

Edale House [images of Edale House from tripadviser.co.uk reviews]

As everyone does these days … I went straight onto the web after the phone call from Colin at Tudor … I typed in Edale House, Forest of Dean. I poked around on the website. Checked out the reviews. Mmmm a bed and breakfast I thought. I actually wanted to be somewhere where we could come and go at our leisure. I didn’t envisage being bedded and breakfasted and then put out to pasture until evening. Anyway, what I saw looked good. The reviews were mostly complimentary. It was too late to do anything other than phone Peter, have a chat, and confirm our reservations.

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Peter was extremely friendly, helpful, and accommodated my questions. You know about your ‘gut feeling’? Well, mine was just right. After much questioning and a very forthcoming Peter, we were all set to go. Peter and Jane own and have been running Edale House for 14 months now. It has, however, been in existence for some 30 years, they say. They are a very friendly couple and have no qualms about telling us that this is a business. It’s their livelihood. With the service they offer I hope that they have many happy and profitable years ahead.

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We were greeted by Jane on our arrival on Saturday afternoon in August. We signed in and were shown around. First impression – it was clean – the red carpet up the staircase did not show one spec of anything! Jane offered us tea and cake. It was most welcome as we’d spent much longer on the road than we should have – road works around Gloucester! Edale House allows dogs which, had I known, it would not be our preferred choice of stay. However, there is definitely no ‘dog scent’ and our room seemed to be dog-free which made for a pleasant stay. Peter and Jane have a labrador who we didn’t see. A few guests did have dogs with them but we hardly noticed, and they were all very well mannered!

Edale House is not your normal B&B I was pleased to discover. We were provided with a room key and a key to the front door. We were told to come and go as we pleased. After 10 pm we needed to observe a little courtesy to other guests. Of course. No noise. There is a resident’s lounge – nice and spacious and airy – and an oh so quaint ‘honesty’ bar. You help yourself to drinks, write down what you have, and it is added to your final bill. The lounge is filled with books of all types and we are encouraged to take a book “and if you don’t finish it whilst you’re there, please take it with you!” There are a number of hardcover, reference and special books that shouldn’t be taken for a walk! The garden is also availalbe to guests athough we didn’t make use of it this time around.

Our room, No. 5, overlooks the cricket green. Edale is on a main road so I guess more cars than normal pass by. Every second Sunday (which today is) a car boot is held and wow, the place is crowded very quickly with lots of cars lining the adjoining roads and people teaming in to browse and buy. All finished, however, just after 12 noon when we managed to scoot over to buy an ice cream which was delicious in the summer heat. Soon, the cricket green was just that – a green field with no one in sight!

No. 5 is spacious with all the normal furniture you would expect. It’s unique feature is it has both a bathroom with bath, as well as a separate room with toilet, shower and wash basin. If you love bathing it’s great – there is a geyser just for the bathroom with plenty of hot water. If you are a shower-er like us, providing you manage to grab your shower when not too many others are doing the same, you’ll be fine. But, you may find an intermittent hot and cold shower if others are doing the same! The house is such that this can’t be helped. The proprietors have taken pains to let us know about this little hiccup in their guest information booklet and on their breakfast order sheet!

The towels were nice and fluffy and soft – white and purple in our room. We had the normal lotions and potions in the bathroom. Tea, coffee, Galaxy hot chocolate, biscuits … and a slice of cake each with afternoon tea brought to our room on arrival by the lovely Jane! How sweet.

Next door is the Woodman”s Inn which is said to serve good food and it’s best to book in advance over the weekend. On Saturday night it sounded like it was a karoke evening … we had lots of loud music, not really to my taste! Now, I am a music lover, and it woudn’t normally bother me … but because the music wasn’t of my liking … “best I say no more” (to take a favourite phrase of a Facebook friend!).

There’s enough parking at Edale for 5 cars, if they are parked with care. Unfortunately for us, as we went out on Saturday evening, by the time we returned there was no space for us so we parked across the road. As the car boot was on Sunday morning, we had to move the car because the road is off limits for parking – it gets too congested. It wasn’t a big problem as we double parked at Edale and simply moved when other guests booked out.

The dining area is inviting. Fresh deep pink/red carnations on each table. The under table cloth is a royal blue covered with a crisp white. Cutlery is beautifully shiny and what’s not to like about white crockery?. Mainly tables for 2 – Peter says their clientelle consists mostly of couples – but they can accommodate larger parties.  Breakfast is served between 8 am and 9 am. There is a variety of fruit juice, fruit and yoghurt, cereals, nuts, jams, etc. Then the cooked English breakfast. For a small establishment, the choice is wide, the food is cooked to order, so hasn’t been standing around in a warmer, and is nicely presented. I had kippers one morning and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon this morning, both served with mushrooms and tomatoes. Dhiru stuck with traditional bacon, fried egg, mushrooms and tomatoes. We had plenty of toast, coffee, tea (green for me). I didn’t ask who cooked – actually it must be Jane as Peter was serving! I liked the jug of ice cold water that was available to us.

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Peter and Jane are the perfect hosts. Nothing seems too much trouble for them. They have a range of leaflets for the tourist and were very helpful advising us what to do and where to go. Although it was really hot – we’re experiencing an unusual summer – they work tirelessly to keep their property clean, tidy and inviting.

In the same road are other estabishments offering probably similar accommodation. I think the service of any place is what counts. I can highly recommend Edale House and Peter and Jane. We would stay again. Thank you.

A walk in the Forest

Just behind Edale House is the Forest. A mere walk away. And we walked – 25,000 plus steps! Wonderfully cool under the boughs of the green trees. So much to see.

The paths are well sign-posted. There were many cyclists about and we seemed to be the only ‘walkers’ at that time of day – around 10 a.m. We didn’t keep to the main pathway, but braved the hills and wandered amongst the grasses, hedgegrows and trees that had been cut by the foresters. In my ears I could hear the humming of their saws and the shrill cry of “Tiimber”! Of course it was just my imagination … no lumberjacks were to be seen on that Saturday morning!

 

 

As we walked I observed the little things. Like the twigs covered in moss and shaped like – could it be a lizard? It’s fascinating to see how nature takes it’s course. No flowers, but lots of different types of leaves, ferns, pine trees of all types, mushrooms in the undergrowth – actually I only saw one. The sun peeping through the thick foliage above. I found a stick that was just the right height, weight and strength to help me on my way. It was a boon for climbing up hills and then walking down!

What an exhilarating walk. Water was our friend, lots of drinking water.

 

 

Too much fresh air and more exercise than normal left us tired. It’s two hours walking just a very small part of the Forest. Up. Down. Over fallen trees. Under boughs shading us from the heat of the sun. Across paths, trodden by many walkers before us. Hot. Sweaty. Feeling good in the outdoors! Tired, we finally return to Edale House. After a welcome shower we collapse on our bed for a lazy mid afternoon snooze before our next outing.

I’ll write later about our visit to The Caves … Clearwell Caves. I loved the history, the ‘exhibition’. It is an education. I look forward to sharing my photos soon.

For now … it’s byeeee from me!


Written over a period of time from 5th to 18th August 2018 – please forgive the use of present and past tense. It depended when I wrote and I decided not to edit too much or my blog would just not be published.

Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far. Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

 

 

Author: Cecilyswritings

Woman, mum, nana, wife, sister, aunt, friend, mentor, business woman, HR specialist. Love keeping in touch with people around the world using social media - so far and yet so near. Fingers in a few pies and now sharing my words. My Motto: Go for it! Believe you can and you can.

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