Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Into the woods

We've been living in a log cabin for a few days. No we haven't left the canals and disappeared into the backwoods. This cabin had underfloor heating, big flat screen tv, wi-fi and double glazing.
We were in the Forest of Dean on a Forest Holidays break thanks to our generous daughter and son in law Lucy and Nick. I think they felt sorry for us, stuck on our little Star and battling away on Harry.
Well we all had a great time. The Forest of Dean is not somewhere I know but it's a fascinating area. Remote, rural, picturesque and yet laced with disused coal mines as part of an all but vanished industrial past. Some bits survive - like the Dean Forest Railway we rode on Sunday down to Lydney.
And at Lydney itself where there's a restored docks that leads into - yes you've guessed it - a canal! Not that there's much of it left. Just a few hundred yards beyond the sea lock and the basin beyond it. The docks has been restored and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument as an example of a 19th century harbour. It's hard to imagine, though, that this little harbour shipped out up to 300,000 tons of Dean coal a year.
The locks are impressive, built to cope with the huge tidal range of the River Severn. And the views are even more impressive; a huge panorama way down beyond the two Severn bridges and equally far up-river.
Our other day out was to somewhere quite different - Puzzlewood where the eroded limestone, overgrown old iron ore mine workings and tangled, overgrown woods have created a magical labyrinth of a spot. If you're a fan of 'Merlin' you'll recognise it right away.
Now we're back afloat but already thinking about another log cabin break when Harry wears us down.


David O said...

Wow, what a treat and a good break from Harry. Last time I was at Lydney and down by the river below the old locks, there were the remains of lots of old concrete boats that used to ply across the river to Gloucester (I presume. Love the Forest and need to re-visit again. It is a lost world in many ways...or at least an area that has stood still in time.

Starman said...

Yes there are still lots of old hulks in the mud at the river edge.