Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Forest of Dean, days three and four

Day three and we started by climbing to the top of a hill at the New Fancy Mine, where there was a bird observatory and we were told we would be able to see buzzards. This shot shows exactly what we saw in the way of birdlife - a big fat zero, they must have heard we were coming.

We had worked out a nice circular route, about 4.5 miles in all, with a stop in Parkend, about 2/3rds of the way round, for lunch. The bluebells were amazing, at their very peak, and no way does this shot do them justice.

Our walk took us through mixed woodland, mostly deciduous but the odd managed area of pine. All along the route were self seeded saplings, more oak than anything else.

Sheep are allowed to roam free all over the forest, we saw them mostly at the sides of the roads, where gazing (and even grazing) was more plentiful than under the trees, they were quite oblivious to traffic and walkers.

We had a nose around Parkend Station, currently the northernmost station on the FOD railway, no trains running today, I loved this sign. Can you imagine seeing this at Paddington or Waterloo?

We stopped for lunch at the Fountain Inn at Parkend, but to be honest the breakfasts we were served at our digs were so enormous we didn't feel the need to eat at lunch time, so we just partook of a couple of alcoholic bevvies, then made out way back to the car, passing this magnificent oak just outside town.

As it was still fairly early afternoon we decided to do another activity, and made our way to the Clearwell mines.

We started out having a look at the museum, then made our way down underground - it was quite claustrophobic so instead of completing the walk we backtracked and returned to the museum.

A quick trip into Coleford for some sarnies for supper, and spotted this in the supermarket carpark - not sure what happened, but the driver must have been going quite fast, he(she?) took down a metal pole and a few feet of brick wall.

This lady pheasant was in the front garden of the digs when we got back to our room.

Day four, after some very heavy overnight rain we made our way back along the misty Wye Valley, over the Severn Bridge, a slow meander through some of Wiltshire's beautiful scenery, stopping for lunch in Malmsbury and then home (sweet home).


Chrissy said...

Looks like you are having a wonderful time. You must be very fit. Can you whoosh that rain down south please - very parched here, and never thought I would say wish it would rain hard!

Elaine said...

A great report on your trip. It looks a lovely area.

Bluebells are tricky to photograph though, I agree with you.

Here in Cheshunt we could do with some rain as well. Haven't had any serious rain for what seems like ages.