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Category: Gloucestershire

Ross and Moss – Day 2

Ross and Moss – Day 2

Before I get on to the account of today’s travels there is one thing I forgot to include in yesterday’s post.

When we were walking along Spruce Ride in the Forest of Dean we saw lots of dead Dor beetles (Dung beetles) and there must have been hundreds of them littering the ground. They don’t have a very long life span and these have probably died naturally but it seemed strange that we couldn’t see any live ones.

Then we started to see an occasional live beetle so there were some live ones about. I found one, alive but on its back, so I picked it up.

So, on to today.

We woke to another sunny day and, having had a tasty breakfast, drove off to our next destination and parked. One of the reasons that we came here was that I first drove here 65 years ago. Then it was a case of parking in a convenient space (not that many cars about then) and walking a short distance but now there is a huge car park (pay and display) together with a cafe. There is then a footpath from the car park which goes over the road on this footbridge.

The path then continues for a short distance to this viewpoint.

So what are they, and us, looking at? It’s this, the famous view from Symonds Yat Rock showing a U-bend in the River Wye. All of this so far is in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire but that view is across the border into Herefordshire so we are virtually standing on the border here.

My goodness, how everything has changed since my last visit except the view – at least that is still the same. The whole area has the atmosphere of a famous, bustling, tourist attraction, which I suppose it is now, but back then it was no such thing.

Making our way back to the car park we made a slight detour to see a different view in a different direction but it is still the River Wye.

Having had our fill of the view we went back, near the hotel, to look at another two lakes in the forest known as Cannop Ponds. This next picture is of the southern-most lake and the second picture is the northern-most lake. We walked from the far end of the southern lake to the join between the two lakes.

The first lake was much quieter with very few people but the second lake was quite busy and that could be because there is a large car park there.

After a pleasant walk we drove back to the hotel, parked and then had some lunch in the Orangery Restaurant. That decided us to try this restaurant for dinner tonight.

After lunch we walked to the Cyril Hart Aboretum which borders the hotel. I haven’t been a great fan of arboreta until I visited this one and that changed my mind.

On the way to the arboretum we went across this small area where the turf had been badly damaged and were wondering what might have caused this. We reasoned that it was probably caused by wild boar, which roam the forest, digging with their tusks in search of food.

The arboretum is certainly picturesque and is full of interest. One aspect that notices is the variety of leaf colour from the different trees.

There are some very large trees here and if you want big leaves then we can do big leaves.

Those leaves are HUGE and they are on a Norway Maple. This next view I thought was rather picturesque too and showed some of the larger trees.

This attractive and colourful little tree is a Spindle Tree.

We spent quite a time here, particularly as Amanda likes trees, and then went back to the hotel to prepare for dinner. As I said earlier we planned to eat in the Orangery Restaurant which is a lovely light and bright room with a menu which is quite different from the Verderers Restaurant we ate in yesterday.

The menu was different enough that it included these. Amanda is sitting opposite me and this sundae is big enough to hide her and her sundae. YUM!

What a delightful end to a delightful day.

Ross and Moss – Day 1

Ross and Moss – Day 1

Our travelling this year has been severely curtailed because of Covid-19 so no surprises there. When Covid-19 first appeared and the country went into lockdown we were able to only walk locally. Then restrictions on driving eased a little, although we weren’t able to travel far, but eventually those restrictions were also eased to the point that we considered going away for a few days. So when a few days of sunny weather were forecast we decided to bite the bullet and off we went.

We booked accommodation in the Forest of Dean and set off in the sunshine.

Our first port of call was Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire just a short way from our final destination. I had been to Ross-on-Wye about 65 years ago and could remember nothing at all about it so it was like a first visit.

This next picture shows a general view of the town taken from the banks of the River Wye with the famous church spire showing well above the rest of the buildings. There is, of course, a riverside walk here.

When we arrived we parked in a car park in Edde Cross Street then walked back to the junction with High Street . A short distance along High Street brought us to the Old Market Hall at the top of Broad Street. This was built around 1650, and replaced what was probably an earlier wooden building, and markets are still held in it today. It does look rather impressive.

Having had a good look around the Market Place we walked the short distance to the church and, at 205 feet, that is what I call a spire! Although the spire was rebuilt in 1721 the church itself was built in 1316 and is one of the largest churches in Herefordshire.

The attractive interior is certainly spacious and features a number of monuments.

Outside in the churchyard is the Plague Cross which was erected to mark the graves where the three hundred or more townsfolk were buried by night and without coffins during an outbreak of the plague in 1637.

To one side of the church is a small, but beautiful, public park called ‘The Prospect’ which includes some fine trees and also provides an impressive view looking down over the River Wye and the surrounding countryside.

After looking around the church we wanted some lunch so, going back to the Market Square to look round, we found a nice little cafe at the top of Broad Street quite close to the Old Market Hall.

There is a small outside sitting area, seen in the picture below, but we ate inside. We had a small but satisfying, and very tasty, lunch.

After lunch we spotted a few more items of interest on our way back to the car. A rather quaint alley, some old almshouses and a very ancient timber-framed building now used as an antiques shop.

After leaving Ross-on-Wye we drove the 8 miles to our hotel which was not in any town or village but in the middle of the Forest of Dean.

Having registered we moved in to our room, unpacked and went outside to explore the forest .

I took this photograph of the Speech House Hotel before we started walking.

There was a path nearby called Spruce Ride so we started with that and noticed on the map that it went past a lake and decided to walk as far as the lake and back. The forest off to the side of the track looked very pleasant.

We spotted a little stream where the water was very brown. This area, surprisingly, had a lot of mines in the past, some of which were for iron, so it’s not surprising to find water coloured by the iron ore in the ground.

It didn’t take very long to reach the lake which looked very picturesque in the sunshine and it was lovely and quiet.

We were on the lookout for things other than trees and lakes and eventually came across a number of interesting fungi.

On our way back we saw this tree which was covered in moss. Not something one sees every day. A ‘Moss Tree’ perhaps.

The marker on the map below shows our path to the lake and the light area by the junction is the Speech House Hotel. You can zoom in and out using the plus and minus icons.

After returning to the hotel it was time to freshen up and go down to dinner. We had a choice of restaurant and this evening we chose the more formal dining room which, I have to say, was rather nice.

We started off, before ordering our meal, with cocktails. Amanda had an Espresso Martini which was coffee flavoured, which she rather liked, and mine was a Passion Fruit Cocktail. If Amanda’s head looks a little odd it’s the ultra wide angle lens I used to take this photograph.

Our meal turned out to be very nice and afterwards we retired for the night.

Ross -on-Wye was a lovely little town and we do like the Forest of Dean. So there endeth our first day. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Stone, stone and more stone.

Stone, stone and more stone.

Well we’re back from the Cotswolds. We had mixed weather with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday being sunny and warm and Thursday and Friday overcast with some showers.

We drove from home to Chipping Campden, where we were staying for two nights, but stopped off at the Rollright Stones, just over the Gloucestershire border into Oxfordshire, on the way. These 77 stones form a perfect circle 104 feet across and stand on a prehistoric trackway at the edge of a ridge.

We continued on to Chipping Campden arriving at around lunchtime. It is a proper working town, not having to survive on tourism alone, but has a lot to offer the tourist. There were many typical cotswold golden stone buildings including the Market Hall.

The following day we walked up Dover’s Hill on the edge of the town which gave some stupendous views over the surrounding countryside.

There were plenty of sheep and lambs about and this lamb seemed pretty ingrigued by us.

A little way north of Chipping Campden is Hidote Manor Gardens – one of the National Trust’s properties. We spent a half day here and what an amazing place it is.

We also had a trip to Broadway as it’s one of those well known picturesque Cotswolds places. Neither of us liked it very much. It is attractive in that it has the typical Cotswold buildings of golden stone but that was it really. It seemed that most of the people there were tourists and most of the businesses lining the main street were aimed at relieving tourists of their money – not a proper working village at all.

Broadway Tower was a bit different. Set out in the middle of nowhere on the top of a hill it’s an interesting feature. We didn’t go up the tower but the views from the top of the hill were amazing.

Thursday turned out to be a cloudy day with showers so we thought that ‘indoors’ would be good and so Snowshill Manor it was. I don’t know quite what to think of it. It’s certainly an extraordinary place with every room crammed with a whole range of artifacts from furniture to bicycles. Apparently the chap who owned it lived in a separate cottage next to the manor and used the manor to store his collection. You’d have to see it to believe it and, no, I didn’t take any photographs because it’s not permitted.

This trip was a good one and more details will appear on the web site pages in due course.