Back to that strict chronology you ticking types like, and a first exodus on this blog into the Forest of Dean, armed with your best wishes for my safe return.

I felt FoD, or whatever locals call it, may have more to explore than anywhere else in the UK.

Green smudges not mine

You might be interested to see the state of my Beer Guide by this stage. To think it was still pristine when BRAPA and I met up with Beer Leeds last November.

Roll on the end of August

Half a dozen pubs in the Dean, spread over 3 visits, gave me a chance to get to the heart of the Forest.  I failed.

Stuck between posh Chepstow, Monmouth and Gloucester, and packed with Guardian reader friendly activities like tree climbing, steam trains, Prosecco picnics and arguing over misread maps, you expect it to be bijou and chintzy despite the mining heritage.

Which it isn’t.

Scary Lydney Industrial Estate

There weren’t many Guardian readers in Lydney, which I bravely visited despite the lure of a Guide pub. But it’s a gem, scarred only by something called Lydney Brew which happens to be an artisan coffee house.  Elsewhere, all is crumbling buildings with trees growing out of them.

Not a pizza restaurant called Larri’s.  Yet.

Evidence of a strange, medieval language comes from the house clearance shop.

Future micro pub called “Yer in a Tizzy”

Bathurst Park was a little gem, despite the legal requirement to be in possession of a dog that prevented me entering.


Pop expert Mark Crilley will be able to tell me the spurious connection between The Beatles and Lydney.  Perhaps Ringo’s most famous songwriting was inspired by the octopus found in the town Marina in October ’66.

Fab Four – with Paul Heaton standing in for Macca


I walked there now, with that lovely smell of ferns after rainfall you wish you could bottle. The OS map takes you past the harbour and up to the weirdly named Naas.

It was by turns bewildering and bedraggled, and I was glad to find signs of life as the scary Naas house gave way to the golf course.

Civilisation (well, Berkeley) across the water
Naas house – a future Tiny Rebel fun pub, possibly

As I always say, if you want to see the world, just walk aimlessly.  But take an OS map and tell Mrs RM you won’t be back for tea.

The steam train, which takes you back to 1975, was running, which makes it more efficient than Northern Rail, anyway.

Up the road in the Forest proper we have Moseley Green’s Rising Sun, local Pub of the Year, which sometimes means it has seven handpumps too many.  I was nearly run over by an Old Boy in a Morris Minor as I walked up the drive, always the sign of a Proper Pub.

Watch your back

Five beers, two you’ve heard of, and some weird jam jars proving that all their beers are identical.  Phew !

And Bob too…

Five minutes later the Old Boy came in.

Good Morning Mrs Heatherley”  (names changed)

Good Morning Mr Blenkinsop”  (ditto)

Sorry, I’m late, my trousers were falling down

All very BRAPA, and there followed a long conversation about a planned Pub Outing to Porthcawl that may well have involved a charabanc.  It would certainly not have been allowed in a Humphrey Smith establishment.

The debate turned to the landlady’s attire.

Will she be putting her bikini on

Oh no, she’ll come out in goosepimps


My Butty was good too (NBSS 3.5), but the banter was worth far more than the £1.65.  I was half tempted to follow them down to Porthcawl.

A promising start.  But as I left, the regulars wishing me safe passage, I’m sure one of them said “Steer clear of Cinderford“.


17 thoughts on “LOST IN A FOREST (OF DEAN)

  1. Gloucester isn’t remotely posh!

    The local branch used to avoid scheduling any trips to the Forest of Dean after the clocks went back as it was too scary…


    1. I assure you I was being sarcastic !
      Gloucester is the Mansfield of the South-West (though with revitalisation of the docks it might yet turn into Newark).

      And yes, I’m glad I caught it in the daylight.


  2. This one was especially delightful (sorry, I know we’re not supposed to praise, but you know we Yanks can’t help it!). Loved the line about the smell of ferns after it rains.

    Well, you did get me to google “Beatles and Lydney” and all I could find was that they played the town hall in 1962; depending on how their career was going at that point, there may well have been more people at the local pub. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, well done, Mark. I knew you’d do the Beatles research for me (though aren’t ALL Americans supposed to be experts on either the Beatles or Dylan and know that stuff off by heart ?!). It was a month before their first single so I guess there would indeed have been more in Lydney Brew.

      It’s good to write a bit about a town, rather than just the pubs, good as they are. And that smell walking down to the river was really powerful. Imagine it’s a bit like Montana on a smaller scale.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Green smudges not mine”

    I’m famous!
    (Russell’s Inclosure due east of Coalway) 🙂

    “Scary Lydney Industrial Estate”

    Doubtless soon to be seen in a Zombie movie. 😉

    “by something called Lydney Brew which happens to be an artisan coffee house.”

    Talk about false advertising (or maybe double entendre?).

    “as the scary Naas house gave way to the golf course.”

    Glad the photo below this has the caption “marina”. I was beginning to think that is one tough golf course!

    “always the sign of a Proper Pub.”

    Would’ve been even more proper if he’d been in a mobility scooter. 🙂

    ““Sorry, I’m late, my trousers were falling down””

    I’ll have to remember that if I ever go for a job interview again. 😉

    “she’ll come out in goosepimps”

    Goosebumps I’ve heard of; this goosepimp thingy sounds… dirty.

    “I’m sure one of them said “Steer clear of Cinderford“.”

    Cinderford is getting quite the build up. (cue eerie music)


    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sure young Martin shares my motto in life – God looks after fools and drunks so I’m doubly indemnified.


  4. Looks like a good pub (I’m a sucker for places with carpets), but once again the bar is somewhere to buy your pint and then f**k off. If you’re alone, most people would hesitate to sit down at a table with complete strangers. If the bar was a place to sit, on the other hand, it would make for a much more social evening. American bars are more like that, partly Irish ones too. If there’s five people in the pub/bar, all of them will be at the bar and not at individual tables.


    1. “If there’s five people in the pub/bar, all of them will be at the bar and not at individual tables” and then the sixth customer can’t get to the bar and see which beers are on. No, give a Proper Pub any day.


    2. I don’t like sitting at bars, forces conversation. Some folk don’t go to pubs to start conversation like in “Cheers”.

      Oddly, in the Wetherspoons in Bedworth yesterday, an Old Boy sat down on my small table with his pint, despite the fact I was eating and blogging, and there being loads of tables at 11am. Didn’t say a word. Nor did I.


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