The International Steam Pages
The Littledean Hill Garden Railway
For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:
This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2011 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.
For two months, Yuehong stuck to what might best be described as a 'Yogurt and Salad' diet. It worked, the pounds flew off, but eventually watching her husband enjoying quality British food before her eyes was more than she could take. The temptation was too great, especially when it came to cakes- to-die-for and a 'modus vivendi' evolved whereby such indulgence had to be 'earned'.
Hence this Black Forest Gateau which vanished at a single sitting required a two hour cycle ride to the supermarket in Cinderford and back.
So when the freezer needed restocking with 'more', we set off on a second visit. If we can possibly avoid it, we never repeat exactly a day out and that's not too difficult given the number of paths and tracks in the Forest of Dean. The first time we took the 'high road' along the ridge, the main feature of which was a succession of totally ugly mobile phone towers. This time we took the low road which involved going down Jubilee Road which has kept us in plums and blackberries for the last month or more. Where the road finishes, we struck up a track which is kept clear by horse riders to whom we are, as always, extremely grateful. No doubt they have helped make the blackberries fruit as well as they make our roses flower.
By the time we got to the evocatively named Green Bottom, the weather was showing signs of 'failing'. This is a water pumping station, which very many years ago hosted a stationary steam engine. (http://www.pumpingstation.ltd.uk/pumpingstation.htm page locked 26th April 2014)
From here we had a steep climb up a small lane and along a green lane till we met another track which was what passes for flat here. Eventually we joined a sealed road and emerging from the trees we were greeted with an amazing view down to the River Severn - not surprisingly the bungalow behind us is called 'Panorama'.
Continuing along the road we came to the edge of Cinderford and in just the right place we found the 'Royal Foresters'. With real ale available, a refreshment break was a 'no brainer'. This has got to be the best view of the river from anywhere in the Forest:
As Wikipedia puts it politely (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderford) "During the decline of the coal industry, in the 1950s and 1960s, Cinderford suffered more than Coleford, the other main town of the Forest, as it had fewer other industries to fall back on." It's not on the tourist track and never will be, but visitors to the area ought to come here at least, preferably on a sunny day.
By the time we had been down to the town and back, the clouds had blown up, and really we should have pressed on but Yuehong looked over a gate and discovered the 'Littledean Hill Garden Railway' and in no time we had been invited in by Mike Ayland (http://www.ayland.eu) for a close inspection.
The loco started life as a Zillertalbahn 0-6-2T but it had an 'accident' and is now running as a 0-4-2T. It turned out that Mike went to the same schools as my brother and I across the water, so we had plenty of commonality. We blagged ourselves some of his magnificent rhubarb and set off for home. Despite the forecast, we got wet en route but it soon blew over. It was another great day out, nobody could ever be bored living in this area. And the freezer has three more gateaux in it.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson