The International Steam Pages

The Gloucestershire Way, 2011

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.

Broadly we have two kinds of walk available to us, a mainly tree lined one through the Forest of Dean to our west or a more open one to our east, with the exception of that to Littledean Hill (The Littledean Hill Garden Railway and In the Bleak Midwinter, 2011), going east offers more photographic opportunities (Roaming the Hills and Vales of West Gloucestershire and May Hill, West Gloucestershire's High Point), what they all share is a good pub along the way which serves Real Ale!

After days of gloom and rain, we were promised a single day's respite and we used it to fill some small gaps in our knowledge, utilising part of the long distance footpath, the Gloucestershire Way. It emerges from the Forest of Dean just south of Mitcheldean at Abenhall which amazingly still supports its own church even though there are almost no houses in the vicinity.

Next to it is one of Yuehong's favourites, the Old Rectory, a classic piece of Victoriana and in the wall is a letter box of the same era:

The camera does not lie, it really is in the middle of nowhere!

Money is in short supply in Gloucestershire but I am no great fan of their footpath signposting, without a decent map you would be struggling. You can generally expect a decent sign where you leave a sealed road - but this is down a minor side turning - and thereafter coverage in open ground is at best patchy although by and large the styles are well maintained.

We had been past the farm on the route down in the Summer, at the time I was, to put it mildly, some way off my intended route, the Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs had been brought in for the winter.

Shortly after we were treated to a distant view of May Hill, a previous destination, that's Longhope village on the right.

As we walked down, 'someone' spotted snow on the ground, strange because the temperatures have been above zero for more than a week and it's been raining too. Funny snow!

We'd done this bit before but after we crossed the main road we were on virgin territory, but at least we went round the side of the hill and the sun was shining and off came the coat.

My bobble hat came off too, but not in a planned manner, the local trees were covered in inaccessible 'kiss me quick' Mistletoe which had escaped the clutches of those who make a killing selling it at Christmas.

This time it was my turn to pose for the 'bridge shot' and afterwards we got a nice view of Longhope church:

This is as close as we got to iconic May Hill, the Gloucestershire Way continues up it - we had come down that way on a previous walk.

There are two watering holes in the village, fortunately the important one is still in use:

Like most of the villages round here, Longhope is full of modern houses but there are a couple of old ones on the road through it.

It's a brisk 20 minute walk from one end of the village to the other, we had carefully planned leaving the Nag's Head to catch the 14.30 bus back up to Mitcheldean, at this time of year on a clear day it's soon too chilly to stay out longer. Opposite the bus stop is a house with a history: "THE POUND HOUSE destroyed by FIRE 19th October 1851 was REBUILT for HANNAH BRIGHT Aged 71 Years by the NORWICH UNION FIRE OFFICE 1852." I'm not sure that today's householder would allow an insurance company to erect such a notice, Norwich Union is now part of the Aviva Group.

This shows the route described, our previous longer May Hill walk in part crossed from top right to middle left.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson