The International Steam Pages

Roaming the Hills and Vales of West Gloucestershire

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.

Mitcheldean sits just outside the Forest of Dean proper, below us lie a couple of valleys leading to the Vale of Severn, there is a map at the end showing the area described below). Just up the hill from us there is a view point on the main road, the hill in the middle distance is the one between us and Blaisdon some 5 miles (8 kilometres) away.

Our first visit to Blaisdon was just after Yiran's 18th birthday, the idea was to walk down and catch our trusty 24 bus back. The path out started well enough but soon got a little overgrown. Nevertheless we made apparently good progress until I discovered I had misread the map and we would have to walk rather further than expected. Yuehong's face says it all, even though it was 100% my fault she says she would rather I had not uploaded it!

And then it rained. By the time we got to Blaisdon, the Red Hart was firmly closed, it wasn't even a near miss. I don't know why they were smiling, it was another half an hour's walk to the bus stop at Little London.


Next time, it was just Yuehong and I, we took no chances and caught the bus down, consequently a drink was guaranteed. Afterwards we used the proper route home, I always like a railway connection and the second picture shows the course of the old railway between Gloucester and Hereford via Ross-on-Wye. While parts were still a little overgrown, the view from the top of the hill was fabulous.

When Yiran had a free day, we took our 24 bus up to its Joy's Green terminus by Lydbrook and walked home. No fear of getting badly lost here as the start is along an old railway line where the bridges had long disappeared and new footbridges installed. Further up we were into part of the forest which I had already sussed out on the bike. However, Yiran was again disappointed as he had no opportunity to use his passport as 'proof of age' - you can read more about this area in the 'Old Rails' page.

So once again we went to Blaisdon, this time Yiran and I cycled down while Yuehong took the bus. He was spoiled for choice... I wasn't going to let him cycle back, so he went on the bus, here Yuehong is crossing the track bed of the old railway next to the former Blaisdon Halt.

Just north of Flaxley village is Flaxley Abbey, formerly home to monks of the Cistercian Order but which has been in private hands for some time, quite a place to call home... Actually, what you can see in the pictures is a later manor house which took the same name, but which incorporates just a very few parts of the original buildings.

It's late summer now but traditional blackberrying is too much like hard work for today's younger generation. Similarly, the glut of plums is largely being allowed to rot. We gorge ourselves on the trees we pass when out for a walk, but for serious cooking and preserving we have a kind offer from one of the residents of Jubilee Road to help ourselves at any time...

The fresh air and exercise is working wonders, Yuehong now looks 10 years younger:

As Robert Browning wrote "Oh to be in England...", it was seven long years in China and it's great to be back  It's a far cry from the battlegrounds of the inner cities; although the underclass in Gloucester had their night, about 50% of them have already been arrested as I write.

This shows the location of Flaxley and Blaisdon, the Abbey is on Abenhall Road. The map is courtesy of Google Maps:

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson