The International Steam Pages

Market Day in Ross-on-Wye

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.

While we are in effect a large village, our nearest medium sized town is Cinderford, but to be honest, it has no great history and it shows...  Coleford on the other side of the Forest of Dean is not unattractive but there is no direct bus service from Mitcheldean. On the other hand, we can get to Ross-on-Wye just across the Herefordshire border on a weekly shopper's bus which runs every Thursday. It's a beautiful place, well appreciated by its inhabitants and it boasts an active Civic Society -

In theory, we have a choice of two departures. However, the 09.25 is uncomfortably early, while technically it's before my bus pass kicks in, as an 'infrequent service' I could actually use it. Instead it's always the 11.04 for us and the ride is just 15 minutes compared to the half hour to Gloucester. I had expected it to be lightly loaded, but in fact it's extremely popular with the older generation. Revenue is minimal but on occasions it's standing room only in this 33 seater by the time it reaches Lea, which is the last village before we meet the main road:

The market these days is much reduced, but the stalls are clustered around the attractive old sandstone Market Hall. Underneath, there is a miscellany of cheap items, in this case Yuehong is buying some socks for Yiran.

There's a cheese 'caravan' and a 'pie stall' but for us the attraction is the local vegetables. So far Yuehong has not succumbed to the attraction of cyclamens as a house plant, but it's only a matter of time:

I won't be taking advantage of the offer of language lessons from the outlet for Chinese traditional medicines, but there are some very nice town houses some of of which are set in traffic free alleys:

On the way down towards the river, we came across one house which is not quite what it seemed. The blue circular plaque reveals that it was the town's sometime lock-up and jail!

Almshouses ( have existed for over 1000 years to provide accommodation for the needy, particularly the elderly, and these are opposite the church:

Of course the town's got its fair share of modern buildings but the old road to Monmouth has some delights, more almshouses and a house with an autumn red vine covering:

This was once the toll house when the road was 'private' and maintained by a trust who charged for its use, it is watched over by a loud but melodious robin.

Nearby is a street of sandstone houses, at the end of which is a 'gazebo', a tower built as a viewpoint over the river in the 1830s and now apparently a rather unusual private house.

Ross is built some way above the River Wye, there is a nice view of it from "The Prospect' which are gardens behind the church: Down on the river bank the sign promotes a plethora of local walks. The ducks are enjoying the placid Summer stream but the white pole on the right is marked to show the flood levels - the meadows behind are frequently flooded after prolonged heavy rain in the Welsh mountains upstream.

The large old church is a clear sign of the prosperity of the town which continues to this day. It is largely 13th and 14th century although, inevitably, the Victorians could not resist trying to 'improve' it. The spire can be seen for miles around:

When I get bored, I can always pop into the old Post Office which now serves the cheapest "Real Ale" in town - it's a Wetherspoons - but all too soon it's time to ride back. To finish here's a reminder of a forthcoming local attraction well worthy of my attention:

On the way back, the two grey haired ladies behind us were discussing oysters, one had heard they were aphrodisiacs... As a few of us got off the bus in Mitcheldean, one lady turned back to address the others and said "Bye-bye, see you all next week." No wonder the driver doesn't bother to look at their bus passes! 

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson