There are so many intriguing remains of our industrial past that you can find in the Forest that it was quite a challenge to decide which particular sites would be funded. Some of those selected are unique, e.g. Soudley Packhorse Bridge, whilst others are representative of many sites with similar heritage significance such as tramways and mine entrances.
Here is a summary of the latest conservation works completed in recent months:
Soudley Packhorse Bridge is positioned close to the Dean Heritage Centre and crosses the Cinderford Brook on the Bradley Hill Trail which was, in the past, used to carry materials without using wheeled transport. The 'road' was a beaten earth path, about two metres wide and the bridge is made of stone with cobbles covered with earth.
An earlier phase of conservation works had protected the left bank of the bridge (looking downstream) using gabions, but the right muddy bank was in danger of being eroded during times of high flow and flooding. Consequently the conservation works was to protect the right wall of the bridge by creating a stone wall on the right bank and to re-point some of the masonry work.
Bridge works ‘before, during and after’:
Here is a 3-D model of Soudley Packhorse Bridge, kindly supplied by Forestry England:
Both Oakwood Tramway and Mill Hill Drift mine entrance are on the route of the Bream Heritage Walk. Please see the website bhwalk.uk for more detailed explanations of the history of these sites.
The conservation works taking place here are to conserve the stonework archway at the mine entrance and to improve drainage away from the mine tunnel. This is a complex site due to the proximity of electricity cables, water mains, gas pipes, the road and a public footpath.
There are a number of phases for this work:
Mill Hill Drift Mine entrance – before and after works started:
There are many tramways in the Forest, often with remaining tram stones hidden in the pathway. In this instance, we focused on conserving the wall alongside the tramway, because it was in danger of collapsing due to the pressure of large trees growing behind it. The original straight wall has now been re-constructed to incorporate gentle curves to accommodate the growing roots, creating a beautiful wall to be admired by walkers on the Bream Heritage Trail.
Again, our photos depict ‘before' and stunning 'after’ the works:
There have been plenty of organisations involved in completing our Built Heritage conservation works and we express thanks to:
And of course, special thanks to our funders: National Lottery Heritage Fund Landscape Partnership Programme.
You might be surprised what you find!
From creating habitats for our wildlife or improving our waterways, to recording oral histories or finding old photos, there’s always something going on to get involved in!