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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

From Mitcheldean to Coleford Lane End


From

Mitcheldean to Coleford Lane End. ,, St. White's ,, ,, ,, Coleford ,, Viney Hill. ,, Viney Hill ,, Purton Passage. ,, Miry Stock ,, Lydbrook. ,, Perry Grove ,, Clearwell. ,, The Bearse ,, Bream.

At this time, therefore, so much of the ancient road as lay between Mitcheldean and Nail Bridge was discarded for the present one, which ascends the Stenders Hill by a more even slope, and avoids the abrupt rise of Harrow Hill. The old line may yet be traced, and Nail Bridge remains; in allusion to which improvements the following advertisement appeared in _The Gloucester Journal_, Monday, Sept. 5, 1796:--"James Graham, at the George Inn, Mitcheldean, has great pleasure in returning his respectful thanks for the liberal support he has received, and announces to the public that the new road through His Majesty's Forest of Dean, leading from Mitcheldean to Coleford and Monmouth, which is the high road from Gloucester to South Wales, is already greatly improved, and in a short time will be equal to any in this part of the country. It is allowed that travellers will save a mile at least by taking this way from Gloucester to Monmouth; and when accurately measured, it is imagined that the saving will be found to be still greater. Graham has laid in a stock of admirable port and other wines, and every exertion will be made for public accommodation. Post chaises at 1s. per mile, and sober drivers."

Nor

was this advertisement a mere puff, as Mr. Budge, writing in the year 1803, states--"The great travelling road to Monmouth from Gloucester now leads through Mitcheldean, which, with the good accommodation afforded to travellers, will in process of time be probably the occasion of raising it to a considerable rank among towns of this description." Besides which, there are sufficient intimations in the double approach to the George Inn and large yard adjoining it, as well as in the capacious stable-yards belonging to the other inns of the town, which is beset with six toll-bars, that its character must have been such as is here given; to which may also be added the numerous farmers' teams which were constantly passing through the town to and from the collieries in the Forest, in droves of ten or fifteen together, the bells on the horses merrily jingling as they moved along. Connected with which circumstance it may be observed that the old roads of the district abound in horsepools, or watering-places, wherever a spring could be made available for their supply. At this time the two Mitcheldean toll-bars, situated on the Gloucester and Monmouth line of road, were let at 250 pounds per annum. The only link connecting in these respects the past with recent times was supplied until the last five years by our old friend Mr. Yearsley's coach, running three times a week between Coleford and Gloucester.

For the next thirty years the Crown does not seem to have laid out any money upon the Forest roads, although their condition was so bad that it was urged as a reason for building churches and schools in the Forest, those of the surrounding parishes not being readily accessible to the inhabitants. But in 1828 and the two following years the Roads Trustees borrowed 5,000 pounds, with which they made the road

Leading from Park End to Bream 1.5 miles. ,, Nail Bridge to Little Dean 3 ,, ,, the White Oak to Lydbrook 1 ,,

besides widening and improving the road through Lydbrook for Bishopswood. They likewise formed the road


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