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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Thus its outcrop at Lydney is very imperfectly defined


The

same scientific observer records an extraordinary depression about half a mile to the south-east, in the direction of the "Horse," and in the same seam of coal, amounting to about twenty feet in depth, and of an oval shape. Various other defects and disturbances in the Coleford High Delf are detected from time to time by the new workings, especially in those places where the surface is most uneven. Thus its outcrop at Lydney is very imperfectly defined, and at Oakwood Mill the vein is rendered worthless by a fault, whilst on each side of the Lydbrook valley there is a contortion, by which it is thrown down in one instance seventy yards, and in two others thirty yards each.

Such is the geological character of the conspicuous range of hills by which the Dean Forest coal-field is bounded, especially on its north and east sides. The following table gives their height in feet at certain places above the sea:--

Feet. Symmond's Rock 540 Buck Stone 954 Knockholt 760 Clearwell Meand 727 Ruerdean Hill 991 High Beech 891 Coleford Meand 760 Berry Hill 750 Lea Bailey Hill 580 Mitcheldean Meand 870 Edge Hill 908 Stapledge

749 Putten Edge 664 Blaize Bailey 684 Blackney Hill 507

Nearly all these spots afford magnificent views of the surrounding country, reaching as far as the Coteswold, Sedgebarrow, Malvern, Herefordshire, Welsh, and Monmouthshire heights, relieved intermediately by the windings of the Severn, cultivated plains, and woodland. Several very striking ravines intersect this Forest range, particularly at Lydbrook, Blackpool Brook, and Ruspedge, such as would afford the artist many beautiful and interesting subjects for delineation. One of the hills, viz. that on which Mr. Colchester's house, called "the Wilderness," is situated, affords a prospect rarely equalled. The present residence dates from the year 1824, but it occupies a site which was built upon as early as 1710, if not before, for the accommodation of sporting parties in the days of Sir Duncombe Colchester, when its fine sycamores and trees of "the Beech Walk" were most likely planted.

Descending from the side of the hilly range on which the reader has been supposed to stand towards the middle of the Forest, a plain is reached varying in width from half a mile to little more than 100 yards, and forming a band round the somewhat elevated centre of the district. This circular valley or plain marks the outcrop of the middle series of coal seams, not less than ten in number, the principal ones being the Smith Coal, Lowery or Park End High Delf, Starkey, Rocky, and Upper and Lower Churchway. The combined thickness of these beds may be said to average 20 feet, and they are more argillaceous in character than the lower beds, which in general are harder in their nature, and hence they afford the larger portion of the fossiliferous remains observed and tabulated by Mr. R. Gibbs, who has kindly furnished the writer with the following--

PLANTAE.

_Asterophyllites_ equisetiformis, et foliosus.

_Bothrodendron_ punctatum.

_Calamites_ approximatus, nodosus.

_Caulopteris_ primaeva.


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