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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And the eastern part of Serridge


This year, 1818, Mr. Trotter obtained the permission of the Crown to erect steam engines at Vallets Level and Howler's Slade, and in the following year the first corn mill was constructed at Cinderford, by Mr. Brace, out of an old water-wheel, and the adjoining buildings. In the year 1819 also, through the exertions of the Rev. H. Poole, the small chapel at Coleford, erected there in the reign of Queen Anne, was taken down, and a building more equal to the religious wants of the place was erected, and duly set apart for Christian worship, by Bishop Ryder, on the 18th of January, 1821.

The Third Triennial Report of the Commissioners of Woods was issued on the 18th of June, 1819. It states that three portions of land had been granted in trust for church purposes to the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, Lord Calthorpe, and the Right Honourable Nicolas Vansittart, one piece being attached to Christ Church, Berry Hill, a second to Holy Trinity Church, and the third for a proposed church at Cinderford. It also affirms that the whole of the 11,000 acres specified in the Acts for enclosing the Forest had been taken in and planted, and that the plantations were generally in a very flourishing state, comprising with the recent purchases 14,335 acres, the whole of which lands were, from the nature of the soil and the conveniences of water-carriage, probably better adapted for that purpose than any other tract of land in the kingdom lying together and of equal extent. The report concludes by alluding to the efforts which the commissioners had been making to induce such parties as occupied encroachments on the Forest to accept leases for thirty-one years, at an almost nominal rent, with the view of effecting the ultimate restoration of these lands to the Crown, but regrets that so liberal a proposal had been refused by nearly all; nevertheless further steps were about being taken in the matter.

The following particulars relating to this period are abstracted from Mr. Machen's Memoranda:--"29th May, 1819. The frost was so severe that the verdure around White Mead, and throughout all the low parts of the Forest, was entirely destroyed. There was not a green leaf left on any oak or beech, large or small, and all the shoots of the year were altogether withered. The spruce and silver firs were all injured: in short all trees but Scotch fir and poplar suffered severely.--August 10th. The plantations had recovered from the effects of the frost--the oak more effectually than the beech, and had made more vigorous and thriving shoots than I ever saw. We measured several shoots in Serridge and Birchwood more than five feet long, and one in the Bailey Copse seven feet. We measured an oak planted in Whitemead Park near to the W. hedge, and in the second field planted below the house, seventeen feet six inches high: Lord Glenbervie was present. Shutcastle in the upper part, and the eastern part of Serridge, were looking best of all the new plantations, though all appear in a very thriving state this year." From the same source we learn that Ellwood, purchased from Colonel Probyn, and containing 110 acres, was planted this year. The holes were dug four feet apart in rows, and five feet between the rows. The trees planted were 30,000 Scotch firs, 1,600 pineasters, 3,600 larch, 6,000 Spanish chesnuts, 120,000 oaks of three and four years old, and 4,500 seedling oaks planted by way of experiment in one corner of the large field on the south side of Ellwood, and with no large plants amongst them. A few of the enclosures had oaks planted in them also, viz.-


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