Mountain Biking Magazine




the forest of dean

What was once a hang–out has become a destination.

Lurking on the fringes of the Royal Forest Of Dean, Lydney tumbles out of a big mix of woodland stretching way back into Wales. It’s got a bit of everything, rough and smooth…

From Dirt Issue 124 – June 2012

Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Steve Jones.

‘The Sun Trap’ tanning salon at one end of town, human hair extensions on the other, Bargain Booze sitting almost fondly alongside The Annexe, an ambitious pub slender of verve. Leaving town I spot a reclamation yard of London busses sharing the same flood plain as a company selling swanky VW T5’s.

It’s here that the oddly contrasting harmony of Lydney town centre got me thinking. I’d been rummaging around the fringes picking up images for what was planned to be a full Forest of Dean feature but now realized it was the smaller scale I should be working on rather than tackling the massively complex, hugely ridden, and let’s not forget, regal woodland.

Sallow Vallets Inclosure is a block of land sitting at the dead centre of this area. Once a rough old slab of woodland, the only people you’d likely to have seen would have been the freeminers working in coal pit–pockets set amongst the much bigger historical mining landscape. Given its washed out name the woods still offered rich pickings.

Today, surrounded by roads, on its outer most edges ‘The Inclosure’ has one, maybe two households at a push, a campsite and a mini garden centre. Freeminers do still inhabit the inner sanctum and it’s only in recent times that riders arrived to dig their own gold, locals ripping in new downhill trails, the famous Bombhole trails and Ash Tip links. The sheep have long since buggered off from these parts, choosing a roadside town centre or residential existence instead.>>

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