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The Viaduct and railway line at Lydbrook.

The Viaduct and the railway  line (49k)

This view looks across towards Forge Hill and Joys Green. The sign to the right of the pole advises a speed limit of 5 m.p.h. It was changed from 6 m.p.h to 5 m.p.h. in 1911. The four-foot high parapets can be clearly seen. These parapets had an eighty-foot drop to the ground at the highest point. This was the site of the hair-raising exploits of a boyhood friend Harvey Fear. Harvey would ride his bicycle across a parapet to our utter fear and amazement. Late one summer night as a nine year old, whilst crossing the viaduct on foot with some friends we were suddenly caught in a terrific downpour. The valley was lit up in a thunder and lightning storm with the rain lashing down and the stonework itself seemed to tremble. The exposed position made us question the wisdom of our shortcut. The cottage at the far end of the viaduct are on the lower slopes of Forge Hill. Along a un-mettled road to the right of the first cottage is a small chapel called the Mission Hall built in 1883. The copy of the deeds show the names of one or two local industrialists together with miners names but no signatures - only a cross or a mark. There was prejudice in those days for a clause written into the deeds stated that if the chapel should be sold, it was not to be sold to Catholics!. The building on the valley floor with smoke ascending is the Courtfield Arms, an old coaching inn on the side of the Coleford to Ross road. On the right bank of the river stood the "Boat House" a ferryman's cottage. Mr Richard Walford was the last occupant. The house had to be pulled down before it fell into the river due to land erosion. Further up stream are three or four cottages called Quay Row, the small front garden runs down to the riverbank. On the main road opposite Quay Row, a small road leads up Vention Lane, forking right to Joys Green. At the fork stands the Royal Spring pub with old limekilns behind it. The right fork rises steeply to join the Lydbrook to Raurdean road. To the top left of the photo, the hills rise up to the highest point in the Forest of Dean, the summit of Raurdean Hill at 880 feet above sea level.

(25-11-2004) E. R. Walford added : "I was born in Quay Row, there were in fact nearer a dozen cottages perhaps as many as 20 cottages in Quay row, including a pub, I don't remember it being a pub, just that it was the biggest building in the row. There was a spring, in what had been the beer-cellar, where the residants of Quay Row could fetch their water, before the days of water out of taps, this of course would only apply when the river was not in the cottages. The cottages had been used by the bargees and their famillies. The bargees used to "Man-Haul" flat bottomed barges from Chepstow to as far upstream as Hay on Wye, carrying; coal, timber and limestone etc.. In front of Quay Row the river had been dug out to form a "harbour" which could be easily seen to be man-made because of the rectangular shape and it's wall. Right into the late 1960's some of the mooring posts could still be found. The pub was the last of the old buildings to be occupied, probably until arround 1969, it was largely destoyed when several tons of sheet steel from what was Richard Thomas& Baldwin fell off a lorry that was travelling along the Lower Lydbrook to Ross on Wye road which was close to, above & behind Quay Row. The houses occupants were in bed when the steel came through their bedroom ceiling killing the husband but his wife & children were not seriously hurt. I think the pub had been known as the Queen' Arms".

- Ken W Sollars

Barry Lewis added (Jan 2006): "Sorry, I can't remember the source, but I read some years ago that the Countess of Salisbury was nurse to Henry V at 'Greenfield'. As a consequence the name was changed to 'Courtfield'. Now, if Henry was nursed by the Countess of Salisbury she must have been Elizabeth, wife of William Monatcute, who was Earl 1328 - 1397 as Henry was born 1387".

Mr Dobson added (January 2011): "... someone has mentioned a lorry crash on the Ross road above Quay Row, Lydbrook and said it was an RTB lorry loaded with steel that went in to the old pub killing the man of the house. Were there two crashes? because when I drove down at Reeds Corrugated in the 1970's and early 80's, the only house left there was knocked down and another one built on the spot. Just after the people moved in a ... lorry loaded with sheet steel crashed above it and the steel killed the gentleman in bed and his wife lost a foot. The lorry driver ... still lives in ... area".

Clive added (July 2012): "...I lived in the new house that we had built in Quay Row that still stands. It's the wooden Scandinavian design. I lived there while it was being built by Collier and Brain. The lorry crash which occured, I think in 1980, was a lorry from John James Transport at the top of Lydbrook which is now a garage next to the Jovial Colliers pub. It was unfortunate that the crash happened into the old cottage which we were living (in) because the new house about 50 yds further up in the grounds was almost finished and had it been a few more weeks there would have been no-one in the cottage ... one good thing to remember about Quay Row was Gardeners World filmed its BBC2 programme there back in 1984 for a whole half hour where Mrs Roberts showed off her excellent gardening skills. Even with her injury from the lorry crash she was a strong lady and very well respected".


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