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New craze rocks the Forest of Dean with its fun and creativity

Posted on 24th September 2017

Gloucestershire has a new craze which started out in the Forest of Dean and is only gaining in popularity.

painted rocksAmy Sampson, a mum from the Forest of Dean, is responsible for rocking the county with a new creative activity involving the painting of pebbles.

The new hobby is somewhat of a viral sensation, and started when Amy encouraged others to decorate rocks and then hide them in different public locations for people to find. The aim of the game is simply to bring a smile to the finder’s face.

After just four weeks of starting a Facebook group called Forest of Dean Rocks, the page has nearly 5,000 members and has inspired similar groups to pop up in the nearby towns of Gloucester and Bristol.

Amy, a wedding photographer, came across the craze herself thanks to a friend in Yorkshire and has been speaking about the county’s new favourite pastime (via Gloucestershire Live):

“I only started it about three weeks ago and it’s gone crazy,” said the mum of four from the Forest of Dean.

“I had a feeling it would be really popular but I had no idea how fast it would spread once I started. It’s been amazing.”

“I’m really pleased because it’s such good fun. It’s great to see so many people enjoying it and knowing I played a small part.”

People all over the county are now creating, hiding, and finding decorative rocks and then posting images on Facebook, with some participants getting incredibly creative with their designs. If you’re going to find yourself in the area soon, perhaps while staying at a holiday cottage in the Forest of Dean, why not keep a look out and join in the fun?

As Amy so nicely put: “It’s a really good way of getting people of all ages and abilities out and about having fun and being creative.”



Aidan Turner and Poldark are back filming in Gloucestershire

Posted on 08th September 2017

Aidan Turner is back in Gloucestershire filming scenes for Poldark season 4.

Chavenage House in Gloucestershire

The immensely popular BBC drama Poldark is currently in production for its fourth season and its star, Aidan Turner, has been spotted in Gloucestershire filming scenes at a number of locations.

The cast and crew for the Sunday night drama – viewed by millions – are filming key scenes at Chavenage House and the areas of Nalisworth and Tetbury which surround it. Turner has been spotted filming scenes at the historic home involving a horse and carriage.

Gloucestershire has been a frequent shooting location for Poldark, with the second and third series being filmed at Lasborough, Cirencester, and Chavenage. Chavenage House doubles as Trenwith House in Cornwall, a featured location of the show.

It’s not hard to see why the series, and many other high profile productions such as Wolf Hall and Sherlock, have chosen Gloucestershire as a filming location. With its luscious landscape and historic feel it makes the perfect setting for atmospheric drama.

This picturesque pocket of the country is ripe for a cinematic lens and you can see why Poldark has made the area a key part of its shooting process by visiting one of the area’s equally idyllic cottages in the Forest of Dean.

Poldark was originally made for TV in the 1970s and takes place in Cornwall’s late 18th century tin mining community.

Image Credit: Philip Halling

A Hollywood film and its stars are shooting in Gloucester

Posted on 02nd August 2017

Scenes for a new Hollywood movie are being filmed in Gloucester.

Joel KinnamanThe film is called ‘Three Seconds’, and stars Hollywood talent such as Clive Owen, Rosamund Pike, and ‘House of Cards’ actor Joel Kinnaman.

Kinnaman has recently been tweeting photos from the location.

The scenes being filmed in the area are at Gloucester’s former prison, a fitting location considering how the film’s events are described by IMDB:

“An ex-convict working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison.”

The prison closed in 2013 but has been open for tours since earlier this year. The tours are on hold while filming for ‘Three Seconds’ takes place.

This isn’t the first motion picture or TV show to be shot in these parts, with the dynamic and cinematic environs of Gloucestershire providing the backdrop for productions such as ‘Sherlock’, ‘Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass’, and ‘Doctor Who.’

Gloucestershire is truly an ideal location for dramatic productions and there is no better way to see what all the fuss is about than by booking a Forest of Dean holiday cottage.

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore


Meditation garden is a winner all round

Posted on 01st July 2017

Bordering the Forest of Dean, The Howle Hill Nursery may look unassuming, but it is actually rather famous for a large collection of Japanese Maples. However its prowess within the design community and success in show gardens is bringing continued attention to the area.

Japanese Maple

The latest accolade was awarded from RHS Malvern, where Peter Dowle and his team stunned judges with his offering ‘At One With… A Meditation Garden’ and received a gold for their hard work. At a recent interview, Dowle – the managing director and co-designer, praised the innate connection between people and the land, and how a garden links the two:

“Gardens and gardening provide a way of connecting the mind and body to the environment and the spirit, and including the five senses, provides a bridge for these connections. Treating the body and mind holistically provides a connectedness with the self, but a major component for many in healing is a connectedness with the environment and creating an environment that facilitates the healing process.”

He added, “We are delighted our vision was so widely appreciated, a fantastic result and testament to our skilled construction and planting teams for capturing the essence of the design.”

So many of Howle Hill Nursery’s designs combine an undeniable sense of serenity married to the best of the natural world, and though the company has 11 Chelsea Flower Show gold medals to their name, they design for gardens of every size and style. With five more gardens to construct in celebration of 50 years of Gardeners World Live, it looks to be a busy summer for the team.

For designing expertise or high quality plants, Howle Hill Nursery is a wonderful jaunt when staying in a Forest of Dean holiday cottage and is the perfect place to gain inspiration for your own garden.

Image Credit: cocoparisienne


Smallholding opens accessible activities

Posted on 16th June 2017

When travelling with multiple generations or large groups of people, it can be hard to accommodate everybody’s needs. However now holidays to Forest of Dean cottages do not have to involve a compromise. Weekly ‘open farm’ days and gentle walks with level paths ensure everybody can be involved regardless of mobility issues.

Lamb scratching ear

The Orchard Trust Smallholding in Lydbrook is doing much to connect those with limited mobility to livestock and an outdoor environment in a gentle and safe manner. While someone with mobility issues may enjoy the leisurely pathways, children will delight in the livestock. Extra wide and level paths offer space for two wheelchairs and buggies to pass. For those who do not use wheelchairs yet are not fully comfortable walking unattended, they can be supported on both sides.

A sensory garden increases the enjoyment of those who are visually impaired, as the garden focuses less on a person’s sense of sight to connect with the garden. Instead, they can enjoy the environment through other senses. The addition of livestock has proved popular, especially among those with sensory difficulties.

The Orchard Trust Smallholding is a joint venture that has seen much support from the local area. A wishing well was designed by Neil Perkins and made by local Carpentry Students at Gloucestershire College. Entry to The Orchard Trust Smallholding is free of charge, however, a donation in the wishing well is much appreciated to keep this wonderful facility open to everyone.

If you plan on visiting The Orchard Trust Smallholding, please see their website for contact details, as the ‘open farm’ days are open weekly while the walks are held on certain days a month.

Image Credit: Noel Reynolds (Flickr)