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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)

Fantastic pottery of every colour

Posted on 07th April 2017

If you go into the woods today you are in for a big surprise because, bordering the Forest of Dean and hidden behind the façade of an old-fashioned stone farmhouse, lies a storm of colourful ceramics. Mary Rose Young has settled on the outskirts of the forest, and brought all her creativity to bare.  Mary Rose Young

Bright tiles, striped beams and shelves of every colour display her vibrant and delicate pieces that, despite the retro patterns, still hold an organic element in their shape. While staying in a holiday cottage in the Forest of Dean, it is worth heading out to see this bright little gallery that makes you feel as if you are stepping into Oz.

From tiny bowls to chandeliers, Mary Rose has an ideal range for those looking for anything from a gift or keepsake to a statement piece for their home. There is an element of fairytale in many of Mary Rose’s pieces. Crowned tea cups are the norm, while roses cluster on many of her pieces, adding a hint of the romantic. She explains, “I wanted my pottery to have a cross between childlike wonderment and a fun party, and you see that when people walk into the gallery”. While there are sets of gold and white dinner plates available for traditionalists, there are also those with polka dots, stripes of every colour and the geometrically patterned for those who want to take a slice of Mary Rose’s fantastical designs home with them.

Mary Rose’s initial success was with department stores in the United States, such as Barney’s. Now, however, she makes an effort to keep it local. When asked why she lives in the Forest of Dean, she responded:

“I was brought up round here, and I have been here so long, always living around Gloucestershire, that now I almost feel like a local. In some ways, living in the forest, away from other creative people, stops me from feeling self-conscious. It is a good place to hunker down and look at what you are doing as an artist.”

Though she works on mainly smaller pieces, she does like to set herself the challenge of a larger project, creating chandeliers that are worthy of exhibition, but are instead commissioned for private estates.

Pottery Chandelier

Image Credit: James Young

The Dialect from the Forest

Posted on 27th March 2017

Our accents are a strong link to our cultural identity, our heritage and our place in the world. They are also incredible indicators. When the country was divided by class, you could not open your mouth and fail to give away your social standing. Now they are forged to our heritage, you cannot help but smile at a West Country drawl, a Scottish burr or an Irish lilt, and though you may not have the knowledge or skill to make out specific towns (we cannot all be Henry Higgins) the region of origin is ever at our finger tips.

Forest of Dean in the spring

This is ever true to those locals of the Forest of Dean. The dialect could rival the broadest Glaswegian as it takes some time to get your ear in. However as the UK becomes more homogenised, the edges softened and accents are all a little more diluted, the Forest of Dean dialect is running low on speakers.

In an attempt to retain the colloquial slang, there is a strong literary community that continue to write and perform in the dialect. Keith Morgan is a poet who is raising awareness by not only writing on subjects close to the forest’s heart, but also by writing phonetically in dialect. Though keeping this dialect alive is important for the area, it is also important for the country as a whole.

While for many years the works of Shakespeare have been performed in what is known as Received Pronunciation, in reality it would have sounded closer to the dialects of these isolated communities. Many of the spellings are similar to some dialects when written phonetically and when read in rural Forest of Dean dialect, Shakespeare’s words come to life far more than when pronounced with the over enunciation of Received Pronunciation.

While many local literary festivals celebrate the works of those inhabiting or inspired by the forest, you can usually find at least one person reading in the old way. However when in a holiday cottage in the Forest of Dean, many local pubs and quiet villages are often populated by the locals who speak a version of English close to Shakespeare’s own.

Let’s put thic awld yer to bed,
‘im a’n’t bin best nor wust.
If bist aimin’ to get martal,
Ol Butt, thou wunt be fust!

Edward Hunt (2011)