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Summer Visits 2016

This is our most recent past Summer programme which will give an idea of the types of walks and visits we arrange each Summer.     We also have a Winter Lecture Programme

Sunday 20th March 2016 Afternoon walk, Wallbridge and Lodgemore, Stroud
Tuesday 29th March 2016 ‘FOLK’ Talk the Quarries and Tramroads of Leckhampton Hill
Wednesday 30th March 2016 GSIA Talk Watercolour – Canals through Artists eyes; the story of canals and landscape Painters.
Saturday 16th April 2016 Industrial Archaeology Conference (Dursley)
Sunday 8th May 2016 "A Walk in Chalford’s Woolly Past"
Sunday 5th June 2016 Afternoon walk, in the Coleford area of the Forest of Dean
Wednesday 20th July 2016 Afternoon visit, Forest of Dean Stone Firms, Cannop Works and Barnhill Quarry
Sunday 14th August 2016 Afternoon walk, Mills of the Eastington Area
9th -14th September 2016 2016 AIA Annual Summer Conference at Telford
Sunday 18th September 2016 Afternoon walk, Tewkesbury's Industrial Heritage

Sunday 20th March 2016

Afternoon walk, Wallbridge and Lodgemore, Stroud

The Stroud area has a very rich and varied industrial heritage and we will be looking at part of it on a guided walk led by Ray Wilson.

We will meet in the Cheapside car park and start with a look at Stroud Station and the Brunel Goods Shed. Two battles will be recalled, one almost a century ago to save the tree which still survives on the down platform and the more recent battle to save the former Hill Paul Factory. On our walk we will look at two railways (the Swindon to Gloucester line (GWR) and the very expensive Midland Railway route into the town from Dudbridge).

There will be two canals to see (the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames and Severn Canal). We will take a look at the canal diversion at Capels Mill and the new bridge over the canal on the A46 road at Merrywalks. After passing the impressive former headquarters of the Stroudwater Navigation and a very early canal warehouse, we will try and picture where the Stroudwater terminated in a large canal basin at Wallbridge. If you have ever wondered where the exact junction of the two canals lies? - All will be revealed.

Lodgemore Mill is happily still a working mill, producing snooker table cloth and tennis ball coverings. Moving on past the old stables and the delightful mill pond, we will soon arrive at Fromehall Mill, a former cloth mill now used by various small businesses. It will then be time to return by a different route which has a few more points of interest.

We meet at 1.45 for a 2pm start in the Cheapside car park (SO 571107 – GL5 3BL) adjacent to both the Hill Paul building and Stroud Station (South side). It will be gentle walk of about 2 miles on roads and footpaths and stout footwear is advised.


Sunday 8th May 2016

"A Walk in Chalford’s Woolly Past"

We are grateful to Jennifer Tann for being able to lead this second walk of the Spring and Summer programme. In the early Industrial Revolution, Chalford, a smallish parish that nestles in the Stroud Valley in one of its narrowest parts, had about 20 woollen mills. Some were just fulling and gig mills, others contained a wider range of industrial processes, and some were modest factories. Some mills were driven by the River Frome; others were driven by the springs which spill down the valley sides. A number of mills are still standing and now converted to other uses. Where the mills have gone, elaborate watercourses remain. We shall pass five standing mills and should be able to visit St Mary’s Mill which is having an open event over the weekend. Clothiers’ houses are in the valley bottom, and we will walk through the grounds of two of them, finishing up for tea in a dyehouse that became a (modest) clothier’s house. Walking is around two miles, mainly level but with a little uphill stretch and stout footwear is advised.

We will meet at 1.45pm for a 2pm start near the prominent Canal Round House and we gather by the grass opposite Belvedere Mill (look for the red name board HEBER). There is some roadside parking in the narrow road by this mill which is at SO891024 or post code GL6 8NT. The road is to the south of the A419 (signposted to Hyde) on the edge of Chalford opposite the church. There is further parking in a layby on the A419 a short distance east of the church. With the rather limited parking, car-sharing is advised if possible. Jenny has kindly offered to provide tea at the end of the walk and it would be appreciated if members could phone Frank (01452 538366) if they are joining the walk so that numbers are known.


Sunday 5th June 2016

Afternoon Walk in the Coleford area of the Forest of Dean

Ian Standing will be the leader for this circular walk exploring past landscapes and former industrial sites close to Coleford. Along the way lie old field systems, early iron-ore mining sites, quarries, a shrunken settlement and a vanished mansion. We also see and hear about an early coke blast iron furnace at Whitecliff, now well conserved. We shall also cross the route of the 1812 tramroad and later railway routes, reflecting on the origins of the town.

We meet at 1.45 for a 2pm start at the gates of the Angus Buchanan Memorial Recreation Fields (SO 571107) at the far end of Victoria Road which is a left turn from the B4228 main road through Coleford just north of the town centre. There is adequate street parking. The walking will entail some slopes and uneven, slippery patches, around 2.5 miles in total, and stout foot ware is essential.


Wednesday 20th July 2016

Afternoon Visit: Forest of Dean Stone Firms, Cannop Works and Barnhill Quarry

We are very pleased that Mr. Paul Ramsey the sales manager of Forest Pennant (Forest of Dean Stone Firms) has kindly agreed to give us a guided tour of both the quarry and stone works. We will start at Barnhill Quarry and having learnt something of the operations we will drive down to Cannop Ponds to the company's works. This lies across the road from Bixslade with its rich industrial archaeology which members may like to explore a little of if there is time after the stone works visit. Forest Pennant have an excellent website where you can see their full range of products and some the projects which have employed Forest of Dean stone.

Details: Numbers are strictly limited and you must book in advance by telephoning Frank Colls (01452 538366). Please wear boots or wellingtons in quarry and stout shoes at the stone works.

We will meet at 1.45pm for a 2pm start at the entrance to Barnhill Quarry which lies about one mile north east of Coleford and is on the southern side of the B4226 road which runs between Speech House and Coleford. The quarry entrance [SO594113, GL16 7EG] is unmarked and lies on the opposite side of the road from the District Council’s Household Recycling Centre which is clearly marked. The distance of the quarry entrance from the Recycling Centre is 100m in the direction of Speech house. Please note that B4234 alongside Cannop Ponds will still be closed to traffic due to major repairs to the road following a land-slip.


Sunday 14th August 2016

Afternoon Walk: Mills of the Eastington Area

The March news sheet had a feature on Millend Mill Eastington which has won one of the Association of Industrial Archaeology's Creative Reuse Award 2015 for the conversion into residential use and is well known to GSIA. However, it came as a surprise to learn that in neither the 1994 or 2008 walks with Steve Mills looking at Eastington mills did we actually visits Millend Mill. Steve has been heavily involved with historic matters relating to the mill conversion and will again be our leader and on this occasion we will actually have the opportunity to go inside the building and to see the new waterwheel that has been installed on the ground floor. The whell does turn but it does not generate any power the walk will be 3¾ miles along mainly level footpaths and will be taken at a gentle pace.

Our first stop will be at Stonehouse Lower Mills a former cloth mill, but the home of Stonehouse Paper and Bag Mills for more than the last eighty years. We will then take a look at the Stroudwater Canal at Nutshell Bridge and just along the towpath “The Ocean”. Here we will see the (relatively) new swing bridge over the canal and be able to look at close quarters at what is probably the single most difficult obstacle to Phase 1B of the canal restoration. This is the Gloucester to Bristol main railway line which now runs on an embankment across the canal. The bridge hole for the canal was filled in many years ago will be a difficult and expensive project as reconstruction of the bridge will probably have to take place over the course of a single weekend to minimise the disruption of rail services.

Leaving the canal will take a look at a rare survival, a plantation of cricket bat willows, and then reach Beards Mill with its surviving mill house and at least one remaining industrial building “The Menders House”. We will then take the footpath across several fields to Churchend Mill, passing Bonds Mill on our way. There are no significant surviving remains at Churchend Mill but the area is interesting as it was also the site of one of the Kemmett Canal interchange wharves. Our visit to Millend Mill just up the road will then follow and afterwards we will take the footpaths back to the cars via Beards Mill.

Details: Assemble at 1.45pm for a 2pm start at the corner of the road in Bridgend by the entrance lane to Stonehouse Lower Mill (Stonehouse Paper and Bag Mills) at SO 803046 [GL10 2BN]. There is plenty of roadside parking in Crescent Road, next to this lane, and in the adjacent roads, but note that this is a residential area so please park considerately. If coming from the A419, turn south at the traffic lights (signed to Stanley Downton and Bridgend), follow around a right hand bend and then, at a prominent left hand bend turn right into Crescent Road. Any queries, please contact Frank Colls(01452 538366). As usual stout footwear is recommended please.


Sunday 18 September 2016

Afternoon walk, Tewkesbury's Industrial Heritage

Tewkesbury has a very rich industrial heritage and there is still plenty to see both in the town and in the surrounding area. This walk will be led by Ray Wilson and concentrate on the town but it is hoped that next year we will arrange a visit to the surrounding area. We will look at a wide variety of sites in a comparatively short walk of about two miles on flat terrain. These will include King Johns Bridge, the Severn and Avon rivers, Healings Mill and Quay Bridge, Abbey Mill, East Street textile factory, stocking frame knitters' cottages and an early malthouse,

Details: Please meet after 1-45pm for a prompt start at 2-00pm at Spring Gardens Car Park, Oldbury Road/Station Road, GL20 5LR, SO894330. Hopefully, you should be able to find free on-street parking nearby on a Sunday afternoon. This includes the High Street which runs parallel to Oldbury Road. If you can park near Boots or Lloyds Pharmacy, two thirds the way along High Street from The Cross, you are just 120 yards on foot from the meeting point passing the Tesco Metro. If you do use the car park, please note that we will ensure that we are back before 4-45pm which will enable you to pay for just a three hour stay (£2). Please note that if you stay longer the charge is £4. Stout shoes are recommended although we will be walking on pavements most of the time.