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Summer Visits 2019

Unfortunately no events are possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the 2019 programme has been left online give a 'flavour' of our Summer events.

We also have a Winter Lecture Programme

Sunday 14 April 2019 Afternoon walk: Forest of Dean
Sunday 19 May 2019 Afternoon walk: Mills of the Painswick Valley
Sunday 16 June 2019 Afternoon walk: Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal
Thursday 4 July 2019 Evening visit to Rodborough and Woodchester
Sunday 18 August 2019 Afternoon Walk: Afternoon Walk: Bristol coalfield
Wed 4 September 2019 Modern Industry Visit Air Salvage International
Sun 29 September 2019 Afternoon Walk: The industrial Heritage of Leckhampton Hill

Sunday 14 April 2019

Afternoon walk: Forest of Dean - timber, geology and minerals

GSIA President Ian Standing has kindly agreed to lead another walk for us and he writes: “A walk of 3-4 km through woodland SW of Soudley to Howbeech Slade, Staple Edge and Cudleigh Holes. Along the way we shall visit quarries and early coal mining sites. We will move on to early iron ore mining among splendid scowles and debate the origin of the ore and the age of the workings. We will conclude at the Findall Chimney (see GSIA Gazetteer FD21and 1979 Journal article) and discuss the latest proposals for conserving the built and buried heritage of the Forest. Mainly hard tracks but there is a steep descent on uneven ground to regain the cars. Boots are recommended.

Details: Meet from 1.45 for a 2pm start at Bullocks Beech (grid ref SO 657098). From Gloucester take the A48 to Elton, then the A4151 to Littledean where you go right at the small roundabout, then look for a minor road on the left to Soudley (opposite a Premier shop). Follow this for about 2 miles to Soudley, turn right and then, after a small bridge, turn left on a minor road towards Blackpool Bridge. Look for a track on the left marked Bradley Hill and turn here to come to an open area with trackside parking.


Sunday 19 May 2019

Afternoon Walk: Mills of the Painswick Valley (Northern Area)

Last September we looked at a number of sites in the central area of the parish and this year, led again by Ray Wilson, we will branch out and follow the Painswick Stream to the north-east of the village It will be convenient to use the “Walkers car park” near the entrance to the Rococo garden and walk into the centre of the village looking at a number of interesting buildings and route. The first two mill sites we will visit are 3Zachariah Powell's mill which lay on a tiny tributary to the main stream and the site of Upper Baylis's Mill. Little remains of either mill but we will hear their interesting histories. The next mill is Damsell’s Mill which bears a datestone of 1674. This was a cloth mill in 1820 but converted to a corn mill by 1867. The millers house dates from about this time. The buildings were converted into a dwelling in 1968. At the rear two brick arched openings lead to the large extant breast-shot waterwheel.

Moving on we will come to the scant but interesting ruins of Oliver's Mill with its restored mill pond. Next was the site of Tocknell's Mill although nothing now remains of the buildings. However, the fine clothier’s house, Tocknell’s Court survives. If time permits, we will take a look at the first mill on the Painswick Stream in Cranham, Eddel's Mill. This was once a cloth mill and later a corn mill. We will then take a different route along field paths to the cars. The late Mrs Colleen Haine’s 1983 article in the GSIA Journal covers all the sites and is available at

Meet after 1.45 pm for a prompt start at 2.00 pm at Painswick "Walkers Car Park" [SO86761051, GL6 6RR (approx.)] From the cross roads on the A46 in the centre of Painswick take the B4073 road leading north (Gloucester Street) signed Gloucester and Rococo Garden. After a third of a mile and just before the 50mph speed limit signs turn right into Golf Course Lane (signed Cemetery) The car park is on the left after about 150 yards. Please wear stout footwear. The total distance of the walk is about 3¾ miles mainly on footpaths.Amazin


Sunday 16th June 2019

Afternoon Walk: Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal (Gloucester end)

It is many years since we last visited Over basin near Gloucester and the Oxenhall section of the canal near Newent. The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust have made remarkable progress on both sites since then. As parking is extremely limited we will meet our guide Amber Patrick in a car park in Gloucester and share transport so that we take the minimum number of cars to the sites.

At Over we will see various features around the basin and take a short walk along the restored section of this the western end of the canal. The Oxenhall section of the Hereford and Gloucester Canal is of particular interest, featuring a tunnel, a length of branch canal, a series of locks, an original and unaltered lock keepers cottage and an aqueduct, all within a short distance. Unfortunately, roadside parking in the area is negligible. However the owners of Newent Golf Club have kindly allowed us to use their car park and we can then walk along Coldharbour Lane for about ½ a mile to the canal. Coldharbour Bridge was one of the early restoration schemes carried out by the Trust. Our plan had been to walk north along the towpath to the southern portal of Oxenhall Tunnel. Sadly, the pre-visit walkover has confirmed that the route is now totally impassable even under the relatively dry conditions we have been experiencing.

Venturing southwards along the towpath we hit a further and this time unexpected problem. The towpath is not owned by the Trust and mowing it does not appear to be a priority for the actual owner! The path is well walked and easy to follow but for 300 metres the vegetation (cow parsley with a fair sprinkling of stinging nettles) is currently at shoulder height. We mention this, because for this stretch, arms and legs do need to be fully covered however warm it might be. The going then gets a lot easier and there is plenty to see including the extensive pond for the Newent Furnace before we retrace our steps and drive back to Gloucester. The total walking distance is about 2½ miles.

Meet from 1.45 pm for a prompt start at 2.00 pm at Alney Island Nature Reserve Car Park (Gloucester) at SO82361899. The car park can only be reached by travelling north west out of Gloucester on the A417 dual carriageway leading towards the A40. At the large Westgate circulatory loop, continue past the petrol station, over the bridge and then in a short distance turn left into the car park through the restricted entrance (low height and a tight turn!). Please wear stout footwear and protection from the stingers!.


Thursday 4th July 2019

Evening visit to Rodborough and Woodchester

The first half of this trip is a visit to the church in Rodborough where the Reverend Awdry (former GSIA President) had taken services many times in his retirement. We have the chance to be shown round by John Atkinson to see and hear about the stained- glass window installed by Wilbert Awdry as a thanksgiving for his marriage. It depicts scenes based on the famous Thomas the Tank Engines stories as well as some more profound images reflecting Awdry’s beliefs. Some other memorials to local millowners and clothiers will also be seen. We then move on to South Woodchester (around 7.45) to visit the garden of Alan Brackenborough to see his very impressive “O” gauge electric model railway in operation. This is based on the GWR in the 1930s and we will see a range of different engines and rolling stock being worked around the well modelled layout.

Parking will be rather limited so as much car sharing as possible is suggested. For the church on Walkley Hill in Rodborough (Grid Ref SO843044) use roadside parking on Walkley Hill or the adjacent Court Way. Be at the church by 6.50 for a 7pm start. Afterwards we move to South Woodchester and details on the parking plan (possibly at the Ram Inn) will be available on the night.


Sunday 18th August 2019

Afternoon visit and walk to former coal mining sites (Coalpit Heath)

We are pleased that David Hardwick of the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group is able to lead us on this walk around colliery sites near Coalpit Heath, northeast of Bristol. We start at Ram Hill Colliery with some well-preserved features before walking along the Dramway. This was a horse-drawn railway along which coal had been taken to the River Avon and to Bristol Docks. Then on to New Engine Yard, another colliery site with remains of an engine house and a horse gin. Finally, we visit the Serridge Pumping Engine of 1790 which has recently been excavated by the SGMRG Trust. Guided access will be possible underground to see details of the old structures. This is an optional extra and lights, helmets and temporary insurance will be provided. We then return to Ram Hill to complete the circular walk (around 3 miles) and boots are recommended.

Parking at Ram Hill is limited so as much car sharing as possible is suggested. We meet at Ram Hill (Grid Ref ST679803) from 1.45 ready for a 2 pm start. This is best approached from the A432 road running southwest from Yate to Bristol and, at Coalpit Heath, look for a left turn signed to Ram Hill Business Park. At the Ring O’Bells pub turn south into Henfield Road and follow this to go under the railway then immediately left into Ram Hill. Just after the Business Park entrance there is some roadside parking or carry on a short distance to an open area with limited space where we will congregate.


Wednesday 4th September 2019

Morning visit to a modern industry, Air Salvage International at Kemble.

Morning visit to Air Salvage International at Cotswold Airport (Kemble) This is our modern industry visit to a company which specialises in working on various types of military and commercial aircraft. Recovery of components for re-use, incident investigations and rebuilding projects are all undertaken with a strict regard for the necessary regulatory and documentation requirements. Numbers will be limited and members must have a hi-vis waistcoat or jacket and sensible footwear. You must be sufficiently mobile to access a minibus and to use aircraft steps. A charge of £5 per head is made which goes to a local charity, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance. We need to know all names in advance and to be on site from 10.15 ready for a 10.30 start, finishing around 12 or 12.30. Details of the meeting place and access at the North gate of the airfield will be provided later. SPECIAL NOTE: Booking will not start until Wednesday 26 June; from then please contact Frank on 01452 538366 to reserve a place.


Sunday 29th September 2019

Afternoon Walk: The industrial Heritage of Leckhampton Hill

This will be a two and a half hour exploration led by Ray Wilson at a gentle pace of the former quarries, lime kilns, tramroads, inclines and standard gauge railway. Come and learn the origin of the Devil’s Chimney and hear about the infamous riots. An account of the industrial archaeology of Leckhampton Hill may be downloaded from the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology website at The OS 25 inch map of the area in 1900 may be viewed here.

The total distance will be about 2½ miles but please note that the walk will be on tracks and rough paths with a fair amount of steep “up and down”. Boots and appropriate clothing are advised.

Details: Meet after 1-45 pm for a prompt start at 2-00 pm at Daisybank Road Car Park [map SO94951885, Nearest Post Code GL53 9QQ]. This is approached by turning into Daisybank Road off the B4070 from Cheltenham to the Air Balloon roundabout. When travelling from Cheltenham this will be a left hand turn just south of the built up area of Leckhampton. The car park is 120m along the lane on the right. Alternative parking is available further along the lane.