Visiting a narrow gauge light railway in the Forest of Dean

We spent our Easter holiday visiting friends at the edge of the Forest of Dean.

On one of our country walks in the Forest we passed by the Lea Bailey Light Railway. The others, in our party, were tolerant of my interest in heritage railways, and so we had a peek at the railway workings. There wasn’t any activity at the railway,

It’s one of the distinctive things about us British that we cherish railways, and heritage railways even more bordering on a passion. Such passion is required in bucket loads to preserve the Lea Bailey Light Railway, as my photo montage below should attest. The Forest of Dean has had coal mines and iron mines going back centuries, all now worked-out or closed. The mine workings for which the Lea Bailey Light Railway were for gold mining. Newsletter 1 on the LBLR website says,

A brief history of the Level might be of interest. It is notorious as the Forest’s ‘gold mine’. It was apparently dug in 1906- 7 by a group of investors operating under the name of the Chastan Syndicate (who also briefly owned the unsuccessful Fairplay Iron Mine) but although gold was found it was in such small quantities as to be not commercially viable. So the Syndicate apparently failed. Then after WW1 the level was dug some 580 yards to the Wigpool Iron Mine gale, but was abandoned after a few years with only 3000 tons of ore removed.

An odd mixture of visits, to a vineyard and heritage steam trains

Last week we journeyed to the High Weald of East Sussex and Kent with a group from Camberley & District Probus Club to visit Biddenden Vineyards and the Kent & East Sussex Railway.

The countryside North of coastal Rye up to Tenterden is unexplored by my wife and I, so it was a perfect opportunity for see it for ourselves.

Light, but steady, rain isn’t the ideal weather for a vineyard tour. Pleasingly, it didn’t affect the tasting, in the shop, of an excellent Gribble Bridge Rosé 2012. While I was imbibing my dear wife bought bottles of award winning wines, a white wine, Ortega 2012, and a red wine, Gribble Bridge Dornfelder 2012. I’ll provide some ‘amateur’ tasting notes when we drink them.

Meanwhile, the weather cleared up when the group arrived at Tenterden for a journey on the K&ESR heritage railway. I must say it’s a delightful, friendly, and much-loved railway. Here are some photos of the experience [click to enlarge]. Look, I’m a boy, and enjoy the whole steam engine thing.