Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Dean Forest Railway Was a Delight

[An image showing Dean Forest Railway Was a Delight]I went as a passenger on an excellent Coach Trip recently which included a ride on the Dean Forest Railway.

Although I run my own Coach Trips, I always find it pleasurable going on somebody else`s trip. I can sit back and enjoy the ride, safe in the knowledge that I don`t have to organise anything!

The excursion was part of the extensive programme run by Woods Coaches of Leicester. This is the well-run company from whom I hire coaches for my own trips, so I am always confident of a good day out.

After leaving St. Margarets Bus Station, we headed off along the motorways and made a morning stop at Strensham Services, where I was able to get a good breakfast.

From here, we moved down into the Forest of Dean and stopped at Coleford. Here we encountered a problem, as the land which has served as a Coach Park for years has been closed for development, and no replacement has been designated. I had a coffee here at a little cafe called Vicky`s.

Then we drove to Norchard, the headquarters of the Dean Forest Railway, and had a ride on this delightful steam railway. It began life as a horse drawn tramway as far back as 1809, and later became part of the British Rail network.

The train took us down to Lydney, then back to Norchard and on to its present terminus at pretty Parkend, before returning to Norchard.

The volunteers who run the railway were enthusiastic and friendly, which always makes a great difference. The driver and fireman were happy to chat to me at Parkend, and our driver Paul was delighted when they let him ride on the footplate for the last lap of the journey!

On the way back, we made a comfort stop at Hopwood Park Services.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, and was really impressed with the people who run this smashing little railway. Well done!