Walking around Soudley from the Forest of Dean Heritage Centre, through an area littered with the evidence of the Forest’s industrial heritage. Most of what we can see now dates from the seventeenth century up to the nineteenth but iron working has a very long history in the Forest with evidence of activity dating to the Iron Age.
There may have been great prosperity for the mine owners, investors and those at the managerial level but for those at the bottom of the pile, life was brutal and often terrifying.
The sculpture of the hod boy stands out particularly clearly as a memorial to the children who laboured in horrendous conditions, creating wealth for those who shared as little as possible with their workers.
We didn’t meet any other walkers but did disturb a herd of fallow deer along the way. If they’d had the sense to stay still we would never have seen them but they panicked and broke cover. No boar though 😕 which is probably a good thing as Ian and Ieuan saw one recently that was about 6 foot long and 20 stone near Bream. The mere sighting of a few older piglets would be enough for us! As it is, all Christine and I saw were lots of mangled verges. We are probably far too noisy giving them fair warning of our approach!