Archive for the ‘Forest of Dean’ Tag

From Two Bad Legs to Two New Wheels   6 comments

As I reported in my last post I’ve started having serious problems with my left knee. I’ve had two arthroscopy ops on my right knee which seem to have worked but its time to sort the other one out. An MRI scan is booked for January so I’ll have to take it from there

Even before this problem I’d been thinking about a new bike as I don’t get enough exercise especially of the lung busting sort. The fact that I’m now limited as to when I can hike pressed the need a little harder. I’m also hoping that it will build the muscles in my legs which will help support, strengthen and protect my knees for the longer term (as well as hopefully remove some of the upper body weight they have to carry!) 🙂

So this is my new pride and joy, built to my specifications by the excellent Tom at Bike Workshop in Bristol. Obviously its a Mountain Bike. I’m not a big fan of road cycling but around where I live there is a plentiful supply of forests and easy-ish mountain tracks for me to explore (I’m not or ever will be of the hard-core, steep downhill mountain biker breed). I’ve started to use it whenever I have a spare hour working at home to try and build a bit of fitness but I needed to try something off-road to get me into the swing of things

IMG_0520

The best and easiest local area is the Forest of Dean. I’ve cycled with kids here and I thought I’d try a slightly longer circuit without too much in the way of climbing. It will take me a while to get bike-fit. It was nice circuit of 15 or so miles that took me a few hours due the numerous stops to check where I was. The Forest is maze of tracks

forest-of-dean

Now anyone that knows me will tell you I’ve never really been a cycling man. I’ve never quite embraced its particular charms but I have to say I really enjoyed the ride. Far from being a dense expanse of woodland, the Forest of Dean has numerous open and sunny glades and its extremely pleasant. The route I used seemed little known, especially to cyclists despite its popularity in the area. I saw more walkers than cyclists. I really wish I’d taken more photos

I stopped at Mallards Pike lake for a rest, a snack and a cuppa. Its a popular spot and heaving in summer but in late October it was quiet and rather splendid

IMG_0521

IMG_0522

IMG_0523

IMG_0524

I spent a happy half enjoying not sitting on a razor blade!

IMG_0526

When I reached the car, satisfied with my new toy and the exercise it allowed it struck what a relief it was not to finish a day outdoors in pain from either my knee or my foot. Itv was actually quite liberating.

IMG_0527

I never thought I hear myself say this (or read my own typed words) that I’m looking forward to some days out on the bike. I’m going to find it tough going for a few months as I’m not used to aerobic exercise (I find even the most gentle of hills hard work) but I’m hoping to enjoy a different slant to my outdoor fun. In good time I hope it will be good for the longevity of my hiking and my general fitness levels. Bring it on!

Advertisements

Posted November 3, 2016 by surfnslide in Cycling, Forest of Dean

Tagged with , ,

Pedalling through the Forest of Dean   6 comments

In a bout of foolishness I decided to take the family cycling. Anybody who knows me is aware that I’m not terribly fond of cycling. For a start I don’t much like bikes, they are the work of satan if you ask me, always in constant need of attention and an array of squeaks and squeels no matter how much you try to stop them. I have my kids for that, I don’t need it from mechanical contraptions. I’m not really built for cycling either being short of leg and wide of girth. Despite all this cycling is at least something that I thought we could all take some pleasure from seeing as TJF hates walking.

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

Somewhere without any big hills seemed in order and as it was windy some trees would be nice. Forest of Dean fits that particular bill with its family cycleway using some of the old coal mining rail routes.

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

In fact it was rather nice. The sun came out the cycling was easy and we found a nice open sunny glade for a picnic.

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

All was going well until on the only major downhill section TJS got rather over-excited, went too fast and fell off. He seemed fine until I pointed out a large hole in his trousers only partly covering a nasty graze on his rump. The sight of blood turned him a fetching greyish-white colour and his cycling was over. He walked back while I went and fetched the car.

Forest of dean, family cycleway, cycling

Put a bit of damper on the day but it was different and enjoyable in its way but I still prefer my feet to wheels unless those wheels come in groups of four with a enclosed body and roof, aircon and a a stereo 🙂

A romantic stroll on Garway Hill   18 comments

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Garway is a local hill for local people. Looking at these photos again I don’t remember why we hadn’t gone out for the day. Possibly this was just an interlude between two spells of poor weather on the day – in true fickle style it was raining within an hour of us getting home after this walk. Maybe it was because TJS was feeling poorly.

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Black Mountains, Forest of Dean, garway hill, sugar loaf

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 22, 2015 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking

Tagged with , , ,

Going Ape in the Forest of Dean   12 comments

Regular readers will know of the family passion for adventure parks in the trees. We’ve done loads in France but never in the UK. Special May treat for the family took us to Go Ape in the Forest of Dean near Mallards Pike Lake. I was feeling pretty ropey, coming down with a nasty cold and hacking cough but I survived and had some fun which is of course the whole point. A video compilation and a few photos of our day out.

 

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

goape, go ape, forest of dean, mallards pike lake

I’m not a big fan of forests, I find them oddly claustrophobic, preferring the wide open spaces of the mountains. The Forest of Dean has changed my views as it’s quite lovely. lots of natural forest (not military ranks of conifers), lakes and industrial relics from it’s coal mining days. I need to explore some of it’s shady glades as well as it’s treetop fun

Posted July 12, 2014 by surfnslide in Family Trips, Other

Tagged with , , ,

Garway Hill   15 comments

A few photos from a local walk a few weeks back

Garway Hill

Jones family on Garway Hill

Garway Hill, Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf from Garway Hill

Garway Hill is a fairly prominent little eminence in the south Herefordshire countryside.

Garway

Despite the fact I’ve lived down the road for over 10 years, I’ve never really explored it up until this year. This is mainly due to the fact that there is limited parking near the top and the lower slopes are heavily farmed and the access paths tend to be mostly muddy fields which is not my idea of happy walking.

Garway Hill, Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean from Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

A trip up here just after Xmas revealed a handy small car park just near to the open common land and now its a firm favourite for a short family walk.

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Approaching the final summit pitch

The paths are broad, wide and grassy and the views from the summit are excellent. A full 360 degree panorama from the Shropshire Hills to the north, Malverns to the east, Forest of Dean to the south and Black Mountains to the west. There had been a recent fall of snow but there was no trace of it save a rather pathetic and dirty snowman sitting on the Trig Pillar.

Garway Hill

Snowman

Garway Hill

North towards Shropshire

The summit is home to a large herd of semi-wild ponies and some sheep that were grazing in harmony at the far end. The kids enjoyed the stroll and I enjoyed the easy paced strolling as opposed to my more rigorous walks I’m used to.

Garway Hill

Summit

Garway Hill, Black Mountains

Black Mountains from Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Heading for home

Sometimes it’s nice just to take it easy

Posted April 22, 2013 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking

Tagged with , , ,

%d bloggers like this: