A Special Place to stay in the Forest of Dean
A special place to stay in the Forest of Dean
The Rock Self Catering Accommodation at Hillersland in the Forest of Dean is located in a landscape that has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Close by are caves that held remains of sabre tooth tigers and Mammoth. Nowadays they are inhabited by the odd visitor and rare and protected bats.
Since prehistoric times the value of the resources in the forest have been recognised and protected by a series of hill forts around the perimeter of the Forest. Two of these hill forts can be walker to quite easily from the Rock, the first is at Symonds Yat which is a 20 minute walk along forest paths. The second hill fort is at Little Doward high up on the other side of the river and can be taken in via Symonds Yat and Biblins Bridge in a seven mile circular walk.
Also within walking distance is Ceremonial evidence from early humans, such as the standing stones at Staunton and Buck stone where with some imagination a stone hollowed out and thought to have been used for sacrifice can be found. A little further afield down the Wye Valley can be found Harold’s stones at Trelleck, Trelleck at one time was reputed to be the biggest city in wales just smaller than London. Now it is a small village boasting Harold’s stones and the healing well which has been visited for thousands of years by people presumably desperate for relief from one ailment or another.
Romans also moved into this area to use the resources on offer in the forest, mining iron at sites around the area. While there are sites of mineral extraction close by in Mailscot woods perhaps the most obvious and best examples to visit are Puzzle wood, which is a few miles away on the other side of Coleford. This area was a landscape left by Roman iron mining. In Victorian times it was cultivated to produce a picturesque walk through a fascinating landscape of Ferns, moss knurled trees and grotto like rock formations. This creates an almost unnatural and magical environment which makes it much in demand as a film set and used by BBC and various film productions. The most recent film crews to camp out here in numerous trailers, were for the new star wars file where puzzle wood became the Ewok village.
The forest borders wales and in AD700 King Offa built a wall in similar spirit to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, but this time to keep the Welsh under control. Looking down from the garden at the Rock you can see the route of the Offa’s dyke which was the original Welsh border. Close by is St Marys Church in English Bicknor which was a Norman Motte and Baily Castle to protect the Welsh border. Imagine Norman Knights roaming this area and hunting in the forests opposite our car park!
The Rock Self catering Accommodation has had continuous occupation since around 1580 and has an interesting history. It feels welcoming and a happy place to spend some time.
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