I visited Lydney Habour on my way back from the Forest of Dean this weekend and it was impressive how this recently regenerated harbour, placed by the River Severn, has been of fundamental importance to the maritime history in Britain. There are exclusive lanes linking the town centre straight to the train station. It’s a quite picturesque route, with traffic-free, and a lot of nice landscapes to appreciate.
Walking around these docks is a good way of finding out more about this site. The Industrial estate seems to be a bit dodgy in the beginning.
But as soon as you reach the harbour through its car park and have a perfect view of River Severn`s magnificence, it’s time to get indulged by this historic site in Gloucestershire .
Opened in 1813, the Lydney Canal was once an important harbour for shipping timber, coal and iron from the Forest of Dean.
The estate was unusually rich in non-agricultural resources, including fisheries, mineral deposits, and extensive woodland, and its owners also profited from the establishment of ironworks at the start of the 17th century and the reclamation of saltmarsh in the early 18th.
In the early 19th century the building of a tramroad and harbour to serve the coal trade of the Forest of Dean began to transform Lydney’s economy, which later benefited from the growth of the ironworks into a tinplate factory and from railway building. [ A History of the Gloucester, 1996]
As a port since Roman times, Lydney was an important site for exporting coal since the 12th century. As well as the local was used in the shipbuilding industry. It is known that during those centuries the industrial activity in the area made the place known as a noisy location. Especially because it is the place where the River Lyd meets the River Severn estuary.
With the also important railway connection, Lydney was taken over for the Industrial Revolution as well.
In 1894, ownership of the docks passed jointly to the Great Western Railway and the Midland Railway. In 1948, after nationalisation of the railways, they were owned by the British Transport Commission and eventually the British Transport Docks Board. With the cessation of mining in the Forest of Dean from the 1920s, the coal trade dwindled at Lydney and ceased in 1960.
The River Severn is the longest river in the United Kingdom, at about 220 miles (354 km). Its estuary has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world with about 50 feet (15m).
Nowadays, the site has become one centre of leisure and tourism. It is also an excellent spot to sit and enjoy the beauty and power of the River Severn estuary.
Sources | Wikipedia and EngineeringTimelines