Points of Compass
by David Yeates
To be honest the best bit about Lydney Docks is the view over the Severn. When the light is right, the hugh sky and the sweep of the river can be quite breathtaking.
Up until fairly recently this area was very run down as, when the docks closed in 1977, the tidal basin was walled in and the lock gates fell into disrepair.
Whilst there is evidence this area was used as a port in Roman and Medieval times, the current complex was built between 1810 and 1813 by the Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company.
The harbour was mainly used for the export of coal and iron. In its hey-day around 300,000 tons of coal were being exported annually. The trade in coal finally finished in 1960, although the harbour carried on working up to the 1970s importing logs for the manufacture of plywood.
In 1980 Lydney Harbour was designated as an Ancient Monument as it is a rare example of an unspoilt 19th century harbour (the last major alterations having been carried out in the 1870s), and in 2002 a major scheme to refurbish the docks was begun. They finally re-opened in 2005.
All it needs now is a decent pub where you can sit and watch the sun go down, and the place would be complete.
River Severn near Lydney Harbour
There are a number of footpaths running north from the harbour, one of which runs through the trees alongside the river and allows glimpses of the Severn through the branches.
You can also get a good view of the entrance to Sharpness Docks on the eastern bank of the river from this path.
It would be possible to loop back round past the interesting looking Naas Court. Unfortunately I have to admit that I took a wrong turning, and we ended up back on the riverside path.
One to go back for one of these days.