To be honest the best bit about Lydney Docks is the view over the Severn. When the light is right, the huge 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.
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.
If it weren't for the nearby plaque, it would be easy to overlook the scant remains of the MV Nibley on the shore of the Severn.
It states that the Nibley was built in Gloucester by Joseph Barnard in 1895 and was beached in 1955. It was 97ft (30m) long and 22ft (6.7m) wide, with a gross tonnage of 79 tons (80 tonnes).
Severn Railway Bridge Disaster Memorial
Little remains of the Severn Railway Bridge, once the longest in the world. It was built in the 1870s to transport coal from the Forest of Dean, and was 4,162 feet (1,269 m) long. It was the lowest bridge on the Severn until the first Severn Road Bridge was opened in 1966.
So why is it not better known? Well seven years after it was completed the Severn Tunnel opened, and it was reduced to carrying only local traffic.
Its end came in 1960 when, in thick fog and with a strong tide, two barges overshot Sharpness Dock and collided with the bridge.
The fuel oil and petroleum they were carrying caught fire, killing five people and irreparably damaging the bridge.
Lydney Harbour's Severn Railway Bridge Disaster Memorial is one of two commissioned by the Friends of Purton and erected at either end of the site of the old bridge. It was unveiled in 2010 on the 50th anniversary of the disaster.
External Links and References
Severn Bridge Disaster
More on the bridge and the memorial from the Friends of Purton web site. https://www.friendsofpurton.org.uk/severnb/