I watched the movie Deliverance the other day, and immediately it made me think of Cinderford, a former coal mining community in West Gloucestershire that I have had the misfortune of visiting on several occasions. The fundamental similarities are there: lots of trees and lots of inbreds.
I live close to Cinderford in the marginally better county of Herefordshire, and I can safely say it is the most bizarre place I have ever been in my life.
Cinderford consists of closed down shops, closed down pubs and factories which are, yep. . . you guessed it, closed down.
The approach to Cinderford makes one feel as if travelling back in time or driving through the set of a David Lynch movie. The only reminder that you are in the 21st century is the large Co-Op at the top of town (although I believe they still only accept shillings).
The townsfolk range from kind-of-unusual looking to downright grotesque.
The chav species thrives in the dank depressing environment, feeding off the plentiful special brew available at the Co-Op. Another, slightly rarer species which can also be seen on occasion is the mouldy tramp, several of which may be seen passed out on the pigeon-s**t covered pavements of the town centre.
Even the circus doesn’t come to Cinderford, although that’s probably because most of their employees live there.
A visit to Cinderford will always result in you feeling just a little suicidal, but don’t worry, as soon as you leave the town you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders, as if you have just left the twilight zone and returned to reality.
Cinderford: If you want to experience authentic rustic English charm at its very finest, go elsewhere.