Lydney: The “lovely” little brother of Coleford

There is much to be said for a Forest of Dean education. Lydney is home to some of the region’s best and brightest; a town of philosophers, poets and deep thinkers.

There is also much to be said for sarcasm, which the previous paragraph is full of.

The inhabitants of Lydney (or Lydiots as I like to call them) are perhaps the worst of all Foresters; ignorant, bigoted and utterly unprepared to accept that we are now living in the 21st century. I believe it was Aristotle who once said “All men by nature desire knowledge”. Hmmm, I wonder if he ever visited Lydney…

The town itself is like a section of the Natural History Museum, however this is less because of the charming architecture or old English character, but more because of the Neanderthal-like people roaming the streets. The main shopping area of the town hardly gives Oxford Street a run for its money, and unless you are looking for a second hand pram or a bag of chicken feed, you had better look elsewhere.

Lydney is soul crushingly drab in appearance, and colour is a rarity. The typical Forest of Dean architecture comes in just 3 colours; brown, grey… or a mixture of brown and grey. Most of the houses come only half finished, as if someone started painting an exterior wall and then just though ‘oh **** it’ and gave up halfway through. Some other styles you may encounter include; chipped pebbledash, cracked rendering and red brick that has turned a kind of polluted-black over time. I don’t know which architect was employed to design this town but I can only assume they were a complete drunkard and/or utterly insane.

One surprising fact about Lydney is the fact that it boasts a train station (well, more of a shack really). My guess is that this was hastily constructed by the first outsider who moved to the town, wanting to establish a quick escape route for anyone else foolish enough to move there.

The dense forest surrounding the town acts as a meeting place for doggers from all over the south-west. At night, literally every pull-in or forestry track is taken up by a suspiciously rocking car or two. The height of dogging season usually coincides with the local deer population’s mating season. It is a noisy and disturbing time of year.

The three main towns in the Forest of Dean (Lydney, Coleford and Cinderford) form a kind of Bermuda Triangle; anyone not from the area who is travelling between them usually disappears without a trace. If you do get lost in The Forest of Dean, do not expect the locals to help you. Instead, expect to be hunted through the trees by a group of 6 fingered mutants in a manner akin to The Hills Have Eyes.

The dialect of the Lydney folk is difficult to understand and impossible to master. It is a harsh, deep west country drawl that sounds like Long John Silver swallowed a brillo pad. The reason for the offensive sound they make when talking is because decades of [alleged] ********** has now altered their vocal chords to the point of mutation. They do not converse with each other so much as communicate in caveman-like grunts. The world’s leading scientist of primate behaviour is currently undertaking a study to better understand their communication techniques.

I remember a conversation I once had with a colleague of mine. We were discussing the Forest of Dean when she asked me what Lydney is like, as she had never been there before. I told her; “If you can imagine a classical Parisian suburb of beautiful renaissance architecture filled with sophisticated intellectuals. Maybe you can picture a grand country estate in the Cotswolds with lovely ornate gardens and lakes, inhabited by royalty. Perhaps a quintessentially English village with cobbled lanes, thatched cottages and duck ponds, where the children frolic and play in the nearby meadows and buxom maidens milk their cows with glee; Lydney is like none of those things.”

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