Reasons to visit the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean this week

It’s a distinctly literary week in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean with celebrations of the region’s connection to Samuel Coleridge.
There’s also plenty for the little ones with Julia Donaldson visiting the Savoy Theatre and Open Attic performing the delightful Much Ado About Puffin.

Coleridge in Tintern

Founder of the Romantic Movement, poet Samuel Coleridge was inspired by the Wye Valley and the majesty of Tintern Abbey in particular. Celebrate the towns deep connection to this great British poet with a host of enlightening events.

Torchlight Tour of Tintern Abbey (which Coleridge and his party took in 1795)

In the late 18th century it was popular for tourists to visit the Abbey by moonlight, and by torchlight, intensifying the experience of visiting the gothic ruins.

Led by Dr David Robinson, author of the Tintern Abbey Guidebook, architectural historian with a particular interest in the buildings of the Middle Ages and in the people connected with these sometimes iconic structures.

Places limited, tickets £7.50 from Chepstow Museum tel 01291 625981.

Organised by Chepstow Museum in association with Cadwadminupload_5739889acd358cole5 (1)

Walking in the footsteps of Coleridge

Coleridge and his party spent so long delighting in the Piercefield Walks that while they were walking to Tintern night fell and they were temporarily lost. Discover their dilemma and how they got to Tintern in the end…

The walk includes some rough ground, including going down quite a stony path, so please wear appropriate footwear, walking boots or shoes.  We will read the account of the walk as recalled by Joseph Cottle, Coleridge and Southey’s friend and publisher in his reminiscences. Just over 3 miles, approximately 2 – 2.5 hours.

Please ring Chepstow Museum 01291 625981 to book so that we know you are coming.adminupload_57398c6d3541dpiercefield

Celebrating Coleridge in Tintern

A multi-media portrait of Coleridge, Romantic poet and philosopher, whose radical ideas helped to revolutionise British cultural life – and to promote the virtues of walking. Presented by Professor John Clarke with Steve Eddy (reader), Claire Hamilton (harp) and Vanessa Dodd (visuals),

Tickets £4 / £3 concession in advance from Chepstow Museum tel 01291 625981 or the White Monk Cafe near Tintern Abbey.

This event has been organised by the Tintern Philosophy Circle as part of the national Welsh celebration of Coleridge’s epic walk in 1794 which extended for about 800 miles from Cambridge to Bristol via Hereford, Wrexham, Snowdonia, Anglesey, Aberystwyth, Brecon, Tintern and Chepstow. adminupload_57398704407cacole3

Spin, lies and deception: Coleridge’s triumph on Malta

Coleridge was many things in his life other than the romantic poet for which he is most famous. He was philosopher, journalist, literary critic, lecturer, one of the best talkers of his age, and notorious opium addict.

But one of the lesser known episodes of his life is the time he spent in the Mediterranean in the critical years of 1804-5, when he became diplomat, and administrator and actually held the post of Public Secretary on Malta working with Sir Alexander Ball – one of Nelson’s Band of Brothers who was at the Battle of the Nile. And of course Malta was a critical place in the Mediterranean war zone at this time. (another quirky point Coleridge’s birthday was the 21 October. He was actually in Naples, of all places, when the news arrived of Trafalgar and Nelson’s death…)
25th May, Shire Hall, Monmouth



Much Ado About Puffin
On a small island…
In the middle of the big sea…
A man meets a bird.

Join Open Attic as they traverse stormy seas and reckless tides to bring you this funny tale about a man all alone, a friendly puffin, and a whole lot of fuss over nothing.adminupload_573c9d9c1b93apuffin

Using skilful puppetry, beautiful music, and good old fashioned storytelling, Much Ado About Puffin is about old habits, new friendships, and stepping out into the unknown!

Open Attic are a small collective of Bristol artists and theatre-makers who wanted to make things together. We bring our collective experience of performing, designing, writing and making together, to create great theatre.

Thursday 26th May at Broadwell Memorial Hall, Coleford

Doors open at 4pm. Show starts 4.30pm

Tickets available in advance from the reception at Coalway Junior school:  £6.50 adults £4.50 Children or online from Eventbrite

The Gruffalo and Friends

Join patron Julia Donaldson and her husband Malcolm as they act out Julia’s songs and stories with plenty of help from the audience. After the 60 minute show there will be plenty of time to buy Julia’s books and have them signed.adminupload_56f6d9dab492djulia

26th May

Savoy Theatre, Monmouth

Tickets: £12 adult and £9 under 16’s

Mosaic Mirrors

Have fun designing and making your own stunning mosaic mirror, using viterous glass tiles, ceramic beads, vintage plates and buttons. All the tools, materials and tuition will be provided, plus plenty of tea and coffee.

26th May 2016 6.30 – 9pm

1, Hanley Business Centre. Tidenham

£30 per person

Fire and Wood Festival

The annual Fire and Wood Festival at the Dean Heritage Centre returns for 2016. This three day festival is a fantastic celebration of local artisans and heritage crafts; with an array of activities, demonstrations, displays and of course the traditional charcoal burn.adminupload_571a5a85cde5ffireandwood

This ancient charcoal burn tradition will be available for visitors to watch across the three days, with experts on hand to explain the process which transforms locally sourced wood into charcoal.

Alongside this, enjoy a wide range of activities, from chainsaw carving and fire displays to wood turning and rustic furniture making across the weekend. Plus sample local ales and ciders from our beer tent whilst admiring our stallholders items and wares that will be available to purchase.

We also have a great special offer exclusively for our festival: Visit on Saturday 28th May and if you return on either Sunday 29th or Monday 30th May, receive 50% OFF YOUR ADMISSION TICKET! Simply bring along your Saturday receipt to qualify for this special deal.

28th-30th May

Longhope Open Gardens
The village of Longhope, in the Forest of Dean will once again be supporting The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) to raise money for charity.  Longhope is sited in a valley with wonderful views of May Hill and surrounding countryside.

There are four gardens open for visitors to explore and they can enjoy a delightful afternoon visiting the gardens, wandering through the village and stopping off for homemade tea, cakes and plant sales.

Each garden has its own planting style and offers offers something for everyone whether you are looking for inspiration for your own garden or just want to enjoy walking and sitting in a beautiful surroundings.

Saturday 28 May 2016 (12pm – 5pm) – Sunday 29 May 2016 (2pm – 6pm)

Saturday 4 June 2016 (12pm – 5pm) – Sunday  5 June 2016 (2pm – 6pm)

There is ample parking in the village and in the orchard at Chessgrove Cottage.  Admission price £5 (children under 16 free) which covers entry to all four gardens, just follow the yellow NGS signs around Longhope on the open days.

Arts in the Marches

Arts in The Marches are delighted to be working in collaboration with Taurus Crafts on a second “Summer of Sculpture”.

In 2015 we established the first joint sculpture exhibitions, featuring the work of sculptors from Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Welsh Borders. adminupload_573f35a8dda01summer flowers

Returning sculptors include Caro Burberry, (bronze resin) Diane Ree,(3D portraits)  Victoria Westaway (willow) and Ardyn Griffyn, this time with her papier mach birds, plus blacksmith Stephen McRaewith his kinetic steel sculptures and Alan Richardson who presents a new array of eccentric driftwood items.

This year we are joined by three new established blacksmith’s Claudia Petley and Paul Shepherd and DavidPreston; plus new comer Sandrina Gay who is exhibiting her enchanting copper works for the first time.   Di Philipson’s fused glass and Frances Warren’s work made from recycled materials “not just a load of old junk” will also be on display.

The exhibition runs from May 28th until October 2nd, at various locations around Taurus Crafts; including the courtyard, garden, Wonderpod Garden, and the café.
Music at Tintern
Come to the Old Station Tintern throughout the summer for fantastic musical performances from 2pm – 4pm.

Sunday 12th June – Wyedean Gospel Choir
Sunday 19 June – Red Rug (Jazz Quartet formed by young Royal Welsh College and Music and Drama musicians)
Sunday 26th June  – Blitz Time Sally
Sunday 3 July – David Grubb and Borderline (Folk/Jazz Fusion group, led by David on the fiddle)
Sunday 10th July – Silurian
Sunday 17 July – Brass instrumentalists from Chepstow Town Band
Fri 29 July – Alex Ishmael and Henry Blight (Young singer/guitarists in the style of Ed Sheeran and Jake Bugg)
Sunday 31st – Mad Toms Crowd
7 Aug – Alex Kirk and Laura Bonar (Post-graduate pianist and violinist)
Sunday 14th August – 3 miles per hour (acoustic trio)
Sunday 21st August – Nataley Simpson (Folk/pop,singer/guitarist)
Sunday 28th August – Jan & Ian
Sunday 4 Sept – Tripling Trio (Post-graduate RWCMD woodwind instrumentalists)
Sunday 18th September – The JAZZ LAdZZ (Jazz/funk fusion)


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