A to Z of the DeanWye: G is for…

G is for


Situated in the heart of the countryside of rural South Herefordshire and straddling the border with Gloucestershire, Gorsley is surrounded by woodland and overlooked by Linton Ridge and May Hill with the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds visible in all but the worst weather.

For almost two centuries the area had been the haunt of those evading the law, the people of Ross called it ‘The Republic of the Lawless’ and it became known as ‘Heathens Heath’. The area was notorious and The Hereford to London’s stage coach was often held up and plundered as it passed through. Fighting and brawling over rights to the land were common and employers were unlikely to give jobs to people who gave their address as Gorsley.


In 2008, a Geomap was installed at New Fancy Viewpoint, commissioned by the Forest of Dean Local History Society. This unique sculpture was created by David Yeates of simply Stone and it is the only Geomap in the UK.

So…what is a Geomap?

The Geomap celebrates both the geological and the industrial history of the Forest of Dean. The complex geology of the region, formed over millions of years, produced the coal and iron deposits that miners have been extracting for at least two thousand years.

The map represents the geology of the Forest of Dean. Each layer of rock shown on Geomap is made from the actual rock it represents, taken from local quarries. Overlain on the map is the industrial history, demonstrating the link between the underlying geology and the great quarrying and mining industries of the past. In combining the two, it demonstrates the close relationship between them. It shows the location of 102 collieries, 35 iron mines and 49 stone quarries, as well as the main railway lines and three long-lived tramroads that were so important for the expansion of these industries in the nineteenth century.


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