DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

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6 August 2019

Bixslade Tram Road

Grid Ref SO605099

Quite a few of us turned up on a lovely sunny day to help restore and clean part of the Bixslade Tram Road.

The tram road was opened in 1812. It ran between Bixhead Quarry and Bicslade Wharf. It served the Forest of Dean Stone Firm, Union Pit, Monument Mine, (which is still being worked now), Mine Train Quarry, Bicslade Low Level, Hopewell Mapleford Colliery, Bicslade High Level, Spion Kop Quarry, and Bixhead Quarry.

New sidings to the quarries were laid between 1812 and 1855 to deal with the expanding industries of the area, thus by 1855 the tramroad had reached its largest extent. Traffic slowly declined during the 1900's. On the 25th July 1944 the last stones were transported via the line, and coal traffic stopped in 1946. The tramroad was operated by horse-power until traffic finally stopped in the 1950's.

There were quite a few over hanging trees which had to be cut back. The Tram Road is quite well used by walkers and leads to

Bixhead Quarries

There were around 20 quarries in the area in 1675, working the Pennant Sandstone. The Bixslade Tram Road was extended to the Bixhead Quarries around 1855, thus allowing stone to be transported directly to the Severn & Wye's main rail line at Cannop.

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Clearing the clinging plants from the old stones was quite a laborious task but a satisfying one!

The River Severn and Wye Railway

The Severn and Wye Railway was a railway  in Gloucestershire that was constructed to allow exploitation of the mineral resources of the Forest of Dean. Originally constructed as a tramroad by The Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company, work began in 1810. In 1868 the tramroad was first converted to  broad gauge, and then to standard gauge in 1872. Upon bankruptcy in 1893 it was purchased jointly by the Midland Railway and Great Western Railway. The railway became a joint venture on 1 July 1894 and became known as the Severn and Wye Joint Railway (S&WJR). At one time the railway consisted of 39 miles  of track.

At first, we only saw one line of stones but then the matching line was exposed alongside in the undergrowth.

We only managed to do a couple of hundred yards of the old Tram Road, unfortunately.