Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean








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24 March 2009

The shrub is what remains from the main clearance of the site and the team had beautiful weather on this springtime day.

Peregrines were seen flying high over Symonds Yat.

The task today was to clear the shrub along the river pathway and burn it away. We built two fires which burnt all day but there is still more work to be done at this site.

The team sat by the River Wye at the site of New Weir Forge. In the background the river defences have been built up to make it a good place for canoeist to traverse the weir.



New Weir Forge, Symonds Yat

Grid Ref SO548157

New Weir Forge was a large industrial complex that once operated on the River Wye. The remains of the Weir are now associated with the rapids that attract canoeists to tackle this stretch of the Wye. However the historic complex of docks and ironworks hidden in the trees alongside are little known. The site is thought to have been started in the 16th century, though much of the site that is visible is much later. Some of the remains probably relate to the massive expansion of iron working in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean during the 17th Century and during the Civil Wars, when the furnaces and forges were producing shot and canon. In 1814 the weir was damaged and the site fell into decay.

The conservation works have started with the thinning of the tree cover around the Forge site. The trees were then removed using horses in the traditional manner. Horses are less damaging to the archaeology than modern machinery and are ideal in this location. Once the site has been cleared it will be excavated, by Herefordshire Archaeology as a training excavation, then conserved and interpreted.




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