How much has changed, and how little! In this book, James
Bevan of the Bevan Coaches family takes the reader – by bus of course – on a
memorable journey from his maternal grandparents’ village of Blakeney, up the
Cinderford Road past Brains Green to his own village of Soudley, overlooking
Ayleford and Two Bridges along the way, then on through Ruspidge and finally
into his local town, Cinderford. James’s memories span the early post war years
to about 1960 and every stop is packed with James’s own stories and those of
his parents and grandparents of the families who lived in the houses and ran
the shops, of the annual carnivals, of the churches and youth clubs and the
ways in which people earned their livings in the first half of the twentieth
century. Today, the ‘bus wars’ of the pre-war period are over, there are few
shops, many of the churches and all the chapels have closed, and the days when
a train brought the Soudley school teacher from Newnham are well past. But the
places remain highly and delightfully recognisable. To anybody with any
familiarity with the Soudley Valley, this book is a ‘must read’, but anyone
knowing the Forest will feel instantly at home with it also.
The book will be launched on Saturday Feb 9th (12.00
noon -2.00pm) at the Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley where it will be on sale.
It is also available direct: Tel 01594 842859 or
at James Bevan, Unit 1 Mead Lane Industrial Estate Lydney GL15 5DA.
All profits go to Marie Curie.