Exploring the Forest of Dean

Trip Start Jun 26, 2012
Trip End Aug 26, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, August 13, 2012

This morning Emma was woken up at 6.40am by annoying, noisy people down the hall. I was going to get up at 7.00am anyway but I would've enjoyed an extra twenty minutes sleep. I gave Emma her feed and, instead of changing her, decided to give her a bath. Matt then came and took her while I showered. After that he showered then we went to the restaurant for breakfast. Emma was good and ate a decent amount of cereal and also had some of my yogurt.

After we were done we went back to the room as I needed to finish getting ready. Matt and Emma went for a drive into town to drop our washing at the cleaners. It was good that Emma went as I was able to get ready quickly without any distractions.

When I was done I packed the bag for the day and waited for them to return. They got back around quarter to ten and I went out to meet them at the car. Matt didn't want to get Emma out as she was happy watching her DVD but we gave her a quick nappy change on the backseat, which we were able to do since Matt had emptied the car previously. She fell asleep just after getting back into her seat which was good timing.

We headed out just before 10.00am to go to Perrygrove in the Forest of Dean. It was a lovely drive through the lush, green countryside and we drove through a few cute villages on the way. It was a forty minute drive and we arrived at Perrygrove at 10.30am. Emma woke up as we arrived and she was so cute and sleepy.

We bought our tickets then went outside to go on a cute miniature steam train. Emma didn’t know what to make of it. The ride took us almost a mile through the forest and it made stops at little stations along the way. You’re allowed to get off the train at the stations and walk along the trails. But since it was raining I didn’t feel like trekking through the forest.

We caught the train to the end of the line then it went back the way it had come. We got back to the station at Perrygrove at 11.00am. We sat down in the cafe and had a hot chocolate each while Emma enjoyed a biscuit. We don’t give her a proper morning tea anymore because she doesn’t eat much lunch otherwise. Plus she has been getting breakfast fairly late recently so I don’t think she needs it either.

After that we looked in the miniature village in a room next to the cafe. It’s built for kids to play in and had two levels with little windows and staircases throughout. It was very cute. Matt and I looked like giants in the little buildings. It’s a pity Emma wasn’t old enough to play in it; it would have been great fun for her.

Perrygrove also had an outdoor treetop playground but it was still raining pretty heavily so we couldn’t go and look at that. Since that was all there was left to do (except ride the train again) we decided to head off and see what else was in the area.

We headed in a different direction which took us down a small, winding road and through some little hamlets. They were so lovely and Matt really enjoyed them. There wasn’t much to them, just some nice old houses mostly.

During the drive we crossed over the border into Wales. I still find it a big novelty that one minute you’re in one country then in a different one the next just by driving down the road. I had found a town called Monmouth on the map which looked a reasonable size so we decided to head there for lunch.

We arrived there just after 12.00pm and found a car park then walked to the main street. On the way we stopped at a baby change room to change Emma’s nappy and I saw this cool unit in the wall to wash your hands in. It was big metal thing in the wall with an opening for your hands and it had three buttons – one for each soap, water and air. You washed your hands in there then dried them there too. It was a clever device which I hadn’t seen before.

The little town was lovely and the main street was filled with flags and shops with old fashioned facades. We went into a Pizza Express place for lunch. We joked that there wasn’t anything good to eat in England, so we had to go to Wales for lunch.

Emma was difficult and not eating her food but she did enjoy some of our pizza crusts. Emma still needs to learn to chew her food a bit more and stop shoving it all in at once as it makes her choke sometimes. Matt and I had a nice pizza each that was just the right size and not too filling.

After lunch we continued walking down the main street and went to look at the bridge at the end. It was called Monnow Bridge and built in the 13th century as a town defence. It is the only surviving medieval bridge in Britain with the gate tower standing on the bridge. It was quite impressive and in good condition considering its age. The river underneath it was also nice.

Then we walked back up the main street on the other side. We spent a little bit of time looking in a few of the shops then we stopped by the bathroom again before heading back to the car. Emma was asleep by the time we reached the car and stayed that way when I put her in the seat.

We had a nice drive back to Gloucester, seeing more little villages along the way and arriving at the hotel at 3.00pm. Emma was just waking up. She’d had a good sleep but unfortunately for us it wasn’t good timing as we were tired from staying up late watching the Closing Ceremony, and having an early morning.

We got back to the room and Matt and I agreed to each take Emma for a bit while the other had a rest. Matt and Emma went into town for a bit and I had a sleep from twenty past three until quarter to five when they got back.

Then I took Emma over to the restaurant and brought her toys for her to play with while I read on my iPad. Unfortunately I couldn’t drive into town as I’m not on the car rental agreement (it cost a lot more to have two people on it so we didn’t bother as Matt likes to drive anyway). She was good and had fun playing for a bit.

Matt joined us at 6.00pm and we ordered some dinner. Emma enjoyed her dinner tonight and ate a fair bit which I was pleased about. Matt and I had a nice meal then Emma was getting a bit whiny so we headed back to the room at 6.45pm. We got her dressed and ready for bed, then I fed her and put her down in the cot. It was great having her asleep at 7.15pm! That’s the good thing about her having an early afternoon sleep.

It was really nice seeing the Forest of Dean today (makes me think of Harry Potter every time) and the pretty little towns in the area. Matt and I are just about to organise all of our souvenirs to send home and have a much needed early night. Tomorrow we’re heading to Bristol.
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