Shirley's UK Trip 2012 travel blog

St John's Church at Aust showing damage to the roof

Remains of the Aust ferry

Tintern Abbey church

Tintern Abbey church

Tintern Abbey church

Some of my days on this trip are planned & some just happen - today just happened. When I woke up this morning I had no idea I would be doing these things today. First of all, it was bright & sunny after a pretty ordinary day yesterday so that changed my plans a bit.

My first priority in this district is to add to my family history knowledge so I headed off to Aust, near Bristol, where the ancestors came from. I thought there might be a church service & I could find someone to talk to, but no luck. There’s only a service every 2 weeks & this wasn’t it.

However, I did find a lady out in her front yard & she used to be the church deacon so was very helpful but most of it was negative. There’s no records left in the church, they’re all in Bristol & she didn’t know of any Power family still in the area. From the records I found last year, there are several Powers buried in the churchyard but I still couldn’t find any headstones.

I noticed there were blue tarps on the roof of the church but was amazed when this lady told me that all the lead from their roof had recently been stolen. She said there’s no way this little community can replace it so they don’t know what they’ll do.

She gave me some phone numbers of people who could have information but it sounds like a long shot. I tried calling them but nobody was home & then I thought that I really didn’t want to waste this lovely day talking to people when I can do that when it’s raining.

I found the place where the old Aust ferry used to cross the Severn estuary, really from Roman times until the bridge was opened in 1968, so almost 2000 years. It’s all overgrown but hasn’t totally disappeared.

Then I realized that if I went across the bridge into Wales, Tintern Abbey, one of the most famous & most beautiful abbey ruins, was less than 10 miles away. So, off I went & Tintern didn’t disappoint. Being a sunny Sunday afternoon, I didn’t have it to myself but the ruins of the great church are magnificent. It has an overwhelming grandeur & I can’t understand how someone could have destroyed such a beautiful building.

There’s not a lot of the abbey buildings left, just walls a couple of feet high so you can see the outline of the buildings but the great church really has an atmosphere which I felt deeply. Photos don’t do it justice.

The other thing about Tintern – with my English Heritage membership, the entrance fee was £1.70 with free parking. In some lesser properties I’ve paid 10 times that amount.

Eventually I had to leave & headed up the west side of the Severn estuary, through the Wye valley & the Forest of Dean. I found a little steam railway operating which went from Lydney into the forest so I had to go on that. Unfortunately, just after I got on the train, they had a problem with their points & it took most of the afternoon to get it fixed. I had a nice train ride & talked to some interesting people but didn’t have a chance to see much of the forest.

There’s no bridge over the Severn between Bristol & Gloucester & I didn’t want to backtrack so I came home through Gloucester. By this time it was about 6:00pm so I didn’t stop, that will be an excursion for another day.

I’ve had dinner & am trying to do a load of washing but I don’t get on very well with these front loading machines. It stops & thinks all the time. I thought it had finished & when I opened the door water spilled all over the floor. Luckily I have some spare towels & I’ve set it off going again but I don’t understand it. Hopefully it will tell me when it’s finished.

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