Parish Plan

Executive Summary

This Parish Plan document was developed during 2004 and 2005 following two periods of public consultation, a house to house survey which was undertaken in 2001 and a series of parish plan group meetings and public road shows in 2005.
Tidenham Parish is a large Parish at the Southern extremity of the Forest of Dean District, in Gloucestershire, on the borders of Monmouthshire, close to the town of Chepstow and the Severn Bridge. The Parish has grown up at the confluence of the rivers Severn and Wye, at an important crossing point of these rivers, influenced by Ancient Britons, the Romans, King Offa, the Normans, Victorian engineers such as I K Brunel and in modern times by those who brought the Severn Bridge to the Parish.
The military influence has always been there throughout history, mainly due to the protection of the Wye crossing but also due to the ship-building industries and into the modern day with the Army Camp at Beachley.
For many centuries the parish was either a hunting ground or depended largely on agriculture, fisheries or the extractive industries of quarrying and timber. Following the opening of the Severn Bridge in 1966 to replace the Aust – Beachley Ferry and more recently the new A48 Bridge across to Chepstow in 1988, the parish has been the site of significant residential growth, with high levels of commuting to South Wales and the Bristol area.
The parish is a mixed community comprising a number of village settlements with over 2000 dwellings in total and both private ownership and rented accommodation (including Housing Association, MOD and private). There is a low proportion of young people in the 17 to 30 age group and a high proportion over 60 in the population of over 5000. There are low levels of unemployment and long-term unemployment compared to the district averages, high levels of car ownership but also of public transport use and high levels of degree qualifications. The communities are well served with local facilities, such as shops, doctor’s surgeries, schools and public transport giving easy access to Chepstow and other locations. The conclusion which can be drawn from this is that Tidenham is a very attractive place to live.
The future of Tidenham Parish is very much tied in with its environment – both in the way we look after our villages to ensure that they continue to be well maintained – with safer and cleaner streets but also in the way we manage visitors to the Parish. With an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, nature reserves, walking routes, cliffs for climbing, caves for exploring, water for skiing & diving, (being only a few of the attractions mentioned in the Plan) as well as proposals for more – such as the Wye Valley Cycle Path Scheme – we must ensure that the inevitable increasing number of visitors are managed so as not to spoil the area for those who live and work here.

Executive summary
Location & government
Population and households
Health Services
Transport
Landscape and biodiversity
Quarying
Development
District and regional planning
Education
Sports and recreation
Community buildings
Settlement summaries (PDF – this will open in a new window/tab)

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The Parish Plan – Today
Location & Government

Tidenham Parish is situated in the South-West Corner of Gloucestershire, within the Royal Forest of Dean District Council Area. Tidenham is the fifth largest settlement in the District, (after the four towns of Lydney, Coleford, Cinderford and Newent). The Parish is bordered by the River Wye to the West, which is also the Welsh border. There are four bridges across the Wye in or near the Parish; the Old Bridge and the New Bridge (A48) connect Tutshill to the town of Chepstow, the M48 Wye Bridge is not accessible from the parish even though it passes over the parish! The fourth is a footbridge (former railway bridge) just outside the Parish across to Tintern. Tidenham is bordered by the River Severn in the East the only bridge on this side is the M48 Old Severn Bridge (see above).
Tidenham Parish includes a number of distinct settlements, Beachley, Sedbury, Tutshill, Woodcroft, Tidenham, Boughspring, Stroat (including Wibdon) and Tidenham Chase. The Parish has a total area of 34km² of which 5km² are estuary. The highest point is in Clayton Woods on Tidenham Chase, 237m above sea level. The parish is 12km from North (Beech Knoll, 51° 43.5’N) to South (Confluence of Severn and Wye streams, 51° 36’N) and 6.5km from West (River Wye at Lancaut, 2° 40’W) to East (Beacon Sands in the River Severn, 2° 35’W).
Tidenham Parish Council serves the whole of the parish the council has twelve councillors, elected every four years. Tidenham elects three district councillors every four years to the RFDDC and one County Councillor to the Gloucestershire County Council, (the county division of Tidenham also includes the neighbouring parishes of Woolaston, Hewelsfield & Brockweir, Alvington and Aylburton). The Parish is in the Forest of Dean Parliamentary Constituency and the South West of England European Parliamentary Area.
Bordering Tidenham to the north are two parishes also in the RFDDC area; Hewelsfield & Brockweir on the river Wye and Woolaston on the river Severn. Across the Wye the town of Chepstow and the communities of St. Arvans and Tintern to the north and Mathern to the south, all in Monmouthshire Unitary Authority area, this is in Wales. Across the Severn are the parishes of Oldbury–upon-Severn, Aust and Pilning & Severn Beach, all in the South Gloucestershire Unitary Authority area.
All but a handful of properties in the parish fall within the NP (Newport) Royal Mail postcode area and receive postal deliveries from Chepstow sorting office. Parts of some other parishes along the Wye Valley also have NP postcodes. The remainder of the Parish falls within the GL (Gloucester) postcode area. A number of examples of confusion arising from government and commercial organisations interpreting an NP postcode and Chepstow address as inferring that people live in Wales have arisen over the years.
In 2002 the Parish held a Poll, requesting Royal Mail to act to change the postcode. Royal Mail has done nothing since the Poll was concluded.
All properties in the Parish have Chepstow exchange telephone numbers. A number of complaints result from this in particular with regard to the speed of response to emergency 999/911 calls, which have to be diverted from Cwmbran to Gloucester, in particular for Police. The police are aware of the issue but believe that it does not impact upon their ability to respond.
Policing is provided by the Gloucestershire Constabulary, the police station in Tutshill is not used on a regular basis. The Forest Bobby bus does make regular visits to a number of locations within the parish.
Fire and rescue services are provided by the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, which has a base in Lydney, additional assistance is also provided by the Monmouthshire service which has a base in Chepstow.
Ambulance services are more usually provided by the Wales Ambulance Trust although both the Gloucestershire and Avon Trusts can also provide services, depending upon the hospital being attended.

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Population and Households

The national 2001 Census reports the following data for our Parish, with comparisons for the District and Gloucestershire
Click here for 2001 Census Report

Health Services

Health services are provided by the West Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust (PCT). There are two doctor’s surgeries, both of which are branch surgeries of practices located in Chepstow. This complicates the funding of health services, as the patients are in Gloucestershire, whilst the doctors are based in Monmouthshire. No significant disadvantages have been reported as a result of this situation. The Vauxhall surgery has a branch on Coleford Road, Tutshill providing regular surgeries on at least three days per week. The Town Gate Practice has a branch on Beachley Road, Sedbury providing regular surgeries on each weekday.
Both practices provide dispensing to patients from outside the distance criteria for GP dispensing provision. There is a dispensing pharmacist in Sedbury and additional facilities in Chepstow. The eligibility criteria for free-prescriptions are different in Wales to that in England, on the basis of age. This will be extended to free-prescriptions for all in Wales next year. The impact this will have on our local dispensary facilities is uncertain.
Local Hospital Care and out-patient clinics are provided at Lydney Hospital and Chepstow Hospital. Full General Hospital including Accident and Emergency services are provided at: Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport; Gloucester Royal Hospital; Southmead Hospital, Bristol; Frenchay Hospital, Bristol and at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
A number of dental practices are available in Chepstow and in Lydney the provision of NHS dentistry is limited and probably does not match the level of need.

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Transport

Tidenham is well served by Transport, including good public transport. The A48 travels in a SW direction from Gloucester and Lydney through the Parish for 7km between Stroat and the new Wye Bridge at Tutshill. Much of the A48 follows the line of a roman road. After crossing the Wye into Chepstow, the A48 continues to Newport, Cardiff and Carmarthen in West Wales. The M48 and Old Severn Bridge are only 4km from the parish by road, providing quick access to the national motorway network. Cardiff, Tewkesbury, Swindon and Bridgwater are all within one hour driving time of Tidenham. The B4228 leaves the A48 at Tutshill and goes in a Northerly direction to Coleford passing through Woodcroft and Tidenham Chase for 8km. There are no other classified roads in the Parish.

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Public Transport
A local service operates Monday to Saturday, hourly between 08:30 and 17:30 from Beachley to Chepstow, (Dukes Travel 761 is an un-supported service) and hourly from Sedbury to Thornwell (service W1) operated by Stagecoach, supported by Monmouthshire County Council. There is no service on Sunday. An hourly service is operated Monday to Saturday between Newport and Gloucester, serving Tutshill, Tidenham and Stroat along the A48, operated by Stagecoach as service 73. The first bus from Tutshill is at 06:06 to Gloucester and 07:27 to Newport. The last bus from Tutshill is at 17:26 to Gloucester and 17:37 to Newport.
School services available for public use operated by Duke’s Travel on Monday to Friday providing return journeys on schooldays only as follows: 729 Cinderford, Yorkley, Lydney – Wyedean School; 730 Soudley,Parkend, Bream, Lydney – Wyedean School; 731 Mitcheldean, Flaxley, Westbury-on-Severn – Wyedean School All of these services leave Sedbury at 15:25 on the return journey.
Other local bus services operate from Chepstow to Bristol, Monmouth, Cwmbran, Pontypool and Express coach services to Heathrow, Gatwick and London in the East and Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys in the West.
Lydney Dial-a-Ride provided a service during 2004/2005 on a Tuesday for residents who do not have regular access to a car from the parish to Lydney and Chepstow, unfortunately due to low demand and insufficient subsidy support the service was withdrawn.
Rail services operate from Chepstow to Cardiff and to Gloucester. Chepstow railway station is only 600m from the Parish.
Please check the timetables before travelling as operators do alter times of transport.

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Public Rights of Way
Tidenham Parish provides 65 km of Public footpath, but no Bridleways or By-ways. The Offa’s Dyke National Trail starts (or finishes depending on your direction of travel) in the parish at Sedbury Cliff and continues for 12km to Brockweir. The full trail is a 300 km path roughly following the line of the Offa’s Dyke Historic Monument and Welsh border to Prestatyn on the Irish Sea coast of North East Wales. The Gloucestershire Way, a 120 km recreational path across Gloucestershire from Chepstow to Tewkesbury crosses the parish for 7km between the old Wye Bridge and Park Hill.
There are no recognised cycle paths in the parish. Sustrans have on a number of occasions proposed converting the old Wye Valley Railway Line between Tidenham and Tintern (including 7km within the parish) into part of the national cycle network. Their proposals would include the conversion of the 1km Tidenham Tunnel from Netherhope Lane to Tintern Quarry. Significant opposition to the proposals put forward by Sustrans in 2005 centred around the lack of appropriate parking facilities adjacent to the cycle route, unsuitable access routes from Chepstow, and likely impact this would have on unsuitable local minor roads. In general the community supports the idea of providing facilities for cyclists but would prefer to see more consideration be given to better access routes and parking facilities. More recently Sustrans have proposed a route between Chepstow and Cinderford, which is likely to include on-road sections within the parish.

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Landscape and Biodiversity

The Parish includes five Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), a Ramsar Site, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), part of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and 10 Key Wildlife Sites. The Rivers Severn and Wye have the second biggest tidal range in the world, with a 14m difference between mean low and mean high water at the parish boundaries.
The following details are taken from a study undertaken as part of the Forest of Dean Integrated Rural Development (IRD) programme which has mapped the biodiversity of the whole district.
 
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
•   Severn Estuary – 15,950 ha
•   Pennsylvania Fields, Sedbury 27.0 ha
The site represents the only example of brackish pastureland overlying alluvial soils in Gloucestershire, including some nationally rare plant species.
•   Poor’s Allotment, Tidenham Chase 28.6 ha
•   Shorn Cliff and Caswell Woods, opposite Tintern 69.2 ha
•   Lower Wye Gorge, Woodcroft and Ban-y-Gor 29.2 ha
The woodlands of the lower Wye Valley form one of the most important areas for woodland conservation in Britain (comparable with the Caledonian pine-woods, the oceanic oakwoods of western Britain, the New Forest and the mixed coppices of East Anglia), including a number of nationally rare plant species. These woods sit in a matrix of unimproved grassland and other semi-natural habitats, which together make the Wye Valley one of the most diverse, rich and attractive areas in southern Britain.

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Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
River Wye 2,234 ha
 
Key Wildlife Sites
•   Lippets Grove GWT Nature Reserve, Tidenham Chase
•   East Wood Limestone Pavement, GWT Nat. Res., Tidenham Chase
•   Beachley Saltmarshes, Beachley Point
•   Beachley Grassland, River Wye floodplain, Beachley
•   Ridley Bottom GWT Nat. Res., Kelly’s Lane, Tidenham Chase
•   Park Grove, Sedbury
•   Redding Well Alderwood, Stroat
•   Walter’s Weir, Lancaut
•   James’s Thorns, Wye Valley, Tidenham Chase
•   Ladysmith, Severn bank, Sedbury Cliff
The Countryside Agency has announced that at some point in the future it will consider again the designation of parts of the Forest of Dean as an AONB, the Parish Council will need to consider this carefully if it is likely to impact on the Parish, or if there is wish to see additional parts of the parish designated as such.
In October 2005, as part of the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, in the West of England, including Gloucestershire, areas of Open Countryside and Registered Common Land become open to public access. In our parish this covers the natural heath area of Poor’s’ Allotment. Poor’s Allotment is managed by an independent charitable trust. Some of the area is rented for livestock grazing, adjacent to Park Hill Lane. The natural Heath area is managed by English Nature and is home to a number of significant species – both flora and fauna. Income from the Trust is used for the relief of need in the parish

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Quarying

The parish has a history of Limestone Quarrying, the largest being the Tintern Quarry at Tidenham Chase, which has outstanding permission for extraction, but is restricted to removing the majority by rail and only limited amounts by road. A Public Local Inquiry in the early 1990s turned down a request to increase the amount which could be extracted by road. Alternative routes between Tidenham Chase and the A48 have been suggested in more recent years, associated with the potential of additional sites in Hewelsfield being identified for quarrying in the Gloucestershire Minerals plan.
The other large quarry at Tidenham Village has now been flooded and converted into an outdoor activity centre – the National Diving and Activity Centre, providing quality deep inland diving opportunities and other associated activities.
There are no active quarries in the parish. Neighbouring quarries can still create disturbances due to blasting, crushing and visual amenity, the Livox Quarry on the opposite bank of the Wye, in Monmouthshire, is particularly visible from some parts of the Parish. The Parish Council is committed to continuing to oppose new quarrying proposals which would significantly intrude into the landscape in or around the parish or increase movements of stone on roads in the parish and will continue to assess issues with neighbouring quarries. The Parish Council will ensure it is fully involved in any future revisions of the County Minerals Plan.

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Development

The Parish contains over 2000 dwellings, of these some 64 are listed buildings/structures, including two grade I structures:
•   The Old Severn Bridge/M48
•   Chepstow Bridge, crossing the Wye from Tutshill and four Grade II*
•   The church of St Mary and St Peter, Tidenham
•   Stroat Farmhouse
•   Sedbury Park
•   Mead Farmhouse
Many of the Grade II listed structures are grave memorials and milestones, others include: pump & spring at Tidenham Church, Philpots Court, Wibdon Farm, Stroat Farm, Stroat House, Tippets Barn, Day House Farm, Powder House Farm, St Lukes Church, Church Cottage, Archway – Woodcroft, Pen Moel House, St John’s Church Beachley & School, Beachley House, Severn Lodge, Tutshill Lodge, Buttington Stone, St John’s on the Hill School, St. Twrog’s Chapel, Ty-Gwilym, Wirewoods Green Manor, Gloucester House, Lancaut Farm, St James Church ruin, Tutshill Lookout Tower, Wyecliffe, Bridge-End Cottage, Mead Barn, Bishton Farm, Wye Railway Bridge and M48 Wye Bridge. The parish council has full details for all of the listings.
Over 100 new homes have been completed in the parish since the 2001 census, mainly on the Bigstone development in Tutshill. Outstanding permission has also been obtained for the Berto-pak site in Sedbury.
The parish council’s development policy is to support small scale in-fill development to cater for local needs and to oppose large scale extensions of village boundaries or any new development in open country. In that part of the parish in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty development should and will be more restricted.

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District and Regional Planning

The District Council was, at the time of production of the Parish Plan close to concluding its discussions with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) regarding modifications to the District Local Plan which will lead to publication. No significant development sites within the parish are identified in the latest draft or likely to be included in the final document.
Significant development at Lydney is likely to have an impact on vehicles using the A48 through Tidenham Parish. The speed of development at Lydney is likely to be limited as part of the final modification. The Parish Council will need to consider the implications for the parish of significant increases in A48 traffic.
In the 1990’s the Parish Council with local groups objected to proposals for an outer by-pass of Chepstow, (which would have been built mostly within the parish, crossing Beachley, Sedbury and Tidenham including a new bridge across the Wye) and associated large scale development, including over 2000 houses, successfully removing such proposals from revisions of the County Structure Plan.
Recent suggestions of a third Severn Crossing between Over and Beachley (probably in the Lydney/Sharpness area) could provide some relief for the A48, providing that tolling is equitable with the existing crossings. Further developments will need to be closely monitored by the Parish Council.
The District Council is now in the process of formulating its Local Development Framework (LDF), which will replace the District Plan. The South West Regional Assembly is also currently reviewing the Regional Spatial Strategy, which will determine the levels of development which will be allowed within the District in the period 2006 – 2226.
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Education

There are a number of pre-school providers within the parish:
•   Tutshill pre-school, at the Tidenham Memorial Hall in Tutshill.
•   Sedbury pre-school, at the Village Hall on King Alfred’s Road in Sedbury.
•   Beachley pre-school, MOD community rooms, Wyvern Road, Beachley.
•   Riverside Nursery, Tutshill.
•   St. Johns on the Hill School Nursery, Tutshill.
There are three primary schools in the Parish:
•   Offa’s Mead Primary, Sedbury. – Gloucestershire County Council.
•   Tutshill Church of England Primary, Tutshill – Gloucestershire County Council.
•   St John’s on the Hill, Tutshill – Private preparatory school.
Other Primary schools are in Chepstow, St. Briavels and Woolaston.
There is one Secondary School in the Parish:
•   Wyedean Secondary School and sixth form centre, in Sedbury. Wyedean has maths and computing specialist status.
Other secondary schooling is available in Chepstow and Lydney.
Alternative tertiary education is provided at Chepstow Comprehensive School, Five Acres College, Newport College and Filton College near Bristol.
Evening classes are available at Wyedean School and at Chepstow School.

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Library Services
Gloucestershire County Council Mobile Library provides a service to most parts of the parish on a regular basis. There are libraries in Lydney and Chepstow and at the Community Village Shop in neighbouring Brockweir.
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Sports and recreation

Wyedean School sports facilities are available for community use out of school hours, providing a range of activities in the main sports hall as well as fitness room, tennis courts and grass pitches. Other facilities are available in Chepstow and Lydney, both providing Swimming Pools. Tidenham recreation ground provides a football pitch, used by Tidenham AFC. Other successful football teams play at Wyedean (Sedbury Strollers) and Beachley Camp (British Legion). The primary schools also have grass pitches available for their use, including facilities for Rugby and Cricket used by St. John’s School.
There are six equipped children’s play areas in the parish two are within the Army development at Beachley. The other four are all supported by the Parish Council at: Dane’s Hill, Sedbury; Wyebank Road, Sedbury; Recreation Ground, Tutshill and at Woodcroft. There is also a Skate Park with Youth Shelter and grass pitch on Buttington Road, Sedbury.
The parish provides for a wide range of outdoor activities:
•   Quad Biking – at Sedbury and on Tidenham Chase.
•   4X4 off-road driving at Severn Dale.
•   Equestrian Centre at Severn Vale.
•   Sub-Aqua Diving at the National Diving Centre in Tidenham Quarry, providing the deepest inland diving facility in the UK, used by members of the public as well as Emergency Services and Military from many parts of the country.
•   Climbing at Wintour’s Leap in Woodcroft and some other locations.
•   Abseiling at Wintour’s Leap and the National Diving Centre.
•   Caving in the Wye Valley at Ban-y-Gor cave and on Tidenham Chase at Miss Grace’s Cave Complex.
•   Walking throughout the Parish, including the Offa’s Dyke National Trail (see ‘Public Rights of Way’ below).
•   Sailing on the Severn, Water Skiing on the Wye and occasionally rafting.
Whilst all these activities are taking place, unfortunately occasionally accidents can happen. Sedbury is home to the Severn Area Rescue Organisation (SARA) – the second largest marine rescue organisation after the RNLI – SARA has bases in other locations along the Severn and Bristol Channel. At Sedbury they are unique, as the only organisation providing Marine, Cliff and Cave rescue in the UK.

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Community buildings

In addition to local school and church facilities there are five public houses (Ferry Inn at Beachley, Fisherman’s at Sedbury, Cross Keys (Closed in 2009) and Live & Let Live both in Tutshill and Rising Sun at Woodcroft), a British Legion Club and four community halls in the Parish:
Sedbury and Beachley Village Hall, King Alfred’s Road, Sedbury
Is owned by the Parish Council as custodian trustee, following purchase of the site and building in early 2005 from Gloucestershire County Council. The hall is managed by a Charitable Trust Management Committee. Activities include: Dog training, Sedbury and Beachley Women’s Institute, Bingo and Pre-school.
Tidenham War Memorial Hall, Coleford Road, Tutshill
Also owned by the Parish Council as custodian trustee, following transfer from a private committee in 2002. The hall is managed, along with the Recreation Ground by a Charitable Trust Management Committee. Activities include: Tutshill Women’s Institute, Club 98, Tidenham Old Folks Club, Pre-school and Mother’s and Toddlers. Changing room facilities for the Recreation Ground are also sited within the Memorial Hall. The Memorial Hall buildings also include a flat, rental income being used to improve facilities at the Hall.
Tidenham Chase Old School, Rosemary Lane
Is owned and managed by an independent charitable trust. Activities include: Tidenham Gardening Club and Tidenham Chase Women’s Institute.
Alexandra Hall, Beachley Camp
On Wyvern Road, is owned by the Ministry of Defence and managed by Army staff and families, providing a range of activities for Army families and other members of the local community including Youth Club and Cafe. The pre-school is operated from a separate building to the main hall.
Churches
There are nine church buildings in the parish:
Five Church of England – St James Lancaut (ruin), St James Beachley (closed), St Mary & St Peter Tidenham, St Luke Tutshill and St Michael and All Angels Tidenham Chase
A Roman Catholic Church in Sedbury.
Three Evangelical – Stroat Mission, Grahamstown Road Mission and Woodcroft Christian Centre

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