The Solitary Rambler

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Filmed 9th May 2018
Post-production completed 10th June 2018

Running time 20 minutes

After more than 12 years since my last visit, I return to my favourite place of all, the wonderful Forest of Dean . I decide to do a walk starting at New Fancy , a place from where I know I can enjoy panoramic views right across the Forest. Walking along disused railway lines I visit Speech House and the nearby lake of the same name. I then head back to enjoy one more view from the top of the spoil heap that is New Fancy View …. .

Filmed in the Forest of Dean in the county of Gloucestershire . Locations include New Fancy View , Middleridge Inclosure, site of Lightmoor Colliery, Saintlow Inclosure, Spruce Ride, Speech House and Speech House Lake . This continues the series of films in 2018 celebrating 25 years of “The Solitary Rambler”.
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Background and production details

Returning to the Forest of Dean was always going to be part of the 25th anniversary celebrations, no question about it. As with the previous three films in the Wye Valley , I wanted to make some new HD films in my current style of film making in the Forest of Dean, so I looked to return to some of the places seen in those early, long films, as well as possibly some new locations within the same region. New Fancy and Speech House were places in the Forest of Dean that had both featured in my 1996  film “ Confrontations in Cannop ”, so I chose to return to those two locations to shoot a new film there, which would also include other places not seen in any earlier films. In one of my walking guide books there was a five mile route starting at New Fancy, passing along and crossing disused railway lines, visiting Speech House and walking back to New Fancy from Speech House Lake, so I decided to shoot this walk for my first film in the Forest of Dean in twelve years.
I had spent my 52nd Birthday at home with my Mum up from Somerset for a few days, and on the following Tuesday I took her back to Somerset with the plan of filming in the Forest of Dean during the next day whilst I was down there. Therefore, on Wednesday 9th May 2018 I set off from Somerset and made my way to New Fancy, where I parked my car and began filming. The first shots were taken from the top of New Fancy View, the old spoil heap where I got great shots right across the Forest of Dean. In “Confrontations in Cannop” I had filmed at this location for the final confrontational scenes involving some of my friends at that time. The walk went from there and followed forest tracks through Middleridge and Saintlow Inclosures where I eventually reached the Spruce Ride, the broad and straight track seen briefly in the final scenes of my 2006 film “ Denouement in Dean ”. I followed Spruce Ride to Speech House, one of today’s main shooting locations. The next spot was nearby Speech House Lake, not previously seen in a Solitary Rambler film, from where I walked back along more disused railway lines back to New Fancy. I took a few more shots from the viewpoint before completing the day’s filming and heading back to Mum’s in Somerset.

I worked on the post-production about a month later and started recording the musical score for “New Fancy and Speech House”. I knew that I would be recording new versions of both my Forest of Dean themes, i.e. “Dark Theme of the Forest of Dean” first used in my 1995 film “ The Mysterious Forest ”, and “Melody of the Forest of Dean”, which was the main theme in “Confrontations in Cannop”. However, I wanted to use the “Dark Theme” very sparingly as, although I like the score I felt it might provide too gloomy an atmosphere for the film, so I just used it in the scene at the beginning when I first introduce the Forest of Dean as well one sequence when I start the walk. For the rest of the film I recorded a new version of “Melody of the Forest of Dean”, which gave the film a more uplifting feel and was always one of my most memorable scores.

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