Whitecroft Characterisation: Park Hill, Saunders Green and the Bay

Layout

Housing alongside the roads which form a fairly dense network, interconnected with pedestrian alleys. Plots are generous in the main, including for the social housing.

At the bottom of the hill alongside the river (and on the opposite side of New Road) is a small development of light industrial units, and the roadside is used for car sales. There is a larger but currently under-occupied industrial development at the village gateway in from Lydney (former pin factory). The heritage railway runs through the village with a restored signal box and station building at the level crossing in the village centre.

Saunders Green is apart from the rest of the village to the south-west and is a scattered collection of detached cottages, mainly 19th century, facing onto a large area of forest waste, and with a sheep farm at the very south end.

Topography

This side of the village rises quite steeply from the river to a ridge at the Western edge

Spaces

Allotment site (approx 20 plots, well-used) open forest waste (Saunders Green) Wooded forest waste (small, steep area on Park Hill used for informal recreation). Wide verges and the relatively quiet road in Woodlands Close are also used for informal play.

Roads, Street, Routes

The main road through this area leads from the Miners Arms pub in Whitecroft centre up towards Bream. Most of the housing is north of this road with some to the South. Other roads and turnings are relatively quiet. The main access to the Forest is at the top of park hill past Park Hill Lodge; this route is very popular with dog walkers and well-used.

Green and Natural features

Biodiverse rough pasture on Saunders Green (common blue, marbled white and skipper butterflies are regularly observed there). Grassy area along railway racks also good habitat for butterflies (as Saunders Green) and moths eg six-spot burnet. Open stand of mature oaks on forest waste at top of Park Hill. Water meadows alongside western bank of brook, these flood regularly and used by water fowl including herons when wet. (snipe and dippers have been observed there).  The mature gardens are much-visited by forest birds including coal tits, brambling, siskins, goldcrest and woodpeckers,  as well as commoner species. Bats and swifts seen in summer. Redwings and fieldfare visit in cold weather to feed on hedgerows and fallen fruit. Nearby woodland is mixed oak, spuce, fir, larch beech, cherry, hazel etc, with wild garlic and bluebells in spring. Deer, boar, foxes and badgers are present along with the usual smaller mammals.

buildings and details

A mixture of mid-20th century semi detached former coal-miners houses, some still managed by Two Rivers Housing and a number now in private rental; bungalows (including some socially owned bungalows for elderly residents), and a mixture of mainly 19th century cottages (detached, semi-detached and in short terraces) , and 20th-century individual infill dwellings. Main materials for older dwellings is stone, often with rough-cast, roofs usually slate, some with small outbuildings (pig-cots); 20th-centry former social housing is brick, again, some rendered, or concrete “Airey Homes” (though these now mostly also brick-clad). Modern dwellings mainly rendered blockwork ie (superficially) reverting to traditional local appearance. Industrial/employment buildings of concrete or brick with corrugated steel or asbestos roofs.

StreetScape; Many mature gardens and hedgerows with numerous trees and shrubs. A small number of older homes retain the stone walls around their plots. Roads and pavements all tarmac.

Landmarks

Old (200yrs?) farm and former water Mill at the bottom of the hill, the route of the old leat can be traced north into the forest. Two pubs, both offering accommodation: the Miners Arms (also ~ 200-yr-old) in the village centre (with double-pitch roof characteristic on the older dwellings in the village), the Royal Oak up on the hillside. Fish and chip shop and small green area with seating and parish notice board opposite the Mill.

Land Use

Mainly residential but a few commercial/catering & some employment in village centre; further employment at Saunders Green; agriculture land mainly sheep grazing, some horse grazing.

Views

Views mostly to the East over Eastern Whitecroft, Pillowell, Yorkley and the forest to the north and south of these settlements. Some views south down the valley towards Lydney.