ROAD systems in the Forest seem to be based on a radial design. The major roads radiate from Gloucester, that is Gloucester to Chepstow, Gloucester to Monmouth and Gloucester to Ross-on-Wye.
Travelling from a place on one radial to a place on another radial is dependant on there being a minor road to connect the two places without going via Gloucester.
The recent withdrawal of rural bus services on minor roads has made the travel from the north to the south of the Forest using these roads even more difficult, and the continual road works with the subsequent poorly marked diversion signs do not help.
How do you get from Newent to Lydbrook, Dymock to Mitcheldean, Soudley to St Briavels, St Briavels to Ruardean, Beachley to anywhere this side of the River Wye?
It can't be done if you don't have a car, and even with one you may be risking a face-off with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction on a single carriageway road, or you might be stuck behind some enormous agricultural vehicle travelling at 5 mph which has to exercise seven point turns to get round the mildest bends in the road.
You may have to take several unclassified roads, and you will need to know the roads well or use sat nav. Dial-a-ride is more and more important for motorless rural people.
And then there are road diversions, which have over the last year or so got completely out of control. The A48 has had continuous roadworks.
Although inconvenient, traffic light controls merely hold up traffic for a few minutes.
But on minor roads, roadworks put the road out of commission, and the poor motorist will have to make sense of the ambiguous diversion notices which decorate the more remote parts of the road network.
These prominent yellow signs are allegedly to conduct drivers around road closures, but there seem to be diversions within diversions, and random end of diversion signs to confuse the innocent driver.
On a recent journey from Newent to Newnham, I was driving aimlessly around the series of road closures which seemed to have cut off all access to roads leading south from the town.
The diversion signs seemed to indicate that there were 2 minor roads out of action, so I spent a pleasant but frustrating afternoon driving aimlessly through the hitherto unknown but delightful settlements of Kent's Green (no relation), Cliffords Mesne, Taynton, Tibberton, May Hill, Glasshouse Hill and Clifford's Mesne, (I think).
But I was delighted to discover, on this road to nowhere, that the Glasshouse pub, which is one of my favourite forest pubs and has been closed for a while, is reopening on 1st June 2023.
The Glasshouse is an ancient, charming traditional country pub, attractive rural location, named for the 16th century refugees from religious persecution in France, who brought their glassmaking skills to the Forest.
In this case only, my forthcoming visit to the Glasshouse will make all the frustrations worthwhile.