This harbour always had an end of the world feel about it to me. The Severn Estuary with it's second largest tidal range in the world is a hugely dangerous and threatening place. Added to that the looming shapes the other side of the river of the twin reactors of the nuclear power station just add to the drama and tension.
For this information, thanks to Roger Farnworth. From Roman times through the industrial revolution and well into the 20th century Lydney Harbour has had a significant place in the heritage of the River Severn and its estuary.
The estuary is an internationally important wildlife habitat and has had a major impact on the prosperity of Great Britain as one of the UK’s principle sea links to the rest of the world.
Lydney Harbour was a prominent local harbour for coal, iron ore and other commodities and integral to the economy of the South West over centuries.
The current canal and basin complex was built by the Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company between 1810 and 1813. The new dock on the estuary was started in 1809 and opened in 1813. The outer harbour was finally completed in 1821.
During the hey-day of the harbour there was around 300,000 tons of coal being exported annually in over 2000 vessels. The final export of coal from the harbour was in 1960.
In 1985 the harbour from the swing bridge downstream was scheduled as an ‘Ancient Monument’, due to the historic importance as a transport link for the Forest of Dean to the Severn. The swing bridge was designated a Grade II Listed Building in 1988 due to it being ‘a very good example of the direct and sturdy quality encountered in the functional tradition of quay-side design’.
As the last major alterations to the harbour were conducted during the 1870s, Lydney is a rare example of an unspoilt 19th century harbour, built to accommodate sailing ships so its historic importance is disproportionate to its size.
The Severn Bridge (Welsh: Pont Hafren) just visible on the horizon is a motorway suspension bridge operated by Highways England that spans the River Severn and River Wye between Aust, South Gloucestershire in England, and Chepstow, Monmouthshire in South East Wales, via Beachley, Gloucestershire, which is a peninsula between the two rivers. It is the original Severn road crossing between England and Wales, and took three-and-a-half years to construct at a cost of £8 million. It replaced the Aust Ferry.
The bridge was opened on 8 September 1966, by Queen Elizabeth II, who suggested that it marked the dawn of a new economic era for South Wales. For thirty years, the bridge carried the M4 motorway. The bridge was granted Grade I listed status on 26 November 1999.
Berkeley nuclear power station is a disused Magnox power station situated on the bank of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, England.
The construction of the power station, which was undertaken by a consortium of AEI and John Thompson began in 1956. It had two Magnox reactors producing 276 megawatts (MW) in total – enough electricity on a typical day to serve an urban area the size of Bristol. The reactors were supplied by The Nuclear Power Group (TNPG) and the turbines by AEI. Electricity generation started in 1962 and ran for 27 years to 1989.