St. Anthony's Well

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Click on the map to go to Streetmap's view of the area.

St. Anthony's Well is a must-visit if you are staying at our self-catering holiday cottage to let at Green Bottom. A delightful spot, it is an easy walk of about half a mile through the forest. Or, if you fancy a circular walk, there are at least two alternative ways to walk to it depending on what you want to see on the way. We walk it frequently with our cat, Misty and our dog, Poppy.

St. Anthony's Well is of some historical interest. In his book "The Forest of Dean" H. G. Nicholls writes, in 1858:

A further trace of the same period [pre 1541 when the abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII] is also to be found at the head of one of the brooks feeding the stream which descends the Flaxley valley, called St. Anthony‘s Well, and which, from its supposed medicinal properties, was until late years widely famed for curing cutaneous disorders, although under circumstances somewhat connected with the marvellous, its peculiar efficacy being combined with the rising of the sun, the month of May, and the visits to it being repeated nine times in succession.  However, after due allowance for some exaggeration, there remains ample proof of the utility of its waters in removing diseases of the skin. The square basin or reservoir of stone immediately adjoining the head of the spring was made at the commencement of this century for the convenience of bathers, and occupies a very secluded position, overshadowed by a large beech-tree, and closed round with mossy banks. The water is abundant in quantity, and contains iron and lime, derived from the strata through which it percolates. The general temperature is 50°.

The short route to the well is along the track marked in green on the map. Two other routes are shown in red and blue. The photographic 'walkalog' takes you first along the green route then along the red route and back via the blue route.

All of the walks start at our cottage, point 1 on the map.

The direct path Green Bottom to St Anthony's Well

Green Bottom path to St Anthony's Well
1. Path to St Anthony's Well from Green Bottom
Green Bottom path to St Anthony's Well crosses Cinderford path
2. Crosspaths: Cinderford: left. St Anthony's straight on.
Path to St Anthony's Well
3. Path to St Anthony's Well
Path to St Anthony's Well
5. Our cat Misty of the path to St Anthony's Well
Pictures above show the straight path from Green Bottom to St. Anthony's Well. It's a well defined sandy path, quite easy walking, although there are a few places that get muddy in wet weather.

The path is coloured green on the map above. Notice the crosspaths, photo 2 above, where the blue path rejoins the direct route. This is also the start of the path to Cinderford. Point 2 on the map.

The woods around St Anthony's Well.

Pond below St. Anthonys Well
5. Pond below St. Anthonys Well, viewed from track
Pond below St. Anthonys Well
6. Pond below St. Anthonys Well, viewed from above
3. A patch of Wood Bittercress
7. A patch of Wood Bittercress
Woodland around St Anthony's Well
8. St Anthony's Well, just visible through the trees
St Anthony's Well
9. Closer view of the well
Closer view of the well
10. St. Anthony's Well
The water in St. Anthony's Well
11. Clear spring water in the well
Cat Misty crossing a fallen tree
12. Our cat Misty crosses a bridge.

There are two main springs as shown on the map. These can be seen separately entering the pond, photo 6. One stream of left, other on right. But there is also, at wet times, a third spring between these two, photo 12 above - the bed was a bit too damp for Misty's liking in early October 2000 when the photos were taken.

In the H. G. Nicholls' book The Forest of Dean, there is a drawing of the well as it then appeared:

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compare with the modern photos - particularly 10 above.

There is a good growth of Wood bittercress around the pond: it's good in salads. See the Food for Free www site.

The circular walk Green Bottom to St. Anthony's Well and back

Green Bottom turn
13. The Green Bottom turn
Map point 6
Field
14. Field
Map point 7
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15. Field used for off road activity.
Armillaria Mellea
16. Honey fungus - Armillaria Mellea
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17. Watercress in ditch near Flaxley
[image 20/Flaxleybrook/jpeg]
18. The ditch near Flaxley Furnace
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19. Lower Spout Lane
Mill Ruins
20. Ruined mill in Lower Spout Lane
Clearing at St Anthony's Well
21. Clearing at St Anthony's Well
Path from clearing
22. Blue path to Green Bottom starts in the clearing
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23. On the path to Green Bottom
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24. On the return path

The red route on the map above starts along the road. There is no official footpath parallel to the road, through the fields to the east, but they are open and one could go up to Tibbscross and enters the field there. Field is separated from road by a wooded ditch. We entered the field via a gate at point 7 on the map (photo 14) and walked through the field to point 8 where there is another gate. This field is used for off-road vehicle activity.

At point 8 on the map the ditch, which is mostly underground through this field, has surfaced and there is a good growth of watercress (see Food for Free page on Watercress). Note that this field often contains sheep and cows, so be aware of the dangers of eating wild watercress!

From the gate cross the road and enter Lower Spout Lane which runs alongside the Flaxley Brook. Photo 19. On the right is a conference centre in the grounds of which is a ruin - clearly one of the mills which once were so frequent along the Flaxley Brook. Link is to a reprint from the Gloucester Society for Industrial Archeology. Probably site 18 from that reprint, one of the Guns Mills.

Just above and to the south of St Anthony's Well is a forest clearing (point 11 on the map) that is clearly used for parties and barbecues. Photo 21. The path back to Green Bottom (blue on the map) starts here, photo 22.

This path is not clearly delineated and there are several other paths confusing it. However we found the return path easily simply by following a compass bearing south-east by south. The path passes the east end of the old collecting tank, now a trout and salmon hatchery, at the old Green Bottom pumping station before turning east and rejoining the main footpath.

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Page first published: Friday the 9th of October, 2009
Last modified: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:31:41 GMT
Written by and © Richard Torrens.