Francis Miles. V.C.

100 years ago today Francis Miles of Clearwell Gloucestershire carried out an act of bravery for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.


And today this plaque was unveiled and crowds gathered and the children sang ‘Its a long way to Tipperary’

BBC Points west were there so it should be on our local news tonight.

Relatives were interviewed


Speeches were made…… evidently he was known as Chris Miles and after the war returned to live in Clearwell until he died in the 1960’s


and old regiments were represented.

On 23 October 1918 at Bois-l’Évêque, LandreciesFrance, when his company was held up by a line of enemy machine-guns in a sunken road, Private Miles, alone and on his own initiative went forward under exceptionally heavy fire, located a machine-gun, shot the gunner and put the gun out of action. Then seeing another gun nearby, he again went forward alone, shot the gunner and captured the team of eight. Finally he stood up and beckoned to his company who, acting on his signals, were able to capture 16 machine-guns, one officer and 50 other ranks.



Otter hunt; Lydbrook

18th October 2018… guess what… no Otters however a couple that I was talking to said they saw one yesterday.. This looks like a suitable Otter spot???

Anyway as you can see it was a lovely afternoon with the sun picking out the developing Autumn colours.

There was a Kingfisher up and down but preferred to perch well away from the bank.


The water was still flowing fast with quite a few apples floating down stream. In the river there was one brave little Moorhen.


Up and down the bank were three Robins chasing one another round and round, I don’t know if it was formation flying for fun or territorial disputes but the three of them kept it up for almost an hour with only brief stops for a rest. (The little dots visible to the left of the photo are not dirt on my lens they are midges)


And the good news was … today there were no fishermen in the water.

Otter hunt; Ross on Wye

Yesterday (17/10/2018) I took my Otter hunting to Ross on Wye…. some one had recently put a photo of Otters taken at Ross near the White Lion pub on Face book so I thought I would give it a try.


I will not build up the suspense…. I did not see any.  The river was still quite full from recent rains but had been considerably higher, possibly 6 to 8 feet higher. This lead to a lot of mud and debris which made conditions along the bank quite treacherous.

I saw lots of Mergansers, these are saw bill ducks, there were about 12 of them.


Also there was a large party of tits mainly Long Tailed which are my favourite but also some Blue Tits and Great Tits mixed in.

It was an eventful day culminating with me dragging an 85 year old fisherman out of the river…. but only just! So no Otters but a day I will remember.

Soudley Ponds; Forest of Dean

Soudley ponds are small and user friendly.

There is a resident White Muscovy Duck  quite ugly but probably quite tasty if cooked slowly. Also a large group of Mallards or Mallard/Farm yard style ducks. These ducks are blessed by being fed with bird seed, corn and a few bits of sunflower and peanuts ( ie cheap bird seed) but a good staple for the ducks.

Then there is a good population of moorhens.

Are these two brothers? Maybe sisters, they do seem deep in conversation.

A few Little Grebes, one of my favourite water birds.

Grey Wagtails were flitting in and out.

The icing on the cake was a Kingfisher.


Two groups of grazing animals have been introduced onto an area of the Forest of Dean to maintain the heath land habitat.

They also add to the photographic interest of this region. Already we have Wild Boar, Roe Deer, Fallow Deer and Muntjac Deer. Recently Beavers were released and maybe soon Pine Martens. Oh yes and Otters and Polecats and various small stuff.

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata)

Saw this Longhorn beetle in our patch of Ninewells wood today. It was the first time I have seen this species there.

They are not that rare but are only around for  few weeks of the year.They can be up to 4 years as a grub living on rotten wood. Then when they hatch in June they are only around for 2 to 4 weeks.

They are quite big, up to 20 mm, I would say this was about 15 mm long. Also the pattern of the dark brown /black marks on their backs does vary quite a lot. Sometimes more banded other times more spotted. This one is sort of intermediate.

I notice there is a small drop of liquid on the leaf just behind the back end of the beetle. It had not been raining so I wonder if this is beetle juice/wee.