Bream Heritage Walk

7 – New Road to The Tufts

On the other side of the road, hidden behind the houses, is Bream rugby ground. International rugby referee Wayne Barnes has brought along several Invitational XV’s to play charity matches against his home village of Bream on this ground. Wayne was named World Rugby Referee of the Year after the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

A photo showing International Rugby Referee Wayne Barnes
International Rugby Referee Wayne Barnes – photo from the Daily Express web site.

In 1978 Bream RFC itself celebrated their centenary here, with a match against a Gloucestershire XV. The ground has also hosted the village annual flower fruit and vegetable show on many occasions.

A photo of Bream Rugby Football Club, Combination Cup winners, 1958
Bream R.F.C. 1957 -1958, Forest of Dean Combination Cup winners. Back Row: Ken Vaughan, Cecil George, Norman James, Walter Waring, John Davis, David “Piffer” Smith, John Grail. Middle Row: Vince Hoare, John James, Michael James, Cyril Miles (captain), Geoff Watkins, John Morse, Robert Stone. Front Row: Clive Hopkins, Eric Cox.

We leave the roads and pavements here and head uphill for Bream’s Meend. In 2015 Ben Lennon of Forestry England researched the Meends of the Forest of Dean and elsewhere. A meend is an open, uncultivated area, that is accessible but has poor soil and is hard to plough. Ben concluded that meends are associated with forest, community or manorial boundaries and are distributed mainly around the edges of the Forest of Dean. He found many have been lost or diminished by changes in land use by, for example, enclosure or encroachment. However, they sometimes leave behind just their names in the fields and woodlands that replace them.

The track here is a Forestry England track over what is often referred to by the Commission as “Forest Waste”. This can be a confusing term. Forest Waste is defined on the web site of H M Verderers as:

“unenclosed and uncultivated forest land. Since 1833, it is part of the Statutory Forest and effectively means any land owned by the Forestry Commission that is not woodland”.

H. M. Verderers