A report by Jim Lott.

After a couple of rainy days, the Sunday morning looked as if it was going to be a nice day and we got ready to go on the run. We had arranged to meet with some other MGCC members who live on the Bristol side of the Severn Bridge in the car park of the Severn View Services (used to be called Aust Services). My son Simon and I were in my MG Metro Turbo, we were joined by Sue and Andrew Owst in their MG Midget and Kingsley Beck and his neighbour Steve (who is into Lancia’s in a big way apparently) in Kingsley’s lovely Red MGA. Kingsley had driven up from Taunton.

We set off at 8:40 to cross the bridge into Wales and Dave Starr and his wife in his MGF joined us on route. The event starts at the Butterfly Zoo Car Park at Symonds Yat in Herefordshire and the journey to the start took us through the picturesque countryside running in parallel to the river Wye. It is a trip I have done many times on this event and it always is a delight to drive.We arrived at the Butterfly Zoo and were greeted by Terry and Freda Davies, who had organised the day. We signed on and then photographed the cars as the car park steadily filled with MGs. 22 MGs signed on plus Geoff Watts in his Jaguar XK120 replica car and John and Jill Clay in their Audi TT, making 24 cars in total.
After a drivers briefing by Terry where he warned about missing the potholes in the Gloucestershire roads as the Council had no money to fill them in so not to make them worse! He also warned us that part of the route had been closed on Saturday and that there was an amendment attached to the morning route as a diversion. We set off at one minute intervals and we were on our way.

The route took us from Symonds Yat to St Owens Cross, Hoarwithy, across the Wye into Kings Caple, onto Much Marcle and then to Aston Ingram. In the notes there were points of interest to see as we went on our way. We continued on through Longhope and Brierley and then came to the diversion which took us past the Cannop Ponds and onto Lydney where the park was our lunchtime destination. The run was 53 miles and the scenery outstanding. We arrived around 13:00 and Terry had arranged with the Park to have the MGs parked together, and once parked we had our picnic lunch.

Lydney Park Estate is situated between Gloucester and Chepstow in the Forest Of Dean. The original mansion house at Lydney Park was built by the Wintour Family who were prominent supporters of King Charles I. In 1719 Lydney Park Estate was acquired by Benjamin Bathurst and his descendants have owned it ever since. In 1876 the family demolished the original road-side mansion house, moving to a new house in the centre of the deer park. In 1935 Captain Charles Bathurst was created Viscount Bledisloe for his services as Governor General of New Zealand. The current owner is Rupert Bathurst who is the fourth Viscount Bledisloe, his father Christopher having died in 2009. The house includes a small museum and a café. There are some Roman Ruins in the grounds. The views from the terrace are stunning, overlooking the River Severn.

We left the park at around 15:30 as the trip back, at 34 miles, was shorter and some of the entrants had booked a meal in the Old Court Hotel on our return. We left the park and headed for Aylburton and onto Brockweir, were we crossed the river Wye. We continued through Trellech and onto to Rockfield and through Newcastle (not on Tyne) to Skenfrith. From there we continued through Llangrove into Whitchurch and onto the Old Court Hotel.

As usual, Terry had arranged for the MGs to be parked on the sweeping gravel drive in front of the Hotel. After the meal, Terry and Freda were thanked for organising such a splendid run and lunch stop venue.

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