Mitcheldean Milk Shed – Gloucestershire

The historic market town of Mitcheldean rests in the east of the Forest of Dean or Fforest y Ddena if you prefer the Welsh name. The church of St Michael rises like a finger pointing to the heavens in the centre of Mitcheldean, and its form has been captured and takes centre stage on the front of this lovely bottle from Mitcheldean Milk Shed. In addition to the church, the design features cows (presumably British Friesian), a Union Flag and a feeling of rural Britishness. The back of the bottle boasts about the delicious free-range, gently pasteurised whole milk produced by a herd of British Friesian cows. The cows spend their time grazing on the lush grass of Breakheart Hill (possibly named from the middle English word ‘Brake’ meaning a place overgrown with bushes or brambles and the word hart, used in medieval times to describe red deer. Or perhaps the name is a result of a long-forgotten tragic love story. Who knows?)

The milk hut is situated less than a mile to the northeast from the church of St Michael along Bradley Court Road. Traces of Roman paving have been discovered along the route of the modern road, and Bradley Court Road is possibly part of a much older section of the Ermine Street Roman Road.

 Here’s a thought. Suppose the milk shed had been open in the 1950s. You may have used the railway to visit and collect your milk. You’d have been spoiled for choice for railway stations. Mitcheldean once sat in the middle of three railway stations for a small chunk of history. Drybrook Halt lay on the Bullo Pill – Drybook railway line to the west. Longhope Station on the Hereford and Gloucester line lay to the east, while Mitcheldean Road Station lay on the same line to the north. All three stations were approximately one and a half miles from the church. Unfortunately, none of the railway lines exists today. Still, one fascinating remnant of Mitcheldean Road Station remains in the form of the name given to the residential cul-de-sac that now occupies the station’s footprint. Noden Drive. One Reginald Noden held the position of station master from the mid-1940s until the station closed in 1964, and his name remains in post long after the final locomotive departed. Isn’t that lovely?

So, there we have it, churches, Romans, railways and milk connected through time by a milk bottle.

Collected in England

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