|From:||Trow Green (SO577068)|
|Distance:||5.5 miles (8.9 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The B4231 is a small road in the Forest of Dean, running from the small hamlet of Trow Green to the town of Lydney.
Originally the B4231 started at Redbrook on the A466 road from Monmouth, just inside the Welsh border, at the point where that frontier leaves the River Wye. The road headed up the side of the valley before crossing into England and passing through the villages of Newland and Clearwell (known for its castle). In some places, this section was a single-track road. It was downgraded during the 1990s.
At Trow Green the B4231 was the junior partner in a momentary multiplex with the B4228, the main route between Coleford and Chepstow, before proceeding towards Bream. These days, this is the point where the numbered route begins, right next to an historic toll house. The acute angle at which the B4228 and B4231 diverge has been altered in recent years, to make it conform to a more regular 90-degree T-junction, with traffic separated by a small island beside the Give Way lines.
The B4231 heads towards Bream along a couple of long tree-lined straights, which are perfect for overtaking. As we approach Bream, we come to a sharp bend, which has a house that has witnessed a fair few accidents over the years. Coming into the village, the first thing we see is the road suddenly bending to the right, although here there is a 30mph limit in force. On the left of that is a small access road, which used to be the main road until the route was realigned in 2000, after years of causing problems for the drivers of HGV and the vehicles they encountered.
The B4231 skirts around the western and southern side of Bream, which is quite a sprawling village. It turns left near St James's Church. At this point, an unclassified single-track road to the right leads to St Briavels; despite its very narrow width and limited passing places, this little road is a very popular route for local traffic. From here, the B4231 climbs the hill past a garage that - surprisingly - is still a Vauxhall dealer as well as a filling station, one of many services Bream has to offer. There is also a chicken farm that constantly honks when people drive past it, before the road returns to the countryside and to the National Speed Limit. It speeds into and out of a dip, and through a sizable wood.
About two miles later, we go round another bend and suddenly we can see the Severn in front of us, and part of Lydney. When we reach the town, the road suddenly starts to drop. Lydney's hospital can be reached by taking a side-road to the right soon after entering the 30mph speed limit. Eventually, we reach a T-junction on the old A48, which used to be the location of Lydney's Austin-Rover dealer before it was demolished to make way for Tesco. The route of the old A48 through Lydney still has green signs, and the number 'A48' is shown without brackets, suggesting that it still carries that number notwithstanding the construction of the new A48 Lydney bypass in the 1990s. The B4231 now appears to end here, just up the hill from the point at which the B4234 also meets its fate.
However, the B4231 did not always end here. At some point during the 1930s - possibly at the time that the A48 was re-designated to take over the former A437 between Chepstow and Gloucester, it was extended south as far as Lydney's railway station. This meant that, instead of terminating on the old A48 in the town, the B4231 multiplexed with it as far as Lydney town hall, where it resumed at a triangular junction where a war memorial forms a traffic island. The road then passed Whitecross Comprehensive School and the leisure centre, as well as St Mary's church, running as far as the out-of-town railway station before losing its B-road status, and continuing as an unclassified road to Lydney's historic docks. This road is now bisected by the modern A48 bypass, as well as endless traffic-calming measures, and it is no longer signposted as the B4231. It seems, therefore, that the B4231 has returned to its original terminus in the town.