The Solitary Rambler

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Filmed August 2000
Post-production completed 13th June 2001
Latest revised edition 29th January 2016
Running time 61 minutes
Feeling wound up and tense I go on a walk to try to forget about the hectic everyday life of a stressful job working for a manager who gives me a hard time. I take a trip to Highmeadow Woods, an inclosure on the northern edge of the  Forest of Dean ,  and visit several interesting geological landmarks en route. I also meet another rambler, who takes more than a little interest in me.....
Filmed in the Wye Valley and  Forest of Dean  in the counties of  Gloucestershire Herefordshire  and  Monmouthshire . Locations include  Christchurch Staunton , the Buckstone, the Suck Stone,  Biblins King Arthur's Cave  and  Symonds Yat , the most famous beauty spot in the Forest of Dean.
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Background and production details
Like “ Confrontations in Cannop ” this is a film that I wanted to shoot in another place I used to picnic with my family as a boy whilst singing “Melody of the Forest of Dean” in my head. Symonds Yat , the most famous beauty spot in the Wye Valley and  Forest of Dean was this place. Therefore, my new script would be written to take place in and around this location.

The script for “Haven of Highmeadow” is a more traditional type of film as it mainly follows me walking through countryside set to a musical soundtrack. I wanted to break up the walk through the Forest of Dean with other subplots to try to make the story more varied and interesting. Therefore I decided to introduce two characters into the story based on people I had known in real life: Dave Sage and Phil Day. I also wrote their actions and dialogue to recreate events that actually occurred.

Michael and Nigel would appear in this story again, although I wrote them in to create a “frame” around the main storyline. For the two new characters I had to look much harder to find people to cast. Eventually I approached my old friend Alex to play Phil Day. Alex was around the same age as myself, when in fact the real Phil Day was considerably older than me. In films you have to adapt a little, and I think Alex fulfilled his role smashingly! Finding someone to play Dave Sage was even more difficult, and we were already recording all the outdoor scenes before his character was even cast! Before long I found that there had been a suitable person for this role right under my very nose. I had been working with Andy since September 1999. He had seen three “Solitary Rambler” films and liked them very much. I suddenly realised he was the man for the job, so Dave Sage was finally cast!

Scott was my cameraman for this story. Alex came out for just the one afternoon, in which we managed to record all of his scenes. The scenes of me on my own were done over two days, and one final afternoon with Michael and Nigel at Symonds Yat.

I recorded some different versions of my "Melody of the Forest of Dean" and a main "Highmeadow Theme", a pleasant piano and guitar theme used in many of the scenes after Alex and I have walked on from Near Hearkening Rock. For the internal scenes featuring my work colleague Andy I composed a simple, but dramatic piano theme.

Revised edition
A few days after completing my new edit of “ Sentiments of Severnside ” in January 2016 I looked at re-editing “Haven of Highmeadow”, albeit now in digitized form. Unlike “Severnside” I still had the original commentary files I recorded back in 2001, so editing “Highmeadow” would be a lot easier.
There were no differences to this new revised edit aside from adding a couple of new telephone sound effects for the scene where I am stressed in the office whilst on the phone. For the YouTube version I needed to omit the Pink Floyd music and replace it with other pieces of my own soundtrack used in other sections of this film.
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Previous: Sentiments of Severnside
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