The Solitary Rambler

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Filmed February to March 2006
Post-production completed 31st May 2007
Latest revised edition 17th February 2016
Running time 37 minutes
I return to the  Forest of Dean  four years after my last visit. However, even though I am so happy to be back in my favourite place there is something about my visit that is, at the same time, making me feel incredibly sad.....
Filmed in the Wye Valley and  Forest of Dean  in the counties of  Gloucestershire Herefordshire  and  Monmouthshire .  Locations include  Parkend Bigsweir Bridge Clearwell Edge End Lydbrook Ruardean , Mireystock,  Cliffords Mesne May Hill , Haywood Plantation,  Plump Hill Drybrook , Lea Bailey Inclosure, and  Ross-on-Wye .
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Background and production details
This was the story that was originally going to be the 10th film of “The Solitary Rambler”.  I was planning to film it in 2003, which would have been really appropriate as it was the 10th anniversary of the series.  However, as mentioned in a  previous page  of this site my move to Derbyshire at the start of 2003 changed my plans considerably.  Nevertheless it was still very important to me to record this film as there were other parts of the  Forest of Dean  that I wanted to cover in the series before concentrating on the possibility of moving on to make new films in Derbyshire.

It was over two years later when I finally got round to writing the script for this film!  The story I wrote featured Michael and Nigel as well as other friends of mine, who had already appeared in at least one of the earlier films.  This new script was to continue on from the cliffhanger ending of “ Saunter in Soudley ”, where we had seen Steve and the identity of one of two other hooded thugs, and the 10th story would also reveal the identity of the second hooded thug.  I also wanted my new story to wrap up all those remaining places I had not yet visited in the Forest of Dean.  Therefore, I scripted “Denouement in Dean” to be exactly as it read on the tin, to be a “conclusion” or “finale” taking place in the Forest of Dean for the very last time.

Unfortunately for one reason or another it didn’t look as though this script was going to get filmed, which was mainly because I was now living so far away in Derbyshire.  I therefore abandoned this script, but saved it as a draft with the idea that one day I could adapt it for a future film. So for “Denouement in Dean” I came up with a different option, which was to continue the documentary style film that I had at the time just completed with the immediate three preceding stories.  Like those previous films it meant I could get on and make a story without needing a cameraman or any other cast members.

At the end of February 2006 I took a week off work and drove down to the Forest of Dean after having not been there for nearly four years, which was when we recorded “Saunter in Soudley”.  I stayed in a  B&B in Parkend  for four nights, which was a really handy place to stay as it is right in the middle of the Forest of Dean meaning that all the areas where I wanted to film were in easy reach.

On the first day I recorded the exterior scenes at  Bigsweir Bridge Clearwell Woorgreens Lake  and the  Sculpture Trail .  Day two I recorded all scenes around  Edge End Lydbrook  and  Ruardean , which was the most interesting day as it snowed heavily on and off during recording!  Whilst being a bit of an inconvenience I was also very glad as I really wanted to get some Forest of Dean shots in the snow.  Day three involved the location scenes around Mireystock, Newent Woods,  May Hill  and Haywood Plantation.  Day four was the last day of location shooting where I recorded scenes around  Plump Hill Drybrook , Lea Bailey Inclosure and  Ross-on-Wye .

During the four evenings I was staying in Parkend I also recorded all the interior scenes within my B&B where I talked about all of my friends in turn, who I wanted to include in the final production.  At the time I had a good idea of what video footage of my friends I was going to use, so I was able to try and compose my narration around what flashbacks I was going to use.

Post-production was completed at the end of May 2007. Now I know I'm in danger of repeating what I always say about my films, but I’ll say it again anyway, I am delighted with my music! I composed more memorable themes for this story and am happy with the results. I intended to create a musical soundtrack that would highlight the drama and sadness of this being my final visit to the Forest of Dean. I believe I succeeded in my intentions! I also used music from the Pink Floyd albums “ The Piper at the Gates of Dawn ” and “ Wish You Were Here ”. This is the last time I use Pink Floyd music in a “Solitary Rambler” story.

David Mawhinney is another pseudonym I used as the writer of this film.  David is my father's name and Mawhinney is a surname that originates from my maternal family.

Revised edition
In February 2016 I decided for my re-edit of “Denouement in Dean” that I would not include the sequences featuring my friends that I had used in the original 2007 version. Although they were a bit of fun initially to break up my scenes in the Forest of Dean looking back on them now I feel they are just unnecessary padding.
There was just one other scene that I felt needed some minor editing, which was where I talk about my family in the Haywood Plantation sequence. As with my re-edit of “ Sentiments of Severnside ” the subject matter was not appropriate, in my opinion, to be publicly available on YouTube, so I just cut down the Haywood Plantation scene a little to remove any such material.
The new 2016 edit is simply a tour of the Forest of Dean running at a comfortably shorter length of 37 minutes.
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