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GATCOMBE

A small riverside villagein the parish of Awre, Gatcombe was once a noted port on the Severn, particularly for salmon fishing and exporting Dean's timber, which was shipped as far a field as Milford Haven and Plymouth. The waterfront once had a quay, stone and timber pier and a slip way but when the present South Wales main railway line, which runs directly across the hamlet's riverside frontage, was built in 1851 it destroyed everything except the quay. This still exists on the landward side of the railway but it is heavily silted up and though the railway engineers left an arch to allow fisherman and boat owners access to the river, no working craft remain.

The fishermen at Gatcombe developed their own unique type of fishing boat called a Stop-net boat, which utilised huge V-shaped nets hung on poles from the bow and stern and three of these craft (the only ones which survive), can be seen in a sadly ruinous state close to the quay today. Gatcombe's most famous inhabitant was the famous Elizabethan mariner Sir Francis Drake, who stayed at the port whilst in the area visiting Sir William Wintour, a Vice-Admiral in Elizabeth is navy who lived at Lydney. Drake reputedly lived at the house which though known today as Drakes House, was once a riverside inn called The Sloop.

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