Parkend would have made an excellent venue for a pub crawl in late Victorian England as a variety of breweries supplied the village pubs amongst the exciting backdrop of industrial activity. In 1891 it would have been possible to drink Blakeney Forest of Dean Brewery Ales, Cirencester Brewery Beers, Redbrook Brewery Ales and – at the New Inn – Arnold Perrett beers from Wickwar. Not a bad selection. The Wickwar Brewery (Arnold, Perrett & Co. Ltd.) owned the New Inn in 1891 and 1903. It was licensed as an ale house with an annual rateable value of £25.15s.0d. in 1891, decreasing by 5 shillings to £25.10s.0d. in 1903. Closing time was at 10 pm.
In 1939 an advertisement for the New Inn, Parkend, Nr. Lydney, proclaimed that it had ‘excellent hotel accommodation in the very heart of beautiful woodlands with magnificent scenery on all sides. Bed and Breakfast. Teas. Parties catered for by arrangement. H. & C. water system and all modern requirements. Buses to all parts pass the doors. Terms moderate’.
The Woodman Inn overlooks the village cricket field. In August 1970 a mighty six hit during a game smashed a window at the pub, which was then still called the New Inn. In the 1970’s that the pub was renamed the Woodman. It was the policy of Whitbread to change the names of the New Inn’s in their estate to reflect their local connections. For example, the New Inn in Gretton became the Bugatti because of the links with the nearby Prescott Hill Climb and the New Inn at Shurdington became the Cheese Rollers after the crazy tradition of chasing a rounded cheese down the precipitous slopes of nearby Coopers Hill.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): Three years ago this was a real local with miners coughing in corners, regaling visitors with gritty stories about their lives underground. Now it is one bar, super modernised, inn with dining room and exposed stone fireplace, with all the vibrant atmosphere of a McDonalds. There is an inexpensive snack menu, it is comfortable enough, and there popular Victorian prints on the walls.
The Gloucestershire Branch of CAMRA described the Woodman as an ‘amazing unspoilt Forest pub opposite the cricket ground’ in their 1996 edition of ‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’.
A ‘family meal’ review in the ‘Citizen’ newspaper was very positive on their experience at the Woodman in July 2001, “Our children thought the food was outstanding. I thought that my chicken was outstanding, and my husband thought that his roast lamb was outstanding. Good value too at £44 for lunch for seven.” An ‘eating out’ review in November 2009 remarked that the Woodman had one of the most impressive menus in the Forest of Dean, literally catering for every taste.’
The pub is affectionally known as the Woody, and in August the pub holds a Woodystock festival with live bands and entertainment.
Landlords at the New Inn / Woodman Inn include:
1863 W. Birks
1876,1885 Richard Jones
1891 Charles Poulton
1902, 1906 Enos Ward
1917,1919 Hannah Ward (widow of Enos Ward. License transferred 10th February 1917)
1927 William Edmunds
1939 George Baker
1976 Ronald Meek. (The New Inn, Parkend from the Fountain Inn, Parkend) to Mr Ronald Meek. May 1976.
? Frank Brown (Frank was the brother of Edwin – see Bailey Inn, Yorkley)
1996,2010 Mike and Michelle Downs