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At 290m high, Ruardean Hill is the highest point in the Forest of Dean with views north over the boundaries of the Forest of Dean. At the top of the hill is Pan Tod Beacon.
The beacon was built in 2002 and is lit to commemorate important occasions. This was followed by the statue of a crouching miner installed in 2008 and the memorial to miners killed in accidents which was added in 2017. Together they represent a striking feature on the hill.
The crouching miner has a lamp at his feet and is holding on his back a dial showing the direction and distance to nearby features; the dial represents the back-breaking hod used for carrying coal. Mining was hard and dangerous work, and the statue evokes this burden. It was designed in bronze resin by Christine Baxter, a local sculptor who at that time lived in Ruardean.
The latest memorial was built by ex-miner Ernie Hughes whose father, Leslie, died at Northern United in 1951. It commemorates his father and 5 others killed at Northern United, the last large mine to close in 1965 and another 50 from nearby collieries. It was unveiled by Baroness Jan Royall, former leader of the House of Lords, who lives locally.
The origin of the name, Pan Tod, is unclear. There were many small mines close to Ruardean and the beacon is only one mile from the site of Northern United. Many of the older residents worked in these mines, or their fathers did, and as a community they have created, and maintain these memorials.
The Forest of Dean is proud of its mining heritage and there are several memorials across the Forest including at New Fancy viewpoint to over 2,000 men killed in the iron and coal mines and the quarries. Another memorial is on the site of North United Colliery itself and there is a stunning statue of a working miner in the centre of Cinderford.
Booking & Payment Details
- Free Entry
- Children welcome
- Free Parking
- Dogs Accepted
* Open access to the beacon at any time.