The Reading the Forest Podcast: the stories behind the stories

Reading the Forest

Investigating some of the most persistent and fascinating stories from Forest of Dean literature over the past 400 years.

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Why are there so many Forest of Dean stories of ghosts, hauntings and spooky places? There’s a small but enthusiastic community of paranormal investigators and ghost hunters in the Forest, and in recent years plenty of books published detailing mysterious apparitions, unexplained cold spots, bumps in the night…Many of these present-day hauntings can be linked back to historical events -  the final curse of a dying man, a wrongly accused woman, a fatal dispute. The stories are often associated with old houses but there are as many, it seems, linked to places - spots in the landscape where you don’t want to linger as the sun starts to go down.  Is there something special about the Forest landscape that lends itself to these ghostly manifestations? In this episode we look at how Forest of Dean authors have used ghost stories to not only send a chill down their readers’ spine, but also to explore contemporary issues and, unresolved history. Join us as we look back to the hey-day of the ghosts story, and gain insights from present-day authors Tiffany Murray and Andrew Taylor. And, we investigate the story behind the story of one of the most iconic Forest of Dean ghosts stories – the slave boy of Littledean Hall. Presented by Dr Jason Griffiths and Dr Roger Deeks. Featuring Interviews with Dr Tiffany Murray, Andrew Taylor, and Harry Cole, and extracts of a reading by Keith Morgan. Also featuring the voices of Anna Grimmett, Oscar Grimmett, Darren Hoskins and Rachel Griffiths.

Apr 8

1 hr 11 min

In the Forest of Dean one day in 1889 something happened that people in the Forest - and in particular those in the village of Ruardean - have never been allowed to forget. The story of that day - and its legacy - has made its way into poems, drama, novels, local guides, and, radio and television programmes. Why is it that still today, 130 years later, that we are still talking about 'the killing of the bears'? Join us as we explore the literary legacy of that event, and the legendarily provocative question 'who killed the bears?'. Discover the poets and authors who have helped keep the story alive, and find out the real reason why the events of that day became a story of international importance.  

Feb 18

1 hr 7 min

Was there really a sixteenth-century Spanish plot to burn down the Forest of Dean?  In this first episode of The Stories Behind the Stories join us as we investigate Tom Bevan's 1907 book Sea Dogs All!: a tale of forest and sea. Pure fanciful fiction from the pen of an Edwardian author, or  based on elements of historical fact? Find out about Bevan and the world of early-twentieth-century children's fiction, and about the Royal Forest of Dean in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A literary historical roller coaster ride with twists and turns along the way as we look for the truth behind 007's angel and the plot to burn the Forest. Presented by Dr Jason Griffiths and Dr Roger Deeks. With Dr Debby Thacker and Dr Ian Standing.  Featuring the voice talents of 'El Draco', Barney Rowe, Martha Beard, and Rachel Griffiths. 

Jan 14

52 min 37 sec

New podcast series from Reading the Forest - 'the stories behind the stories' - investigating some of the most persistent and fascinating stories of Forest of Dean literature. With Dr Jason Griffiths & Dr Roger Deeks. Coming soon...

Dec 2020

45 sec