News – 26 April 2016

Super new members – say hello

Check out the following businesses that have just joined the Association – Tweet, Facebook and LinkedIn with your network, and don’t forget to say hello.

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM takes place on Wednesday 25, 11.00 at the Savoy Theatre, Monmouth – do try to come along to find out what we have been doing on your behalf and raise any issues that you may have.  It is also your opportunity to elect Directors of the Tourism Association.  You may also be interested in standing for election yourself – your chance to influence how the Association is run.  If you are interested in standing for election, please contact  Our Directors work particularly hard for the Association and are required to contribute at least a couple of days per month – it is not a titular position.


After nearly 5 months of using FreetoBook for our accommodation Search by Date we are now starting to see interesting statistics.

  • December 2015 – 24 bookings from 15 properties totaling £4456
  • January 2016 – 48 bookings from 28 properties totaling £10684
  • February 2016 – 50 bookings from 29 properties totaling £11351
  • March 2016 – 61 bookings from 34 properties totaling £14895

These are bookings made through our Search by Date tool and do not include any bookings that members take from FreetoBook on their own website.  From the figures it is quite obvious that the members who do well offer short breaks (as well as whole weeks) and have great flexibility in their change-over days.  Some members are obviously doing well using this system as the same names are regularly showing on the bookings.  We will try to do some further analysis on these and other figures but do give us some feedback on how you are doing.

Closure of A48

The A48 between Lydney and Chepstow is closed at Stroat for resurfacing until Thursday 12 May.  The closure is Monday to Friday only 09.30 to 15.30 and the road is open outside these hours.  There are no roadworks over the weekend or bank holiday.  Hanley Farm shop will remain open as usual:  coming from Chepstow – ignore the signs and cones and drive straight to the shop; coming from Lydney – follow diversion signs.

Monmouthshire’s National Eisteddfod 2016

The National Eisteddfod takes place near Abergavenny 29th July to 6th August and there are many opportunities, including being on the accommodation register.  Read an email about how you can be involved.  We also had a very interesting  presentation on the Eisteddfod at last week’s members’ meeting and this can be downloaded from our website.

Brand new Cycling Guide of the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley

As we know, The Forest and neighbouring parts of the Wye Valley has a fantastic range of tracks, trails and byways. But a normal Ordnance Survey map gives you little idea just how many are enjoyable to cycle, and indeed whether cycling is permitted. Ben Searle from Cycling Guides has spent many months testing all viable routes and compiling them into interesting rides. There is something there for everyone from complete beginner to those wanting more of a challenge away from the beaten track. The area covered is Tintern  / St Briavels & Monmouth across to Cinderford and Bream.

All the main rides are very clearly overlaid over the 1:25,000 Explorer map base and have step by step directions telling you exactly what to expect. You can also download them to your phone and follow them on the Viewranger app. The map is printed on tough waterproof plastic that feels like high quality paper so it will last many repeat visits to the area! The wealth of detail also makes the guide attractive to walkers. It is only £4.95 and can be bought direct from or local stockists.Further details.

MCC to engage with business community over breakfast

Monmouthshire councillors will meet with the county’s business community early next month to discover how the council can assist local enterprises and gain feedback on support they’ve received.  Members of the council’s Economy and Development Select Committee will discuss the role of the council in supporting and advising business over an informal breakfast meeting. They will welcome suggestions and feedback at the event, which will be held between 8-9.30am at County Hall, Usk on Wednesday 4th May.   Fiona Wilton will be attending and if you wish her to raise any issues on your behalf, do contact her,

Forest of Dean Dementia Awareness Roadshow

Would you like to gain some practical information and understanding about Dementia?  These sessions are for everyone (individuals, community groups, businesses, carers, family members, friends) and take place across Forest of Dean District, 15 to 26 May. Helping our communities to become more dementia friendly!  Book onto a session near where you live or work FREE informal and fun!  Further details.

Wye Valley Shared Use Path (#Wander Wye)

The aim of this project is to achieve a shared use route linking the Severn Bridge via the Wales Coastal Path to a new link footbridge (to include cycles) across the River Wye at the Mabey National Shipyard development where at Sedbury it connects with the originally proposed Railway Path to The Old Station Tintern and onward up the Wye Valley to Monmouth.  They need to raise £15,000 for the planning stage to proceed;  if you are in favour of this scheme, you may wish to consider an online donation.

South West ‘How’s Business?’ Survey

We are now collecting data for the MARCH 2016 South West ‘How’s Business?’ Survey and it would be great if you could submit your data.  As a thank you for taking part, participants will be re-directed to the full report for the previous month.  Use the following link to enter your data.

The deadline for completions is Monday 2nd May 2016.


Well done to The Red Hart Inn, Blaisdon awarded the 2016 Pub of ther Year by the Forest of Dean campaign for real ale (CAMRA).

The following members were successful in the Forester Business Awards 2016 – congratulations to all.

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