Tidenham (//) is a village and civil parish in the Forest of Dean of west Gloucestershire, England, adjoining the Welsh border. Tidenham is bounded by the River Wye (which forms the Welsh border) to the west and the River Severn to the south. Offa's Dyke runs through the western part of the parish, terminating at Sedbury cliff above the River Severn.
The village, once known as Dyddanhamme, is one of the most heavily documented Saxon villages in Britain and has been home to a grand manor of some kind since at least the 6th century AD. The Saxon structure was owned by the Abbot of Bath, who retained some of the documents on what was then an important location until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The current Tidenham Manor, built in 2005 in the Palladian style, overlooks the river and is adjacent to the Norman parish church of St Mary’s and St Peter’s.
The parish includes the villages of Tidenham, Beachley, Boughspring, Sedbury, Tutshill and Woodcroft, and according to the United Kingdom Census 2001 had a population of 5,316, increasing to 5,486 at the 2011 census. At one time it included the now-abandoned village of Lancaut. Tidenham, Beachley and Woolaston were added to Gloucestershire by the first Act of Union of England and Wales in 1536; previously they had been part of the Marcher lordship of Striguil.
The stretch of the Wye Valley lying within the parish includes several popular rock climbing cliffs at Wintour's Leap near Woodcroft and the Devil's Pulpit, a famous rock formation and viewpoint overlooking Tintern Abbey. The parish also contains Tidenham Chase - the largest remaining fragment of lowland heathland in Gloucestershire. Also notable is the former Dayhouse Quarry which, after providing traffic for the remaining fragment of the former railway to Monmouth, is now home to the National Diving and Activity Centre.
Located as it is between the Wye and Severn the area has always been important as a site for crossing these rivers. Historically ferries crossed the River Severn from Beachley to Aust and now this route is followed by the Severn Bridge one of whose piers stands on the Beachley peninsula although the bridge itself begins in Wales. From Roman times the River Wye has been bridged between Tutshill and Chepstow.
The area was previously served by Tidenham railway station on the Wye Valley Railway. The railway, which once ran from Chepstow through Tintern up the Wye Valley, and joined the mainline near Tidenham, was closed in 1959 and was later the centre of several failed attempts to re-open it. In 2021 the route, known as the Wye Valley Greenway and including a 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) tunnel, was opened for walkers and cyclists.
An electoral ward in the same name exists. The population and area of the ward is identical to the parish quoted above.
- G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 148.
- Millie Reeves, "A look inside the regal country manor that's actually a new build", Bristol Post, 25 March 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2021
- Historic England. "Church of St Mary and St Peter (Grade II*) (1366270)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
- "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- National Diving & Activity Centre. Retrieved 23 August 2021
- "Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Dan Barnes, "Tidenham Tunnel to open as Wye greenway work concludes", South Wales Argus, 31 march 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021
- Wye Valley Greenway. Retrieved 23 August 2021
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