Yasmin Tyler has lived in Redbrook all her life. She tells Sharon Chilcott why she has never considered leaving this lovely, lively Gloucestershire village, set alongside the River Wye, adjoining the border with Monmouthshire.
Why are you so attached to Redbrook?
It’s in my DNA! My Mum and Dad lived here and my grandparents and great grandparents. I love it too much to move away!
What makes it such a special place to live?
Where do you start? The surroundings are beautiful. It’s alongside the lovely River Wye. The people are friendly. Everything about it is special. Living here is like having won the lottery!
For you, personally, what’s the best thing about living here?
It’s part of my history. I remember all the things Mum told me about it. Dad was a builder so I only have to look around me to see houses he built. There’s even a stone in the village hall where Mum and Dad engraved their names. And I have sisters and other family members still living in the village.
It has been a lovely place to bring up a family. I have two grown-up children – a son and a daughter and now I have three grandchildren. My children went to the Redbrook C of E Primary School, which is still there. When they were little there was also a great toddler group, so I am pleased that there’s a new one about to start up. My son went on to Coleford Comprehensive School and my daughter went to senior school in Monmouth.
Also, it’s a really supportive community here. For example, we have all just raised more than £8,000 for Cobalt’s appeal to purchase new 3D mammography equipment for the Thirlestaine Breast Centre in Gloucestershire. This was to help a local lady who started fund raising after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. We raised donations in the village shop and The Bell organised a really well-supported event when volunteers had their heads shaved.
What’s the social life like in Redbrook?
Absolutely fantastic! The football club, Redbrook Rovers has been going for more than 100 years and has its own football pitch in the village. There’s lots going on in the village hall – regular dance and yoga classes, quiz nights, a film night every month, an annual Burns Night supper and numerous other events and activities. The school organises fetes and in July we have a hog roast on the Millennium Green.
What’s the most fun you have had at a local event?
Once a year we have the amazing Live on the Wye on the football pitch. It’s a family-friendly music festival which started out very small and over the years gets bigger and bigger. People camp on the river bank and stay the whole weekend. There is generally something on the Friday, with the main event on the Saturday. My husband, Martyn, is on the committee and I make the tea and help out where I am needed!
In what other ways are you involved in the local community?
Ten years ago, when the lady who ran Redbrook Village Shop decided to sell the lease, eight of us got together and took it on. I am now one of the directors of the shop and work there three days a week. We have five members of staff from the village and stay open from 7.30am to 7.30pm selling fresh meat, vegetables and eggs, all sourced as locally as we can. We also sell general groceries and there is a Post Office which is open whenever the shop is open.
No need to ask where you shop, then?
I buy what I need from the village shop on a daily basis, which is great for cutting down on wastage. When I need to do a supermarket shop I go to Lidl, which is just up the road on the edge of Monmouth. If I was pushing the boat out for a dinner party, I would go to the Waitrose or the Marks and Spencer Food Hall in Monmouth.
Describe the vibe in your favourite local pub…
There’s a lively vibe in both our local pubs. We have the Bell Inn on the Gloucestershire side of the river and The Boat across the old railway bridge on the Wales side. The Bell hosts music nights, quiz nights and book readings and The Boat is a real ale pub where there is live music every Thursday. For a casual evening out, you can’t beat either of them.
What leisure pursuits do you enjoy locally?
I regularly walk my little dog along the footpath the other side of the old railway bridge. I also enjoy cycling – on the flat! I go along the old railway track to Whitebrook, get off my bike there and go over Bigsweir Bridge and there’s a cycle track from there all the way to Tintern.
This is a great area for all kinds of leisure pursuits – I don’t canoe, but for those who do there is a canoe launching site on the Millennium Green in the village, which is particularly popular in the summer months.
Where do you go for a spot of “culture”?
For theatre I go to The Blake in Monmouth and for films I usually go to the Studio Cinema in Coleford.
How would you advise someone new into the area to get to know the locals?
Call into the village shop for a chat and to go into one of the pubs and talk to the locals.
If adult friends were staying with you, where would you take them to visit?
We are just surrounded by castles, like Chepstow and Raglan, so I would take them to one of them to show them a bit of local history. I’d also go to Tintern Abbey and I’d definitely take them to Gloucester Cathedral. My Dad was in the Royal Navy and he was on HMS Gloucester, which was sunk off Crete during the Second World War. He was one of only 85 survivors and there is stained glass window in the cathedral in memory of the 723 who were lost. That makes it a special place for me.
If friends with children were staying with you, where would you take them on an outing?
Clearwell Caves is a fantastic place to take children – my grandchildren love it there. I’d also take them to the new Monmouth Leisure Centre and there is a lovely children’s play area next to the Redbrook Millennium Green.
Tell me one fascinating fact about Redbrook.
There used to be a tin plate works in Redbrook and a lot of my family worked there. The logo on the Millennium Green, which shows a tin plate worker rolling the plate, is based on an original photograph of my uncle, Anthony (Paddy) Philpotts. He was the last person to roll a sheet before the factory closed in 1962.
Facts and Figures
Featured in 2017 in Channel 4’s ‘Village of the Year’, Redbrook is a community of about 500 people situated
about three miles south of Monmouth in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Find out more on the informative Redbrook Together website: www.redbrookvillage.co.uk.
Live on the Wye is being held on May 31 and June 1 this year.
There’s more information here: www.liveonthewye.co.uk
Photos: Sharon Chilcott, Wye Valley AONB and Linda Wright.