St Briavels, once known as ‘Ledenia Parva’ (Little Lydney) is a medium-sized village in the Forest of Dean in west Gloucestershire, England; close to the England-Wales border. It stands almost 800 feet (240 m) above sea level. A 12 th Century Castle (now a YHA) and St Mary the Virgin Church both take centre stage in the historic village. The total population of the Parish as recorded in the 2011 Census was 1,192 (estimated figure 2018; 1,312).
The village has one pub, The George, a junior school, a church, two chapels, a doctors’ surgery and a small village shop and delicatessen called The Pantry.
The Pavillion/recreation ground and Assembly rooms both host the abundance of local clubs and activity providers, all very popular with residents of all ages and abilities. A well established monthly ‘Local Produce and Suppliers Market’, a local farmers’ market offering a fine selection of organic vegetables, rare breed pedigree pork, award-winning local cheeses, cider, wine, honey and a range of delicacies.
Each year the village comes together for various long time traditions, the ever popular village carnival held on the recreation grounds have visitors travelling from afar to take part and watch the brilliantly decorated floats parade around the village. The most interesting celebration held at the castle every year is the famous ‘St Briavels Bread and Cheese Dole’ the tradition is said to date back to the time of Miles de Gloucester, 1st Earl of Hereford (then lord of the Forest of Dean) in the 12th century. Each year on Whit Sunday bread and cheese is thrown from the wall of the castle to local ‘Dole Claimers’ dressed in medieval costume.