The home of the League’s newest members is our destination next Saturday when a good contingent of Reds fans will make the trip to the New Lawn as we take on Forest Green Rovers.
The ground was opened in 2006 and it will be our third visit there. Two trips in our Conference days saw us lose once and then win 3-0 in January 2011 on a snow-covered pitch.
The club are based in the Cotswold village of Nailsworth and we must hope that the worst of the winter weather is behind us on Saturday because away fans are housed on the West Terrace, which has a capacity of 1,150 but is open to the elements. It’s also difficult to create much of an atmosphere because of the absence of a roof, but I’m sure Reds fans will do their best!
Forest Green have garnered much publicity in recent years for their eco-friendly outlook. For instance, they do not sell meat products at the stadium. Instead it’s a vegetarian-only menu with Veggie Burgers (£3.30), Q-Pies (filled with Quorn £3.50) Chips and Curry Sauce (£3.20), Chip Butties (£3.20) and Chips (£2.70).
That is unlikely to put people off visiting the New Lawn, especially as there are plenty of options for pre-match food and drink in Nailsworth itself.
There is a pub at the ground called the Green Man, but this tends to be home only since their promotion to the League. A small marquee sells beer near the away terrace but if you want a pub selling a decent pint head for the George on Newmarket Road, which is a 15-minute walk (uphill on the way back) from the stadium. A five-minute drive away in the village of Nympsfield is the Rose & Crown, where they sell real ale and home-cooked food.
As to getting there, the club operates a Park & Ride scheme from the premises of Renishaw plc, which are located on the main A46 Stroud Road (GL5 5EY).
There are 200 spaces for cars and cost of £5 per vehicle. Buses up to the ground commence up to three hours before kick-off and return after the match has ended. Alternatively, Nailsworth Primary School five minutes away will look after your vehicle for £5. There is no parking for away supporters at the stadium itself.
The nearest train station is five miles away in Stroud. A five-minute walk from there to the Merrywalks Shopping Centre will get you to the bus stop for the No.63 Stagecoach service, which operate every 30 minutes on Saturdays. It stops at Nailsworth Primary School.
Best outgoing service from Three Bridges is the 0946. Get off at Redhill to get on the Reading train (1014) then from Reading the 1128 to Swindon. Get off at Swindon for a 1214 service which arrives at Stroud at 1243. The 1046 is only two stops – Redhill and Reading (1242) which gets into Stroud at 1342.
Best service back leaves Stroud at 1832 and returns via Swindon (1911), Reading (2004) and Redhill (2133) getting into Three Bridges at 2147.
GH Coaches have already onto their second bus, leaving the stadium at 9.30am with a buffet stop at the Majors Retreat, Tormarton. Fare is £20.