SCHOOLS closed, drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles and staff were sent home early as around four inches of snow fell across the Stroud Valleys this week.

Early snowfall on Friday morning caused widespread disruption for commuters and schools but many made the most of a 'snow day' building snowmen and going sledging.

Temperatures plummeted to Ðsix degree Celsius in some areas and the Met Office issued an amber weather warning resulting in around 300 school closures across the county and businesses shutting up shop early.

Renishaw PLC decided to close all its premises on Friday due to the snow.

Rubbish and recycling collections were suspended and treacherous driving conditions affected many of the bus routes. Several roads were closed by police on Friday, including the A46 Dudbridge Hill in Stroud, which was closed due to a jack-knifed lorry, and the A419 Cowcombe Hill in Chalford.

Locking Hill was blocked by a jack-knifed Marston's beer lorry and police also closed the Ebley bypass.

A collision in Parliament Street on Friday morning forced a Ford Mondeo off the road - it nosedived down a bank into the town's police station car park.

In Nailsworth one driver had a lucky escape when three cars lost control on The Ladder forcing one car through a wall.

Over the weekend Gloucestershire Police continued to warn drivers that many roads were impassable due to snow and ice and some routes remained closed.

Gloucestershire Highways said most of the roads are now passable but it is continuing to treat key routes as icy patches remain a concern.

John Kay, area highways manager, said: "All drivers need to proceed with caution on all routes even those on the key routes that appear to be are clear of ice and snow."

All three superstores in the town centre were open for business as usual despite the snow but shoppers began to panic buy on Thursday.

Sainsbury's saw a rush of customers with staff noting it was 50 per cent busier than a normal Thursday.

Maidenhill Sports and Dance Centre in Stonehouse and Thomas Keble Sports Centre at Eastcombe were shut over the weekend as was The Museum in the Park.

A performance of Honk! At the Cotswold Playhouse was cancelled on Friday night and a performance by the Blossom Street Singers at Stroud Subscription Rooms also had to be postponed.

Remember to go for updates on travel, school closures and other weather related news later this week when more snow is forecast.