I got into FPGA design last year for a project, and had some success with a Xilinx Spartan 6 dev board using ISE. I could do everything with this low cost board and ISE 14, which is free. I needed an embedded processor and used the excellent PicoBlaze - again thanks to great documentation this all worked very well and the project is currently in daily use.
Like many successful projects I can see things growing in future. I still have a fair amount of capacity on the FPGA, but the issue with PicoBlaze really is lack of a C compiler. I would like to find another processor that is very low cost or free, but for which I can build with gcc or whatever.
I had a look around opencores and some interesting things there - but a bit hard to tell what is actively maintained and has a user base. Can anyone recommend free/low cost embedded processor(s) that work well and are reasonably well documented?