Dean Forest Railway

Dean Forest Railway, a great day out in the Forest of Dean

The Dean Forest Railway is a great dog friendly place for a Gloucestershire day out for individuals, groups and families. The train line has 5 stations with lots of stunning Forest of Dean countryside in between them on its 4.5-mile route. Visitors can alight at each station and explore the local area. You will get to ride on a variety of steam or diesel trains while visiting.

Dean Forest Railway Information

The Dean Forest Railway visitor attraction is a 4 1/2 mile train line that runs through beautiful woodland and countryside. They offer visitors a chance to experience the relaxing pace of a typical country branch line. The railway line has 5 stations along the way, thus you get a chance to explore the local area. The route used to be on the Severn and Wye Railway line, that ran from Lydney to Cinderford.

The heritage railway line runs between Lydney and Parkend in the Forest of Dean. The Dean Forest Railway line has many prominent features, including woodland walks, country pubs and leads down to the Severn estuary and Lydney Harbour.

Steam Trains & Heritage Diesel Locomotives

On or visit to Dean Forest Railway, we had journeys on both a steam engine and a heritage diesel locomotive. Other trains operate on the lines, more details are available on the DFR website.

The heritage diesel engine. This had a comfy carriage with noticeable comfier seats than modern trains.

Norchard train station at Dean Forest Railway

5541 a steam locomotive with many carriages being towed, many of which serve food or afternoon tea. This train dates back to 1927, when it first came into duty in Swindon. More info…

Stations at Dean Forest Railway

There are 5 stations on the Dean Forest Railway branch line for you to visit or change trains. These stations all have a distinct look and all have places of interest nearby and somewhere for refreshments.

Norchard Railway Station

Norchard is the key station with two platforms, a cafe, a bookshop and a museum. This is the usual starting point for visitors and where they issue tickets to passengers.

This is the most fascinating of the railway stations on the branch line because of the artefacts around. This includes the sidings that they work on the locomotives and carriages.

Whitecroft Railway Station

Visitors to Whitecroft station can visit the local pub, The Miners Arms for a drink or even some food. They featured this pub in the recent past on the BBC program Chefs on Trial with Alex Polizzi. The pub has front or rear outside seating, a bar and a restaurant area. Food is diverse, serving from snacks, burgers, to a daily specials board. This was a dog-friendly public house, and they made the dog very welcome.

Near to the station is Knick Knacks, a shop that sells collectables, furniture, vintage items and much more. For rail enthusiasts, they even have a section dedicated to this.

Parkend Train Station

The last station on the branch line is Parkend. This is a train station with a footbridge over the train line where you can view the trains from above or take photos.

Parkend has 2 public houses, The Woodman and the Fountain Inn, it has a quaint village shop to stock up on supplies. Also in Parkend is Forest Outdoors, a shop for adventurers and those who partake in outdoor activities. For those that like churches and religious architecture, St Paul’s church is near to the station.

The Woodman is a well-decorated place with an inviting dining room, a welcoming bar, and ample seating outside. This is a traditional country pub that has lunch and dinner menus and a special Sunday roast menu. The dinner menu includes; wild boar, a rump of lamb, home-made pie of the day and a trio of local sausages. For those not wanting meat, they have options. Their menu includes dishes like vegetarian lasagne, breaded Brie, or smoked salmon.

Lydney Town Station

Near the town centre, this station is great for those wishing to visit Lydney on their day out. The station has a small waiting room but no toilet facilities. Nearby are a few pubs, shops and places to eat. The Swan Inn & Ugly Duckling are places to enjoy a break and have a drink or food, which they served all day.

Lydney Junction Train Station

This station has a small traditional waiting room to sit in while awaiting the locomotives to arrive. It also has toilet facilities. This is close to the mainline station and a short walk to Lydney Harbour.

Is Dean Forest Railway Dog Friendly?

The Dean Forest Railway is very dog friendly and canine friends are welcome. We had a great time with our dog Henry, who enjoyed exploring the site, riding on trains and meeting other pets at the attraction. As a bonus, there were dog friendly pubs on the route.

The River Lyd

The River Lyd follows the route and is never far from the train line. This is a small river that flows into the River Severn via a canal in Lydney. Lydney Docks is also local for those that want to learn some history. The harbour played a full part in making the Severn Estuary the gateway from the South West to the rest of the world. A nice place to have a walk and view where the 2 rivers meet.


The centre has a very interesting museum that specialises in the Forest of Dean and Severn & Wye railway artefacts. The museum is at Norchard Station and is accessible via their shop.

Travel to Dean Forest Railway

There are various options to get to the local area. Lydney has a mainline station which is near to the branch line. Travelling by car, head to the main Norchard Station where parking is free. There are many buses in the local area from Gloucester, Chepstow and Coleford.

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