The Dean Forest Railway is a great 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.
Dean Forest Railway Information
From DFR Website
Our 4 1/2 mile line runs through beautiful woodland and countryside offering visitors a chance to experience the relaxing pace of a typical country branch line. With our 5 stations along the way you’ll have time to explore the local area, taking in woodland walks and country pubs or venturing down to the Severn estuary to explore Lydney Harbour with its fantastic views across the Severn.https://www.deanforestrailway.co.uk/
The Dean Forest Railway is a 4.5 mile long heritage railway line that runs between Lydney and Parkend in the Forest of Dean. The route was part of the former Severn and Wye Railway which ran from Lydney to Cinderford.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Forest_Railway
AboutGlos recently visited DFR and had journeyed 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.
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…
There are 5 stations for you to visit or change trains on this branch line, a summary of each station and local facilities is listed below.
Norchard is the main station with 2 platforms, a cafe, a book shop and a museum. This is the usual starting point for visitors and where tickets are issued to passengers.
Visitors to Whitecroft station can visit the local pub The Miners Arms for a drink or even some food. This pub in the recent past was featured on 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 puppy was made 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.
The final station on the branch line, Parkend 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 located 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 a lunch and dinner menu as well as a special Sunday roast menu. The dinner menu includes but is not limited too; wild boar, a rump of lamb, home-made pie of the day and a trio of local sausages. For those not wanting meat dishes like vegetarian lasagne, breaded Brie or smoked salmon are featured on the menu.
Located 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 is served all day.
This station has a small traditional waiting room to sit in while awaiting the locomotives to arrive, it also has toilet facilities. This is not far from the mainline station and a short walk to Lydney Harbour.
The Dean Forest Railway is very dog friendly and canine friends were welcome, also there were many 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 Harbour 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 Forest of Dean and Severn & Wye railway artefacts. The museum is located at Norchard station and is accessible via their shop.
There are various options to get to the local area, Lydney has a mainline station which is not far from the branch line. Travelling by car head to the main Norchard station where parking is free. There are many buses into the local area from Gloucester, Chepstow and Coleford.
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