Cycle from mallards pike in the Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean Visitor Guide

The @aboutglos guide to The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Details of all the fun and sights for you to see as well as some hidden gems to explore. travelling in the forest is best on foot, bike, car or on the buses.

Forest Of Dean

The Forest of Dean is a stunning area of ancient mixed woodland and one of the only surviving ancient woods in England. The FOD covers over 42 square miles of countryside and is a diverse habitat for wildlife. The area has an industrial past based mainly around the mining industry. There are remnants of the iron, coal and even gold mining to be spotted in the forest.

History

Historically a large part of the woods was reserved for royal hunting before 1066, and remained as the second largest Crown forest in England, the largest being New Forest in Hampshire.

Popular

  • Cycling Guide -Routes for beginners and experienced in off-road.
  • Restaurants – Places that you can eat out for lunch or an evening meal.
  • Dean Forest Railway – Enjoy a day out travelling through the area on a variety of steam trains and locomotives.
  • Activities – Adventure and fun things to do on your trip to the area.

Tourist Attractions

There are many Tourist Attractions In The Forest Of Dean to suit most interests. The biggest attraction is the miles of ancient woodland to explore, either on foot or by car.

Walking

My preference for a free day out is a circular walk, with breaks for taking photographs of scenery or wildlife if you are in the right place at the right time. Accompanied by a picnic and drink as required.

Dean Forest Railway

Dean Forest Railway is Dog Friendly

A very popular place for steam rail enthusiasts and the public in general. You can enjoy a few train trips on old trains on their branch line through the Forest of Dean. The Dean Forest Railway also has a museum of all things rail and a few nice places to eat and drink on the way.

GoApe

This is a popular place in the Forest of Dean where you can go for a great adventure. The GoApe site is very popular with families looking for something more active to do.

Dean Heritage Centre

Dean Heritage Centre

The Dean Heritage Centre is located in the pretty valley of Soudley, Gloucestershire, England in the Forest of Dean and exists to record and preserve the unique social and industrial history of the area and its people. The centre comprises the museum itself, a millpond and waterwheel, forester’s cottage with garden and animals, art and craft exhibitions and workshops, and trails around the surrounding woodland. In addition, there are picnic tables, barbecue hearths, an adventure playground, a gift shop selling local produce and the Heritage Kitchen, a restaurant providing home-made food. 

Symonds Yat Rock

Symonds Yat Rock overlooks a spectacular gorge through which the River Wye snakes. This rock is the perfect viewpoint from which to watch raptors. A pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest annually within sight of the rock can be watched through telescopes.

St Briavels Castle

St Briavels Castle is a moated Norman castle at St Briavels in the English county of Gloucestershire. The castle is noted for its huge Edwardian gatehouse that guards the entrance.

Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood covers 14 acres of ancient forest which also shows evidence of open cast iron ore mining dating from the Roman period, and possibly earlier 

There were several miles of pathways laid down in the early 19th century to provide access to the woods and provide picturesque walks. The area contains strange rock formations, secret caves and ancient trees, with a confusing maze of paths. It is said to be one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s inspirations for Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings.

Settlements

  • Cinderford – A small town in the forest with good transport links and rugby club.
  • Coleford – A small market town, it is situated approximately four miles east of the Welsh border and close to the Wye Valley.
  • Drybrook – A small village on the edge of the area.
  • Redbrook – A village on the banks of the River Wye, it has a village store and 2 pubs. It is a great spot for those using the river for fun including for wild swimming.
  • Monmouth – The historic county town of the Welsh county of Monmouthshire. A place with a good choice of shops and eateries.
  • Parkend – A village on the Dean Forest Railway with a shop and a few pubs. Also, many places to stay nearby for holidaymakers on an adventure.
  • Lydney – A small town with the areas railway station, located on the banks of the River Severn, it has a harbour and the end of the River Lyd.
Fairplay Pond Forest of Dean

Holidays

The Forest of Dean is a beautiful location for an inland holiday in the UK. Accommodation can range from camping, glamping, B&B and hotels to suit your taste. There is a wide choice of adventure holiday activities including walking, bushcraft, and watersports on the River Wye AONB.

  • Camping – Sites in the area for holidays under canvas.
  • B&B – Guesthouses in the area for a budget and comfortable stay.
  • Hotels – A variety of different standard rooms are available in the local area.
  • Glamping – Options for posh camping in the local area, there are some truly unique places to stay.

@aboutglos Favourites

Our favourite places to visit and things to do in the area are.

  • Wye Valley – Strolling along the river banks of this beautiful river.
  • Cannop Ponds – Exploring the lakes and woodland in the area on foot, really should try on a bike one day.
  • Drybrook – The woods near the village as quiet and have history there.
  • Symonds Yat – A beautiful section of the Wye Valley AONB with a fantastic viewpoint of the gorge.
  • Biblins – The beautiful countryside near to Biblins footbridge is one of my favourite places to explore.
  • Churches – Some very historical religious buildings in the forest.
  • Mallards Pike – A beautiful lake with a picnic area deep in the woods.

Bucket List

Places I have yet to visit.

  • Canoe – Traveling by boat downstream for a few days from Hereford to Chepstow.
  • Goodrich Castle – An 11th-century ruins that fate stops me visiting.
  • Chepstow Castle – Ideal for a train trip out from home.