I had a quick opportunity to have a walk in the Forest of Dean before meeting family on Sunday, I got dropped at the top of the Stenders and walked through the woods to the final destination in Drybrook village. Interestingly part of the woodland had been cleared see photos below and saw some interesting wildflowers.
There are various options for walks in the area some on wide forest roads and others on overgrown narrow paths. The are is popular with dog walkers as well as ramblers.
The site is a great launchpad for longer walks locally and easily accessible from the hourly bus from Gloucester. If you wanted to stay overnight Greenway Farm is a campsite very nearby and a great base to explore the local area.
The Stenders Quarry Nature Reserve is a 7 acre biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The site is designated as an SSSI for its important geological features, although there is a diverse selection of plants and animals in the reserve.
Plants to watch out for in the area include kidney vetch, cowslip, yellow-wort, ploughman’s-spikenard, large thyme, blue fleabane and the common spotted-orchid. Ferns such as black spleenwort, wall-rue, lady-fern and polypody and hart’s-tongue grow locally. For Bird watchers, there are ample opportunities to observe the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest and many other common birds. The reserve is also home to a variety of snails and butterflies including the Marbled White Butterfly.
The Village of Drybrook is nearby and downhill from the forest, it is located on the hillside and has great views. The village has a few shops, a chippy and a local pub to stop at for refreshments.
Heading down hill to the west is the village of Mitcheldean which has a variety of shops, a brewery and a decent local pub called The White Horse. The village is blessed with a medieval church at the bottom of The Stenders.
Not too far to walk and also mentioned on the @aboutglos gold mining page is Wigpool. The nature reserve at Wigpool is a remnant of the acidic bog and heathland that once covered most of Wigpool Common. The pool is situated within a large conifer plantation with a good range of acidic-marshland plants. Wildfowl, common frogs, palmate and smooth newts call this reserve home. This is managed by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and is open all year round.