Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean is 110km² of ancient woodland in the West Country region of England.

Bluebell Wood in the Forest of Dean

Understand

The southern part Forest of Dean district is one of the United Kingdom's most impressive forests, offering spectacular scenery throughout the year - whether it's bluebells in spring or the rich colours of oak in the autumn. The northern half around the town of Newent is more open countryside and also worth visiting. The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley is also a great area for outdoor activities including walking, cycling, canoeing or kayaking on the River Wye, climbing, caving, Nordic Walking are just some of the activities that can be found in the area something for all the family.

History

Mining in the forest goes back before Roman times. Also, the Forest of Dean used to be the elite Hunting Forest for royalty.

Landscape

Great scenery all around the main forest area comprising of lots of hills and trees.

Flora and fauna

Bluebells and daffodils in the Spring, rich colours in the autumn.

Get in

From the South come in on the M4 and cross over the river Severn on the Severn Bridge (M48). From the north come down the M5.

Fees/Permits

If you go for fishing then you will need a permit.

Get around

There is a train route from Chepstow to Lydney, and also the Dean Forest Railway which runs from Lydney to Parkend. Due to its semi-rural location there is a limited bus service in most parts of the area, and a car would be a much quicker means of transport. Gloucestershire Tourism provides a Royal Forest website which shows a touring route around the Forest of Dean, taking in all the major attractions.

See

"Cathedral", a stained glass window in the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Coleford

The Speech House walk is well worth to see for sculptures deep inside the Forest. Clearwell Caves are ancient Iron mines estimated to be worked for over 8,000 years and is worth a look into. Lydney Park is worth a visit to see some Roman ruins. Great Western Railway Museum (Coleford) is excellent for steam buffs. The main feature is the landscape - some of the towns are very ordinary. May Hill towards the North provides panoramic views

Do

Lots of scope for walking and off-road cycling. Quite a few marked trails.

Buy

No city centre in the Forest of Dean, only Market towns and villages in this district so not a great place to go shopping if you are looking for the typical high street shops. However, if you enjoy the small individual shops with character, there are plenty to be found.

Eat

Lots of nice restaurants and also good quality pub meals.

Drink

Local ale is still made in the Forest of Dean for 'Real Ale' fans. The Freeminer brewery produce several different unique beers.

Sleep

Camping

There are several camping sites in the area; best to check with the tourism board for the best facilities.

Go next

The nearest cities are Bristol and Newport, both within 30 minutes drive. Gloucester is actually closer (about a 20 minutes drive), but it is a much smaller city.

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