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Holidays in Coleford

Historic buildings in the heart of the Forest of Dean

UK | South West | Gloucestershire | Coleford
Forest of Dean

The small market town of Coleford lies to the west of the Forest of Dean and is only 20 minutes from Gloucester. At the edge of the Welsh border, it is also close to the Wye Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty and just 10 miles from Tintern, home of the spectacular Tintern Abbey.

The town played an important part during the English Civil War in 1643 as Royalist troops headed by Lord Herbert, eldest son of the Earl of Worcester and the King’s Lieutenant-General of South Wales marched on foot and horse on their way to Gloucester. There was a skirmish with a group of Parliamentarians in which the market house was burnt and the foot commander Major-General Lawday was fatally shot from a window along with two other officers. The Royalists won in the end after capturing various officers and soldiers including Lieutenant-Colonel Winter and successfully carried on their way to Gloucester.

The town has many old buildings of historic interest including the Old White Hart Inn in the market place which goes back to the 17th century as well as many other stunning buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The centre of the town has been designated a conservation area and you can while away the hours just strolling through the streets trying to work out in which era they were built.

Tintern Abbey

The town is the administrative centre of the Forest of Dean and was first recorded as ‘Colevorde’ in 1275 when it was part of the Royal Hunting Forest. If you would like to find out a bit more about the town’s history, take one of the popular Town Walks such as The Churches Pilgrimage, Inns of the Past or the brilliantly named Tuck Shops and Toyshops.

Coleford has its own cinema, lots of shops, cafes and restaurants and two excellent golf courses. For other things to do, visit the Railway Museum with its collection of memorabilia from the steam railway era and also Perrygrove Steam Railway which has a fully functioning steam engine which the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit the ancient iron mines at Clearwell Caves to see a bit of the town’s mining history.

“Coleford was an important part of the English Civil War, with fatal skirmishes between Royalists and Parliamentarians..”

Due to its fantastic location in the heart of the Forest of Dean, it is a great area to explore by foot or by bike. You have the gorgeous Wye Valley and the spectacular views of Symonds Yat to the west, and a multitude of enchanting forest walks in the centre of the forest.

There are many activities for all the family including The Sculpture Trail which is full of interesting sculptures throughout the forest, including the famous giant’s chair. Puzzle Wood is great for those who like easy walks, and Beechenhurst is a lovely area to visit and has various places to enjoy a BBQ, a café and a tourist lodge.

If you are lucky, you will catch one of the events and festivals that take part during the year. There is also the Coleford Farmers Market which is held in the town square every Friday.

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While you’re there

Town Walks

Make sure that you take one of the wonderfully named interesting walks through the town.

Clearwell Caves

Visit the ancient iron mines to find out about the town’s past.

The Wye Valley

Full of wonderful trails and spectacular views, with many villages to visit on the way through.

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