The ancient Forest of Dean is an enchanting place to walk, cycle or swim, with some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes and a scattering of picturesque towns and villages.
The Forest of Dean is England’s oldest oak forest, located in Gloucestershire. This former royal hunting ground consists of more than 40 miles of unspoilt woodland and became England’s first National Forest Park in the 1930s. A number of attractive towns and villages, such as Newent, Coleford and Soudley, are excellent bases from which to explore the area. Outdoor enthusiasts are in their element in the New Forest, with walking, hiking, cycling and a variety of other activities on offer.
One of the Forest of Dean’s most popular places to visit is Symond’s Yat, a pretty village, perched on the edge of the River Wye. The village’s shops, pubs and cafes are a pleasure to explore, but its main attraction is Symond’s Yat Rock, a 500ft limestone outcrop from which you can enjoy spectacular views of the forest. The rock is also home to one of the UK’s most impressive birds, the peregrine falcon, which can occasionally be seen nesting here during the summer months.
Also well worth a visit are the famous Clearwell Caves , where numerous films and TV shows, including Doctor Who, have been filmed. This spectacular network of caves is more than 4,500 years old and is open for visitors to explore.
“The ancient Forest of Dean is an enchanting place to walk, cycle or swim, with some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes and a scattering of picturesque towns and villages.”
The Forest of Dean is full of enchanting landscapes and one of the most intriguing is undoubtedly Puzzlewood , a 14-acre expanse of ancient woodland which are said to have inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Its meandering pathways and dramatic rock formations are unforgettable. You’ll also find a series of mysterious mazes and an excellent adventure playground.Wildlife in the forest
In the towns and villages in the Forest of Dean, you’ll discover some great places to eat and drink, from cosy tearooms to ancient country pubs. There are few better places to enjoy a pint of local ale than The Saracen’s Head Inn, in Symonds Yat, a delightful old pub which serves locally sourced dishes, such as smoked salmon from the Wye Valley, and has a nice outside seating area with views across the river.
The Forest of Dean’s four market towns, Cinderford, Coleford, Lyndney and Newent, are all pleasant places to visit. Coleford is one of the oldest towns in the region, with a thriving market and good selection of independent shops to explore, while Lydney sits on the banks of the River Severn and has a remarkable maritime heritage to delve into.