Things to do in the Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire

The Royal Forest of Dean is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of the UK and I am blessed to call it home. If you are looking for a break with spectacular views, encounters with wildlife, fun on water and a good old country pub; the Forest of Dean will meet your every need.  

There are so many activities to get stuck into and with the local area being breathtakingly beautiful, you will love every minute. There are lots of things to do in the Forest of Dean that it can be hard to narrow it down so I have curated my favourite places to visit. 

Cannop ponds forest of dean

Places to visit in The Forest of Dean 

Puzzlewood | Perrygrove Rd, Coleford | £7 admission

Magical and mystical ancient woodland awaits you for an afternoon stroll. To me, it feels like I have been transported to Middle Earth, the woodland reminds me of the Lord of the Rings film set. Not surprisingly, as J.R.Tolkien visited these woods and some say Middle Earth was inspired by this visit. Fast forward to modern day and Hollywood frequents Puzzlewood often. If you are a Star Wars, Puzzlewood was used as the set for The Force Awakens, when Rey first meets Kylo Ren and battles through the trees. Take a look at the current TV/Film Location guide here.

Clearwell Caves Forest of Dean

Clearwell Caves | Nr Coleford, GL16 8JR | £7.50 admission

No trip to The Forest of Dean would be complete without a history lesson in mining, these caves have been mined for thousands of years by freeminers! The caves are impressive and quite spectacular, but even if you're not feeling the mining, Clearwell caves always has events on throughout the year to suit everyone's taste. By far the funniest, is the Halloween party in the caves! 

Dean Railway | Norchard Station, GL15 4ET | £13 Day Ticket 

I don't know about you, but I do love a good railway journey! It's a great way to get a feel of the local environment and I always feel I have seen more. The Trains in the Forest were rife back in the good old days, nowadays we are left with only one line from Lydney to Parkend. I am biased as I have lived in Parkend and it's my favourite village in the Forest of Dean, there's not a lot to do there but there are two fantastic pubs to have lunch, a wonderful village stores and a Nature Reserve where you can spot Boar, Deer and even a Kingfisher. For a little extra, you can have cream tea and prosecco on route - might as well do it in style!

Three Choirs Vineyard | Newent, GL18 1LS

If like me, you are partial to a wine or two, then you must visit the Three Choirs Vineyard. Try 4 award winning wines for £12.50 or add on lunch for £89.95 for two people. Available Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11.30am. 

 Naughty sausage staring at squirrels in the arboretum

Naughty sausage staring at squirrels in the arboretum

Forest of Dean Walks

Beechenhurst Sculpture Trail | Speech House Road | All day parking £5

Take a walk in nature to find sculptures inspired by the Forest of Dean. Think industrial history meets wildlife meets Forest and you'll get an idea of the types of sculptures to discover. There are two routes; 6 sculptures takes 2.2 miles and the full 16 is 4 miles walk. Be sure to pick up a map at the Cafe beforehand. After your leisurely stroll, you can take a breather at the cafe which serves food and drink or use one of the BBQ stands and have yourself a picnic in the forest.  Visiting in the Summer? Look ahead as Open Air theatres run events weather permitted of course; this Summer we've had Labyrinth and The Greatest Showman!

Cyril Hart Aboretum

Our regular Forest of Dean walk is Cyril Hart Aboretum as I find it peaceful and quite importantly under cover from the dreaded english rain. I love being in nature and there are many trees from around the world planted here which squirrels call home so it makes for an interesting walk when you have a naughty dachshund in tow! It's a short walk but you can extend it by walking around Speech House lake and woods, even going to Cannop ponds. If you've worked up an appetite, head over to Speech House hotel for a Cream Tea in the Conservatory. 

Mallards Pike Forest of Dean

Mallards Pike

If you fancy a picturesque walk around a lake, then Mallards Pike is for you. There are two options you can walk around the lake or take longer walks into the woods. I often take Ralph (the naughty squirrel chasing dachshund) here as there is a doggy dip section so if you are bringing your pooch along this will go down a treat. Fancy a run through the Forest of Dean? Try out the Adidas running track choose between 5 or 10 k. If you're not the energetic type like me, a stroll will suffice. Throughout the Summer and on weekends (off peak) there is a van serving hot drinks and food. Oh and Go Ape is situated here, more on that later.

 

Forest of Dean Outdoor Activities

 

Go Ape | Mallards Pike Lake, GL15 4HD | £35

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Yes? Well Go Ape will be top of your list of things to do in the Forest of Dean! Swing and walk your way through their Tree top Adventure course with the highest platform measuring a whooping 15m high; makes me feel sick typing it. It's a great activity to see the Forest from a different perspective. It takes 2-3 hours to complete the whole course. If like me, you like your feet firmly on the ground, you can try your hand at a 1 hour Segway drive through the Forest to look for local wildlife.

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Pedalabikeaway Cycle Centre | Cannop Valley, GL16 7EH

Forest of Dean holidays are not complete without a bike ride on our scenic cycle trails. The easiest and most leisurely bike ride is 12 miles and takes around 3 hours to complete. There are also Downhill and Mountain bike trails if you are experienced rider. Cannot bring your bike along? No worries, there are lots of bikes to hire for half and full days which you can reserve on their website!

River Wye Canoe | Symonds Yat West, HR9 6DA

Every foresters favourite Summer time activity; a canoe session on the Wye River. We usually do a half day on the river as we like to get cosied up in a pub after working up an appetite. A half day takes around 2.5 hours and for a 2 person canoe costs £30. 


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