Forest of Dean
"Blest is the eye, Twixt Severn and Wye"
The Forest of Dean is one of the most fascinating regions of Britain nestling between the wye valley, and the severn river. The 20 million trees that cover the Royal Forest of Dean include oak, beech, ash, birch and holly trees. People who live in and around the Forest are known as Foresters. The areas name is derived from one of the primeval forests of England.In 1939 the woodland area became the first park in England to be designated as a national forest.One of the remaining Royal Forests in England.
The second largest crown forest in the UK behind the New Forest, the Forest of Dean is well worth a visit. With so much history packed into one area you will be left wondering why you haven’t visited before.
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. A number of attractive towns and villages, such as Newent, Coleford and Soudley, are excellent bases from which to explore the area.
One of the Forest of Dean’s most popular places to visit is Symond’s Yat, 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 Wye valley. 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, this spectacular network of caves is more than 4,500 years old and is open for visitors to explore.
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 is said to have inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth,and where numerous films and TV shows, including Doctor Who and Star Wars have been filmed. Its meandering pathways and dramatic rock formations are unforgettable.
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 market towns, Cinderford, Coleford, Lydney, 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 maritine heritage.