Things to see and do

There are many places of interest close to us. Please visit their web sites for details of opening times.

Dean Forest Railway A marvellous example of a standard gauge country railway, Dean Forest Railway runs from the main line junction at Lydney via Lydney Town, Norchard (the railway’s engineering and visitor centre) and Whitecroft to Parkend. As well as regular steam and diesel hauled trains there are special events including Thomas the Tank days.

Web site: Dean Forest Railway

Puzzle Wood Beautiful walk through ancient woodland, Ancient Iron Ore workings, Shetland Ponies, Donkeys, Highland cattle, Wild Fowl, Rabbits, Outdoor Play Area, Indoor Wood Puzzle, Willow Maze, Café and Gift Shop, Picnic Area.

Web site: Puzzle Wood

Perrygrove  A 1 ½ mile small-scale railway with safe fun for kids of all ages (Treetop Adventure, Indoor Village, Treasure Hunt) and lovely woodland walks. There’s also a café.

Web site: Perrygrove

Clearwell Caves  An extensive natural cave system, dating back well over 4,500 years, which was mined for iron ore and ochre pigment. One of Britain’s most complex and oldest mine workings, with nine well-lit caverns, visitor centre, blacksmiths and cafe.

Web site: Clearwell Caves

Great Western Railway Museum, Coleford  Coleford Great Western Railway Museum is based in the former Goods Shed at Coleford. Built in 1883, this listed building is the last surviving part of Coleford Station, which once connected the town with Monmouth and Lydney. The collection includes photographs and documents, railway artifacts such as signs, signalling equipment, tools and locomotive fittings, static models, a restored signal box, full-sized railway vehicles including a restored steam locomotive, and a miniature railway with steam and electric locomotives.

Web site: GWR Museum, Coleford

Hopewell Colliery   Hopewell Colliery, one of the few Forest of Dean mines that are still being worked, offers regular underground tours guided by miners and ex-miners. Visitors can walk through the workings and see the conditions in which the miners worked and the methods used to extract the coal.

Open Easter to October daily 10am to 4pm    CLOSED MONDAYS

Admission: £5.00 adults, £3.50 children under 16 (Note: the tour is not suitable for very young children)

Web site: Hopewell Colliery

Cannop Hill, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 7EL. Phone 01594 810706 (on the B4226 Cinderford to Coleford road 2 miles from Coleford town centre) Map reference: SO 620121.

Industrial Archaeology sites Because of its long history of mining, quarrying and the associated industries, the Forest of Dean is rich in old industrial sites. The Gloucester Society for Industrial Archaeology and the Forest of Dean Local History Society are good points of contact for anyone wishing to study the history and visit some of the more accessible sites. The remains of the large Dark Hill iron works, built by David Mushet in 1811, are close to Ellwood. David Mushet’s son Robert used the foundry to experiment in steel making in large quantities. He made the first steel alloys and the first steel railway line, which was laid in Derby Station in 1857. It lasted 17 years instead of 3-5 months for the iron rails previously used. Map reference: SO 588092 Situated off the B4228 Coleford to Chepstow Road near Sling. Park in Forestry Commission car park, near Ellwood/Sling/Milkwall cross roads. Walk 100 yards to cycle track then turn right. Observation point overlooking furnace is 200 yards. An excellent booklet written by local resident and historian Keith Webb is available from local bookshops. Sadly, Keith died in 2012, but his web site is still available and has some very useful information about the Dark Hill furnace site, which is currently owned and managed by the Forestry Commission.

Dean Heritage Centre The Dean Heritage Centre has five galleries and a library to explore inside the Museum, numerous displays and attractions to discover outside, and a café overlooking the mill pond.

Web site: Dean Heritage Centre

Forestry Commission visitor sites Beechenhurst, Cannop Ponds, Mallards Pike, New Fancy, and Speculation are just some of the places which not only give access to a variety of forest environments and activities, but also contains relics of the Forest of Dean’s fascinating past.

For more information see the Forestry Commission web site

The Sculpture Trail makes a walk through the forest interesting for everyone. Start from the Beechenhurst visitor area or visit the Sculpture Trust web site to find out more.

Things to do

Walking Because the statutory forest managed by the Forestry Commission is publicly owned land, there is open access to all of it. Many books of walks and maps are available from bookshops, the Forestry Commission office in Coleford, visitor information points and Forestry Commission visitor centres. A number of leaflets can be downloaded from here: WyeDean Tourism

These long-distance paths pass through the area: Wye Valley Walk Offa’s Dyke Gloucestershire Way

Cycling There are many cycle tracks throughout the Forest of Dean. You will find useful information and details of the Cannop Cycle Centre on the Forestry Commission cycling page and Dean Forest Cycles in Parkend has a café and a workshop and arranges cycling events as well as providing a wide range of bikes for hire and for sale. Forest of Dean Mountain Bike Guides can help you enjoy the Forest trails.

Horse riding The Forest of Dean is a wonderful place to expore on horseback and there are a number of riding centres. The nearest to the four villages is the Forest of Dean Equestrian Centre at Yorkley, phone 01594 562219. For information on horse riding trails, go to  www.fodgreenways.co.uk

Off-road driving Whitecliff 4×4 offer a variety of experiences in a former quarry site near Coleford. Web site: Whitecliff 4×4

Paintballing Forest Combat Paintball

Wildlife

The Forestry Commission arrange a number of events throughout the year where you can join a small group and watch some of the forest’s wildlife. Ask at the Beechenhurst information centre for details.

Nagshead reserve, jointly managed by the Forestry Commission and the RSPB, is a popular place to see birds. There are two hides, a lodge with information on what birds are currently to be seen, and several waymarked walks. Web page: Nagshead

The Deanbirders web site has birdwatching information including directions to good sites, a photo gallery, and reports from the Forest of Dean maintained by and for disabled and housebound birdwatchers. www.deanbirders.co.uk

Forest towns and villages

Clearwell, St Briavels, Newland, Parkend, Whitecroft, and Bream are just a few of the Forest villages that are within easy reach. The towns of Coleford, Lydney, Cinderford and Ross-on-Wye all have their own character and long history.

There are cinemas in Coleford (the Studio) and Cinderford (the Palace). Both have the latest films on show as well as special interest films. Please support them!

For more suggestions try the Explore Gloucestershire web site.