Visitor information

A great place for the whole family to start a Forest of Dean adventure

Beechenhurst lies in the heart of the Forest of Dean, one of Britain's oldest and largest woodlands.

It is the ideal place for families to start their forest adventure, with a family activity trail, Sculpture Trail, play area and Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. You can even bring your bikes and access the wider forest on our Family Cycle Trail. 

Don't forget to refuel in the café or bring your own food to enjoy in our beautiful picnic area. We also have bookable barbecues if you fancy cooking your own family feast.

boy interacting with a Gruffalo activity panel

Gruffalo Party Trail at Beechenhurst

The Gruffalo is celebrating his 25th birthday and to celebrate, everyone is invited to take part in a brand-new forest adventure.

Food and drink

Beechenhurst cafe

Beechenhurst Café

Refuel your family from our on-site café which offers a range of food and drinks freshly prepared each day.

Founded in 1986, the sculpture trail is a partnership between Forestry England and the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust.

Some of the sculptures are temporary, while others will last for years. They have all been designed to evolve over time as the forest changes around them. Over the years, artists at all stages of their careers have been invited to create artworks for this unique context.

The sculptures on this trail are inspired by the forest - its trees, wildlife and industrial past. The sculptures are mostly constructed from natural material from the Dean - wood, stone and iron. They are interspersed along the trail through majestic oaks and towering Scots pine trees.

There are waymarked shortcuts: Shortcut A (first 6 sculptures) is approx 2.2 miles in length and Shortcut B is 3 miles (first 12 sculptures). 

The Sculptures

Meander, by Kristina Veasey (2023) Heart of the Stone, by Tim Lees (1988) Yaşasin, by Pomona Zipser (2016) Soil unsoiled, by Khady Gueye and  Zakiya Mckenzie (2021) Fire & Water Boats, by David Nash (1986) Iron Road, by Keir Smith (1986) Searcher, by Sophie Ryder (1988) In Situ, by Erika Tan (2003) Grove of Silence, by Ian Hamilton Finlay (1986) Cone & Vessel, by Peter Randall-Page (1988) Hill33, by David Cotterrell (2010) House, by Miles Davies (1988) Threshold, by Natasha Rosling (2019) Coal Measure Giants, by Henry Castle (2016) Echo, by Annie Cattrell (2008) Cathedral, by Kevin Atherton (1986) Hanging Fire, by Cornelia Parker (1988) Gathering, by Julian Wild (2023)

You may come across some temporary or decommissioned sculptures on the trail which aren’t marked on the map. Check the Sculpture Trust website for more information.

Audio descriptions of each sculpture are available to download here.

The play area at Beechenhurst has a host of wooden play equipment for your kids to enjoy. There is a separate area specially made for toddlers.

Play features include a zip line, nest swing and mining-themed climbing frame.

Picnic tables are available, including mini versions for the children.

Please leave dogs outside of the play area and always shut the gates. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The play area is located next to Beechenhurst Cafe, perfect to refuel ready for some more play!

The Colliers Trail is our family cycling trail - a fully waymarked, circular route, with connecting routes to villages and picnic sites. This route has been especially surfaced and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

The trail follows the route of the old railway which served the many coal mines (collieries) around the Forest. The remnants of many of these former mines are still visible today, along with the station names.

You can access the trail from a number of locations around the Forest of Dean, including the Forest of Dean Cycle CentreBeechenhurstCannop Ponds and Mallards Pike.

Fancy a shorter family route? Try the 5mile/8km ride from Forest of Dean Cycle Centre or Beechenhurst on the waymarked Hicksters Way Loop.

To find out about cycle hire, tag-a-longs or electric bikes, contact our on-site bike hire specialists at Forest of Dean Cycle Centre.

This is a shared use trail and so you will come across walkers, dogs and runners on your way around. Please watch out for other people and take care when passing.

If you are interested in learning more about the local history, you can download the “Forest of Dean Hidden Heritage” app for free from your app store. This is packed full of information on each point of interest along the trail.

 

Download our trail maps here

Check if our cycling trails are open or closed

The Gruffalo is celebrating his 25th birthday and to celebrate, everyone is invited to take part in a brand-new forest adventure.

What to expect

The interactive family trail features all sorts of party-themed activities and games, along with fun facts to teach you about life in the forest for the Gruffalo and other creatures.

Follow the trail to help find the missing party items to give the Gruffalo a birthday to remember. Search for balloons, pine cones, apples and the Gruffalo himself, and complete fun activities and rubbings as you go along.

Get the party started with a Gruffalo Party Trail pack

Pick up your pack for just £4 from Beechenhurst Cafe or the Ranger's hatch, packed with fun things to do on your party adventure.

Inside you’ll find:

kraft bag to colour in party headband to wear party trail activity leaflet stickers pencil and crayon keepsake sew-on Gruffalo Party patch

Share your party fun using the #GruffaloTrail hashtag.

The Gruffalo © 1999 & TM Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

family walking with dog

Beechenhurst maps

Need some help getting around? Get ready for your next forest adventure by taking a look at our trail maps.

Nearby forests

A wooden boardwalk stretches over the water at Cannop Ponds. Blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

Cannop Ponds are two reservoirs within the Forest of Dean, originally created in 1820s to supply a waterwheel at Parkend Ironworks.

Lakeside view at Mallards Pike

There is something for everyone at this beautiful lakeside setting.

Adrenaline seekers can challenge themselves at Go Ape Tree Top Challenge. For those with energy left to burn there is Forest Segway or a range of running trails from 2km to 10km routes.

View from Symonds Yat Rock in spring

Discover the ancient hill fort, spot birds of prey and enjoy a snack from the log cabin cafe.

There are waymarked trails linking to the River Wye and over the famous Biblins Bridge, or a choice of circular walks into the forest itself. There is also a cycling trail linking Forest Holidays and Camping in the Forest site at Bracelands to Symonds Yat Rock.

Family paddling in a brook

Wenchford is a beautiful spot nestled deep within the forest with plenty of picnic tables and an easy access path.

Blackpool Brook trickles through the site under the dappled shade of the large oak trees. The paddling area is the perfect place to cool down in the hot summer months.

Membership invitation - click to find out more about membership
Volunteer with us invitation - click to discover volunteer opportunities across England