A great day out awaits at The Forest of Dean

This ancient forest has changed many times over the centuries. In medieval times it was a royal hunting forest, before becoming a source of timber for the navy's Tudor warships. By Victorian times it was a major site of industry, with coal mining and tramways punctuating the landscape.

In 1938 the Forest was designated the first National Forest Park and today the Forest of Dean is a popular destination for tourists.

Today the forest is still a working forest, producing sustainable timber for the UK market.

The Forest is also a stronghold for nature with larges areas of woodland and open space providing a mosaic of habitats for a wide variety of wildlife,

It is a great place to explore. See if you can find the hidden remains of industry as you enjoy this wild and beautiful forest.

 

These are our main visitors sites in the Forest of Dean:

Beechenhurst - the best place to start your family forest adventure! 

Symonds Yat Rock - stunning views over the River Wye and beyond. 

Forest of Dean Cycle Centre - trails for all ages and abilities, bike hire available on site.

Mallards Pike - a scenic spot beside the lake, with a variety of activities on offer for you to enjoy.

Wenchford - popular picnic site beside the Blackpool Brook.  

Cannop Ponds - an idyllic spot to view local wildlife including mandarin ducks. 

Soudley Ponds - Surrounded by impressive Douglas fir trees, immerse yourself in the stunning landscape of Soudley Ponds.

The Cyril Hart Arboretum - discover over 200 tree species at the arboretum! 

New Fancy - discover stunning views of the Forest of Dean at the New Fancy view point. 

Tidenham Chase - walk along Offa's Dyke and see stunning views at the Devil's pulpit. 

Nagshead Nature Reserve - the perfect place to spot wildlife.

Darkhill Ironworks - discover the fascinating archaeological site of Darkhill Ironworks and the Titanic Steelworks

Dymock Woods - a Site of Special Scientific Interest, famous for its display of Wild Daffodils in spring.

People running at Forest Runner event

Forest Runner 2022

Join us 20 November for a 5km or 10km run, set against the beautiful backdrop of Symonds Yat Rock. All profits go towards helping us grow, shape and care for the Forest of Dean, now and for future generations.

With a Family Cycle Trail, blue and red graded cross-country trails and a number of more advanced downhill trails, the Forest of Dean Cycle Centre has something for everyone. Brush up on your off-roading techinique with our specially designed skills areas and pump track. Grab your helmet and head into the forest today!

Here are our top tips for a great day out on the trails:

Make sure your bike is in full working order. Bring a backpack with you for all your essentials: First aid kit, water, snacks, spare inner tube, pump, repair kit, map, fully charged mobile phone. Always ride within your limits and WEAR YOUR HELMET. First Aid will not always be available on site. Know your location at all times and have a mobile phone to raise help. If you do have an accident make your way back to your vehicle if you are able to. Only call 999 if it is essential. Please respect others using the forest - be aware of walkers and horse riders you may come across during your ride.

Whilst out on the trails, if you come across any maintenance issues please report them to: fodtrails@forestryengland.uk

The trails provide a chance to escape stuffy gyms and get out into the fresh air, with varying distances from 2km to 10km routes they offer the opportunity to get fit in stunning natural surroundings.

Supported by Sport England and using National Lottery funding, the network of marked trails make running through the forest more accessible, so you can feel confident to just hit the trails and enjoy all the benefits of being active outdoors.

To help you plan your work out, purchase a pocket sized trail running guide from Mallards Cafe or from the Tourism Information Centre in Coleford.

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). 

Forest to Forest trail

In 2021 Beechenhurst hosted an additional temporary arts trail called "Forest to Forest" which featured eight new sculptures celebrating forest wildlife, flora and fauna. This trail has now been decommissioned but some of the pieces remain in the forest and will be incorporated into the main sculpture trail.

 

 

 

British Cycling and Forestry England have teamed up to offer free, women-only group cycle rides for all abilities in the nation’s forests. Every group ride is led by a qualified Breeze into the Forest Champion who will organise everything and make sure everyone stays safe. Come along to ride, chat and of course enjoy some tea and cake from the onsite café afterwards.

Join your Breeze into the Forest Champion on a cycle ride through the forest, taking in stunning scenery and wildlife. 

Bike hire is available with pre-booking. Please make them aware you will be riding with Breeze and the name of your Breeze Champion.

Look out for more rides by searching for Forest of Dean on the Lets Ride website.

 

*All riders under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. If you are registering a person aged under 16 who is not your child, you must have the consent of the parent or guardian of the child in question.

 

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