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.


Useful information

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.

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.

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 technique 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

Visitors with permanent or temporary limited mobility can hire one of two ‘Walking with Wheels’  trampers through the Countryside Mobility Scheme, that is supported by Forest Voluntary Action Forum and part-funded by Foresters’ Forest National Lottery Heritage funded programme.

Trampers are off-road mobility scooters, which are easy to use and able to tackle a range of surfaces and gradients come rain or shine. You do not have to be registered disabled to hire a Tramper.

Our Trampers are suitable for exploring:

Symonds Yat Rock, leading down to the River Wye at Symonds Yat from Forest Holidays Cyril Hart Arboretum Mallards Pike

Maps of the routes will be provided when hiring.

Hire rates 

Price per Tramper: £2.50 per hour.

If you are not already a member of Countryside Mobility, becoming one is quick and easy and will be part of your induction (£2.50 for 2 weeks, £10 for 1 year). You can then use Trampers at around 50 other beauty spots around South West England.

How to book

Book for Mallards Pike and Cyril Hart Arboretum at Speech House, Coleford by calling 01594 822607 Book for Symonds Yat through Forest Holidays by calling 01594 837165


Horse riding is welcome in the Forest of Dean on byways, bridleways and hard stone tracks.  

Hard stone tracks, or category one forest roads, are often indicated on ordnance survey maps in white with a broken black outline.

To avoid damage to paths, tracks and to reduce the risk of injury to rider and horse please refrain from riding on paths and soft tracks.

Please be aware the woodlands of the Forest of Dean are part of a shared and working forest, you may encounter vehicles, machinery, walkers and cyclists, at anytime.  Forestry operations take place year round and you may come across signage which indicates you need to stop, be prepared to go back the way you came or change your planned route.


Mapped British Horse Society routes

Flaxley - A 4 mile off-road circular through Flaxley and Hope Wood.

Dymock - The Dymock Greenway comprises approximately 2.5 miles of off-road, waymarked track located within Queens Wood and Hay Wood and 4.5 miles of quiet country lanes and bridleways. 

Blakeney - This is a 12.5 mile route in a figure of 8, an undulating route with some long hills, although not very steep.  

Ride safely

Ensure you always wear a helmet , we recommend wearing hi-vis whilst riding off-road, this allows dog walkers, runners and cyclists to see you from a greater distance.  In the event that you have a fall, you may be seen much sooner and hopefully prevent any injuries from becoming more serious. 

Plan ahead

Before going out on a ride, research where you can and can't ride.  Look into more detail, any roads or tracks you may have to ride before entering the woodland and plan accordingly. Check if the woodland has any restrictions for horse riding. Have a fully charged mobile phone with you in case of emergency.

Be responsible

If you bring your dog with you please ensure it is in sight and close-by at all times.  Take steps to prevent dogs from going up to other people and animals uninvited and always clean up after your dog. Be aware that the forest is full of special wildlife that you might not be able to see.



Our work

Six logs on the ground in the sun within a conifer forest with a blue sky background

The forest of Dean - Our Work

Forests care for us. Together we care for forests. For over 100 years, we have been growing, shaping and caring for the Forest of Dean for the benefit and enjoyment of all, for this generation and the next. Shaping the landscape for people, wildlife and timber. Supplying sustainably-sourced timber, conserving plant and animal species, recovering vital ecosystems and returning missing species to our landscapes.

Our history

A view of Darkhill Ironworks

The Forest of Dean - Our History

The Forest of Dean is a historic forest with its origins as a royal forest pre-dating the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Forest has been historically isolated and bypassed, sitting as it does between the Rivers Severn and Wye, on the border of England and Wales.
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