geographical, historical and cultural region in Gloucestershire, England

The Forest of Dean (Welsh: Fforest y Ddena) is 110 km (68 mi)² of ancient woodland in the West Country region of England.



The southern part Forest of Dean district is one of the United Kingdom's most impressive forests, offering spectacular scenery throughout the year: whether it's bluebells in spring or the rich colours of oak in the autumn. The northern half around the town of Newent is more open countryside and also worth visiting. The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley is also a great area for outdoor activities including walking, cycling, canoeing or kayaking on the River Wye, climbing, caving, Nordic walking are just some of the activities that can be found in the area.

Mining in the forest goes back before Roman times. Also, the Forest of Dean used to be the elite Hunting Forest for royalty.

Great scenery all around the main forest area comprising of lots of hills and trees.

Visitor information


Towns and villages



  • 1 Cinderford  
  • 2 Coleford  
  • 3 Lydney
  • 4 Mitcheldean  

Get in


From the South come in on the M4 and cross over the river Severn on the Severn Bridge (M48). From the north come down the M5.

Fees and permits


If you go for fishing then you will need a permit.

Get around


There is a train route from Chepstow to Lydney, and also the Dean Forest Railway which runs from Lydney to Parkend. Due to its semi-rural location there is a limited bus service in most parts of the area, and a car would be a much quicker means of transport. Gloucestershire Tourism provides a Royal Forest website [dead link] which shows a touring route around the Forest of Dean, taking in all the major attractions.

"Cathedral", a stained glass window in the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Coleford

The Speech House walk is well worth to see for sculptures deep inside the Forest. Clearwell Caves are ancient Iron mines estimated to be worked for over 8,000 years and is worth a look into. Lydney Park is worth a visit to see some Roman ruins. Great Western Railway Museum (Coleford) is excellent for steam buffs. The main feature is the landscape - some of the towns are very ordinary. May Hill towards the North provides panoramic views

Lots of scope for walking and off-road cycling. Quite a few marked trails.

  • 1 Way2go Adventures, 20 Forest Road Milkwall Coleford, +44 1594 800908, . Outdoor activities, guided canoeing, kayaking, trips on the River Wye from half day to 2 days and longer, BCU courses, raft building, geo-caching, Nordic walking for families, schools and youth groups, corporate and team building.

No city centre in the Forest of Dean, only Market towns and villages in this district so not a great place to go shopping if you are looking for the typical high street shops. However, if you enjoy the small individual shops with character, there are plenty to be found.

Lots of nice restaurants and also good quality pub meals.



Local ale is still made in the Forest of Dean for 'Real Ale' fans. The Freeminer brewery produce several different unique beers.







There are several camping sites in the area; best to check with the tourism board for the best facilities.

Stay safe


There is a chance of coming across wild boar in the area, keep your distance and do not get between mother and young.

Go next


The nearest cities are Bristol and Newport, both within 30 minutes drive. Gloucester is actually closer (about a 20 minutes drive), but it is a much smaller city.

Routes through Forest of Dean
NewportChepstow    SW   NE  Gloucester

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