The Forest of Dean
A beautiful day in an astonishing forest
Spend your weekend getting close to nature and discovering the creative sculptures at The Forest of Dean.
Located in the picturesque county of Gloucestershire, you can enjoy beautiful views of the River Wye - the fourth-longest river in the UK.
Don't know where to start this thrilling journey? Head to the heart of the forest where you'll find Beechenhurst.
Smell the sweet aroma of coffee as you stroll up to the cafe and order a hot cappuccino for your walk.
Next, make a stop off at the play area where the kids will love swinging in the giant birds' nest or whizzing down the zip wire.
Admire the beauty of the unusual outdoor sculptures
Stroll around the forest and you might catch a glimpse of the light reflecting on the glass of the beautiful Cathedral Window - a fabulous art installation that's 15 feet high.
When the sun shines directly through the window, you'll get lost in its beauty, as you hear the birds singing all around.
Michael Archer, the artist expresses, his thoughts on how he created the piece:
“The image in the window is not a literal representation of this location, it’s a culmination of drawings and photographs I did around the forest.
It does key into where it is - the morning window faces east, the pool of bright yellow light reflects that, whilst the window originally intended to face west was an evening window, with a more mellow and longer light".
More artwork to enjoy
Slices of sunbeams shine through the leaves as you lean back against the trunk of a tree and gaze at The House sculpture which captures the feeling of calmness and solitude.
The towering piece reflects the shape and height of the trees and the small, wooden house on top creates a symbol for shelter and protection of the forest.
Want to see another thought-provoking sculpture? Take a walk around the larch tree, feeling the moss-covered roots underfoot.
Kneel to have a closer look at the five steel plates which form the art installation called The Deadwood.
Feel the cold metal on the tip of your finger as you brush the forest soil from the top. The Deadwood represents the memories of the European forests devastated by war.
Admiring the sensational art and taking in the peace of this gorgeous forest will give you a new perspective on life.
You'll soon be returning to bask in its glorious surroundings once again.
How many animal sounds will you recognise?
Your eyes will be drawn to the rasping sound of peregrine falcons at Symonds Yat Rock which blends with the hoot of the tawny owls.
Wait with a watchful eye to spot birds of prey after enjoying a lovely filling meal from the cosy Log Cabin cafe.
We'd definitely recommend seeking out the calming sound of the water bubbling over rocks and branches as you make your way to the ancient hill fort here, built 2,500 years ago.
Get involved in fun events
Thinking about your next adventure? You won't need to look too far as Go Ape Tree Top Challenge has arrived at Mallards Pike Lake.
Relax and breathe in the fresh air at the peaceful lake before you get your adrenaline up at Go Ape.
The wind will flow against your skin as you walk on nets between the trees, feeling like a monkey jumping from branch to branch.
Perfect place for birdwatching
Nagshead Nature Reserve is a wonderful place to go birdwatching.
With lots of rare species including pied flycatchers, woodpeckers, and goshawks, the trails here are sure to thrill wildlife lovers.
There are even hides along the way where you can sit and wait for a better view of the feathered residents.
Have a seat at one of the picnic benches near the visitor centre and recharge with your lunch.
While you’re here, you can also check out the bulletin board to see what birds have been spotted recently.
The forest's little secret
Fancy something a bit more luxurious? Head to Speech House Woods to uncover an intriguing piece of history.
Learn the 300-year-old stories that lie behind these brick walls as you step inside, surrounded by grand velvet curtains and beautiful antique furniture.
Originally constructed as a hunting lodge for King Charles II back in 1669, you can now tuck into a delicious meal beside the traditional open fireplace crackling away.
Wash it all down with a lovely glass of wine as you admire the mastery of the paintings hanging around you.
A beautiful day out
The Forest of Dean will open the door to adventure, relaxation, bonding with your dog, or reconnecting with an old friend.
Anything is possible here, all you need to do is take some time to enjoy it.
Paid parking, Toilets, Café
You might also like
Hop on board at the steam trains at Dean Forest Railway and admire the beautiful forest around you
Learn about aviation history and step aboard the last Concorde to ever fly - book tickets for a year of free entry! Discount WEB2023
Showcasing the might of Roman history in Britain, the Corinium Museum dives into the history of Roman rule and beyond with various exciting exhibits