fair weather

The Sculpture Trail

A fantastic 4 mile walk, with various woodland sculptures reflecting the life and work of the Forest of Dean – starting at Beechenhurst Lodge.

Established in 1986, this four mile long Sculpture Trail was one of the first to open in the UK. The Trail features sculptures created by artists to interpret the Forest environment and the history of this very unusual landscape. It provides a unique opportunity to walk through the woodlands and discover art along the way. Perfect for all ages and abilities, you don’t need to know about art to enjoy what you see.

The sculptures are commissioned by The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, a charitable organisation, working closely with the Forestry Commission. The Trust relies entirely on fundraising in order to commission the sculptures for the Trail. If you would like to contribute to future works, or towards maintenance of one of your favourite sculptures, please visit the website.

Kingfisher Boat Trips

Symonds Yat is world famous for its natural river scenery. The river winds its way through Symonds Yat gorge and village, dividing it into east and west. The Kingfisher cruise trips, which last around 35 minutes, start at 11am and go on until sunset. A full commentary is provided, telling of the natural beauty and history of the area. Evening trips with bar and buffet can be made for larger parties by prior arrangement.

Symonds Yat Canoe Hire Ltd, Symonds Yat West.
Tel : 01600 890883 / 01600 891069 / 0976 549699

2-3 & 4 seat Canadian canoes, kayaks. Hourly, half day, full day hire. Transport. BCU qualified instructors

Pedalabikeaway Cycle Centre

Cannop Valley (B4324), Tel: 01594 860065

Biking for Everyone : Traffic free waymarked trail – hourly rated. Comprehensive range of bikes for all ages. Special needs bikes and equipment. Open April to October (Nov. to March weekends) : Group hire, Guided Rides, Information/maps, Refreshments, Toilets

Pedalbikeaway has bikes for hire and is situated in the main car park. They also serve tea and snacks, sell spares and have toilets.  Pedalabikeaway offers 10% off bike hire for guests of The General Stores and George Cottage.

The FODCA trail is in the Forest of Dean, 3 miles East of Coleford, 18 miles West of Gloucester

Lydney Park Gardens

The gardens are  situated on the A48 Gloucester-Chepstow road between Lydney and Aylburton. (20 miles from Gloucester, 8 miles from Chepstow, 12 miles from the Severn Bridge.

The gardens, Roman Camp and Roman Museum are open on certain open days between April and June. Dates and times of opening vary each year, and can be found by enquiry to the Estate Office, tel. 01594-842844.

The main display is in a sheltered wooded valley with excellent landscaping, pools and dream-like pathways. Teas are available in the house on open days, and there is ample space for picnics in the Deer Park.

The Roman Camp and Temple is close to the house, and well worth a visit. This is one of the most important Roman archaeological sites in Britain.

Go-Ape at Beechenhurst

It’s not in the dictionary, but if it was, Go Ape would be described as a ‘tree-top adventure’.

We take one lush, green forest and a healthy dollop of breathtaking scenery; blend with a smattering of tree-top high wires, tricky crossings (using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire) and wind-in-your-face zip wires; finished off with a liberal dose of people in search of their inner Tarzan.

We kit people out with harnesses, pulleys and karabiners, give them a 30 minute safety briefing and training and let them loose into the forest canopy, free to swing through the trees. Of course, instructors are always on hand, regularly patrolling the forests (not in monkey suits unfortunately!)

The result is spectacular. The Go Ape experience gets you outdoors in the fresh air and above all (no pun intended), it’s just great fun.


A 3.7 mile walk which is steep in parts but provides good views of the surrounding countryside. Or spend a lazy summer’s day here beside the stream. The picnic site is situated in very picturesque surroundings. Great for the children. Ample car parking.

The Blackpool Brook trickles through this picnic site which is very popular in the summer months when the large oak trees provide dappled shade. Woodland walks, picnic & permanent BBQ facilities – no disposable BBQs or fires allowed.

Situated along the valley from Blakeney towards Parkend on the B4431 is yet more evidence of Dean’s industrial past, notably at the Forestry Commission picnic site at Wench Ford, where Blackpool Brook runs through a series of man-made pools and channels which helped control water flow to an iron furnace and forge at Blakeney.

Cannop Valley

Three walks which collectively make up a longer route of 10 miles. The area is full of interest reflecting the varied history of the Forest of Dean. Many different species of wildlife live within the Cannop Valley oaks.  A waymarked circular route mainly on former railway lines with connecting routes to villages and picnic sites. This route has been especially surfaced and is suitable for all ages and abilities. The trail starts at the Cycle Centre in the Cannop Valley. It takes you along the old Severn and Wye railway line passing former stations at Drybrook Road, Cannop Wharf and Speech House. Remnants of former coal mines can be seen at Foxes Bridge, Lightmoor and New fancy. A route card is available from Pedalabikeaway, Beechenhurst Lodge or the Forest of Dean’s Coleford office for 60p.

Mallards Pike

These lakes were constructed by the Forestry Commission and are a popular attraction for walking, cycling and other adventure activities.

Voted the best place to picnic in the South West in the Warburton’s Picnic Awards 2010.

The lower lake can be booked for boating activities – groups only. The lakeside path is easy access and has benches dotted alongside it – good vantage points for watching mandarins and other ducks.

Hot and cold refreshments available from a mobile cabin every day in the summer, also most weekends in the winter, weather permitting.

For a more comprehensive list of out door activities, visit The Speech House Web-site

The Speech House Hotel, is a former 17th century hunting lodge set in the heart of the idillic Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Overlooking the romantic wilderness of the surrounding Forest of Dean, The Speech House Hotel offers comfortably appointed bedrooms, several with four-poster beds have been tastefully refurbished and offer modern facilities while retaining their original charm.

Walkers and Cyclists Welcome :
There are plenty of hooks in both the internal and external porches for coats and jackets, and three racks of boot pegs. There is also a boot scraper and an outdoor hosepipe for cleaning off excessively muddy walking boots. Cycles can be stored in the garden side of the second set of gates, which have a sliding bolt on the inside for overnight security.

There are plenty of local maps & guide books in the hall drawers and tourist information display. The village library on the High St, carries a lot of local tourist information.

Copyright © Mill End Mitcheldean, Forest of Dean