Places to Visit in the Forest of Dean


East Forest Area

Dean Heritage Centre

The essential introduction to the Forest of Dean, peacefully set beside a mill pond in a deep wooded valley.

The story of the Forest, from wild woodland before man to the present day. A Royal Forest since Norman times, with displays of the indutries of coal, timber and stone. Forester's cottage, charcoal burning.

Craft workshops, art and craft exhibitions, nature trails, adventure play area, picnic tables and barbeque hearths. The Heritage Kitchen provides home made snacks and full meals. (Parties catered for by prior arrangement).  Disabled access, including level nature trail.

Opening hours: April to October: daily 10am-6pm; November to March: daily 10am-5pm
(closed Christmas day and Boxing day)

Education staff provide talks, guided walks, and activities for school children of all ages.

Signposted from Cinderford and Blakeney (A48)

Dean Heritage Centre, Soudley, Cinderford, Gloucestershire. GL14 7UG.  tel: 01594-822170

 Dean Heritage Centre Page



Cannop Valley, Forest of Dean.  tel: 01594-860065

Hire of mountain bikes for all ages, so that you can ride the many signposted cycle tracks within the forest. Also hire tandems, trailers for kids 4-8 years old, and two-kid trailers. Kiddy seats, helmets.  Also included in the hire charge are waterproofs, puncture repair and basic toolkits, locks, stuffsacks, carriers and route maps.

This is an excellent way for the family to enjoy the Forest of Dean!  The bike hire centre is within easy reach of Cannop Ponds, the Sculpture Trail and Beechenhurst.



Beechenhurst is one of the main tourist centres of the Forest of Dean, with parking for cars and coaches.  The lodge has an excellent cafeteria, and the grounds have barbeque hearths, suitable for both small and large groups of people.  This is the starting point for the beautiful Sculpture Trail, and is within very easy walking distance of Cannop Ponds.

Book now! Situated on the B4226 Speech House Road (mid way between Coleford and Cinderford)


 [ Speech House Hotel ]

Littledean Hall

Littledean Hall is reputedly England's oldest inhabited house. The house has Saxon and Celtic remains in the cellars dated to before 11th century, and is believed to have originated in 5th or 6th century. Two officers were put to sword in the dining hall when the house became a Royalist garrison during the civil war.

Exhibits include a packaging collection. Ancient chestnut trees, a Victorian walled garden with ponds, and a Roman temple site are in this wonderful setting.

Launch site for big red Virgin Balloon Flights (call freephone 0800 132090)

Open daily 11.00am -5.00pm every day April until Oct. 31.
Adults £3.50, children under 16 £1.50, Senior citizenss £2.50.
Phone: 01594 824213
Fax: 01594 827337


The Sculpture Trail

If you walk in the woods today - or any other - you're sure of a big surprise. Not from bears - they're long extinct, but from some unique and imaginative sculptures seemingly dotted at random around the Speech House area of the Forest of Dean. A joint effort by the Forestry Commission and the Bristol based Arnolfini Gallery gave six sculptors the chance to design and build their own interpretations of forest life. The eerie 'Sound Sculptures' will catch your ear as well as your eye while the spectacular 'stained glass window' is suspended from giant beams high above eye level. Carved railway sleepers, forming an 'Iron Road' evokes memories of the Forest's industrial heritage. The huge 'Giant's Chair' certainly cannot be missed!  The sculptures are on view and spread over a gentle and picturesque two mile route, which starts from either Beechenhurst Lodge or the Speech House parking area.


 [ Speech House Hotel ]

Ruardean Garden Pottery

Using traditional techniques of throwing and press moulding John Huggins and his skilled assistants produce some of the finest English flower pots available. Visitors are always welcome; you can browse through displays of unique pots (Long Toms, small and huge pots, wall pots, pavers, edging bricks, even dragons) and enjoy the vibrant tones of real teracotta, rummage in the seconds corner or stroke the pottery cat! "Pots by Post" service to all parts of the UK.

Mon-Sat 9.00am-5.30pm, Sun (March-Sept. 1.00pm-5.00pm).
Tel: 01594 543557

Situated at West End, Ruardean. (Ruardean is signposted at Lydbrook, Drybrook and Brierley)

 [ Ruardean ]

Mechanical Organ Museum

Hidden away on the edge of the Forest of Dean is a unique collection of mechanical music spanning the last 150 years.

Springfields, Hawthorns Cross, Drybrook. Just north of the A4136. Open April, May, July & August Tuesdays and Thursdays 2.00pm to 5.00pm (Other times & parties by arrangement).
Just north of Drybrook.

Admission Adults £2.50, Senior Citizens £2.00 (donated to charity)
Phone: 01594 542278 Wally or Gill Marfell to arrange any special days/evenings and party rates.

 [ Drybrook ]  [ Cinderford ]

Harts Barn Flower & Craft Centre

Monmouth Road, Longhope, Gloucestershire, GL17 0QD
Tel: 01452 830954

Harts Barn Flower & Craft Centre lies 10 minutes away from the Wye Valley in its own picturesque setting. This old Norman hunting lodge is one of the oldest properties in the Forest of Dean, built by William Duke of Normandy to keep his hounds when he came to hunt in the Forest.

The main house and surrounding buildings have been sympathetically restored and incorporate the region's principal centre for dried flowers and traditional crafts. A Tea Shop and Pets Barn Vetinary Centre can also be found on site.

Harts Barn Flower & Craft Centre is situated on the Gloucester to Monmouth road A4136 between Longhope and Mitcheldean.

Opening times
Every day except Mondays. Open Bank Holidays.
1st April to 30th September, 10.00am to 5.30pm
1st October to 31st March, 10.00am to 4.00pm
(Closed Christmas Day to 2nd January)

Large parties are very welcome by appointment.

[ Hart's Barn Web Pages ]
[ Longhope ]  [ Mitcheldean ]

Balloon Flightsballoon

A balloon flight is a very special experience.  Vertigo is rare, and the balloon often flies low enough for the occupants to speak to people on the ground!  Flights are totally dependant on light winds and stable weather conditions, and normally take place in the early morning or evening, when these conditions prevail.  Heather Evans flies a balloon which can carry a group of six passengers, and often individuals are booked for their unique experience as a birthday or Christamas present from a friend or relative.

Contact Heather Evans on 01989-66034 (Ross on Wye)

(See also Virgin Ballon Flights from Littledean Hall)


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