Top natural attractions to see in the Forest of Dean

When it comes to natural attractions, the UK’s forests are absolute treasure troves of great places to explore. Areas like the Forest of Dean, for example, are home to all kinds of magical locations – and, personally, there’s nothing I love doing more on holidays than getting away from it all and discovering somewhere totally unspoilt and beautiful. I mean, it’s the perfect contrast to the average workaday week, isn’t it?

So, I thought I’d give you a rundown of some of my favourite pretty places to see when camping in the Forest of Dean. I hope it gives you a little inspiration for your own trip!

1) Puzzlewood

First on my list is the charmingly named Puzzlewood, which you’ll find in the nearby medieval town of Colefield (this is around a 20-minute drive from the forest). This absolutely magical place is famous for its mesmerising landscape, which includes mossy banks and twisted tree roots. In fact, walking in the shade of the tall trees here, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into the setting of a fairytale – or, indeed a hit TV programme.

You see, Puzzlewood has been used as a filming location for series like Merlin and Doctor Who. So, if a particular part of the woods looks familiar, you may well have already seen it on the small screen!

2) Symonds Yat Rock

Another great place to visit – that has, incidentally, also been used as a filming location – is Symonds Yat Rock. This is a lookout point that offers simply stunning views over both the Forest and the River Wye.

And, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might recognise it as the place where Harry and Hermione camped in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you’re travelling with children, they’ll no doubt be all the more excited to visit it once they hear this!

3) Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes

Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes may not have featured in any films, but I think this attraction is one of the real local highlights. The story behind it is incredible; after being built in approximately 1893, it fell into disrepair upon owner Henry Oakley’s death in 1940 and, just after WW2, was completely buried.

However, in 2001 a massive excavation and restoration project unearthed the garden, which is now open to the public during the summer months. Come here and you can discover truly magical scenery of ponds, rills, underground grottoes and subterranean tunnels.

4) Clearwell Caves

The last attraction on my list is the Clearwell Caves, which are also known as the Royal Forest of Dean’s Iron Mining Museum. This absolutely fascinating place has a 4,500-year history, which you can discover by exploring its nine caves.

As you walk through them, you’ll be able to look at a host of interesting and informative displays, as well as simply enjoy the place’s unique atmosphere. In fact, it is this atmosphere that helped it snap up a role as a filming location in the BBC series Merlin.

It’s also worth remembering that there’s a decent picnic area here, so on sunny days I’d recommend bringing a packed lunch – in my opinion, there’s no better way to enjoy the British summer than by treating yourself to an indulgent picnic in the great outdoors.


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