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Top place to propose in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 11th February 2017

Valentine’s Day has long been associated with romance. Though there is little known of Saint Valentine himself and less evidence to connect him with romance, couples around the world use the 14th of February as the perfect excuse to celebrate their love. Many believe that it was Geoffrey Chaucer who in fact created the association between St. Valentine’s Day and romance, purely down to the time of year, as it was a long-held belief in Britain and France that mid-February was the time birds paired off in preparation for mating.

Puzzlewood – Forest of Dean

Acknowledged as the most romantic day of the year, millions of people across the globe wind up proposing on February 14th. As with all important events in life, a proposal should be carefully planned and beautifully executed, which means not only must the speech and ring be polished, but the setting must be perfect, too.

The Forest of Dean has long held an appeal for its outstanding beauty. With many visitors revelling in the peace beneath the towering trees, it is a wonderful location for an intimate moment, let alone one of the most important questions you will ever ask. However, the real question is: where is the most romantic spot in over 40 square miles of near-pristine woodland?

An area mentioned time and time again for its popularity, Puzzlewood has been the source of inspiration for fictional settings in Lord of the Rings, while also providing locations for many films and British dramas including Merlin, Atlantis and Jack the Giant Slayer. The unusual geology as well as the ancient forest creates an ethereal and intimate atmosphere that is quite impossible to find anywhere else in the world. Helen O ‘Kane, a member of Puzzlewood’s staff, recounts some of the more thoughtful engagements that have happened in Puzzlewood:

“One lovely couple came here from the USA on holiday, they both loved Puzzlewood. So much so, that he flew her and their son, all the way back here to surprise her and propose! She said yes!”

Another couple who got engaged in the woods had actually visited the area before. Helen explains: “They noticed our Little House inside the woods and always wondered what it was like inside – the picket fence around it is kept locked. The gentleman contacted me, explained he would love to propose in there. So I hid a few personal items of theirs, left it open, and then they stumbled across the unlocked gate and went inside! She said yes!”

If you are visiting the Forest of Dean for a cottage holiday with the intention of proposing, or merely to enjoy the surrounding area and the other delights it has to offer, Puzzlewood is not to be missed and is worth walking through with your loved one.

Image Credit: GuyBerresfordPhotography (Shutterstock) 

Gloucester’s wet November – Rainy day activities in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 22nd November 2016

Various regions of the British Isles have encountered flooding in the past couple of weeks, and today the Gloucestershire City Police among other organisations have released safety recommendations for residents and visitors travelling in the area. As of yet, the Forest of Dean has not seen any significant incidents, and luckily the area is well-prepared for extreme weather. However, if you are headed on a Forest of Dean cottage holiday, it is worthwhile keeping some basic measures in mind before setting out on the roads to allow you to enjoy your visit to the full.

Forest of Dean Lake

On Twitter, the Gloucestershire City Police reminded county residents, “Please be aware of standing water on roads. If you come across a flooded road, drive through highest section slowly. If in doubt don’t enter”. According to Gloucestershire Live, the RAC also released recommendations for drivers, including pointers such as ensuring windscreen wipers are fully functional, filling up with fuel before travel, carrying a mobile phone in case you encounter any difficulties during your journey and checking that your tyres are of the recommended tyre tread depth. If you are travelling up to the Forest of Dean area at this time of year it is good to keep these protocols in mind.

The Forest of Dean is a beautiful location to visit at this time of year, regardless of the weather. Get your wellies on and head out into the woodland to enjoy the rich colours of the leaves on the trees, and to catch a glimpse of the diverse local wildlife going about their daily lives. The Environment Agency are currently advising walkers to avoid rivers such as the River Lyd and Cinderford Brook during heavy rain, as these can flow quickly and occasionally flood.

What to do in the Forest of Dean on rainy days

Luckily, there is plenty to do in the Forest of Dean on a rainy day. Why not visit a local museum such as Gloucester City museum, where the kids can dress up as a Roman soldier and you can discover all about the background of this fascinating region? The Dean Heritage Centre is the perfect day out for art and history lovers, with five galleries exploring the history of the area from the Ice Age to the present day and a Victorian school room to spark children’s imaginations! Alternatively, Gloucestershire is full of fantastic theatres such as The Playhouse, and Cotswold Farm Park is full of adorable farm animals in warm, dry barns. For the adventure-lover, there are plenty of climbing walls, go karting centres and even a laser tag arena in Gloucester. Or, to while away the hours on a rainy afternoon whilst gaining a new skill, get creative and paint some pottery whilst enjoying a coffee at shops around the county.

So, whatever the weather, you’ll never be short of ways to spend some delightful days in the Forest of Dean!

Image Credit: Andrew Callow (Visualhunt)

Monmouthshire Show set to entertain Forest of Dean

Posted on 12th August 2016

The Monmouthshire Show is ready to welcome thousands of visitors to enjoy the best the Forest of Dean region has to offer. Labelled as the “Biggest One Day Show in Wales” by organisers, it is a chance to enjoy the agricultural heritage around the River Wye.

Horse galloping at Monmouthshire Show

Scheduled to happen on the 25th August, the show is a perfect destination for families enjoying a cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean. The event includes farm life events and demonstrations. There will be equipment, livestock competitions, horse jumping competitions and more.

In the main ring, there are some unique and exciting events to keep the crowds entertained. The Stampede Stunt Company will stage a medieval jousting tournament; ponies will race pulling scurry carriages in a fast and exciting event. There will be an appearance by the Monmouthshire Fox Hounds and Inter Hunt Relay.

A highlight of the day will be the Grand Parade. In the Main Ring, all of the prize-winning animals will be brought out for display to those in attendance. The champions from each section will be presented with their trophies and awards.

The grounds for the Monmouthshire Show are right on the banks of the River Wye – located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The event includes horticulture displays, dog shows, and a tremendous locally made craft and shopping marquee. The event will feature a food and drink hall as well.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Monmouthshire Show website.

Image Credit: Keith Moseley (flickr.com)

Thomas the Tank Engine to visit Dean Forest Railway

Posted on 01st August 2016

The Dean Forest Railway will welcome one of the country’s most famous tank engines in August as Thomas and his friends will make an appearance at the Gloucestershire attraction.

Thomas the Tank Engine

On the weekend of 19-21 August, Thomas the Tank Engine will pull into the historic train depot. During the event, visitors will be able to ride on a real steam engine, shake hands with the well-known Fat Controller, as well as experience a whole host of activities at the Thomas-themed “Imagination Station”.

The Day Out with Thomas is sure to be a hit with the little ones. For those enjoying a cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean, a trip to the railway may be the perfect day out.

The tourist attraction offers a 4.5 mile track through the beautiful woodlands of the Forest of Dean. The railway line includes five stations that allow visitors to jump off and enjoy a variety of guided walks, country pubs, as well as access to Lydney Harbour and the Severn Estuary.

You can book tickets for the event at www.dayoutwiththomas.co.uk/deanforest.

The ticket affords you entrance to the event and more. The kids can take Brake Van Rides with Thomas. Take some storytelling train rides on Daisy and The Big Steam Train. There will be re-enactments of famous scenes from Thomas & Friends as well.

Attendees will receive stickers, a certificate, and feature a miniature railway display. For a bit of tradition, there will also be Punch & Judy Shows and on-train entertainers.

Image Credit: Henry Burrows (flickr.com)

Lydney Harbour set to become Forest of Dean tourist gem

Posted on 18th July 2016

Thanks to cooperation amongst local leaders and a developer’s vision, Lydney Harbour on the Severn Estuary may soon be transformed into a tourist gem within the upcoming year.

Lydney Harbour

With recent planning permission granted, work is set to commence to make the Forest of Dean’s hidden harbour into a place people want to go whilst on holiday. The development of new restaurants, pubs and historical sites will be yet another great reason to book one of the many nearby holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean.

“It’s important that life and vitality is brought back to this harbour location blessed with some of the most stunning views and outlook on the Severn Estuary,” said harbour custodian Richard Cook in speaking with local media. “By developing the leisure, cultural and historic connections to this site we believe we can make this a major tourist attraction of the south west.”

A business owner in the area, Cook has said he wants to expand his Severn and Wye smokery business – currently from Chaxhill – and bring it to an unused factory on the Harbour. As part of his contribution, he is also hoping to add a restaurant or cafe overlooking the Severn Estuary.

The harbour community of Lydney grew to prominence during the region’s mining years. It was a major stopping point for Forest of Dean coal before it was transported to other parts of the country and even the world.

“I believe the harbour is a hidden gem and has the potential to become one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions,” said Lydney councillor Brian Pearman.

“It makes sense for us all to work together on bringing in investment to improve public access and make the harbour more pleasant for visitors by providing toilets and somewhere people can get something simple to eat and drink,” he said.

Image Credit: Ben Salter (flickr.com)