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Follow in the footsteps of the famous in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 16th October 2014

The Forest of Dean is renowned for its great outdoor activities as it boasts walks, bike trails, kayaking, rock climbing, caving and many more activities.

This is why holiday cottages and lodges in the Forest of Dean are popular destinations for a breakaway, but if you want to do something slightly different during your trip then follow in the footsteps of some of the county’s most well-known people from both the past and present.

Below is a guide to some of the people that have connections with the Royal Forest of Dean and its surrounding area, and the reasons why you should visit them.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling, who is arguably the world’s most famous modern day author after the huge success of her seven Harry Potter books, lived in Tutshill near Chepstow. Tutshill is a great place to visit as it is located on the banks of the River Wye and offers great vistas of the surrounding area.

If you are staying in the Forest of Dean and are a Harry Potter fan then a visit to Tutshill could show you what her life would have been like before she became the famous person she is today. What’s more, in the seventh book, the Deathly Hallows, Hermione takes the group to the Forest of Dean because she enjoyed many holidays there with her family – so fans can imagine they are walking in the witch’s footsteps!

Another place that Harry Potter fans should visit is Gloucester Cathedral – it was the scene for much of the movies filming.

Staying with J.K. Rowling, the British writer’s The Casual Vacancy novel, which is being adapted into a BBC drama, has been filmed across a number of locations in the Forest of Dean including in Minchinhampton.

Image Credit: lozikiki (flickr.com)

Monty Don

Monty Don, who is the main presenter of popular TV programme Gardeners’ World, has a two-acre garden in Herefordshire on the northern tip of the Forest of Dean.

People staying in forest lodges in this area should not only explore this part of the Forest of Dean, but should also try to fit in some day trips to Hereford and its cathedral, as well as some of the county’s other fascinating villages.

Image Credit: jo-marshall (flickr.com)


British indie dance band, EMF, came from the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley area and came to the public’s attention in the early 1990s with their single ‘Unbelievable’.

The ‘Unbelievable’ single reached the heady heights of number 3 in the UK music charts and went to number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. EMF’s first album, which was called ‘Schubert Dip’, was also a huge success and reached number 3 in the UK album charts.

Three of the five band mates came from Gloucester, so if you used to dance away to EMF then why not check out some of their old hangouts in the city during your stay?

Horatio Nelson

The famous British admiral was not from the Forest of Dean or the surrounding area, but his two visits to Monmouth still left a great impression on locals.

This has resulted in people from Monmouth creating a large collection of Horatio Nelson memorabilia, most of which can be seen in Monmouth Museum.

Monmouth is on the border of the Forest of Dean and is perfect for people on Forest of Dean cottage holidays and breaks, who can travel over to the Welsh town to see this magnificent collection.

Image Credit: Harry Ross (flickr.com)

Dick Whittington

The greatest merchant in medieval England was Dick Whittington and he was born in Pauntley in the Forest of Dean.

The Forest of Dean Council and the Gloucester City Council have information on what he achieved during his impressive life, but to give you an insight he not only supplied silks for the wedding dresses of King Henry IV’s daughters, but also surpassed our very own Boris Johnson by becoming Mayor of London four times.

Families can also visit the Dick Whittington Farm Park near Longhope for more information about his life as well as a chance to get up close and personal to some farm animals.

Image Credit: Lonpicman (Wikimedia.org)