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Historical attractions in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 17th November 2015

While the Forest of Dean is renowned for its natural beauty, it is also home to many historical attractions, which all tell a story about the area’s past. From the remains of grand castles to beautiful houses and stately homes, there’s plenty to discover on a Forest of Dean cottage holiday. It may even be that the property you’re staying in is a listed building itself!

Here is a selection of our favourite historical attractions in the Forest of Dean, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire.

Berkeley Castle

Belonging to the Berkeley family for more than nine centuries, this castle is particularly significant to history, as it has played an important part in numerous power struggles. What is most impressive is that the castle is still intact, including all of its contents and 12th century archives.

It looks just like one you would find in a fairy tale, with a warm pink stone that glows soft in the sunset light, surrounded by battlements. Those visiting the castle can take a tour of the inside, while also admiring its grandeur from outside in the surrounding gardens and butterfly house.

Berkeley Castle

Image Credit: Smoobs flickr.com)

Brockhampton Estate

This medieval manor house is owned by the National Trust, and sits in the heart of a 1,700-acre farmed estate, in a location near to Hereford. Visitors enter the estate via a romantic timber-framed gatehouse dating back to the 1500s, with the building itself surrounded by a charming and pretty moat. There are miles and miles of walks through parks and woodlands, where a rich variety of wildlife, ancient trees, and a picturesque Lawn pool can be discovered. There are also many sculptures throughout, which depict the history of the estate and the local area and will delight those with a passion for history as well as the creative arts.

Brockhampton Estate

Image Credit: Tony Hisgett (flickr.com)

Gloucester Folk Museum

As one of the oldest established museums dedicated to social history, this attraction is certainly worth visiting when in Gloucestershire, mainly due to its fascinating collection of materials. The building itself is more than 500 years old, and is particularly attractive due to its Tudor timber-frames, which are a signature of this period. Exhibitions range from a reconstructed Victorian classroom to an insight into the life of a dairy, which will be sure to keep all ages entertained. Visitors can also enjoy the cottage garden and folk tea rooms for a light snack in the charming setting.

Gloucester Folk Museum

Image Credit: Jim Linwood (flickr.com)

Hereford Cathedral (The Chained Library)

Those finding themselves close to Hereford should make sure to look out for the remarkable cathedral, which stands tall in the city centre, just a few minutes’ walk from the High Street. As a fine example of architectural excellence from the Norman times, there’s so much to see, including the beautifully restored Shrine of St Thomas of Hereford, and the Chained Library. The latter is worth visiting in its own right, as the collection of books were put together, long before ‘libraries’ in the modern sense existed. What is so spectacular is that the books are protected by chains, which was once the most widespread and effective method for securing costly items in the middle ages.

Hereford Cathedral

Image Credit: Chris Moore (flickr.com)

Tintern Abbey

Many will have heard of Tintern Abbey due to the influence it has had on inspirational writers and artists, such as William Turner and William Wordsworth. This is just one of the numerous reasons why thousands flock to see the remains each year, which also happen to be set in the picturesque Wye Valley, overlooking the famous river in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The abbey is currently undergoing conservation work, in order to preserve the iconic 13th century west front, which is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Britain.

Tintern Abbey

Image Credit: Stewart Black (flickr.com)