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What are the top things to do in the Forest of Dean?

Posted on 21st January 2014

Thousands of people visit the Forest of Dean every year to experience the great outdoors and to learn more about the incredible history of this fascinating area. Some visitors, however, arrive without knowing exactly what the top Forest of Dean attractions are.

If you are one of those who are not sure about what to do while on a cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean, check out the following guide to a selection of the best things to do within its beautiful boundaries.

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

Embarking on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail is the epitome of a great family day out, with the four mile-long stretch – built in 1986 – featuring a range of sculptures that were built by artists to celebrate the forest’s rich environmental and historical landscape.

As well as families, the trail is also popular with hikers, couples, dog walkers and many other locals and visitors.

Some of the sculptures are hidden away in the forest and will need to be sought out – although, if you would prefer not to have to spend too long looking, a handy map can be picked up at the nearby Tourist Information Centre.

Forest of Dean railway

The Dean Forest Railway is rightly regarded as another top attraction in the area; its steam trains offer visitors cosy apartment coaches to sit in whilst travelling through all the most beautiful parts of the forest.

There are not too many places left in the UK which can now claim to be home to a truly traditional countryside steam railway, and this makes the line one of the most special of all Forest of Dean attractions.

To look through the timetables or to find out more about the railway, check out the Dean Forest Railway website.

Image Credit: Jim (flickr.com)

Canoeing and kayaking

No matter what the Forest of Dean weather is like during your stay, canoeing and kayaking on the River Wye is something that should certainly be tried whilst you are here.

The River Wye is easily accessible for all and is not very far from a number of quality holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean.

All of this makes for a great experience that is just waiting for families and groups of friends alike to enjoy. The River Wye not only offers slow running waters for beginners, but also rapids for the more experienced or thrill-seeking canoers and kayakers.

Canoeing and kayaking in the Forest of Dean also brings with it the likelihood of seeing some of the area’s most beautiful wildlife; whilst travelling down the river you might catch glimpses of a family of otters, some of the local peregrine falcons, or perhaps herons, kingfishers and dragonflies.

Image Credit: Les Haines (flickr.com)