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Why is the Dean Forest Railway a must-do activity?

Posted on 09th April 2014

The Dean Forest Railway is a major attraction in the Forest of Dean and offers visitors a beautiful 8.5-mile trip through the medieval forest on famous old steam trains.

It is no surprise then that thousands of people staying in luxury holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean travel down the route.

If you are unsure of whether you should experience it or not, here is the top five reasons why taking a trip along the Forest of Dean railway should not be missed during your breakaway to the region.

  1. 1.    You get to ride the train

Obviously the main attraction is taking a ride on the stunning steam trains and with tickets offering unlimited journeys on the day you purchase the ticket, it really is worth the money.

Put simply, it is the best way to see the beautiful Forest of Dean without having to put on your hiking boots or having to jump on a bicycle, although many people actually use the train to travel to bike or walking trails within the forest.

The Dean Forest Railway really is a special route and not only offers visitors stunning countryside views, but also has a number of popular real ale pubs along the route.

  1. 2.    Relive your childhood

If you are an adult or have young children I am sure you will remember the programme Thomas and Friends, which featured Thomas the Tank Engine.

If that is the case then you can bring back some happy memories; every year Thomas and Friends come to the Forest of Dean and take people along the Dean Forest Railway.

This year, Thomas the Tank Engine and Daisy the Diesel will be visiting the region from 24th-26th May and 15th-17th August. Their visits usually mean thousands of people turn out to see the magnificent steam trains rolling into the likes of Lydney train station. The event is spectacular and is certainly worth a visit.

Image Credit 1: Jim, the Photographer (flickr.com)

  1. 3.    The museum is fascinating

Another reason why you should take a trip on the Dean Forest Railway is to visit the museum that is located nearby.

The Dean Forest Railway Museum Trust is located at Norchard and is not just interesting for train enthusiasts, but for all types of visitors.

The museum is full of railway artefacts and collectibles from around the Forest of Dean, Severn and Wye areas. The museum details how the railway used to look, what it was used for and what train staff used to wear.

  1. 4.    There are plenty of walks around the Dean Forest Railway

The Dean Forest Railway is popular with visitors on cottage holidays in the Forest of Dean as it offers easy travel to some spectacular walks.

Some of the best walks include walks in Parkend, which offers visitors an insight into a typical forest village, and the Lydney junction walk, which is a three-mile trail that takes walkers to the Lydney Harbour and offers ramblers views of the Severn Bridges.

Image Credit 2: Kurt Thomas Hunt (flickr.com)

  1. 5.    Drive a steam engine

The Dean Forest Railway offers “experience days” that allow visitors to spend a whole day operating an ex-GWR pannier, small prairie tank locomotive or a big mainline diesel steam train.

The course is a dream for most people and those who book the course do not need any prior qualifications or skills as there will be a fully-qualified DFR driver on hand to help. So why not give it a go? Click here to visit the official website.