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Explore Forest Of Dean
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.4/5)

The Forestry Commission look after the Forest of Dean for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a mountain biker or a lover of nature, a great day out awaits...

This ancient forest has changed many times over the centuries. In medieval times it was a royal hunting forest, before becoming a source of timber for the navy's Tudor warships. By Victorian times it was a major site of industry, with coal mining and tramways punctuating the landscape.

Today the forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, and a great place to explore. See if you can find the hidden remains of industry as you enjoy this wild and beautiful forest.

The forest has four main visitor sites, as highlighted below, but many more places to visit.

Symonds Yat Rock

Walk through the Iron Age fort to find stunning views over the River Wye and beyond. Can you spot the birds of prey?

Cannop Cycle Centre

We’ve got trails for everyone, so bring your bike or hire one from the shop. Explore the forest then refuel in the cafe.

Beechenhurst Lodge

The best place to start your forest adventure! Discover the Sculpture Trail, play area, cafe, shop and climbing tower. Come along and try the Gruffalo Activity trail from April 11th.

Mallards Pike Lake

Enjoy a walk and a picnic by the lake, swing onto the Go Ape high-ropes course or explore the forest on an all-terrain segway!

Opening times

The four main visitor sites above are currently open to the public from 8am - 7.30pm although individual opening times for the cafes and other facilities will vary, please check the individual websites for further details.

Charges are as follows:

Cars and minibuses:
March - October £3.50                                       
November  - February £3.00
Coaches: £10 all year

Please bring the correct change with you, credit card facilities are not available at the ticket machines due to poor mobile phone coverage.  Tickets can be bought by credit card at Forest of Dean Adventure, Beechenhurst.

Forest Activities Festival

Takes place on April 27th based on the Speech House Hotel field, with otulying activities at Beechenhurst Lodge and Mallards Pike Lake.

Go Ape. UK’s No.1 Forest Adventure Enjoy two to three hours of adventure high above the forest floor, taking on Zip Wires, Tarzan Swings and a variety of Crossings.
Take a look and book at our Go Ape page.

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

If your interested in learning more about whats happening in the forest of dean take a look at this blog. It tells you more about the interesting things that are going on in the forest of dean.

Nadine, 3/Apr/2014
4 Stars 4 Stars

Wild boars are here in such numbers that sightings are regular, daily events. In Pillowell ward they are invading and rooting up grassed areas on playing fields, gardens and businesses on a daily basis. They damage fences and gates and other property, not just grass. There are real costs to all this. The Forestry Commission are undertaking a cull but after a month there seems to be no visible impact. Few people want the boars eradicated but they all want greatly reduced numbers.

Cllr Don Pugh, FODDC., 14/Oct/2013

Walking from Symonds Yat East along the old railway yesterday morning (4.10.13) my Mum and I saw a very large stag, so dark it was almost black, with large antlers. It stood in a slight clearing, looked at us for a moment then disappeared. We were awestruck. I have searched websites trying to find information, but most say there are only Fallow and Roe Deer here. Was it a very dark Red Deer?

Karen, 5/Oct/2013
More user comments

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Chalara ash dieback

What's Here?

  • No swimming
  • Arboreta
  • The Cyril Hart Arboretum can be explored for 200 + varieties of trees
  • Arts
  • The Scultpure Trail can be joined at Beechenhurst Lodge.
  • Barbeque
  • BBQs stands/stones at Beechenhurst and Wenchford. Please do not place disposable BBQs on the picnic tables. No fires allowed.
  • Cafe
  • Cafe facilities at Beechenhurst, Cannop Cycle Centre and Symonds Yat Rock. Refreshments avaiable seasonally at Mallards Pike, Wenchford and Cannop Ponds
  • Camping
  • Camping is on authorised sites only. Camping in the Forest and Forest Holiday cabins are based just outside of Coleford.
  • Cycling
  • Visit Cannop Cycle Centre for a variety of waymarked trails and bike hire.
  • Fishing
  • Day tickets are available at Cannop Ponds
  • Horse riding
  • The stoned road network is suitable for riding. Try starting from Mallards Pike Lake or Symonds Yat Rock
  • Picnic
  • Plenty of picnic sites
  • Play area
  • Large childrens play area at Beechenhurst Lodge
  • Walking
  • Visit Beechenhurst, at the heart of the Forest to start your walk.
  • Viewpoint
  • Symonds Yat Rock is an internationally renowned viewpoint, New Fancy is also worth a look too!
  • Toliets
  • available at all four main visitor sites
  • Wildlife
  • Available at Nagshead Nature reserve
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: SO 624 114

Get directions


West England District
01594 833057

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified