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Forest of Dean Forest of Dean Forest of Dean Forest of Dean Forest of Dean Forest of Dean

Explore Forest Of Dean
(Average user rating: 4 unrated 3.8/5)

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, Tree Top Junior and climbing tower.

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  open to the public from 8am (except Christmas Day) and close as follows:

Nov- Feb 5.00pm
March 6.30pm
April 8pm
May - Aug 9pm
Sept 7.30pm
Oct 6.30pm

Individual opening times for the cafes and other facilities will vary, please check the individual websites for further details.


The majority of car parks in the Forest of Dean are free of charge.  The main sites have Pay and Display machines in the car parks.  The money raised is essential for the maintenance of the visitor sites and for future  improvements.  Please see individual site pages for the pricing structures and ways to pay.

Please note that parking charges apply to Blue Badge holders.

Regular visitors may like to consider purchasing a Discovery Pass for the Forest of Dean.  This is valid at all of the sites for a year and is priced at just £30.  The pass also includes a discount card with various offers from site partners.

Forest Learning

If you are intending to visit the Forest with a school or group, please refer to Learning in the Forest of Dean for essential information. 

Overnight stopping

Please note that overnight stopping in the Forest is only permitted on authorised campsites.  (Forestry Commission Byelaws 1982 section 5 (x)) Camping in the Forest is located on the outskirts of Coleford and has direct access into the surrounding woodland.

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

Lovely, undeveloped part of the UK with developing cycle scene. Loved the family friendly route from Cannop, which offers choice of route/difficulty. Lucky to find Lydney Brew on our homeward journey - an indie coffee shop in Lydney with hosts Tom & Lucy - words cannot describe the food on offer, at affordable prices - parking at the rear so we had no worries about our bikes. A great day out in the Forest of Dean - we will return!

Anonymous, 25/Sep/2017
4 Stars 4 Stars

I am a regular walker in Abbots Wood and I am fed up with the abuse of footpaths by horse riders. In and after wet weather the horses churn up the paths making them almost impassable at some points. This selfish and anti social behaviour on the part of horse riders. There are miles of metalled tracks but they still wreck the narrow paths.It is perfectly feaseable to do circular rides without the use of paths They also never pull the horse to one side when it needs to defecate.

SG Bosher, 13/Jun/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

We walked around Connop Lake today, and it was gorgeous. Lots of cyclists who were all friendly and appreciative of us holding onto our dogs as they passed. Thank you to all those who look after the beautiful F of Dean.

Anonymous, 11/Jun/2017
More user comments

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Last updated: 17th August 2018

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • No swimming
  • Arboreta
  • The Cyril Hart Arboretum can be explored for 200 + varieties of trees
  • Arts
  • The Sculpture 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 available 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
  • Hi-Rope
  • Go Ape High Ropes course is located at Mallards Pike.
  • 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
  • Segway
  • Can be found at Mallards Pike
  • 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
0300 067 4800

Related documents

Useful sites

Family activities

Forest Plans

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.