The Forest of Dean is one of the most historic protected areas in the UK. As @bho_history describes, it’s “A large tract of woodland and wasteland that was reserved for royal hunting before 1066 and survived into the modern period as one of the principal Crown forests in England, the largest after the New Forest.”
Discover the ancient and modern history of the forest, and enjoy a great day out with one of these fantastic walks.
St Briavels Loop
This seven-mile route begins at St Briavels, a picturesque Norman castle a few miles south of Clearwell village. From there, the route takes you north to enjoy sweeping views of the Wye Valley before turning east to Slade Bottom.
A narrow forest track will bring you out at the stunning Travertine Dams, a natural phenomenon formed by spring water working its way through porous limestone.
The route then takes you up onto Weygate Lane, part of the original 1755 toll road from Monmouth to Chepstow. You’ll then walk through the beautiful Bigsweir Woods, across Offa’s Dyke, and back to St Briavels Common. The village pub, located next to the castle, is the perfect place to relax after your hike.
Running alongside the 8th century earthworks built to mark the border between the Welsh kingdom of Powys and Anglian Murcia, the Offa’s Dyke Path is one of the most historic routes in the area. The entire path is 177 miles in length.
However, if you want a route you can tackle in a day, you can just walk the stretches in and around the Forest of Dean. The route is very well signposted and the going is generally good, making it suitable for most people.
Bixslade Tramroad Trail
Though it might not look it today, The Forest of Dean was once a fairly industrial area. This easy three-mile route will take you to a selection of industrial landmarks and give you a good idea of the region’s working past.
Along the way, you’ll see a working freemine, a monument to a mining disaster, old drift mines, and working quarries. Make sure you stay well away from any old mines or caves as these areas can be dangerous.
The Lancaut Peninsular
This six-mile walk starts from the 11th century Chepstow Castle and takes you on a fascinating stroll around the Lancaut Peninsular. Home to a deserted village and a number of ancient ruins, the peninsular is one of the most unique places in the Forest of Dean.
Almost cut off from traffic, it’s the perfect place to get close to nature and enjoy the beauty of the Wye Valley. The route takes you through Woodcroft and Tutshill where you can stop for refreshments or stock up on supplies.
Get more ideas for things to do in the Forest of Dean, and discover more about the history of the area, by exploring our site today.