Given current travel regulations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, UK holidays have never been more popular for domestic tourists who are only now discovering the beauty and the brilliance of their home country.
The Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean are among some of the most picturesque locations in the UK and offer an ideal getaway destination for families of all kinds – whether they fancy a week away or just a long weekend.
But hidden among the trees and the rivers are some of the locations you might not find in any old guide book. These are the true hidden gems of the Forest of Dean and encompass everything from magical fairy forests to some of the world’s best country pubs.
Below, we share what we feel are some of the best hidden gems the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley has to offer.
A maze of pathways winding their way through deep mossy gullies and twisted roots, Puzzlewood is a place that generally feels like its name – a wood full of puzzles.
The location has been used countless times in major Hollywood productions and once you step foot in its wistful wonders, you’ll soon see why! The wood is located in the heart of the Forest of Dean and also features farm animals, an indoor maze, playground and a cafe.
The Secret Fairy Forest
If you’ve ever found yourself fascinated by the world of fairies then this will be right up your street.
Located close to Puzzlewood, this enchanting forest really comes alive in the summer months, with a collection of magical fairies laying in wait for you to capture.
There are workshops and activities held throughout the year and because you’re only a short walk from Clearwell Caves, it makes a perfect afternoon or morning half of a great day out.
Speaking of which…
Clearwell is a gorgeous area of the Wye Valley with some of the region’s very best pubs, hotels and restaurants, not to mention incredible walks. What’s really special about the village is hidden beneath the forest floor.
A natural cave system carved out over 4,500 years, the Clearwell caves are an archaeologist’s dream with nine epic caverns to explore.
The Wye Valley Coins
Located in Symonds Yat, a village straddling the River Wye right by the Gloucestershire border and the Welsh border, this is an interesting work of art which is stuffed full of the coins of visitors.
The bridge that links the west and east sides of the village over the river is also a wonderful place to walk the dogs.
If the idea of descending into a working mine and experiencing a guided tour from a guide who knows the inner workings of the mine and what life is like for its workers, you’ll find this utterly absorbing.
The guides are all incredibly knowledgeable ‘free miners’ and will be more than happy to answer your questions. You’re given a thorough health and safety check before you start your journey so don’t worry about bonking your head either!
A perfect spot for a picnic, the Biblins Bridge is a gloriously wonky piece of architecture that will make your kids feel as if they’ve stepped right into an Indiana Jones adventure.
It’s just up from Symonds Yat too and is suitable for bikes and buggies. A true Forest of Dean hidden gem!