6 fascinating towns and villages to explore in the Forest of Dean

Explore the Forest of Dean’s towns and villages and enjoy encountering a weird wood, ancient market square, impressive vineyard and a historic cinema – amongst other attractions.

@katiejarvis: “The towns – Newent, Cinderford, Coleford and Lydney – are a throwback to an England from 50 years ago; plus the forest offers fantastic cycle paths, beautiful walks, and kayaking on the Wye.”

Here are 6 lovely towns and villages in the Forest of Dean that are definitely worth a visit:


This former mining town is now one of the Forest of Dean’s main shopping and business locations. And, it’s only just up the road from arguably the area’s main attraction – the Dean Heritage Centre where kids (and adults) can find out about the area’s past in interactive fashion.

Check out the microbrewery, The Dog House and search for your favourite past pop-tunes at Forest Vinyl. The historic Palace Cinema is also definitely well worth a visit.


A fabulous little town with a rich history, Coleford even had its own battle named after it – back in 1643, during the English Civil War. Even today it boasts a market square with a historic clock tower and beautiful Georgian architecture. Many independent shops are selling artisanal goods and food. Nearby there’s Puzzlewood to visit. This otherworldly woodland was the backdrop to the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You can also go underground by exploring Clearwell Caves.


A busy little town with beautiful gardens, deer park and Roman relics in its 17th century Park Estate, Lydney is also commonly known as the gateway to the Forest of Dean. There is also the Dean Forest Railway and historic Lydney Harbour (which is currently being regenerated). Bathurst Pool is a 1920s outdoor swimming pool for those who like a chilly dip at this time of year.


One of the Forest of Dean’s oldest towns, Newent boasts a 17th-century market house and beautiful buildings dating back to medieval times. Outside the town sits the International Centre of Birds of Prey with its beautiful owls and falcons. Three Choirs Vineyard is nearby too. One of England’s oldest vineyards it’s well worth a visit to sample a glass or two.


Enjoy the unusual delights of the 15th century Doom Painting in the medieval church of St Michael and All Angels at Mitcheldean. A busy little village with narrow streets and which was once the location for the Forest of Dean brewing industry, it attracts visitors in their droves. Plump Hill on the outskirts of the village sits at an old dolomite quarry which is now a 4.5-hectare (11-acre) nature reserve managed by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

St Briavels

In the ancient village of St Briavels sits an impressive 12th-century castle (now a youth hostel) and Norman church. Edward I added the twin-towered gatehouse to St Briavels in 1292. The castle was then a crossbow bolt factory and afterwards became a debtor’s prison. The monthly farmers market, held on the first Saturday of the month, is extremely popular for local produce.

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