The Forest of Dean is an area of natural beauty and abundant wildlife offering a wealth of opportunities to explore and discover. With rolling hills, winding streams and ancient oak forests it’s a popular destination for those looking for outdoor adventures in peaceful surroundings. There are a wide range of walking routes from easy, leisurely strolls to challenging hikes which makes this a great location for walking holidays and those looking for a dog-friendly stay. The Forest of Dean was ranked number two in a recent list of the most instagrammable forests in the UK so here are five Instagramable trails for you to explore.
Whitestones taking in Cleddon Falls – 4 miles – Easy to Moderate – dog-friendly
Including part of the larger Wye Valley Way Whitestones to Cleddon Falls is the ideal spot for a leisurely stroll with many vantage points along the route. Situated in a secluded woodland the falls are a series of cascading pools and streams with a spectacular main drop of 20 metres. You’ll follow rolling hills and hear the waterfall long before you reach the stunning views (particularly if it has been raining) but be prepared to leave the track to get a closer look. Look out for deer, otters and other local wildlife during your walk. Wear suitable footwear as the paths maybe muddy. Check out the link for further information.
Symonds Yat Rock – Biblins Bridge – around 3 hours (extended route 5 hours) – moderate- dog-friendly
There are several walks that you can do from Symonds Yat but for the unique experience of the hand ferry (which is believed to be the oldest operated ferry service in England and the last remaining hand-ferry in the country) and Biblins Bridge believed to be one of the oldest surviving bridges in the area and probably of medieval origin) we recommend ‘Symonds Yat Rock to Biblins Bridge circular walk’ which follows a beautiful pathway along the River Wye. The route begins at Symonds Yat Rock and takes you down a steep hillside path towards the village of Symonds Yat East. En route see if you can spot any of the wildlife that live in the area or the red and white chalet (Otis’s home) in the Netflix series Sex Education. There is an opportunity to stop for a pint and a bite to eat at either the Saracens Head or Ye Old Ferrie Inn both of which are dog-friendly.
For a longer walk (around 5 hours exploring the best of Symonds Yat East and West try this walking route https://www.welshmanwalking.co.uk/symonds-yat-king-arthurs-cave-biblins-bridge-near-hearkening-rock-symonds-yat-rock-river-wye-circular/
Puzzlewood Walk – 2 miles – Easy (There is a charge to enter Puzzlewood)
Puzzlewood is a 14 acre ancient woodland amongst the Scowles which is a landscape feature unique to the Forest of Dean. The 2 mile trail takes you on an unforgettable journey through magical woodlands. Explore the winding trails and stunning scenery, discover the twisted trees, moss-covered boulders and wooden bridges that connect this rather special place. This site has been a popular filming location for Doctor Who, Merlin, Star Wars and many others and is rumoured to have inspired JRR Tolkien and its not hard to imagine why.
The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail – 4.8 miles – easy to moderate- dog-friendly
Enjoy this unique experience. Explore this woodland trail and discover the series of sculptures and installations that have been created by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists. Ranging from the abstract to the figurative the trail strives to be educational and inspirational. The sculptures are made from a variety of materials including wood, stone, metal and glass. Most are interactive and visitors are encouraged to touch and explore. It’s a great place to take photos and capture the beauty of the sculptures and the landscape. The trail is free and open all year. Cathedral in particular is not to be missed!
Mayhill Circular Walk- 4 miles – easy & moderate – dog-friendly
May Hill is a popular destination for walkers as it can be reached from three footpaths which are part of the larger Gloucestershire Way and Wysis Way trails. The circular trail starts and ends in the village of May Hill passing through rolling hills, woodlands and open fields. Not only is it one of the highest hills in the area and well known for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets it is also one of the most picturesque spots too. It has a rich heritage and a diverse range of habitats including forest, meadow and wetland which is home to a variety of wildlife. It’s iconic clump of trees on top of May Hill is a well-known landmark that can be spotted from miles away and from the top the views span in all directions.
If you visit the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and try any of the walks we’ve suggested we would love to see your photos! Please DM us on instagram @willowforeststays and let us know which walking trail you visited during your stay.