Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides

Heritage Open Days

FOD Guides

Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour guides helped to make the Heritage Open Days (September 12-15 2013) an enjoyable experience for all. Heritage Open Days happen every year in September all over Europe. We get the opportunity to view buildings which are not necessarily open to the public the rest of the year. We […]

Read more»

Sir Mortimer would have enjoyed the day

FOD Guides

The Bath Archaeological Society braved the unusual heat to visit many important sites in the Forest of Dean. These sites showed the richness of industrial archaeology in The Forest. The tour stopped at Dark Hill – an early 19th century ironworks site — near Coleford. Dark Hill was once owned by metallurgists David and Robert […]

Read more»

Flash! Tour Guide rescues hedgehog imprisoned in Skenfrith Castle

FOD Guides

Members of the Bath Archeological Society enjoyed a tour to the Three Castles in Wales. The Three Castles  — Skenfrith, Grosmont and White Castle — were originally founded by the Normans to guard the vulnerable Monnow Valley. The visitors were given a broad overview of more than a thousand years of history, covering the Normans, […]

Read more»

California? Forest of Dean, here we come!

Posted on March 22, 2014 by Comments are off

A group of visitors from CSMA Whitemead enjoyed a two-hour circular guided walk from Parkend. They covered different sorts of trails, from disused railway tracks, old tramways and wide forestry tracks. They marvelled at the glaring evidence of wild boar activity although, sadly, the boar did not deign to appear in person. The two visitors from California felt very much at home as they were shown a grove of redwoods — a surprising contrast after the oaks, birches and beeches that they enjoyed at the beginning of the walk!

It’s nice to be appreciated

Posted on November 25, 2013 by Comments are off

Forest of Dean and Wye Valley tour guides appear regularly as guest speakers at hotels and for various organisations such as Garden Clubs, University of the Third Age, and WI’s.  We can tell when the audience enjoys the talk. But it is always nice to get a letter of appreciation. Here is one from the St. Briavel’s WI whose members were treated to a favourite talk called “Thing that go bump in the night”:

“Just wanted to thank you on behalf of all our members for an excellent talk last night – very interesting!
We were very impressed by your slick, professional presentation, which many speakers don’t achieve.
We shall invite you back for a different topic in 2015.
Hope you encountered some ghosts on your dark and wet journey home!!”


Walking from Chepstow

Posted on August 5, 2013 by Comments are off

On the border between England and Wales

On the border between England and Wales

An intrepid group of walkers braved the August downpours to complete a circular walk from Chepstow, covering Lancaut Nature Reserve over the border in Gloucestershire. According to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Lancaut Nature Reserve is one of the four most important in the country.

The varied walk included the River Wye, dramatic cliffs, ancient limestone quarries, lime kilns, the ruins of the 12th century St. James Church, not to mention parts of Offa’s Dyke route. It took in the infamous Wintour’s Leap where, during the Civil War, the pro-Royalist ironmaster John Wintour apparently leapt over the cliffs on horseback while being pursued by the Roundheads.

Participants returned to Chepstow soaked, but happy.

Walks along the old railway lines

Posted on July 2, 2013 by Comments are off

Mirey Stock tunnel

Mirey Stock tunnel

The Forest of Dean is criss-crossed with old railway lines that are now used as cycle paths and walking paths. Some of these lines were for passenger service, others served old coal mines and quarries. It isn’t unusual to come across half-buried rails and sleepers, crumbling retaining walls, evidence of old sidings and buffers, bridges, tunnels, and other things of interest to railway enthusiasts. Those who are not interested in the history of these paths can still enjoy the glorious scenery. So there is something for everyone.

Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour guides will happily organise walks along these lines for groups of enthusiasts. There are many good starting points: Norchard or Coleford where there are excellent railway museums; Tintern, which still has an old station and signal box; Parkend and Lydbrook which were both important junctions.

Contact us for more information.

Abbey Mill, Tintern

Posted on July 2, 2013 by Comments are off

Tintern Abbey is, without a doubt, the jewel in the crown of the Wye Valley. But there is more to Tintern than the Abbey.  A short walk along the River Wye will bring you to the lively Abbey Mill Centre (, situated in the Abbey’s original mill site. You can still see the old water wheel which was restored a few years ago. There are many craft shops set in the ancient surrounding buildings,  as well as a busy coffee shop and restaurant which stocks an impressive range of local beers to accompany the food. There are many events that take place on site, ranging from music festivals to craft demonstrations. Railway enthusiasts will be thrilled to walk over the adjacent old wireworks railway bridge, now used by walkers.

Abbey Mill also organises coach tours of the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean.

An 18th century walk

Posted on May 21, 2013 by Comments are off

On the first May Bank Holiday of 2013, a lively group took a walk organised by the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding pierce5Natural Beauty organisation. There were two surprises: (1) although it was a Bank Holiday weekend, the weather was glorious, and (2) even after a dismal winter and spring, the bluebells were out in full glory. The Wye Valley walk is long and varied, and the group walked the Piercefield Estate section near Chepstow. The estate was imaginatively landscaped in the 18th century by local grandee Valentine Morris. The Morris family accumulated great wealth from plantations in the Caribbean. Valentine Morris hired esteemed architect Sir John Soane – famous for his work on the Bank of England – to design the family home by the River Wye. The skeleton of the manor house still exists today. The house was surrounded by woods and gardens — landscaped with fanciful follies, including grottos, artificial caves, statues, and sheltered viewpoints. River Wye tours were very popular in the 18th century, and travellers would come to view the estate and walk the grounds. It is still possible to enjoy this same walk, even though a large section of the estate is now occupied by Chepstow Race Course!

Newport Sea Cadets enjoy “Fire and Water Boats”

Posted on April 16, 2013 by Comments are off

It was predictable. When a group of young Newport Sea Cadets visited the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, the guide had a difficult time coaxing them away from the sculpture that looks like a flotilla of small boats carved out of charred wood, by David Nash. They all climbed in and would have gladly sailed away, had that been possible.

That is the joy of the sculpture trail. The sculptures are meant for our enjoyment. We can climb all over them — as the sea cadets did — touch them, play on them. The Cadets found forest symbols in Keir Smith’s Iron Road — carved railway sleepers — climbed all over The Heart of the Stone by Tim Lees, had great views from the top of Bruce Allan’s Observatory, and were ultimately thrilled by the climb to Place – affectionately known as the Giant’s Chair — by Magdalena Jetelova.

They were accompanied by siblings and parents who also braved the cold Easter wind to join them on the trail. On one of the trails, the cadets found samples of shelters that had been recently constructed from branches. This gave them a good opportunity to observe something that will soon be part of their training.

They have all been inspired to come back. Spring seems to have arrived, so maybe we will see them soon.

A happy group express their thanks

Posted on October 4, 2012 by Comments are off

We like to get feedback on the tours that we provide. One satisfied walker wrote:

“Just wanted to express our appreciation of your excellent leadership on Saturday. You made the day – and the trip – extra special for us and left us with a much better appreciation of the beauty and history of the Forest, as well as providing us with a nicely challenging route.

It was also a pleasure to meet you and to walk with you. For us it also felt like walking with a friend,”

See the Wye from the footpath

Posted on October 4, 2012 by Comments are off

A group of rowers who came to Ross-on-Wye for the Ross Regatta decided to see the river from a different point of view. Although they had rowed from Ross to Symonds Yat, they had never experienced the river from terra firma. So they booked a guide for a walking tour starting at Yat Rock.

After seeing the incomparable views, the group walked down the footpath to the river. They had fun crossing the river by the ferry — for once, someone else was doing the work on the water. They heard tales of the River Wye as the birthplace of British tourism. In contrast, they also saw evidence of the Wye’s industrial past when they visited the ruins of New Weir ironworks. They walked along the disused railway line, saw the old platform and the blocked up tunnel. Unfortunately, with lunch booked at the Saracen’s Head, there was no time to visit the lime kilns. That is on the agenda for next year!

Steam Dreams come true!

Posted on August 21, 2012 by Comments are off

Dean Forest Railway

Dean Forest Railway

Hundreds of steam train enthusiasts gathered at Lydney Station on 20 August to greet one of the famous Merchant Navy class locomotives, 35028 Clan Line, built by the Southern Railway. This was part of a tour organized by Steam Dreams, a company running Cathedral Express rail tours. The tour started in London and travelled to Cardiff, but many passengers took the opportunity to alight at Lydney and experience an excursion on the Dean Forest Railway. Many were eager to see the new Whitecroft Station for the first time.

At Parkend, many passengers opted to take a coach tour through the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, guided by two Forest of Dean & Wye Valley tour guides, both rail fans themselves. The tour showed off the lush, green Forest roads, going through towns of Coleford and Cinderford, villages such as Lydbrook, Ruardean, Clearwell, eventually landing up in Tintern – the jewel in the crown of the River Wye. We enjoyed the spectacle of Tintern Abbey, looking glorious in the sunshine. On the way back, the passengers had a chance to see the River Severn, as the tour went by Chepstow, back to the Forest via Tutshill and St. Briavels, where the coaches skirted around St. Briavels Castle. On the way back to Lydney, the coach driver and guide treated the passengers to a debate on whether Bream should be called a village or a town. The jury is still out on that one!

Steam Train

35028 Clan Line at Lydney

Next Page »

Dean & Wye Valley Tour Guides BLOG

We provide guided walks, coach and minibus commentaries and routes and talks in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

Links to our main web site: (use the 'News / BLOG' link to return here)


  • March 2014
  • November 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • Categories

  • 100 of St Briavels Photos
  • Attractions
  • Coach Commentaries
  • featured
  • Forest and Wye Valley News
  • Guided Walks