Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides

Can you guess where we are?

FOD Guides

There are always sudden, hidden surprises in the Forest of Dean. There are well-known walks such as the Sculpture Trail, Cannop Ponds, old railway/cycle paths, the Wye Valley Walk . But if you venture off the beaten track, you will find unexpected pleasures, such as this magnificent lily pond. It helps to have a guide, […]

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Wye Valley River Festival

FOD Guides

Events have taken place up and down the River Wye, from Hereford to Chepstow. There have been carnivals, pageants, fetes, games, re-enactments, walks — all enhanced by the superb, sunny weather. There were many more walks, talks, exhibitions, film screenings, musical celebrations for you to enjoy. Visit www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk for more information.

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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 […]

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A whirlwind tour

Posted on October 3, 2014 by Comments are off

tea at old courtA Probus group from Cheshire enjoyed a whirlwind tour of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. Starting at Chepstow, the group then travelled into the depths of the Forest, past notable places such as Darke Hill, Nagshead, Speech House, the Dean Heritage Centre, then on to Ross-on-Wye to browse and grab some lunch. The group then went on to Symonds Yat West for a boat trip starting from the grounds of St. Dubricius Church, with its magnicent 17th century tulip tree. The group was fortunate enough to see a hand ferry in operation, starting from the Saracens Head in Symonds Yat East, to the west side. After the boat trip, everyone enjoyed a lavish cream tea at the 16th century Old Court Hotel. To some on the trip, the highlight of the day was yet to come. The coach the the road along the River Wye and stopped at Tintern Abbey so that all could take a look at the magnificent ruin and take some memorable photos.


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Heritage Open Days 2014

Posted on September 25, 2014 by Comments are off

clearwell village Hall

Clearwell Villlage Hall.

Heritage Open Days 2014

Our guides provided several walks and activities for the 2014 Heritage Open Days including a walk  around the village of Clearwell, a walk around St Briavels, a ‘Mushet walk’ from Coleford to the ironworking remains at Darkhill, walks around Lydney Docks (Lydney Harbour), Poets walks around Dymock and intrepretaion at Mitcheldean St Michael and All Angels church.


A colourful surprise

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Comments are off

Mary Rose1A group of walkers from the CSMA site at Whitemead experienced a special treat while out on a hike in the forest.

The tour guide was pointing out the residence of the renowned ceramic artist, Mary Rose Young. The vibrantly colourful Oak House was recently featured on the local BBC news and in the press because Mary Rose intends to sell it. As the guide was showing some photos from the local newspaper, Mary Rose herself popped out to greet the group.

The group was delighted to meet her. She revealed her intention to find a place where she can combine her art work with a b&b establishment. She encouraged the group to pay a visit to the gallery when they had time, and even offered to serve coffee!

A few in the group gathered around and posed for a photo.


To paraphrase Wordsworth….

Posted on May 12, 2014 by Comments are off

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on  high o’er hills and dellsy

When all at once I saw a crowd

A host of purple-ish bluebells

Okay, so it doesn’t scan perfectly.

Guide books will tell you that you will find the best Forest of Dean bluebells in Soudley, Bradley Hill, Wenchford area. No one will dispute that. However, it is a very welcome surprise to find blankets of bluebells in unexpected places. Good forest management and, possibly, grubbing around by the wild boar have created very favourable environments for bluebells in all sorts of hidden areas in the Forest.

Bluebells near the Pludds

Bluebells near the Pludds

Another lovely surprise

Another lovely surprise


Bluebell season!

Posted on May 5, 2014 by Comments are off

After the non-stop rain last winter, we were   treated with superb spring flowers. The daffodils were glorious; now the bluebells have poked  their heads through and provided  a suA purple hazeperb  displqay.


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!!”

Heritage Open Days 2014

Posted on September 1, 2013 by Comments are off

hodForest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour guides will again help  to make the Heritage Open Days (September 11-14 2014) 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.


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.


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