Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides

About us

FOD Guides

We are the official Guides for this area and were trained by the Forest of Dean District Council and the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association.

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Guess where we are!

FOD Guides

There are always sudden, hidden surprises in the Forest of Dean.

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Wye Valley River Festival

FOD Guides

Events have taken place up and down the River Wye, from Hereford to Chepstow.

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Walking off the Xmas dinner

Posted on December 27, 2014 by Comments are off

boxing day 2014A group of hardy walkers braved the threatening Boxing Day skies and did a two-hour morning walk from the CSMA site, Whitemead, at Parkend. Walks are lovely any time of year, but winter walks have a particular aspect: because of the lack of foliage, the views are much more distinct and far-reaching. Walkers saw a variety of deciduous trees before turning into an area that is mainly packed with tall, dense rows of conifers. If you look closely, you can even find distinctive redwoods. There was evidence that the wild boar had been out in force overnight but, as usual, they were nowhere to be seen. Walkers were shown which routes to take to get to Coleford, Darke Hill Iron Works, Cannop Ponds and Nagshead RSPB reserve. This walk followed old railway lines, forestry tracks and trails, and even an old horse-drawn tramway line. When the walk was over, walkers were certainly ready for a substantial Boxing Day lunch – if they could face it.

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 Dark 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.


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.

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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.

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