Friday, April 29, 2016

Forest of Dean: Ancient Woodlands of England

The brilliant green of the new beech, the stunning array of colors of the bluebells and daffodils, blossoming in the pear and apple orchards and a myriad of delightful flowers are decorating an ancient region of England this spring and summer. An area that has been inhabited since the Mesolithic times, this amazing forest has seen its fair share of the Romans, the Dark Ages and the Tudor empire. It is England’s first national forest park and one of the United Kingdom’s few remaining ancient forests. This place is the Royal Forest of Dean that is located in the cradle between Wye valley, the Vale of Leadon and the Severn valley.

Severn river - Forest of the Dean view

It is in this very 120 square kilometre ancient woodland that many great artists have found their inspiration. Some key people who were captivated by the mystery and magic of this place are JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien and Dennis Potter. With an unspoilt river, rolling farmland, vineyards, black and white timbered buildings, hilly terrain and gorgeous forests, the Forest of Dean is popularly referred to as the Queen of all Forests in England.

It is one of those places that offers serenity, charm and adventure all year around. And to top it, the surroundings host great events and festivals making it a double thumbs up for holidaymakers.

Kayaking at the Forest of the Dean

From canoeing and fishing in the Wye valley to getting closer to the industrial heritage and history of this forest, from enjoying the local plum to sipping some delightful Perry (Pear-based traditional fermented drink) and from soaking in the stunning view at Symonds Yat Rock to seeing the rare mosses and lichens that grow on these ancient oak trees, the Forest of Dean is full of rare and eye-catching sights and experiences.

River Wye at Dixton

Irrespective of whether you are on a long weekend break from work or a leisure holiday, the Forest of Dean has enough charm to keep you captivated all throughout. Here are some of the special experiences for those considering Forest of Dean Cottage Holidays:

1) Mesmerize yourself with the sight of Scowles – strange landscape features that is unique to the Forest of Dean and thought to be natural geological occurrences exploited in ancient times for open-cast mining activities.

2) Discover evidence of life in the Old Stone age at the King Arthur’s Cave

3) Explore the ruins of 12th century Tintern Abbey, which were the inspiration of Wordsworth’s famous poem.

Chepstow Castle and Bridge from Tutshill

4) Check out Chepstow Castle, the oldest post-Roman fortification surviving in Britain.

5) Indulge in fishing, canoeing, cycling, hiking and caving in the rich woodlands and its two famous rivers (River Severn and River Wye)

6) Enjoy a ride on the ancient steam train from Lydney to Parkend line.

7) Explore the beautiful town of Gloucester that is home to amazing Tudor buildings, a super Gothic cathedral and a historic quayside.

8) Check out JK Rowling’s childhood home at Tutshill.

Stunning view at Symonds Yat Rock Forest of Dean

Whether you are planning on a simple picnic with your family, a relaxed outdoor holiday with your partner or just want some me time, the Forest of Dean through its rich nature, history and culture is bound to have you mesmerized. No wonder the place is immensely popular with TV production crews, movie production crews, fantasy book writers, river surfers, painters, walkers and so many people from different walks of life and with varied interests. Are you planning to go there this Spring-Summer?

Note: The photographs in this article have been borrowed from under the Creative Commons License. Each photograph has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.

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