Visiting the Forest of Dean (General)

by JaneyH @, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Saturday, September 20, 2014, 09:28 (2224 days ago)

It looks like I'm finally going to be able to visit the Forest of Dean at the end of October, albeit just for a few days.

On the family history front, I plan to visit Gloucester Archives and hopefully look at records for Westbury Workhouse, where my great-grandmother spent some time around 1921-22, and possibly my grandfather too, as a child. After that it's mainly a case of soaking up some atmosphere, so we'll look at Cinderford, Newnham, Blaize Bailey and Flaxley.

However, while I would love to spend the whole time on family history matters, this isn't realistic for a family trip so I need to find some places to visit that will be of more interest to my husband and six-year old son. Having looked around the internet oath the Dean Heritage Centre and Chepstow Castle look good. Does anyone local to the Forest have any suggestions? I'm particularly keen to fins something in Gloucester to cover the time I'm looking at archives.

Many thanks, Janey

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by shepway @, Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10:11 (2224 days ago) @ JaneyH

Places in Gloucester:
The Cathedral - there is a sculpture exhibition well worth seeing and it ends on 31 October. Crucible2 at Gloucester Cathedral

National Waterways Museum. Waterways Museum

Places in the Forest:
Speech House.
Clearwell Caves.
Symonds Yat

This website may be helpful to you:

No doubt further suggestions will be forthcoming from others.


Visiting the Forest of Dean

by maurice @, Saturday, September 20, 2014, 13:37 (2224 days ago) @ shepway

I would recommend a visit to Hopewell Colliery,about 1/2 a mile from Speech house on the Cinderford to Coleford road.My grandsons were most impressed when we visitd some years ago and declared it better than the Big Pit in South Wales which we also visited.

Enjoy your visit.
Maurice Teague

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by JaneyH @, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Saturday, September 20, 2014, 13:58 (2224 days ago) @ maurice

Thanks Mike and Maurice.

I've just had a quick look at the website for the Hopewell Colliery and my son immediately asked "can we go there?" It'll also be interesting from the family history perspective since my great-grandfather and his brothers were all miners. Thanks to the help of others on this forum I now know that they worked at Lightmoor Colliery.

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by rsligi @, Sunday, September 21, 2014, 15:30 (2223 days ago) @ JaneyH

Also look at Big Pit web site (Blaenavon) Free entry, real mine tour dressed as a miner and cage up/
down, free entry but £3 to park car, also humorous video tour in another building plus other things to see relating to coal mining, allow 6 hours to do this place. Steel Works to see also but do NOT bother to do vintage town, it may have been good originally but is now overgrown and in need of some financial input to tidy it up.

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by chrishowell @, Coleford, Gloucestershire, Sunday, September 21, 2014, 19:45 (2223 days ago) @ JaneyH

With respect to items in and around Gloucester, depending on their interests, there is the Museum/Library in Brunswick Road (off Eastgate Street) which might prove some interest and, this being the 100th anniversary of WW1, there is the Regiments of Gloucestershire Museum in Gloster Docks - the docks are also worth a look around. Take care not to go to the Gloster Archives on a Monday as I believe they are closed all day, opening Tues - Saturday and you might need two items of ID (driving licence and utility bill or similar) otherwise they might be reluctant to let you into the archives - allow plenty of time here as they only do a search run once an hour!! However, the archives does have a facility where you can search for artefacts etc online (through ask that they be available for your visit.
Enjoy your visit.

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by Taipan @, Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 23:33 (2219 days ago) @ JaneyH


We went to the Dean Heritage Centre and were there for 5 hours!! It was great. The adventure playground will be great for your son. Also the things to do inside he museum.

Hope you find somewhere nice to go.

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by JaneyH @, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Thursday, September 25, 2014, 09:59 (2219 days ago) @ JaneyH

Chris - many thanks for the warning about the opening times for the Archives. I was aware they were closed on Mondays, and on Saturdays they shut at 1pm. Given I know exactly what I want to look at, and want to be as quick as possible, I intend to book in advance so that the materials can be ready when I arrive. Thanks also for suggestions of things to do in Gloucester.

Taipan - I'm glad to hear that the Dean Heritage Centre went down well. Having looked at their website I note they have a 'dragon festival' on 25/26 October, which is when we'll be there. Even more entertainment for my son!

I have to say that I'm rather looking forward to my visit: partly for the research and generally soaking up the atmosphere of where my ancestors lived, but there's so much else to do too. My only worry is that we won't have enough time for it all.

Regards, Janey

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by ScowlesBoy @, Thursday, September 25, 2014, 20:03 (2219 days ago) @ JaneyH

I suspect your time is filling up rapidly but a couple of other places to consider are the Sculpture Trail which starts from Beechenhurst Lodge (parking, toilets, cafe) which is near the Speech House, and Mallards Pike which lies between Parkend and Blakeney/Soudley. Both are operated by the Forestry Commission - more details at:

Enjoy your visit - after 50 years living away from the Dean I still get a terrific lift when I return. It is very special.

Visiting the Forest of Dean

by JaneyH @, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Thursday, September 25, 2014, 22:18 (2218 days ago) @ ScowlesBoy

Thanks for this.

We visited an outdoor sculpture park near where we live in Kent in the summer holidays and our son loved it. Art is so much better out in the open air!

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