Riverside Cottage is Ideal for Forest of Dean Sightseeing
The Forest of Dean is home to a great range of attractions – some man-made, some completely natural but all of them well worth a visit. You may wish to discover the area’s history, or enjoy a stroll around a nature reserve.
There’s an array of family oriented attractions where you can all have fun, relax or enjoy some animal magic. On rainy days there’s also plenty to do from museums to caves or how about spending some time riding a steam train through the forest or taking a cruise down the River Wye.
The Forest of Dean is a geographical, historical and cultural region in the county of Gloucestershire. The forest is a roughly triangular plateau bounded by the River Wye to the west and north, the River Severn to the south, and the City of Gloucester to the east.
The area is characterised by over 110 square kilometres of mixed woodland, one of the surviving ancient woodlands in England. A large area was reserved for royal hunting before 1066, and remained as the second largest Crown forest in England; the largest being the New Forest.
Traditionally the main sources of work in the area have been forestry – including charcoal production, iron working and coal mining. Archaeological studies have dated the earliest use of coal in the forest to Roman times, for domestic heating and industrial processes such as the preparation of iron ore.
The forest later went on to be used exclusively as a royal hunting ground by the Tudor Kings, and subsequently a source of food for the Royal Court. Its rich deposits of iron ore led to its becoming a major source of iron. Timber from the forest was particularly fine and was regarded as the best source for building ships.
The Forest of Dean, with its huge iron-ore reserves and ready supply of timber, had been an area of national importance in the production of iron, using charcoal, for hundreds of years. Despite there also being extensive coal measures, the local coal did not produce coke that was ideal for smelting and local ironmasters were reluctant to invest in the new technology. It was not until the last decade of the 18th century that coke-fired furnaces began to make an appearance in the Forest, with Cinderford, Whitecliff and Parkend Ironworks being built almost simultaneously.