Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean, Wye Valley, Christchurch

This is one of our reasonably regular jaunts, as it is only about 2 hours from home and it is in an absolutely,  gorgeous part of the country  with the famous Symonds Yat ,with its peregrine falcons within easy walking distance of the site.

This is a Forestry Commission site but these are now managed by the Camping & Caravanning Club.

It has now got a brand spanking new reception area and one hopes that also there will be some increased expenditure on site facilities.

Do not get the wrong end of the stick, the facilities currently are not bad but we were somewhat amused that they had obviously spent a small fortune on the visitors centre and apparently nothing on the actual site infrastructure.

The site is undulating but at the top of the site there are a small number of motorhome only pitches and there are a number of other places that you can find a reasonably level   position.

Peregrine Trail to Monmouth

Mainly tracks with some on quiet roads 12 mile linear route

To start this ride you go to the bottom corner of the site, virtually opposite the entrance and there is a path.

Follow this path out until it reaches a forest road and turn right down this track.

Make a mental note of where the path joins the track and note the barrier across the road, as you will need this on your return trip.

Follow the forest road down and this is the fun bit, for if you are a reasonably competent cyclist and the surface is good, you can ratchet up a good rate of knots going down and forget about the fact that you have to return this way.

After about 2 miles you reach the beautiful Wye valley. If you turn right you follow the river along, for about a mile to Symonds Yat East, where you can take a beer or other refreshment and wile away a pleasant hour looking at the ferry, the boats coming in and the canoeists.

We tend to save this trip along the Wye until  the end of our cycle, so that we can obtain sustenance, mental and physical,   before we tackle the climb back up to the site.

Assuming that you leave the Symonds Yat trip to the end you turn left past, Biblins Bridge,  a suspension  footbridge, over the Wye, worth taking a trip across and there is a house that does teas.

Return back over the bridge and continue along the track and you end up picking up the old Monmouth to Ross railway track.

You follow this all the way until you reach the main Monmouth road. The last section, before you reach the main road, follows a minor road.

When you reach the main road  you turn right and cross the Wye and head into the town.

Monmouth is a pleasant town and has plenty of opportunities for refreshment.

You return the same way you came but you do not have to be a hero on the climb back to the site, you can walk sections.

Severn & Wye Valley

Along old railway lines but short road section (11/2 miles) to get there 15 miles

This cycle ride follows the old Severn & Wye valley railway but you need to get to Coleford firstly, which is about a mile and a half  away and though on minor roads you have to exercise caution, as normal.

You exit the site at the main entrance and turn right and at the main road at the top you turn right and continue along here until, you reach  the main A4136.

Take care and cross the main road  and continue until you reach a T junction and here you turn left. You continue along this main road, through Coleford  and you will see the entrance to the cycleway on your left.

After about a mile you come to the Darkhill Ironworks, a reminder of the industrial heritage of this area.

Darkhill  is an important industrial archaeological site, as the area  had a key role in the development of steel manufacturing. It is well worth spending some time exploring this site.

After just under 2 miles you reach Parkend which is the terminus of the Severn & Wye Valley Heritage railway which runs to Lydney.  Refreshments are available here.

After just under 2 miles you reach Parkend which is the terminus of the Severn & Wye Valley Heritage railway which runs to Lydney.  Refreshments are available here.

You continue to bear left to pick up the cycleway and you follow this all the way round in a clockwise direction, passing the cycle centre on your left after about 2.5 miles, where refreshments are available.

You continue to follow the cycleway in a circular direction until you pick it up where you started and then return to Coleford and back to the site.

(a mile after the cycle centre there is a 4 mile linear detour to Lydford)

There are numerous picnic spots on the route.

Symonds Yat East viewed from Yat Rock