In the blink of an eye, September has passed and autumn has arrived. With the trees a riot of colour, it’s time to think about half-term – and there’s no shortage of entertainment in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean.
With Halloween on the horizon, there’s plenty of spooky goings-on. Delve into the gruesome past of Goodrich Castle from Monday 26th with a feast of frightening fun and spooky stories. Or make the climb up to the Kymin. While you enjoy the spectacular views over the Wye Valley, your little terrors can explore the surrounding woods to find the crafts, quizzes, prizes and other ghoulish activities.
Deep in the Forest, Dean Heritage Centre returns with its Halloween Extravaganza weekend on the 31st October and 1st November. Follow a ghostly trail through the woodland, try your hand at some crafting or get carving in the pumpkin competition.
Mischievous, colourful witches have crashed landed in Puzzlewood. From the 26th October, come and search the woods and when you find them, look at their clothes carefully for clues. A treat awaits all who solve the mystery.
Venture underground to discover a host of Halloween magic at Clearwell Caves. The bats are all dress up for the Halloween ball – but can you tell how many? Kids that count them all will be entered into a prize draw to win a furry plush bat of their very own. For grown ups, there’s the 47th annual Halloween party. Don your fancy dress and dance the night away 100ft below ground.
If pirates are more your thing, join the adventures of Pirate Jack and his crew aboard the Black Pearl at the Monmouth Savoy. Full of Cutlass duels, gruesome punishments, and heavy name-calling, all form essential ingredients of a buccaneering plot, the Ghost Pirates of the Black Pearl is the perfect for a chilly October evening.
Leaving the supernatural behind, head to the spectacular Caldicot Castle on the 24th and 5th October for a thrilling tournament of fully-armoured knights in battle, precision archery displays, graceful dances and accomplished musicians. Join Plantagenet Medieval Society to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.
Get crafty at Taurus Crafts with a packed schedule of fun workshops
from witch and wizard puppet making to pumpkin carving. Or, try your hand at the pottery wheel at Hot Pot Pottery. Pick up a paintbrush for some decorating before enjoying some warming homemade soup in the café. With quick glazing and firing over both weekends, you’ll be able to pick up your creations home sooner.
Make the most of the bright autumn sunshine and take to the River Wye with Inspire2Adventure. Join a Gorge and Paddle Adventure Day and spend the morning Gorge Scrambling through waterfalls and hidden gullies before taking to the River Wye for a guided canoe trip in the afternoon.
For the youngest (and big kids) of the family, Dean Forest Railway is the place to be on Friday 30th October – Sunday 1st November as they welcome a very special guest. Thomas the Tank Engine will be winding his way through the woodland all weekend. Take story-telling trip with Daisy the Diesel, enjoy musical entertainment on the steam train and ride in Toad the brake van pulled by Thomas – look out for Sir Topham Hatt.
Autumn is harvest time and where better to celebrate than a working farm? Humble by Nature have a host of events over half-term including some firm favourites that never fail to leave kids inspired and bit closer to nature. Tuesday 27th October is all about bushcraft. In the morning Bushcraft: Den Building will leave kids equipped with a new skill and inspired to head home and create their own weatherproof den. This session is a great way to get them outdoors and having fun. Or in the afternoon, a new skill and a beautiful craft to take away is Bush Craft: Deer Antler Jewellery – the ultimate accessory for bushcraft fans. This fun and creative session will be rounded off by toasting marshmallows over the fire.
For more ideas of what to do this half-term, visit http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/whatson