The Forest of Dean opens its doors and reveals some of its secrets….

Heritage Open Days returns to the Forest (September 8th-11th) with a host of free and fascinating celebrations of our unique heritage.

Heritage Open Days is the UK’s biggest heritage festival involving 40,000 volunteers. It celebrates our fantastic history, architecture, environment and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences.

hod1This year the local co-ordinators, Coleford Area Partnership, are pleased to be working in conjunction with the Foresters’ Forest and would like to introduce you to the story of Broadwell: An Incomplete History; Reading the Forest to celebrate the work of Leonard Clark and ask children to join in a mammal tracks and signs hunt with the Forest Explorers.

Saturday 10th September sees the Forest of Dean Local History Society unveiling the memorial stone marking the location of shaft no2 at New Fancy. Learn more about the colliery and explore the Geomap on site. Parkend Silver Band will trumpet the changes.

Elsewhere, the Year Seven students of Dene Magna, recently returned from the battlefields, share their First World War research (mostly family based), in the glorious Freeminers’ Church at Abenhall.

Newland have embraced the spirit of Heritage Open Days offering a walk on Saturday 10th at 11am, which could be followed by a picnic, before taking the guided tour of the Church at 2pm. You could also ring the bells at the Cathedral of the Forest and even be part of the Challenge 500 mass ringing event. Not to be out done Mitcheldean offers opportunities to visit the Xerox Museum, tour and taste at the Bespoke Brewery or visit the magnificent St Michaels & All Angels. Down the road you could visit Abenhall Church, Gunns Mills or walk around Green Bottom.

Old favourites including the opening of St Briavels Castle (why not also visit St Briavels Church) for the weekend, the Dean Forest Railway, Newnham’s Fish Hut, seventeenth century Tan House Farm, the Dean Field Studies Centre at Parkend, the Dean Heritage Centre, Mitcheldean’s Xerox Museum (why not also visit St Michaels and All Angels) Lydbrook exhibition and the Secret Forest, where there will also be a tour of the replica Iron Age village. You could also join in the fun at Lydney Community Centre.

For walkers there are opportunities to explore Newland, Whitecroft, Green Bottom, Lydney docks, the landscape of the Dymock Poets or Hartpury village (there’s a minibus option, there, too). For a more leisurely stroll why not explore Speech House and its environs or take it really easy with a tour and taste at the Bespoke Brewery at Mitcheldean. Cyclists can even ride some of the old roads and tracks through the Forest. For those who prefer a talk there are opportunities to meet the Deputy Gaveller or listen to the experts of the Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust talk about the past, present and future of Whitecliff Furnace and Gunns Mill.

Find out more by visiting our website or by contacting Coleford Area Partnership on 01594 836469 or emailing

List of properties and events in the Forest of Dean

Download the brochure


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