Forest of Dean Heritage Open Days


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

Heritage Open Days returns to the Forest (September 7th-10th 2017) with a host of free and fascinating celebrations of our unique heritage.

Heritage Open Days is the UK’s biggest heritage festival involving over 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. Events are run by volunteers who kindly give their time and experience to share their passions.

New additions for this year include Hopewell Colliery, St Margarets Church Corse, Bream Village walk, Bream Silver Band, St John the Baptist Church, Huntley, Hartpury Old School and St John the Baptist Church, Ruardean and a guided visit to the Berry Hill Community Orchard. Cinderford celebrates its local history with a memorabilia weekend at St Stephen’s Church. In addition two new self-guided Heritage Quests celebrate the hidden gems of Ruardean and Coleford. Conservation Areas celebrate their fiftieth anniversary this year. The Coleford Quest has been created using information from the burgeoning Neighbourhood Development Plan.

The local co-ordinators, Coleford Area Partnership, are pleased to be working in conjunction with the Foresters’ Forest and would like to invite you to revisit the story of Broadwell: An Incomplete History, Explore Bream and the miners’ trails of Newham Bottom or even to learn about the “King of the Gypisies”- Xavier Petulengro – at All Saints’ Church, Viney Hill. Learn more about the Foresters’ Forest at the Dean Heritage Centre’s Open Day on Sunday 10th September.

Bookings are now being taken for underground tours of Hopewell Colliery, visits to the Deputy Gaveller’s office, guided tours of Tan House Farm, Newland and some of the Dean Forest Railway’s hidden gems and for a tour and taste at the award winning Bespoke Brewery, Mitcheldean. Just phone 01594 836469 or email

Hartpury’s heritage day on Sunday 10th September continues to grow with a circular walk taking in Hartpury House (courtesy of Hartpury College), St Mary’s Church and bee shelter, the Dominican chapel, Orchard Centre, Methodist Church and, as a first this year, Hartpury Old School. The day culminates in a picnic at the Village Hall. St Margaret’s Church at Corse joins their neighbours. This beautiful fourteenth century church hosts an exhibition about the nearby Snigs End Chartist Community – a radical nineteenth century experiment in self-sufficient living.

Old favourites include the opening of St Briavels Castle (why not also visit St Briavels Church?) for the weekend, the Dean Forest Railway, the Geo-map and Miners’ Memorial, “The Cathedral of the Forest”- All Saints’ Church, Newland, Newnham’s Fish Hut, the Dean Field Studies Centre at Parkend, the Dean Heritage Centre, Mitcheldean’s Town Hall and Xerox Museum (why not also visit St Michael and All Angels Church?) and the Secret Forest. You could also join in the fun at Lydney (Naas Lane) Community Centre.

For walkers there are opportunities to explore Bream, Lydney docks, the landscape of the Dymock Poets or Hartpury village. 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 picking up a leaflet, visiting or by contacting Coleford Area Partnership on 01594 836469 or emailing

Download the programme

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