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A Guide to the Area

The Royal Forest of Dean is one the most visually stunning and culturally unique places in the UK.
Known locally as the land between two rivers, this ancient wooded royal hunting ground sits as a triangle between the River's Wye and Severn and the A40 Ross Road that runs along the top.
Not only is it a haven for spotting wildlife, a place where active mining is still done, it is a major film and TV location, great walking country, has a national mountain biking course and if that isn't enough is the childhood home of and has served as writing inspiration for both JK Rowling and Dennis Potter.



The Royal Forest of Dean has all that you expect of wildlife in the UK countryside but also a little bit more.
Walking, running or cycling through the forest you are likely to run into deer, roebuck, squirrels, rabbits and any number of wild birds but, if you're lucky, you might also see a sheep or some wild boar.
You could see the sheep anywhere in the forest roaming free because that's what they have an ancient right to do and as for the boar, they were once hunted to extinction in the UK but are now thriving in the RFOD.

Areas of Interest

RSPB Nagshead - 12 mins, 5 miles

RSPB Highnam Woods - 24 mins, 14 miles

Newport Wetlands, Wales - 45 mins, 33 miles

Wildfowl & Wedlands Trust, Slimbridge - 56 mins, 31 miles


The area has something of a mixed landscape. The trees, forest trails, farmland and rural villages might be something you would expect from the UK countryside but in among the many traditional Forest stone-built cottages you will find old mining cottages (particularly in Cinderford). This is because the area, much like neighbouring South Wales, was once a thriving mining community. And owing to some ancient laws, those who have worked in a mine for a year and a day, are entitled to claim freeminer status, a tradition and right that continues to this day. I cannot tell you where you will find a freemine in the Forest but I am reliably informed there are some still there.



One of the great things about your stay at the Lodge at Hilltop Cottage is the easy access to outdoor activities.

If you like it simple, you can go for a good walk  from outside the door exploring local wildlife and scenery. Alternatively, and if you like things a bit more energetic you can get down to the Wye Valley to hire a canoe or get down to the excellent Forest of Dean mountain biking trails where you will find a family route, red and blue tracks and a full downhill run.

The Lodge (Forest of Dean) Limited

Registered Number 13387760

Registered in England and Wales