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Forest Of Dean

Cycling around the Forest Of Dean

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Photo: wimtilkey

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Ancient woodland, friendly trails and a mixture of terrains all make cycling in the Forest of Dean a popular pursuit. Sandwiched between the River Severn and the River Wye, this historic area is blessed with an abundance of rider-friendly routes suitable for wobbly kids all the way to seasoned pros. 

There are plenty of cycle routes in the Forest of Dean and the area welcomes riders of every type with open arms. The trails will take you through oak and beech forests, lead you over open tracks and into conifer plantations. Low hills provide short climbs but, more importantly, exciting descents that you can keep enjoying all day long. 

Riding around the Forest of Dean will bring you within reach of the region’s glorious nature too. From a variety of beautiful plants to its population of deer, wild boar and even glow worms, there’s much to see as you spin the pedals.


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Tracks and terrain

In the 19th and 20th centuries, cycling in the Forest of Dean would’ve been a much different experience. Back then, the forest was of huge industrial importance with coal mines, ironworks and steelworks all operating within. Foundries, mills and quarries littered the landscape and you can still see their remnants today. 

Due to the industry, the forest was criss-crossed in railways and tramways. As you explore, keep an eye out for tunnels, bridges and disused railway lines and see how many you can spot. 

There are so many cycle routes in the Forest of Dean that it’s easy to explore the majority of the area on two wheels. Low-lying and with gentle hills, you can spend a full day cycling here without exhausting yourself. There’s a brilliant array of family-friendly trails suitable for even the smallest of young cyclists on well-maintained tracks through the woodlands. That said, if you want a little adrenaline you can still fly by the seat of your pants and tear along twisting trails.

Cycling through the seasons

This large, historic area is great for cycling no matter how far through the year you are. With deciduous and evergreen woodlands, bike rides in the Forest of Dean are vibrant and colourful in summer with an atmosphere of peaceful brooding in the depths of winter. 

Wonderfully accessible with plenty of car parks and facilities, school holidays see the trails become busier. Though with such a vast amount of routes, there’s always space to ride freely. The shoulder seasons bring the best of nature to the forefront as golden leaves in autumn line the muddy puddles and bluebells in spring make you never want to leave. 

Whizzing past wildlife

Wild boar were illegally reintroduced to the Forest of Dean in 2006 and they’ve been proliferating ever since. This gives you a rare opportunity to catch sight or sound of one snuffling through the trees. 

In the western extent of the region, the River Wye provides chances to see peregrine falcons whilst New Fancy view point near the village of Parkend is your best chance to spot goshawk. Fallow deer roam the forest and you’re most likely to see them bolting across the trail ahead, having certainly spotted you first.

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