The Area

adminupload_506ad2f75ce2fclearwell castleClearwell is a pretty village nestling on the edge of the Wye Valley in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Just a five minute walk from Foxglove Cottage is Clearwell Castle plus the famous Clearwell Caves, with their atmospheric mine workings and impressive caverns with winding passageways. Puzzlewood, just up the road, is also well worth a visit, with its magical wood used recently as a film set for Dr Who and Merlin.

UnknownWithin easy driving distance other places of interest include Tintern Abbey, “Go Ape”, Symonds Yat, the Parkend to Lydney steam railway, Dean Heritage Museum, Chepstow Castle, Goodrich Castle, and Chepstow racecourse. See here for more ideas..

The Cottage is a very reasonable drive to the Brecon Beacons National Park to the west, for superb walking and beautiful open, far-reaching views; and similarly, eastwards to the scenic Cotswolds for picturesque honey-coloured villages – both areas being under an hour’s drive away.monmouth

The busy market town on Monmouth is only six miles away & a pleasant drive along the River Wye. Here you will find many independent shops as well as restaurants & a Waitrose.

Although a quiet, peaceful village, Clearwell has the good fortune to have three pubs and a restaurant, all within easy walking distance. Both the Butcher’s Arms and the Clear Well are historic pubs, serving good pub food and both pubs allow well behaved dogs (the Butcher’s by prior appointment).  Unknown

The Lamb is an excellent traditional pub with open fires & is also dog friendly.

The Tudor Farmhouse restaurant is ideal for a special meal, with its reputation as one of the best restaurants in the area using high quality, locally sourced, seasonal produce.3


The Village

castleSet in a gentle valley, the centre of the village is dominated by a 14th century stone cross. Clearwell lies within a Conservation Area and there are many fine buildings in the village. Notable among these buildings are Clearwell Castle and the Church of St. Peter. Clearwell’s history can be traced back to Roman times and evidence of early iron workings can be seen at Clearwell Caves, an award winning mining museum. Tourist attractions within a mile include Clearwell Caves, Perrygrove railway, and Puzzlewood.

Unknown-2The village hosts Good Pub Guide pubs and restaurants. The Lamb, 100 yds from the cottage, has real ales straight from the barrel. At the cross, the Clear Well serves good food in front of the impressive large fireplace. Opposite, the Tudor Farmhouse Hotel features a romantic candlelit restaurant, ideal for that special occasion. Next door is the Butchers Arms, an inn with a large range of facilities including a fine restaurant. Children are welcome in all the hostelries in the village. Dominating the village is Clearwell Castle, built for the Wyndham family in 1727 on the site of a Tudor manor and is a fine early example of Gothic revival architecture. It was England’s first neo-gothic mansion.

Unknown-4Coleford offers usual facilities including various Shops selling local produce, a Post Office, Banks, chemist, Supermarkets, a Cinema and petrol station. Along the valley brook to the west of Clearwell is the charming medieval village of Newland where the ‘Cathedral of the Forest’ crowns the hillside. The Ostrich pub here is a fine eatery described in the Good Pub Guide.

Many places of interest are easily accessible with Tintern Abbey (6 miles); Monmouth 8 miles, Chepstow and racecourse(10 miles); Symonds Yat (10 min drive) and Hereford, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bath, Worcester, The Malverns and South Wales all within an hours drive.

Things to do

Some of the many things that you can do whilst visiting the area.

Symonds-yat.jpgSymonds Yat Rock

Admire the picturesque views of the River Wye and surrounding area from this internationally famous viewpoint. Discover the ancient hill fort, spot birds of prey and enjoy a snack from the log cabin cafe.

viewpoints_banner.jpgWye Valley

The Wye Valley offers a unique landscape with a fascinating history with so much to see and so much to do and which guarantees a wealth of attractions for the visitor.

2000142bigCannop Ponds

A series of manmade ponds lie in the Cannop Valley. Located beside the middle pond there is a large grassed area ideal for family games and picnics. The popular fishing lake is an idyllic spot to view local birdlife, including Mandarin ducks.


The Sculpture Trail

Established in 1986, this four mile long Sculpture Trail was one of the first to open in the UK. The Trail features sculptures created by artists to interpret the Forest environment and the history of this very unusual landscape. It provides a unique opportunity to walk through the woodlands and discover art along the way. Perfect for all ages and abilities, you don’t need to know about art to enjoy what you see.


Dean Forest Railway

The 4 1/2 mile line runs through beautiful woodland and countryside offering visitors a chance to experience the relaxing pace of a typical country branch line. With 5 stations along the way you’ll have time to explore the local area, taking in woodland walks and country pubs or venturing down to the Severn estuary to explore Lydney Harbour with its fantastic views across the Severn.

13057395694_7fd819b7cd_zClearwell Caves 

A natural cave system set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Atmospheric show caves and mine system that has produced artists pigments for over 4,500 years and were dug for iron ore until 1945, making one of Britain’s most complex and ancient mine workings. Exciting displays and a great underground experience for all the family.

cavern1.jpgThe Secret Forest

The Secret Forest is only 200 yards from Clearwell Caves. The paths spread over a bewildering woodland in and amongst rock formations. Known locally as Scowles; they are the outcrop of the crease limestone cave system which started forming approximately 180 million years ago.

The beauty of this enchanting woodland lies in walking the footpath through the rising and falling scowles. Past shimmering leaves, rare plants and bonsai yew trees which have grown over hundreds of years amongst the rocks in their own gnarled and twisted ways.


One of the best trail centres in the country.  A range of waymarked routes to suit all abilities – from gentle off-road family rides, technical cross-country routes to full on downhill lines (you may even see some World Cup riders in training)


Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place, located in the beautiful and historic Forest of Dean. Explore a mile of meandering pathways, with its fantastic tree and rock formations, through this 14 acre ancient woodland.

Lydia-at-Rookwood-1024x680Perrygrove Railway

The railway runs through farmland and woods on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Passengers can ride on the train to use activities including a Treetop Adventure, a covered picnic and play area at Foxy Hollow, an Indoor Village with secret passages, and a den-building area in the woods.

UnknownGo Ape

Our two locations in the Forest of Dean – England’s largest oak woodland – is arguably our most beautiful place of residency. Mallards Pike Lake, home to our original Tree Top Adventure and Forest Segway, is a great spot for a picnic or a gentle lakeside walk. Three miles down the road, in the heart of the forest, Beechenhurst Lodge plays host to our Tree Top Junior Adventure.

beechenhurst-lodge.jpgBeechenhurst Lodge

Beechenhurst lies in the heart of the forest, and is a great place to start your adventure. Discover the Sculpture Trail, play area, cafe, shop and climbing tower.

gruffalo_0808Dean Heritage Centre

One of Gloucestershire’s leading attractions. Set across a stunning and fully interactive five acre site, the centre protects and preserves the unique history and heritage of the beautiful Forest of Dean.

mine1.jpgHopewell Colliery

Celebrating the past, present and future of this unique way of life in the Forest of Dean.  At Hopewell Colliery you can take one of our  guided underground tours in the safe hands of an expert Freeminer of the Forest of Dean.

tinternabbeyFMA01Tintern Abbey 

An area of outstanding beauty complemented by this outstanding beauty in stone. If only the walls could talk! The chants of countless monks echo through the masonry here. Despite the shell of this grand structure being open to the skies, it remains the best-preserved medieval abbey in Wales.

chepstowcastleFMA03Chepstow Castle

Beautifully preserved Chepstow Castle is a history lesson in stone.
If you think modern doors are long lasting, think again. Chepstow boasts the oldest castle doors in Europe. All wood and all of 800 years old. Until 1962 these doors hung in the main gateway, but are now in safe keeping in the on-site exhibition

SONY DSCHilltop birds of prey

We offer an affordable, no hassle, falconry experience, using predatory birds both indigenous and exotic. Using species of Hawk, Falcon and Owl, we educate audiences of every age and background on the art, and sport of falconry, as well as the beauty, grace and power of these fascinating raptors. It is our mission to teach audiences, all over the importance of wildlife and conservation, and indeed the animals found in it, priding ourselves with many species of raptors both recognisable and loved in this country.

Parva Vineyard 

Parva Farm is a privately owned and run vineyard in the village of Tintern, South Wales. The vineyard produces award-winning wines, meads and sparkling wines for all occasions. The farm is open year-round for visiting – drop by and enjoy a tour of the vineyard and a chance to try the range of Welsh wine.

2O4B3638_edited-1.jpg-550x0Nags Head Nature Reserve

Nagshead is one of the best places for wildlife in the UK.

thMallards Pike Lake

Most ponds in the forest were made to supply water wheels that powered the mills and iron forges of the Forests industrial past but these were made by the Forestry Commission for the community’s pleasure. The larger, lower pond is used for water sports, the upper pond is left undisturbed for wildlife.

giftshop.jpgTaurus Crafts

Taurus Crafts is a great place to visit in the Forest of Dean at Lydney where you can buy pottery, arts and crafts and enjoy the crafts people working in their studios

For more information


12 easy walks leaflet

Download here






film trail

Film Trails Guide

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