Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
The Royal Forest of Dean lies on the border between England and South Wales in the UK, less than 3 hours west of London, and provides 30,000 acres of ancient woodland full of waymarked and open route cycling tracks. Throughout the RFOD there is free access to the natural landscape.
The area offers a wide variety of terrain, so there’s a huge choice of easy to difficult rides to choose from, depending on your experience and preferences.
The forest is a haven for wildlife
Its including squirrels, badgers, foxes, fallow deer and free-roaming sheep. Seasonal variations make this a stunning landscape to visit at any time of the year – see the carpets of bluebells in the spring, the magnificent golden foliage in the autumn.
Location: A trail that is a favourite with locals and visitors alike is the route through the Sculpture Trail, which begins and ends at Beechenhurst Lodge in the heart of the forest. Beechenhurst is found on the Speech House Road between the two market towns of Cinderford and Coleford. More extensive directions can be found on the Sculpture Trail’s. Beechenhurst is open from dawn to dusk daily, all year round. There is no admission fee but there’s a car parking charge of £3.50.
Difficulty: The full Sculpture Trail is around 3.5 miles long but shorter distance routes are available. The ride is an easy one and waymarked, but look out here and there for those tree roots. Collect an up-to-date leaflet -containing a map and information about the artworks – from the lodge, then follow the direction arrows on the blue-ringed posts.
What You’ll Find There
The Trail offers rides through a magical woodland environment, with 17 permanent artworks and regular temporary exhibits on open show. The artworks have been designed, by international artists, to reflect the forest and its communities. Sculptures include a Giant’s Chair, a shimmering metal swing suspended in a tree and a huge stained-glass window.
Beechenhurst Lodge itself is a popular picnic site and contains a Forestry Commission Visitor Centre, children’s playground, café, gift shop, bbq facilities and toilets. A great base for rides.
Bike Hire: should you need it, this service is available at Pedalabikeaway Cycle Centre, adjacent to the Sculpture Trail. For hire charges and details of equipment – including bikes for special needs.