The Forest of Dean is one of the most beautiful places in the country, with picturesque towns and villages, stunning scenery and even its own harbour.
In this hot list, sponsored by Gloucestershire estate agents, Naylor Powell, SoGlos has narrowed down just 10 reasons why the Forest of Dean is an incredible place to live.
The expert team at Naylor Powell has been trusted by homeowners since 1982, with a well-deserved reputation for honesty, professionalism and outstanding local knowledge.
Providing sales, lettings and property management services, Naylor Powell has offices at Gloucester Docks, Hempsted, Cheltenham, Newent and Stonehouse.
For more information, visit naylorpowell.com.
From the majestic Symonds Yat rock standing high over the Wye Valley, the luscious green forests at Beechenhurst, to the tranquil waters of Mallards Pike Lake, the Forest of Dean has some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the UK.
The average house price in the Forest of Dean is £249,725 according to Zoopla, making it one of the more affordable places to buy a property in Gloucestershire. Property prices in the area have risen by around 11.61 per cent in the last 12 months too.
Some of Gloucestershire’s biggest companies are headquartered in the Forest of Dean, particularly in the manufacturing fields, including Lucozade Ribena Suntory – which makes a billion bottles of drinks every year at its factory in Coleford; Kalex Films in Cinderford; paper manufacturer Glatfelter in Lydney and tyre producer and distributor Watts of Lydney.
Plus, there’s huge construction companies including Cinderford-based company KW Bell Group and O’Neill and Brennan Construction in Lydney; BASF Metals Recycling, also based in Cinderford; as well as IT companies such as Simplicity in Mitcheldean, and insurance company Assurant in Mitcheldean, for example. Not to mention Forestry England, which offers a diverse range of civil service career opportunities.
With its magical woodlands, it’s no surprise that the Forest of Dean has been inspiring writers and filmmakers for centuries. Movie-lovers might recognise various locations from the big screen, with scenes from Harry Potter filmed in the forest and Puzzlewood providing the backdrop to scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
On the small screen, TV shows including Doctor Who and Sex Education have also been filmed in the Forest of Dean – so you could end up rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield in the local pub!
Just one exciting development underway in the Forest of Dean, is Destination Lydney Harbour, which began in 2020 after the project was awarded £2.1 million and will transform the area into a recreational hot spot for locals and visitors.
A state-of-the-art Construction Education Centre is also being built in Cinderford due to open late in 2021, delivering training in construction skills for up to 500 pupils a year.
The Forest of Dean has no shortage of traditional pubs and restaurants offering delicious food made from local produce. There’s everything from serene riverside spots like The Saracen’s Head in Symonds Yat East or The White Hart in Newnham-on-Severn, to fabulous family-friendly beer gardens at the likes of The Red Hart Inn in Longhope.
There’s also an abundance of produce made in the Forest of Dean, including the likes of internationally-renowned smoked fish from Severn & Wye Smokery in Chaxhill; one of England’s oldest wine producers at Three Choirs Vineyard in Newent; Severn Cider which produces cider and perry from apples and pears grown in Blakeney in the Forest of Dean; there’s even a festival dedicated to the humble onion in Newent.
It’s easy to see why outdoorsy types would love living in the Forest of Dean – especially those who like to explore on two wheels. From leisurely family-friendly rides through the forest to more extreme mountain bike trails at Cannop Cycle Centre, there’s plenty to delight cyclists in the Forest of Dean.
As well as hiking and rambling galore, there’s also plenty of canoeing and paddleboarding opportunities and a new treetop adventure at Go Ape.
Intrepid explorers can discover some incredible artworks deep in the forest at Beechenhurst. With stunning stained glass windows suspended from high up in the trees and installations inspired by the surrounding landscape, there are 17 sculptures to discover, with a variety of walking trails to follow.
There is also going to be a new public art installation at Lydney Harbour in 2021, with a viewing platform offering spectacular views over the River Severn and a colourful installation on the A48 roundabout, connected by a new walking trail.
While it may feel far from civilisation in the depths of the forest, the M50 and M4 are both easily accessible from the Forest of Dean within around a 40-minute drive. There’s also a train station in Lydney with direct trains to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Cardiff and Newport.
Families considering a move to the forest are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions. The Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley explores the area’s rich history in a family-friendly way with plenty of exhibits indoors and a Gruffalo trail to follow within the five-acre grounds, while Clearwell Caves gives families the opportunity to explore a natural cavern system and learn about the Forest Freeminers who used to dig for iron ore there.
Get up close to eagles, hawks and owls at Newent’s International Centre for Birds of Prey, take a ride on a steam train down the Dean Forest Railway, or kick off your shoes and take to the water at Wenchford, where the shallow Blackpool Brook provides a perfect paddling spot.
For more information about Naylor Powell, visit naylorpowell.com.
By Chloe Gorman
Friday 30 April 2021
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