The many millions of trees in the Forest of Dean are blazing with autumn colour, making the ancient woodland and its surrounds one of the best areas in the whole of the UK to see vibrant displays of autumn colour.
Whether you're exploring on foot, by car or cycling through the Forest of Dean and the neighbouring Wye Valley this autumn, SoGlos has found 10 of the very best places to go 'leaf peeping' — spanning magnificent viewpoints, nature reserves and tranquil waterside spots.
Autumn colour at Beechenhurst
Home to the enchanting Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail and a Go Ape site with two junior high ropes courses, Beechenhurst is not only a hub of activity for families and adventure-seekers, but a prime spot for leaf peeping in the autumn. For photographers and Instagram lovers, the white bark of the birches creates a picture-worthy contrast with the trees' own yellow leaves and the golden hues that surround them.
Autumn colour at The Cyril Hart Arboretum
Soak up rich displays of autumn colour at The Cyril Hart Arboretum, just next to the Speech House Hotel. Here, nature lovers can see over 200 types of trees and foliage from all over the world, with the arboretum giving keen leaf-peepers the opportunity to admire some non-native species at autumntime — including deep red Japanese maple trees and bright yellow tulip trees.
Autumn colour at New Fancy Viewpoint
Boasting 360-degree views of the Forest of Dean, spectators will feel small as they gaze out over the canopy at New Fancy Viewpoint, taking in the sheer size of the ancient forest as it glows with autumn colour. Expect a tapestry of yellow, orange and gold, giving way to evergreen conifers in the distance.
Autumn colour at Cannop Ponds
Less than a mile from Beechenhurst, Cannop Ponds is a popular spot for family walks, with flat grassy areas and plenty of ducks bobbing around in the ponds. It's also a great destination for some late season leaf peeping, as it's surrounded by alders — one of the last tree species to turn colour in autumn.
Autumn colour at Mallards Pike
Head to Mallards Pike on a sunny autumn day to see bright orange needles and golden leaves reflected on the lake, with trails to follow for a gentle waterside stroll. Well-placed for outdoor adventures, the site also has Go Ape high ropes, running trails which vary from 2km to 10km in length, and sits on the Family Cycle Trail — making it easy for visitors to explore deeper into the forest.
Autumn colour at the Eagle's Nest Viewpoint
Perched at the top of 300-plus mossy steps in the Wye Valley, the Eagle's Nest is one of the region's best viewpoints. While the trek from Wyndcliff Wood isn't for the fainthearted, walkers are rewarded with panoramic views of the rivers Wye and Severn and Cotswold hills — with the picture-perfect scenery looking all the more glorious in autumn, when it's painted with yellow, copper and gold.
Autumn colour at the Devil's Pulpit
Taking its name from local legend, the Devil's Pulpit was believed to be a vantage point used by the devil to tempt the monks away from Tintern Abbey below; now, it's a popular viewpoint over the River Wye, framed by colourful yew trees in the autumn. The landmark is only accessible through the woodland via the ancient Offa's Dyke Footpath, with the route promising to be just as scenic as the pulpit itself.
Autumn colour at Symonds Yat Rock
Symonds Yat Rock is perhaps the Forest of Dean's most popular viewpoint and it's clear to see why. As well as being one of the best places in the whole country to spot peregrine falcons and other birds of prey, it offers uninterrupted views of the River Wye and mixed forest landscape, which is coloured with vibrant hues and russet tones when the autumn comes.
Autumn colour at Speculation and Mireystock
With lots of trails for woodland wanderers, Speculation is a small picnic site near Lydbrook, where leaf peepers can admire oak and silver birch trees in all their autumn glory. Follow the old railway line through the forest to reach Mireystock, with bridges, embankments and a tunnel telling the story of the Forest of Dean's rich mining history along the way.
Autumn colour at Nagshead Nature Reserve
A conservation site that is half oak woodland — with the other half a mixed landscape of ponds, open space and conifer woodland — Nagshead Nature Reserve is bursting with colour in the autumn. Visitors can take two waymarked trails to explore the site, which is also a hotspot for bird watching, being partly managed by the RSPB.