9 best reasons to move to the Forest of Dean

SoGlos shares nine of the best reasons to consider moving to the Forest of Dean, from its natural beauty and affordable property prices to the abundance of things to do for the family.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Lush forests, tranquil riverside spots and fun family attractions are just some of the things that make living in the Forest of Dean great.
Lush forests, tranquil riverside spots and fun family attractions are just some of the things that make living in the Forest of Dean great.

One of the most naturally beautiful places to live in the UK, with its endless woodland, picturesque villages, and even its own harbour, SoGlos has narrowed down just nine of the best reasons to move to the Forest of Dean.

Stunning natural landscapes in the Forest of Dean

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.

Check out SoGlos’s pick of 13 stunning beauty spots to visit around the Forest of Dean for more must-visit locations.

Property prices in the Forest of Dean

Places like Cinderford, Coleford and Mitcheldean are some of the most affordable places to buy a property in Gloucestershire.

Job opportunities in the Forest of Dean

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.

Famous filming locations in the Forest of Dean

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! Discover more filming locations in Gloucestershire.

New development projects in the Forest of Dean

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 – with a new art trail due to be opening.

The state-of-the-art AccXel Construction Education Centre in Cinderford also opened in December 2021, delivering training in construction skills for up to 500 pupils a year; while manufacturing giant Versarien is building a brand-new innovation centre at its HQ in Longhope.

Food and drink in the Forest of Dean

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.

Outdoor activities in the Forest of Dean

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.

Transport links in the Forest of Dean

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.

Family attractions in the Forest of Dean

Families considering a move to the forest are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions. 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.

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.

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