Come for the leaves and stay for the fun! The region hosts an array of activities and experiences that can complement Leaf Peeping, offering different ways to experience the autumn foliage.
Leaf Peeping Photography Classes – David Broadbent
Professional photographer David Broadbent will be hosting bespoke workshops this autumn for keen photographers looking to sharpen their skills and capture the best of the golden autumn colours. From leading a small group through Puzzlewood on 20 October to running group and private Leaf Peeping workshops throughout autumn, where he will take people to his favourite local spots and give guidance and support on taking photos during this colourful season.
Forest Bathe in Autumnal Colours – Forest Bathe
Qualified forest therapy guide, Carina Greenwood, is taking groups into the forest during autumn to bathe their senses; looking, listening, smelling and tasting through a series of ‘invitations’ and activities proven to enhance wellbeing for mind, body and soul. Courses run for three hours and include forest snacks and a foraged tea ceremony.
Carina describes her time in the forest as “a readily available sustainable health spa and alternative, preventive medicine for all.” “Bathe yourself in natural, autumn colours and indulge your senses in a day of relaxation and beauty,” she encourages.
Autumn Wildlife Safaris – Ed Drewitt
As autumn falls, local naturalist and wildlife detective Ed Drewitt will be taking eager wildlife watchers into the heart of the forest to discover the area’s abundance of nature, including wild boar and deer, whilst listening to birdsong which picks up in the autumn as birds feast on the harvest.
To book a private safari, contact Ed directly. Ed enjoys exploring in the autumn.
“This area is a brilliant place to see the autumn colours because it is host to such a huge variety of different species of trees. Combined with the changing colours of bracken and flowering plants, the beech, oak and larch provide a dazzling array of colours which contrast with the dark greens of the fir, holly and yew trees. Many of the birds such as great tits, blue tits and gold crests which blended in with the greens of summer will be roaming around more obviously in mixed flocks,” he explains.
Leaf Peeping on Two Wheels
Take to two wheels for this Leaf Peeping adventure, exploring over 25 miles of traffic-free bike trails that run through the area. The leisurely 9-mile ‘Family Trail’ is a great starting point for youngsters, beginning at the Cannop Cycle Centre and cutting through the heart of the forest passing five of our Leaf Peeping hotspots: Cannop Ponds, Beechenhurst, Cyril Hart Arboretum, New Fancy View and Mallards Pike. Bike hire is available from Dean Forest Cycles in Parkend, or Pedalabikeaway at the Cannop Cycle Centre.
Paddle through the Picturesque Wye Valley
The Wye meanders through the centre of the region, passing through the three counties of Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire. Leaf Peeping by boat is a great way to view the area from a different perspective and experience the changing scenery of the ancient woodland as you float downstream. Canoe, kayak or SUP hire is available from Wye Canoes, Canoe the Wye, Wyedean Canoe Hire, Inspire 2 Adventure and Monmouth Canoe & Activity Centre.
Guided Leaf Peeping Walks
Experienced local guides will be leading 16 group walks around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley on 27-29 September during the Ross Walking Festival with Walking in Ross.
On Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October, 6 guided autumnal walks will be available free of charge courtesy of Chepstow Walkers are Welcome. The walks include a gentle hike alongside the Wye and a ramble through ancient woodland. Book on to the walks by visiting their website.
Missed both weekends? Don’t worry, Leaf Peeping walks throughout the area’s varied landscape can be booked with one of the expert guides part of Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tour Guides and tailored to your needs.
Climb through the Leaves - Forest of Dean Adventure
The team at Forest of Dean Adventure is getting into the leaf peeping spirit by adorning the 40-foot climbing tower with 1000s of leaves. Attempt an ascent from the green leaves at the bottom through the changing colours up to the golden browns at the summit.
Giant Tree Mural – Puzzlewood
To celebrate the autumn season at Puzzlewood, a giant interactive leaf peeping mural will be created using bark from fallen trees. Visitors can get involved in this fun and interactive experience, creating tree rubbings and matching the fallen leaves to the correct tree on the mural. Great fun for all ages.
Leaf Peep by Steam Train – Dean Forest Railway
Leaf Peep from the comfort of the carriage on an authentic steam train. It is a 15 minute journey along 4.5 miles of track in to the heart of the forest at Parkend, where you can hop off and enjoy a walk around autumnal oak trees at the nearby Nagshead Nature Reserve before catching the next train back to Lydney. Alternatively, enjoy the full 1.5 hour journey without ever leaving the carriage and watch the changing scenery go by.
The Forest Prairie steam train will be running Weekends and Wednesdays up until 10 November. Find out more.