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Royal Forest Route

A circular tour of the central forest area visiting the principle points of interest

Natural World in or near Cinderford


The forest as a whole conceals a history best unearthed at the 'Start Point East' of the circular tour, at the Dean Heritage Centre in Lower Soudley. An essential introduction to the Forest of Dean, the centre tells the story of the Forest's culture and environment - and also introduces visitors to one of the oldest brands in Britain: the Dean navy hammer, used to mark selected trees for felling in the production of England's Tudor warships.

From there, the circuit passes by Speech House Hotel which boasts the oldest court in the British Isles; the renowned Sculpture Trail, with its stained glass window; a mine dating back to the 1820s, where visitors are given the chance to step both back in time, and underground; and the remarkable 'Puzzlewood.'

Based around a pre-Roman open-cast ore mine, the environment within this natural attraction has, over the centuries, taken on the appearance of a Tolkien-esque landscape. Located in Dean farmland, it offers today's visitors the chance to make their way around an enclosed natural maze of paths, bridges, tunnels and clefts - all of which reveal more and more of this fantasy-world at every twist and turn. It has been used as a location for many films and television programmes..

'Start Point West', meanwhile, is located at the Clearwell Caves. Mined for 3,000 years, the Caves feature eight large caverns now open to the public. From there, the route offers nature reserves, lakeland areas, and amazing views, before passing through a virtual lagoon of bluebells on the approach to Upper Soudley along the Roman Road. The Roman Road between Wenchford Picnic Site and the road to the Dean Heritage Centre is also known as the Golden Mile because of its spectacular autumn colours.

Full details of all attractions along the way are contained in the leaflet, which also features an easy-to-follow map of The Royal Forest Route. Places of interest just off the route are also listed, including: Symonds Yat, the Three Choirs Vineyard, the Wye Valley, Newent and Lydney.

Download the following documents.

Note.  These maps and directions were created some time ago and some featuures and locations may have changed.  In particular the Giants Chair at Beechenhurst was removed in 2016.



  • Natural World
  • Sights


GL14 2UB

Enter your start address:

  • Cinderford
  • Coleford
  • Lydney
  • Parkend