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One of the small market towns in the Forest, Coleford is also its administrative centre. Centrally placed it is an ideal location for exploring the area with many of the main attractions nearby.

Towns and Villages in or near Coleford


With a population of nearly 8,500 Coleford is technically the largest community in the Forest of Dean District in the county of Gloucestershire. The town itself, however, is relatively small with the population of the parish boosted by a series of outlying settlements, Mile End, Broadwell, Coalway and Milkwall.

As a centre for services, it throws its net even wider to villages such as Berry Hill, English Bicknor, Newland, Sling, Clearwell and Ellwood. The town centre’s compact size means the countryside is never far away and it is easy to reach by car with excellent parking and arguably the best shopping facilities in the Forest of Dean.

The visitor cannot fail to be struck by the expansive market place at the centre of the town with its isolated clock tower (the church that belonged to the tower was demolished in the 19th century and a new church built overlooking the town, but without a tower). The market place, surrounded by Georgian façades, often hiding even older structures, is no longer the site of a large regular market, but is nevertheless an invaluable space which makes Coleford the Forest of Dean’s favoured location for outside public events. 

Home to both local government and Forestry England, Coleford is the administrative centre for the Forest of Dean.

The centre of the town has been designated as a Conservation Area and there are numerous buildings of historic interest. Coleford boasts its very own cinema, two excellent golf courses, the Great Western Railway Museum, a nearby off-road driving centre, plus a good range of shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels.

Just outside the town are some of the area's best know family attractions, including Perrygrove Railway, Puzzlewood and Clearwell Caves. Nearby, a number of picturesque villages, such as Clearwell, Newland and St Briavels can be found offering a warm welcome at local inns and hotels - the famous Symonds Yat Rock is just 3 miles away.

Notable people from Coleford include playwright Dennis Potter, popular crime writer Andrew taylor and Robert Mushet, who perfected the Bessemer process for making steel in 1856. 

Coleford has a Tourist Information Centre that is open throughout the year.


  • Towns and Villages


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