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St Briavels

Small but interesting village with a former royal castle, now a youth hostel. Set high above the Wye Valley there are good views into the Forest and to Wales in the distance.

Towns and Villages in or near St Briavels


St Briavels (pronounced Brevels) is a vibrant little village in the Forest of Dean, having a pub, a deli, a church and a castle. There is also a nearby thriving community shop between St Briavels and Brockweir.

A monthly farmers' market is held in the village on the first Saturday morning of every month, where you can buy many locally produced delights, including bread and cakes, cider and real ale, fish, and speciality meats.

Built in the early 12th century, St Briavel’s was an important royal castle on the frontier with Wales and the administrative and judicial centre of the Royal Forest of Dean. Edward I added a fine twin-towered gatehouse to St Briavel's in 1292. During his reign the castle was a crossbow bolt factory, using local Forest of Dean iron to produce weapons for his campaigns against the Welsh and Scots. After the conquest of Wales the gatehouse became a debtor's prison, and the castle is now a youth hostel, set in wonderful walking country.

Each year on Whit Sunday the St Briavels Bread and Cheese Dole takes place. Originating in the 12th century, bread and cheese is thrown from the wall of the castle to local 'Dole Claimers' dressed in medieval costume. 'Dole claimers' could be anyone who paid a penny to the incumbent Earl of Hereford entitling them to gather firewood from the nearby Hudnalls wood. Some believe in the power of these edible morsels and preserve them for good luck - the miners originally used them as charms to protect against accidents underground.


  • Towns and Villages


St Briavels
GL15 6TA
O/S Ref: SO 5504

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On the B4228 mid-way between Coleford and Chepstow.

  • Chepstow
  • Coleford
  • Lydney
  • St Briavels