Find Your Spring Freedom in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley
…With Delicious Local Food and Drink
From foraging experiences to outdoor dining, spring is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the wonderful food and drink we have here in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.
Brilliant Beer Gardens
Sitting outside enjoying a drink in a great British pub beer garden is one of the great pleasures of the spring and summer months. We've got pubs next to the river, pubs surrounded by forest and pubs next to ancient ruins, pubs with walled gardens, pubs with playgrounds and of course there is always top pub grub made with local produce and local drinks on tap and in bottles all round. The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley has more than its fair share of pubs, but its beer gardens are extra special because of the nature of the area and its surroundings. Our many pubs are perfect to sit outside on a hot sunny day or a warm spring evening, enjoying a local pint and regional sourced food. See our guide to the top ten beer gardens in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley here and see our full list of pubs here.
The Best Picnic Spots
Who doesn't love a picnic - all you need is a great outdoor space and the weather on your side... we can guarantee the first! You might choose a picnic spot in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley which is well known with facilities on site, or it could be an out of the way place - on the side of a hill, in the forest or by a river. We each have our favourite! Beechenhurst, the Kymin, Cannop Ponds, Mallards Pike, next to one of our castles or maybe Piercefield Park? We've put together our top five picnic spots in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and there is also a full list here. Or bring your BBQ and use one of the on site facilities at Forestry England sites.
A Foodie Getaway
We’ve also put together our guide to foodie breaks in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley with The Sip, Snack, Snooze Collection. It’s a series of bite-sized getaways combining stylish accommodation with sampling the best local produce. We've loads of friendly producers whose doors are open for visitors to come and sample their wares. Choose from cheese and cider picnics in an orchard, vegan baking courses and Welsh Cake gelato, vineyard and brewery tours, delicatessens and tasting menus and even a hands-on experience blending your own gin, the options are endless. Whatever your fancy we've got the foodie experience for you here in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley!
Spring is the ideal time to learn about the edible treats available in our woods, hedgerows and trees and this is when foraging season begins in earnest. We always recommend going foraging with an expert and there are several courses and classes in the area throughout the next few months, with or without lunch, overnight stays or cookery classes. Our ancient forest is an ideal location for foraging and it’s one of our most popular spring activities. Why not try:
Foraging Experience with Lunch at Tudor Farmhouse Hotel & Restaurant
Depending on the season foraged items might include a wide variety of edible mushrooms, wild garlic, sorrel, bitter cress, pennywort, wimberries, sea beat, marsh samphire, edible flowers and wild strawberries. Spend the day or choose to book into one of their sumptuous rooms and make a weekend of it. 2020 spring dates are: 14th and 28th March, 4th and 26th April, 2nd and 9th May and can be seen here.
Foraging: A Wild Taste of the Hedgerow with Humble by Nature
Learn what you can do with crab apples and rosehips, cobnuts and orchard fruit at this rural skills centre in Monmouthshire. With spring foraging there are plenty of new shoots and amazing flavours to discover in the fields and hedgerows. Learn how to tap and drink from Birch trees and make delicious puddings, preserves and syrups from leaves and buds like the Rowan or Bramble. On site at this working farm with accommodation available too. Foraging this spring is on Saturday 25th April 2020 and on other dates throughout the year.
A Forage and Feast Experience with Harts Barn Cookery School
Run throughout the year you not only go out foraging with an expert in nearby woods you then return to the cookery school to learn what you can make with your finds! Available this spring on Sunday 19th April, Friday 1st May and Thursday 7th May 2020. Private bookings also available.
'Spring Fling’ or a ‘Foraging Fun Break’ at The Angel Hotel
The Foraging Fun Break includes a 3 hour foraging experience and a 3 course meal in the Oak Room and a bottle of limited edition Hedgerow Handbook Gin to take home. Foraging breaks this spring are available 21st - 22nd March, 18th - 19th April, 16th - 17th May 2020.
Other Spring Food and Drink Experiences for Indulgence
A distil your own gin workshop launches in March 2020 at Silver Circle Distillery along the Wye Valley, giving gin-lovers the chance to learn about different botanicals and how gin is made, distil their own gin on a miniature still and leave with their own bottle of gin. Taking place every Saturday in March places are limited.
Try a brewery experience at Hillside Brewery in the Forest of Dean where you'll learn about the history of beer, you'll taste and smell the ingredients used in brewing, get involved if you like and look around the brew house and bottling room where everything is made and finished on site. Then taste a range of classic ales – 4 to be exact, and you can book a lunch and dine in their hop barn bar or outside with views over the Forest of Dean all around.
See the blossoming grape vines on a hillside overlooking Tintern Abbey with a vineyard tour at Parva Farm Vineyards this spring. The vineyard produces award-winning wines, meads and sparkling wines and the farm shop is a great spot to pick up some other local treats. Enjoy a picnic and take in the views and if you're lucky you may also see some of their lambs in the neighbouring fields.
You can also see all of our foodie events on our What's On guide here.
See our full guide to finding your spring freedom in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley here.