Why Visit the Wye Valley/Forest of Dean?

Things to do in the area

Rowan Tree Retreat is nestled not only in the heart of the Forest of Dean but is within the Wye Valley AONB, making it a superb location to have a staycation. Boasting excellent road links, Rowan Tree Retreat is situated in West Gloucestershire, bordering both Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. The bustling market towns of Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye are just a short drive away, as well as the nearby historic town of Coleford. Or venture slightly further to discover the charming cathedral cities of Hereford and Gloucester.

Our luxury holiday cottage has something for everyone; whether you’re a keen bird watcher, nature lover, dog walker, or outdoor enthusiast. Rowan Tree Retreat is situated in a fantastic location with plenty of opportunities for walks, outdoor adventures and relaxation. There are many cycle trails, canoeing and rock-climbing sites close by. Spot the three types of deer (fallow, roe and muntjac) on your adventures in the forest, and if you’re lucky, you may even witness a wild boar!

You can enjoy a vast array of fantastic walks into the Forest of Dean and down to the river Wye directly from the garden gate. There are multiple woodland walks including the lovely Mailscot Wood Trail and The Wysis Way, or you can walk across to the stunning Symonds Yat Rock Viewpoint. You can also walk over Biblins Bridge up to King Arthur’s Cave, or across to Ye Olde Ferrie Inn.

Our luxury self-catering cottage with hot tub is just a stone’s throw away from 3 dog-friendly pubs; the closest being The New Inn at Shortstanding under a 10 minute walk away, followed by The Dog & Muffler at around 25 minutes walk away, and finally the famous Saracens Head in Symond’s Yat East. Ye Olde Ferrie Inn can be found opposite the Saracens Head and can be reached by a hand ferry. The White Horse at Staunton and The Hostelrie at Goodrich are both around a 10 minute drive away and serve fantastic food.

You can enjoy Wye Valley cruisescanoeingkayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, arts and crafts, birds of prey spotting, bushcraft, horse riding, laser shooting climbing, abseiling, gorge scrambling, rafting, fishing and wild swimming all along the meandering river Wye. There are some amazing Forest of Dean adventure sites nearby which offer multiple activities such as archeryadventure challenges, and zip wires. There are also 2 Go Ape centres nearby, including the Treetop Adventure at Beechenhurst (just a 12 minute drive away) and the Treetop Challenge at Mallards Pike (18 minute drive away). If you would like to fish during your stay the 2 nearest locations are on the Lower Wye at Lower Symonds Yat and Wyebank. Please enquire as to how to get fishing permit for salmon, coarse or trout All day or after 5pm.

Puzzlewood, a unique ancient enchanted woodland, is well worth a visit. It is a popular filming location and appeared in films such as The Secret Garden, Merlin, Dr Who, Star Wars and more. J.R.R Tolkien himself was apparently inspired by Puzzlewood when writing the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Clearwell Caves also makes for a fantastic day out, with nine magnificent caverns to explore. If wildlife is your thing, you can discover butterflies from around the world at the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo. We also recommend visiting Hopewell Colliery, where a handful of freeminers still work the coal mine. If you fancy a scenic railway journey through the Forest of Dean on a steam train, take a trip on the Dean Forest Railway – an 85 minute journey covering a nine-mile round trip along our forest line. The Perrygrove Railway offers oodles of fun, and is dog-friendly too.

Within easy reach are many historic sites including Goodrich Castle (5 miles away), Tintern Abbey (8 miles away), Monmouth Castle (6 miles away), Usk Castle (13 miles away), Raglan Castle (9 miles away), Gloucester Cathedral (18 miles away) and Hereford Cathedral (17 miles away). There is something for everyone to enjoy!

A 5 minute drive takes you to our local shop, The Dairy, at Berry Hill in Coleford, and a 10/15 minute walk from the cottage takes you to a forest lodges café/shop. You can find most supermarkets within a 20 minute drive, including Lidl, Co-Op & Tesco Express in Coleford. If you enjoy local produce, the award-winning Forest Deli in Coleford is well worth a visit. Waitrose, M&S, Lidl and Iceland are all a 15 minute drive away in Monmouth, whilst Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are a 20 minute drive away in Ross-on-Wye. Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Iceland will all deliver directly to Rowan Tree Retreat.