Following on from our previous blog, discover more hidden Forest of Dean walks and views for you to enjoy this Spring.
Wintour’s Leap – Stunning Viewpoint
This viewpoint is very tricky to find – you could drive past it numerous times and still not find it. In fact, there are many locals who don’t know about this one but we guarantee it is worth the effort.
Located just outside the village of Woodcroft, a mile or so west of Tidenham on the B4228, the viewpoint itself isn’t signposted and there is no parking there. However, if you park a little way back down the road, you can access it easily on foot.
It is little more than a gap in the hedge and rocks, marked by two bollards. Step through here and you will be treated to an exquisite view over the horseshoe bend of the River Wye and the Lancaut Nature Reserve. Laid out before you is the Lancaut Peninsula in all its glory. There isn’t anything else to do there but feast on the view – so feast away.
It is a haven for climbers as the viewpoint is situated at the top of a sheer cliff, but the official car park is at the foot of the cliff and unless you have your climbing gear with you, you won’t get to experience this stunning view.
Interestingly, it is called Wintour’s Leap after Sir John Wintour who allegedly galloped off the top of the cliffs on his horse to escape the Parliamentarians during the Civil war in 1642.
River Lyd waterfall – Hidden Industrial Ironworks
The River Lyd is a small tributary of the River Severn, joining through the Lydney Canal. Small it may be, but it offers walkers a lovely meander through the forest culminating in a little man-made waterfall.
Hidden behind the trees and only metres from the road, the walk to Upper Forge on the river Lyd has always been popular with ramblers and locals, recently making the news when a new bridge was installed to improve access to the site.
You can access this lovely walk which takes you under the shelter of the trees, following the little river all the way to the forge, from Norchard Park station which is part of the Dean Forest Railway Network. (Another attraction we thoroughly recommend – there’s nothing quite like travelling by steam train).
As you follow the river you will see the beautiful old stone bridge and the remains of iron works, before arriving at a serene little pool with a man made waterfall on the site of the old iron works at Upper Forge. Although this site has become increasingly popular with locals in the last few years, it is still one we recommend checking out.
King Arthur’s Cave via Biblins rope bridge
Symond’s Yat has always been a magnet for tourists seeking fun on the river, pub lunches and lovely views. With the River Wye cutting through the valley and the old ferry to get you from West to East and back again it really is a great spot to spend the day.
However, many people don’t realise that just down the river is an equally beautiful spot which is far less crowded but full of natural beauty. Just a short walk down the river and you will find yourself at Biblins bridge. This rope bridge will take you across the river where you can access some lovely walks up through the forest, some stunning viewpoints and King Arthur’s cave.
Be warned though, the bridge at Biblins really is just a rope bridge suspended over the river so it’s not for the faint hearted.
From there you can walk up through the forest where you can access Peanut Peak, with its far-reaching views over the Wye and into Wales, White Rocks Nature Reserve with its beautiful limestone cliffs and King Arthur’s Cave.
King Arthur’s Cave got it’s name because back in the 18th Century, bones of a giant were allegedly excavated from in the caves but they were sadly lost in a shipwreck. The caves, which are accessible, date back to the Late Pleistocene era, and many discoveries have been made there, such as bones of hyaena, lion, cave and brown bear, urus, red deer, giant Irish Elk, reindeer, and a horse.
Soudley Ponds and Blaize Bailey viewpoint
Soudley is a tiny village not far from Cinderford which is in a little valley, surrounded on all sides by forested hills. It is home to the Dean Heritage Centre which is a lovely museum in which you can explore all aspects of Forest history.
However, just up the road from the Heritage Centre are Soudley Ponds, a beautifully tranquil lake surrounded by majestic Douglas Firs. Walk around the pond and you feel cut off from the outside world, where all you can here is the sound of the birds in the trees. Venture deeper into the woods that surround the pond and in Spring, you will be greeted with a stunning carpet of Bluebells. This is one of the best places for a photo opportunity – it really is a sight to behold.
Not far from the ponds, if you fancy a walk up the hill through the forest is Blaize Bailey viewpoint which offers amazing views of the River Severn as it meanders its way down to the coast.
If you’ve not read our first blog on hidden gems, check it out here.