On Countryfile this Sunday: The Forest of Dean

In this week’s special edition for Remembrance Sunday, Ellie Harrison will be visiting the Forest of Dean to investigate how female lumberjacks helped the war effort. 

Gloucestershire floods

Located in the west of Gloucestershire, this stunning stretch of verdant forest is the perfect destination for both serious hikers and more relaxed ramblers. Bordered by the River Wye and River Severn and full of interesting and unusual trails and attractions, the Forest of Dean is a truly beautiful location for a walking holiday.

The Forest of Dean sculpture trail first opened in 1986, and has proved highly popular with visitors ever since. Local artists have installed a wide variety of different sculptures that reflect their own emotional connection to the forest over a four mile stretch of woodland. Highlights include a giant wooden chair and a stained glass window hanging from a tree.
Spanning five acres, The Dean Heritage Centre incorporates activities and attractions to appeal to all types of visitor. Notable features include five interlinked galleries which detail the history of the area, historical reconstructions of a forester’s cottage and a Victorian schoolroom and an old coalmine, open for exploring. You can even try your hand at ferret-walking!
Be whisked through the idyllic countryside on a traditional Victorian steam engine. Special events include the chance to drive and power a train yourself, or take the more relaxed route and enjoy a three course meal in a First Class Dining Car.
The oldest specialist birds of prey centre in the world, they perform three flying demonstrations a day, whatever the weather! Winter owl evenings are available from November 2012 until just before Christmas.
The Forest is a haven for sport fanatics, from more extreme activities such as climbing, caving and rope adventure courses, to more gentle exercise like golf and fishing. Additionally, the nearby River Wye is utilized for an assortment of water sports, including canoeing and kayaking.
Sheep are the most prolific animal in The Forest of Dean, with many different breeds roaming around the scenery. Fallow deer, and occasionally roe deer, may be spotted, along with badgers, foxes, hedgehogs and dormice. Various birds and mandarin ducks can be found nesting in the trees, while pipistrelle bats and butterflies may also be glanced.
Along with spectacular views, The Forest of Dean also boasts a number of excellent rustic pubs and restaurants. The Saracens Head Inn in Ross-on-Wye is a lovely 17th Century riverside inn, while the Tudor Farmhouse Hotel is an attractive former farm.  Additionally, the Three Choirs Vineyard in Newent is a charming winery, and The Mill Race in Ross-on-Wye serves locally sourced award winning pub food. 
On Saturday 10th November at the nearby Savoy Theatre there will be a special evening of war songs, sung by Rosamund Shelley and Christopher Littlewood. Words and music will be taken from the works of prolific war-related writers, such as Rudyard Kipling, Ivor Novello and Siegfried Sassoon.