Dragon egg hunting, chocolate making, daffodil walks and tidal surfing
The Forest of Dean & Wye Valley region is looking forward to longer and hopefully drier days as we edge closer to Easter and the official start of spring around the corner. There are a wide range of action-packed fun-filled events and activities to help families and friends alike find a sense of freedom as they explore the area’s main drawcards; the Forest of Dean, one of Britain’s largest and most ancient forests, as well as miles and miles of winding rivers. To check out the full line up of Easter events and activities visit www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/whatson
The region offers something for every interest whether it is families hunting for dragon eggs and making Easter chocolates to getting lost in a hedge maze, or more active visitors discovering some of the area’s best walking or biking trails, or even taking to the water by kayak. There’s also the chance to witness a tidal wave race up the river as a four-star Severn Bore coincides with Easter this year.
Plus, there is still availability at a great range of accommodation providers from jazzy yurts on the slopes of viewpoints overlooking seven counties, to country cottages bordering ancient oak woodland.
To view the full offering of accommodation in the area visit www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/discover/Accommodation
The Great Easter Pottery Trail at Puzzlewood
Coleford, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, 6-17 April
This Easter, Puzzlewood will be visited by not just one, but a whole group of Easter bunnies as local pottery businesses in the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley have specially created ceramic rabbits that will be hidden within the 14 acres of magical woodland. The creations include a rabbit made by famed potter, Mary Rose Young, whose “Alice in Wonderland” styled work appears in the latest series of The Great Pottery Throw Down. Each day over Easter one of the rabbits will be hidden, and it will be up to eager explorers to hunt them down, snap a selfie and suggest a name, with a prize each day for the winning name.
Entry to Puzzlewood is £7 for adults, £6 for children aged three to 16 and children under two go free. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available for £25. To find out more visit puzzlewood.net or call 01594 833187.
Hunt for dragon eggs at Goodrich Castle, Wye Valley
Goodrich, Herefordshire, 4-19 April
Goodrich Castle has stood strong for centuries, even withstanding a siege during the Civil War, yet this Easter it faces a new threat as dragon eggs have been hidden within the grounds. It is up to young adventurers to crack the clues and track down the hidden eggs before they have a chance to hatch. Successful egg hunters will get a certificate and treats from Hotel Chocolat.
Entry to the castle is £9.90 per adult, £6 per child (five to 17) and children under five go free. The egg hunt runs every day between 4-19 April and is available for £1 per child. To find out more visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/goodrich-castle or call 0370 333 1181.
Get crafty and follow an egg trail to find the Gruffalo at the Dean Heritage Centre, Forest of Dean
Soudley, Gloucestershire, 4-17 April
Head to the Dean Heritage Centre this Easter for the opportunity to go on an egg hunt around five acres of historic buildings and woodland, while discovering the rich history of the Forest of Dean through a series of interactive displays. There will also be family friendly craft activities available daily in the craft hut and a nature trail deep in to the woods to find the Gruffalo.
Entry to the centre is £7.20 per adult, £5.40 per child (three to 16) and children under three go free. To find out more visit www.deanheritagecentre.com or call 01594 822170.
Make your own Easter Chocolates at Harts Barn Cookery School, Forest of Dean
Longhope, Gloucestershire, 9 April
Kids as young as seven can put their aprons on and get creative in the kitchen this Easter with two seasonally themed cookery classes. Experience using melted chocolates to make different shapes and use transfer sheets to add an Easter spin or take part in the baking class to make and decorate cupcakes.
The Easter Chocolates class takes place between 10am and 12:30pm on the 9th April, available for £30 per person. Easter Baking takes place on the same day between 1:30-4pm, also available for £30 per person. To book and find out more visit www.hartsbarncookeryschool.co.uk or call 01452 831719.
Discover hidden gems and independent retailers at Taurus Crafts’ Easter Antiques and Vintage Fair
Lydney, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, 12 April
On Easter Sunday enjoy live music throughout the day, sample artisan bites and work up an appetite for the Taurus Crafts BBQ while browsing a selection antiques, memorabilia and vintage stalls. Taurus Crafts is also home to a collection of independent boutiques stocked full of organic chocolates, fair trade fashion and artwork created through local community projects.
The fair is open between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 12th April. To find out more visit www.camphillvillagetrust.org.uk/shops-cafes/taurus-crafts
Children go free at Chepstow Racecourse’s Easter Monday Family Funday
Chepstow, Monmouthshire, 13 April
This Easter Monday families can enjoy all the fun of the fair at Chepstow racecourse with a mini big top on site that will host juggling lessons, clown shows and even a trapeze act. Younger children can enjoy the petting zoo, while teens let loose on the go-karts and bucking bronco. There will of course be top-quality horse racing throughout the afternoon which will be kickstarted with an exciting Shetland Pony race.
Gates open at 12 noon and tickets are available for £20 per adult, or £35 for two adults and unlimited children making it a great value family day out. To book and find out more visit www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk or call 01291 622260.
Witness a tidal wave race up the river with the Severn Bore
River Severn, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire 8-11 April
Between 8-11 April, there is the opportunity to witness a unique natural phenomenon to this area of Britain when the River Severn’s huge tidal range (the 2nd highest in the world) causes a surfable tidal wave known as a ‘bore’ to ride up the river. Due to peak as a 4-star rated wave on Good Friday (10 April), surfers, paddleboarders and kayakers will eagerly be heading out on to the water with hopes of catching the wave as it makes its way up to Gloucester.
The bore can be viewed from several places, with the best views at Minsterworth (parking available at St Peter’s Church), alternatively head to Newnham or Broadoak. To check out the times visit www.severn-bore.co.uk
Walk through Gloucestershire’s Golden Triangle
Throughout the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley
Easter is the ideal time to walk the circular 10-mile Daffodil Way in the Forest of Dean, which goes through Gloucestershire’s ‘golden triangle’, woodland that is completely blanketed with wild daffodils during spring. There are also a wide variety of other day routes available through the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley, from a five-mile loop discovering forgotten industries to walks atop sheer limestone cliffs. To view and download walking routes visit www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/walking
There is also a collection of twelve easy walks that are relatively gentle, avoid stiles and are generally under two miles. These walks are ideal for young families or those that are less able. To view all twelve walks and download routes visit www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/12EasyWalks.
An all-terrain mobility scooter can also be hired from The Speech House enabling those with limited mobility to experience the surrounding woodland with ease. www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/mobility_scooters
Get lost in the Amazing Hedge Puzzle and experience a tropical world at Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo
Symonds Yat West, Herefordshire
Children can enjoy trying to hide from their parents (or vice versa) in this traditional labyrinthian hedge maze while racing their way to the ‘Temple’ at the centre. With everyone relocated and the exit found, why not head next door to the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo to walk through a tropical world of exotic butterflies.
Entry to the hedge maze and butterfly zoo is available for £7 per adult and £4.50 per child (aged five to 15). Family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) are £20. To find out more visit wyevalleyvisitorcentre.co.uk
Spring into action on the Forest of Dean’s network of cycling tracks with Pedalabikeaway
Cannop, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
With over 40km of traffic-free interconnected cycle routes running throughout the Forest of Dean, it is the ideal place for a two-wheeled adventure. Cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the gentle 11-mile circular family trail which passes several beauty spots. Whereas those looking to get the adrenaline flowing can take to the blue graded Verderer’s trail for tricky turns and fast descents and for a true challenge tackle the red Freeminer trail for killer climbs, jumps, rock gardens and hairpin bends.
Pedalabikeaway is the central hub for mountain biking in the forest and has bikes available to hire from £15 per half a day’s hire. To book and find out more visit pedalabikeaway.co.uk or call 01594 729000.
Jazz themed Glamping at Mrs Mills’ Yurts
May Hill, Gloucestershire
On the slopes of May Hill, a National Trust landmark which looks over seven counties, lies Mrs Mills Yurts, four luxurious yurts styled after the roaring 20s and the jazz age. Each yurt is kitted out with a wood burner, a kitchenette and cosy beds to sink into. Mrs Mills provides all guests with a welcome hamper packed full of local goodies and serves complimentary tea and treats daily in the snug. Climb up May Hill for breath taking views and great kite flying opportunities or take a short drive to reach key attractions in the Forest of Dean and along the River Wye.
A three-night midweek stay (6-9 April) is available from £300 or a three-night stay over Easter weekend (10-13 April) is available from £405, based on a family of four sharing a yurt. Price includes a breakfast hamper upon arrival. To book and find out more visit www.mayhillglamping.co.uk
30% off Easter stays at Flanesford Priory, Wye Valley
With a choice of eight self-catering apartments in a converted priory that originated in the 14th Century, Flanesford is a relaxed, rural escape in a picturesque location between Goodrich Castle and the banks of the River Wye. The modern apartments range from the cosy Kerne (sleeping two) right up to Talbot which sleeps ten in the original living quarters of the Augustinian Monks, complete with stone stairways and exposed beams. This Easter, guests can save up to 30% on stays and enjoy easy access to the River Wye, with a canoe launch just minutes away and riverside pubs dotted along the banks on both sides.
A four-night stay over Easter (10-14 April) is available from £358 (was £532, saving £174) based on a family of four sharing Coppett on a self-catering basis. To book and find out more visit flanesford.com or call 01600 890506.
Family and dog friendly cottages at Deanwood Holidays, Forest of Dean
In a peaceful setting that borders an ancient oak woodland in the Forest of Dean, Deanwood Holidays is a community of 13 holiday cottages with plenty of space for both dogs and children to run around freely. Deanwood has direct access straight onto woodland footpaths and for families looking to get out on their bikes there is secure cycle storage in the bike shed, as well as maps available in each cottage which includes suggested bike routes. The cottages themselves are centred around a large courtyard with outdoor dining areas and range from one bedroom converted stables to larger cottages sleeping five with exposed beams and modern interiors.
A four-night stay over Easter (10-14 April) is available from £337 (was £374, saving £37) based on a family of four sharing the Coachmans cottage on a self-catering basis. To book and find out more visit deanwoodholidays.co.uk or call 01594 563585.
Stay at the gateway to the Wye Valley at The Angel, Abergavenny
With its central location in the heart of Abergavenny, The Angel is the ideal base for discovering the historic market town’s impressive roster of independent boutiques and cafes. It is also perfectly placed for exploring the wild outdoors of the Wye Valley and the Brecon Beacons. During the evenings relax in the Foxhunter Bar with classic cocktails and enjoy dinner in the Hotel’s restaurant.
A three-night stay over Easter (10-13 April) is available from £477 based on two sharing a double room on an accommodation only basis. To book and find out more visit www.angelabergavenny.com or call 01783 857121.
Stylish forest retreat with Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, Forest of Dean
Clearwell, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
Tudor Farmhouse is a stylish boutique hotel in the small village of Clearwell within the Forest of Dean that was originally a working farm dating back to the 13th Century but has now been lovingly converted with a choice of 20 luxurious bedrooms and suites. The hotel’s restaurant sources as much of its ingredients as possible from local suppliers within a 20-mile radius and is handily located for exploring the surrounding ancient woodland, with Puzzlewood just a five-minute drive away and walking paths right out of the door.
A 3-night stay over Easter (10-13 April) is available from £747 based on two sharing a Hatchling double room on a Forest Awakens package which includes dinner, breakfast, a packed lunch for two and a local walking guidebook. To book and find out more visit tudorfarmhousehotel.co.uk or call 01594 833046.
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