Forest Holidays Forest of Dean – Part 1
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The sound of silence
Deep in the
ancient woodlands of the Forest of Dean as the mist lifted, I listened to the
sound of silence. I could hear each leaf falling to the forest floor, the
pattering footsteps of a tiny vole scurrying through tangled ivy on a nearby tree
stump and the distinctive keening cry of a buzzard circling overhead. A
friendly robin landed beside me. This is life at its best: close to nature and away
from the noise and bustle of modern life.
sipping hot tea on the decking of the luxurious Golden Oak cabin where I was enjoying a September midweek break
with my partner John in Forest Holidays’ Forest of Dean site. This collection of 121 self-catering cabins with hot tubs ranges from romantic
Golden Oak Hideaways for 2 people up to Treehouse Cabins for 10. There are also
pet-friendly cabins and wheelchair-accessible cabins with hoists to access the
been quick and efficient as I’d already filled in our details on-line, and we’d
easily found our cabin with its designated parking space. Walking through the door,
we’d been struck by the cabin’s light, airy feel provided by the floor to
ceiling windows. It was also spotlessly clean and wonderfully warm. We’d
arrived in misty drizzle and as night fell and temperatures outside dropped, the
heating kept us warm and cosy. We reluctantly resisted our pyromaniac urges to
light our log burning stove.
fitted kitchen contained everything necessary to prepare and serve meals - utensils,
oven and hob, a microwave, dishwasher, fridge with small freezer compartment,
and a Bosch Tassimo coffee machine. As well as bedding, towels, robes and
slippers, one teacloth is supplied along with some plastic refuse sacks and a
free kitchen pack with washing up liquid, sponges and dishwasher tablets.
as night fell, gas barbecues on cabin decking provided a magnet for alpha males
itching to burn chunks of meat to cinders, whilst sensible women folk slipped
into steaming hot tubs balancing glasses of sparkling prosecco.
Forest Holidays has won awards for being the best self-catering travel company
there is no need to actually be self-catering. The site’s Forest Retreat/Reception
area contains a café, shop and bar open until around 8 pm. Here you can enjoy
breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. You can also pre-order freshly
baked bread and croissants to collect each morning and, if you want to stay in
at night, order one of Forest Holidays’ night in deals to be delivered to your
cabin from their Feast and Fodder menu. Options include a Curry Night Pack,
Pizza Night or Burger Night with prices from £20. I rather fancied some lush
nights in the hot tub under the stars with prosecco and pizza but John wanted to
explore the local eateries and ales, and had already booked tables at the New
Inn, the White Horse Inn, the Cinnamon Indian Restaurant and the Ng Thai. You
can no doubt guess who’s the designated driver on our nights out!
booklet and website describes many activities available in and around the site including
cycle hire, forest survival skills, archery, kayaking, llama trekking, the
local Go Ape treetops adventure, and in-cabin spa treatments. I was tempted by
each and every one but I really wanted to explore the surrounding area with a
lengthy circular walk to include Symonds Yat and the River Wye; a steam train
adventure; a walk along the River Severn and a hop across the border into
Wales. Travelling out of season and midweek meant we had many of the
attractions virtually to ourselves, although we did have our steam carriage invaded
by a crowd of very well-behaved school children dressed up as wartime evacuees!
much of my recent travel involving flights, I had forgotten the simple joys of
a self-drive, self-catering staycation. What joy to travel at leisure with no
anxiety over missing flights every time the traffic grinds to a halt. Instead
of squeezing essentials into cases there’s the whole car to pack with
everything I might need, including 7 pairs of shoes/boots/trainers/sandals (I
wore them all!); full bottles of my favourite hair conditioner, shampoo and
body lotion (no laborious decanting into 100 ml bottles) my portable radio, my
entire set of camera equipment, and numerous types of clothing for every
possible scenario! I can’t wait to visit
their other sites in England, Wales and Scotland for more luxurious staycations.
Tip: I recommend bringing a basic
cleaning kit of rubber gloves, kitchen/bathroom cleaning spray, kitchen roll,
spare loo rolls plus basic food supplies of breakfast cereals, milk, bottled
water, instant coffee, teabags, butter, cooking oil, salt and pepper.
John were guests of Forest Holidays, Forest of Dean site, staying in a
2-bedroom Golden Oak cabin.
Holidays offer mid-week, weekend breaks and longer stays at their 11 forest cabin locations across Great Britain.
The Dean Forest Railway steam engine arrives to collect the carriages.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Forest Holidays.
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